About 1985 a German engineer, living in Somerset West South Africa, lost his wife after many months of searching for a cure. Their search included many modalities and he was most impressed with the relief she experienced through Reflexology and Acupressure techniques.
Later, while taking photos on a beach he noticed a tingling in his calves after walking barefoot over the rocks. He immediately recognized the effect as increased circulation due to the stimulation on his soles. He replicated this at home by hand-carving a wooden board, matching the rock surface as closely as possible – and EUREKA! – the first Reflex-o-Board was born.
Experiencing the convenience and cost saving of his DIY home treatments, he decided to open the opportunity to the public and designed a mould for commercial production. He patented his idea in 1986 under the name of “Reflexology Healthboard”. Ten years (and many thousands of Boards later) he decided to retire and that was when I came into the picture through a set of very unusual circumstances! (Some folk might call them “co-incidences”; to me they are “God-incidences”!).
At the time I was a Provincial Manager in a large banking institution. They decided to ‘downsize’ and took out that level of management. And there I was, a 57 year-old, white and a male in the “New South Africa’ where folk who had been previously disadvantaged by the apartheid regime flooded to, and were given preference, in the employment market. I obviously did not qualify. I was also suffering from advanced arthritis in my left knee after surgery some years previously as a result of sports injuries. I was in a bad way; I reacted badly and wallowed in my self-pity!
Below is my personal story as it appeared in Pathways to Health magazine – Nov 1997:
Yes, that’s how it all came about! Since then I have personally qualified as a Reflexologist and bought out my daughter’s share (She is now in the States) and re-named the device “Reflex-o-Board” to avoid confusion with the many government “Boards of Health’ around the world. And we’re still going strong, providing natural health fans with DIY reflexology treatments in the safety and convenience of their own homes – all at a huge cost saving!
Many municipalities and universities in the East have now built ‘reflexology paths’ (some of which bear a striking resemblance to the surface of the Board!) where the public simply shuck their shoes and ‘tune their bodies up’ with a daily barefoot walk. And in the USA, research by the Oregon Research Institute has confirmed many of the anecdotal claims of “cobblestone walking” on similar devices.