Eunice D. Ingham, affectionately known as the grandmother of foot reflexology in North America would be celebrating her 126th birthday today, were she still alive.
Eunice had a very unconventional upbringing – especially for a female – that likely helped shape the independence, strength and confidence that she displayed for a woman of her era. Her life and the legacy she bestowed to the world are not to be made light of; indeed, her contributions were significant.
In my mind, the three greatest gifts of Eunice Ingham were these:
- She separated the work on reflexes of the feet from Zone Therapy (a predecessor of reflexology that involved application of pressure throughout the entire body).
- She determined that alternating pressure to reflexes stimulated healing, rather than having a numbing, analgesic effect.
- In response to the medical profession’s rejection of reflexology (It was considered too time consuming, and thus not cost effective.), Eunice took reflexology to the general public and non-medical healthcare providers of the day (chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopaths, chiropodists, massage therapists and physiotherapists) – a decision that would ultimately be responsible for the widespread popularity and recognition of reflexology in the world today.
I had the pleasure a couple of years ago, while attending a Board meeting of the Reflexology Association of America, to visit one of Eunice Ingham’s homes. It was both thought and heart provoking to imagine her living her life’s work in that location. Hard to describe, but very moving for me. Without that woman’s work, my path in life would be very different; without her dedication and perseverance perhaps none of us today would be receiving the health-promoting benefits of reflexology.
If you are interested in knowing more about Eunice D. Ingham, Christine Issel has written a wonderful biography, entitled Eunice Ingham: A Biography – Her Life and Legacy of Reflexology. You may order it directly from the publisher. It’s a fascinating story of an American pioneer and trailblazer
And now for a little fun! First person to provide the correct answers to the following questions will be sent an autographed copy of Eunice D. Ingham’s biography by the author! Number your answers, one under each other, in the Comments below. Go!
- What does the “D” stand for in Eunice’s name?
- How old was Eunice when she passed?
- Eunice’s more permanent homes were in South Dakota, New York and Florida. True or False?
- Name the two books that Eunice published on reflexology.
- New Frontier Publishing released posthumously Stories the Feet are Telling, what was to be Eunice’s third book. True or False?