The development of the prevention and treatment of disease from prehistoric and ancient times to the 21st century has witnessed natural therapies in various forms, reflexology being one of them.


Reflexology uses hand, thumb, and finger techniques to stimulate certain areas of the feet. These areas are believed to correspond to different parts of the body. The massage is expected to promote health and well-being.


Reflexology is an ancient practice, its origin and history is difficult to track. However, reflexology is thought to have been passed down through an oral tradition, and possibly first recorded as a pictograph on the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor in 2330 BC along with other medical procedures. Reflexology symbols are thought to be recorded on the feet of statues of Buddha in India and later China.

Reflexology in India

In India, 5,000 years ago the feet were thought to symbolise the unity of the entire universe. Sanskrit symbols depicted on the feet of the Buddha were seen as expressions of a higher reality. With the dominance of Buddhist and Hindu philosophy, it is thought that the Buddhist monks migrated to China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Vietnam where a form of foot massaging and healing can be traced.

Reflexology & Kenkoh

In the spring of 1949, Mr Kyu-kichi Yamanashi, a former Japanese railway worker, established a small shoe factory, after suffering from tuberculosis he began to experiment with ancient oriental feet treatments including ‘take-fumi’ – walking on bamboo shoots – and ‘soku-sin-do’ Japanese reflexology. This is how the very first Kenkoh massage shoe with the rubber nodules we use today came to life in 1965. The nodules were purposefully designed to replicate the ancient reflexology treatment.

However, reflexology as we know it today was pioneered by a woman called Eunice Ingham (1889 – 1974), or the mother of modern reflexology. After extensive research, she developed the map of the entire body on the feet – where one point on the foot corresponds to a certain part of the body. By using acupressure or massage techniques on these points, a positive effect is created in the corresponding body part.

Although there is no concrete evidence of the origin of reflexology but the phased evolution in this field showed remarkable and proven results in the healing of various ailments throughout the centuries. The research based development of Kenkoh is a milestone in the field of reflexology and it’s ancient principles.

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