Native American Influence
You may be wondering where reflexology stands on this side of the world. Some people believe that the Incan people were the first Americans to practice reflexology, but there is no concrete evidence of this. However, it is believed that the Maya show documentation of reflexology.
The Mayan civilization is believed to have been an advanced culture, and documentation found on stone carvings preserved many of the Mayan findings. The altar at Copan, South America, has engravings of a Mayan reflexology treatment, according to Jurgen Kaiser. Kaiser is a balneologist, massage therapist, and reflexologist with a special interest in hand reflexology. He discovered a clear connection between reflexology and the Mayan culture.
Native American culture speaks through oral history of the tradition of bathing and treating feet to help bring about balance. The Cherokee nation in particular has a definite custom of footwork for healing, passed down through the Bear Clan.
Jenny Wallace, a Cherokee woman who is also a “moon maiden,” grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Wallace believes that walking upon Earth connects people to the universe and that our feet keep us connected to the roots of life itself. She practices foot reflexology using her intuitive abilities to guide her.
As you can see, reflexology has crossed all boundaries, circling the world a few times. We have been able to trace the physical and spiritual connection, but what about the scientific aspect?
Another practitioner of reflexology from the Cherokee nation is Jim Rolls. Rolls learned the practice from his great-grandfather, “Coon Dog” Henderson. The practice of reflexology has been passed down in his family since the 1690s. Native American history demonstrates many natural healing techniques, of which most are still used today. These are just a few examples of how footwork has been in the Americas for longer than we can imagine!