Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Reflexology - How Our Feet Talk

Jul 01, 2009 11:40PM

foot and hands

by Linda Sechrist

The body has an amazing ability to regularly heal, repair and revitalize itself, but it can occasionally use an assist with its daily workload.

Reflexology, a natural approach to rebalancing and encouraging internal healing processes, could be just the boost the body needs, according to The Ingham Method® of Foot Reflexology. This complementary therapy uses alternating pressure on reflex points located on the feet and hands, and is sometimes used in conjunction with other modalities, such as massage and aromatherapy.

“If you’re feeling out of kilter, don’t know why or what about, let your feet reveal the answer, find the sore spot, work it out.” That’s the personal philosophy of Eunice D. Ingham, who created the world-renowned Ingham Method, considered the Rolls-Royce of reflexology. Ingham, working alongside her mentor, Dr. Joe Shelby Riley, researched and documented the theories and techniques used today by 25,000 reflexologists throughout the world.

Her work was based on Dr. William Fitzgerald’s zone therapy of the 1920s; he was the first to pioneer the concept of reflex areas on the feet that correspond to body parts. The Original Works of Eunice D. Ingham, published in 1984, includes Stories the Feet Can Tell Thru Reflexology, correlating the connections between specific organs and glands with reflex areas in the feet.

As a nephew of the late Ingham, Dwight Byers’ 70-year love of reflexology began early. He still remarks how, “Her signature thumb, finger and hand techniques brought relief to my childhood symptoms of hay fever and asthma.” Byers is the author of Better Health with Foot Reflexology, and president of the International Institute of Reflexology, in St. Petersburg, Florida. The institute provides both training for reflexologists and continuing education for massage therapists, nurses and chiropractors worldwide.

During the past 23 years, Ingham’s work has served as a foundational resource for Mary Ann Mugas, owner of Feet First Reflexology, in Naples, Florida. Trained by the institute, Mugas agrees with Ingham that the feet jabber. “When I sense an angry response from feet,” explains Mugas, “I know it will take me three to four treatments until they open up and allow me to get into the deeper reflexes.”

A reflexologist’s experienced hands and thumbs, which travel over feet dusted with non-talcum powder, pick up on textures such as grittiness, sponginess, lumps, hard spots or a callous formation. “I had a client,” notes Mugas, “who had a callous forming over the heart reflex. Several months later she reported that her physician diagnosed her heart problem.”

Lucy Scarbrough is secretary of the American Reflexology Certification Board, an independent testing agency for certifying the competency of reflexologists. The graduate of the International Institute of Reflexology is a nationally certified aromatherapist and a Reiki master, who works part time at a Memphis, Tennessee spa.

“Reflexology sessions are really good for foot problems, especially the loss of feeling,” says Scarbrough, who finds that her clients are often delighted to find that treatments relax the entire body and relieve emotional stress. “Nurses and waitresses who stand on their feet all day are especially good candidates for reflexology,” advises Scarbrough, “because treatments help increase circulation.”

Responses to reflexology vary widely, from feelings of calm and sleepiness to a sense of renewed energy and rejuvenation. “The more frequently you experience reflexology,” remarks Byers, “the more likely you are to notice overall benefits.” For information on the International Institute of Reflexology, call 727-343-4811 or visit

For a list of nationally certified reflexologists, refer to the American Reflexology Certification Board; go to and click on Referral to a National Certificant.

Contact Mary Ann Mugas, of Feet First Reflexology, at 239-261-8833.

Upcoming Events Near You
Current Issue


Global Brief
Health Brief
Join Our Email List

Receive Digital Magazine and Special Offers

* indicates required
Email Format

Receive Digital Magazine, Special Offers and Advertising Information

* indicates required
Email Format