Historical Origin of Rwo Shur Foot Reflexology

The Rwo Shur Health Method of Foot Reflexology Therapy originated from China some 5,000 years ago. It is part of Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. It can be traced to the Chinese medical book Hwang Tee Internal Text where it is called the "Examining Foot Method" or "Tao of Foot Centre".

This is a method of achieving therapeutic effects by stimulating the acupuncture points according to the principle of reflexology. During the Han Dynasty, a famous doctor investigated and systematised the ancient "Examining Foot Method" and termed it the "Tao of Foot Centre" in his thesis "Hua Tuo Mi Ji

This technique spread to Japan during the Tang Dynasty, and became the method of acupuncture and moxibustion, and Foot Reflexology Therapy. The method of "Finger Massage" also originated from this ancient source. During the Yuan Dynasty Hu Tai Bi Lie wrote "Jin Lan Xun Jing" and Hua Bo Ren wrote "Shi Si Jing Fa Hui" (The Fourteen Meridians), elaborating on the Theory of Massage Therapy. It was during this period that this therapy spread to Europe.

In China foot reflexology has been in existence for more than 4,000 years. Owing to changes in dynasties, coupled with disasters and man-made calamities such as the burning of all written books by the emperor of the Qin Dynasty, the precious cultural heritage almost became extinct.

Furthermore the Chinese have had the selfish habit of keeping the medical methods to themselves. This attitude of refusing to publicise this medical knowledge contributed to the gradual vanishing of the "Examining Foot Method" from the history of Chinese medicine.

In 1913 US doctor William Fitzgerald investigated and systematised this "Zone Therapy" theory according to the scientific methods of modem western medicine. After he had published his findings, this ancient Chinese therapy gradually gained the respect and recognition of scholars of western medicine. Scholars from the US, Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and other countries also took part in similar research and published theses on the topic. For example, Heidi Masafret, a Swiss nurse who had worked with a Christian mission in China, wrote "Good Health for the Future" after returning to Switzerland. Father Josef Eugster, a Swiss priest with a religious mission in Taiwan, suffered from rheumatism in his knees for many years. He sought a cure from both Chinese and western medicine but found no relief. Finally he tried the 'Foot Reflexology Therapy" recommended in Heidi Masafret's work. Because of the effectiveness of the method, he put himself to the task of spreading this method. It culminated in 1980 in the "Father Josef Massage Therapy" incident which shocked Taiwan.

In the beginning, when Father Josef promoted the "Foot Massage Therapy" techniques, he did not expect such serious criticism and strong reaction to the term "Massage Therapy" from the medical circles in Taiwan. The term he had used seemed to have contravened the medical regulations of the country. This was a great blow and setback for the research and progress of the method. It almost destroyed the very survival of this precious cultural heritage of China.

In fact the early development of Foot Massage Therapy in Europe and the US also suffered similar setbacks. Only after much struggle and persistence was it eventually accepted as a form of physiotherapy. Our branch association in Japan also encountered similar obstacles in the early days of its establishment.

Our association adheres to the wishes of Father Josef Eugster, that is to make known this method to every Chinese, to continue further research into the method and to promote it. Attempts have been made to merge the method with other ancient Chinese medical theories and techniques, such as the balance of Yin and Yang, Action and Counteraction of the Five Elements and the Flow of Chi and Blood. In this way we achieved a more effective system of the Rwo Shur Health Method. The method is named after Father Josef to commemorate his achievements. We sincerely hope scholars from the medical field will join us in the investigation and research of the Rwo Shur Health Method / Rwo Shur Foot Reflexology.

The Rwo Shur Health Method of foot reflexology originated from ancient Chinese culture. Having undergone many vicissitudes, it is eventually able to preserve its essence.