15th April 2019
When people first hear about reflexology it can sound rather ‘out there’- the parts of the body are reflected on the soles of the feet – really???
However, to me it has always made total sense and I have been struggling for a while to put this logic into words, so here is my attempt (which has taken a long time to formulate in my head!)
Firstly, it makes sense to me that Mother Nature would give us the means by which to heal ourselves. Just as nature provides us with plants and herbs that nourish and heal, and just as our body is built to heal itself – look at our body’s ability to fight off infection or heal a wound.
In an attempt to find something solid to support this belief I came across The Gaia Hypothesis. This was formulated by James Lovelock and co-developed by Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. To summarise very simply, The Gaia Hypothesis purports that the Earth is a living organism in itself with its components (plants, humans, animals etc) making up the components of this organism and acting in a self-regulating and symbiotic way. This parallels with the human body, whereby we are the living organism with our components being our organs (liver, kidneys, skin etc), again which self-regulate and act in symbiosis.
From this, I came upon another theory – that of the Macrocosm/Microcosm as developed by the ancient Greek philosophers. The crux of this is the part reflects the whole – ‘as above, so below’. In this theory the individual is a mini-world in themselves whose composition and structure correspond to the universe. There is unity between all life on the planet. Again this may seem rather hippyish and ‘woo woo’ to the scientifically-minded out there, but think for a second of examples of this that we see in our everyday life. A woman’s menstrual cycle reflects the phases of the moon, both in its length and the phases of her cycle correspond to the seasons of the year. Similarly the human life cycle as a whole can be compared to the seasons of the year – even Shakespeare was aware of this in his works.
So, if you are still reading, what my ramblings are aiming to say is that using this theory, the foot is the microcosm of the body (the macrocosm), and therefore the organs and body parks from the macrocosm are reflected in the microcosm of the reflexes.
And I will end with this beautiful quote from Plato, which again provides an example of the macrocosm/microcosm theory:
“Just as the body of the universe is spherical, and its soul is composed of orbits along which the planets wander, so too the soul of the human being is composed of orbits along which its emotions rove, and it inhabits the head, which is spherical. The rest of the human body exists merely to serve the head.”
18th February 2019
***PELVIC GIRDLE PAIN IN PREGNANCY***🤰🤰
Anyone who has suffered from pelvic girdle pain (PGP) during pregnancy can attest to how painful it is! Pelvic girdle pain is an umbrella term which refers to pain in either the sacroiliac joints (the joints that connect the sacrum to the pelvis) or the symphysis pubis joint (the joint that connects the two halves of the front of the pelvis).
It can begin towards the end of the first trimester or even shortly before the birth. The most common symptoms are pain in the pubic area and groin, but pain can also be experienced in the back, inside of legs or hips. The pain is often made worse by parting the legs, walking, going up or down stairs or moving around in bed. It is often worse at night and therefore has a knock-on effect on sleep, which in turn has a knock-on effect on all aspects of general wellbeing.
So all in all PGP can make life pretty difficult! Even more so when there are other children that need looking after too.
👣👣👣How can reflexology help?👣👣👣
As you will know, recently I completed my Advanced Maternity Training with Sally Earlam, where PGP was one of the aspects we focused on.
Two recent studies have shown promising results for PGP during pregnancy.
One study found that antenatal reflexology reduced labour duration for women who had experienced low back and/ or pelvic girdle pain during their pregnancy, compared with usual care and footbaths. (1)
The other found that there was a clinically significant reduction in pain following a block of 6 reflexology treatments in women suffering from lower-back or PGP. (2)
During a reflexology session it is possible to work the pelvic girdle area in a specific sequence which may contribute to the relief of pain.
If you are struggling with PGP and would like to see if reflexology can help you then please do get in touch to book a session.
(1) McCullough JEM, Close C, Liddle SD, Sinclair M, Hughes CM (2014)
A pilot randomised controlled trial exploring the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes.
Midwifery. 2017 55:137-144
(2) McCullough JEM, Close C, Liddle SD, Sinclair M, Hughes CM (2018)
A randomised controlled trial investigating the effects on beta-endorphin, cortisol and pregnancy related stress.
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2018 May; 31: 76-84
23rd January 2019
***RESEARCH & REFLEXOLOGY***
Back before Christmas, reflexology was adversely mentioned by a television presenter on a popular show – a person who apparently by his own admission had never experienced reflexology.
Unfortunately this is a view that it is not uncommon for reflexologists to experience, and I believe much of this has to do with a relative lack of formal research into this area.
To a point I can understand people wanting a degree of ‘proof’ and assertion – after all there are sadly unscrupulous people around willing to make false claims in return for money. And as the saying goes “the plural of anecdote is not evidence”.
The issue with this view is that it doesn’t take into account the bigger picture and there are some points surrounding this that I feel need addressing:
1. There HAVE been a number of scientific studies into the use of reflexology with a range of conditions. To give two examples:
- A study in the Journal of Complementary and Integrated Medicine by Arnon et al (2018) found that They reported reduced pain and anxiety, and an increased sense of self-efficacy brought about by the ability to become active and manage labour
- A meta-analysis in the Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing by Lee et al (2011) found that reflexology was a useful nursing intervention to improve sleep and reduce fatigue.
2. The funding is simply not available to fund large-scale research. Reflexology professional associations’ funds come from membership which simply does not stretch that far. And whilst I do not fully subscribe to the concept of ‘Big Pharma’ as I do believe there is a definite place for allopathic medicine, it does not need explaining that there is a conflict of interests for the pharmaceutical companies to fund such research. And as we know, the NHS is on its knees as it is and is in no position to provide substantial funding.
3. I was discussing this with some reflexology colleagues and it was suggested that perhaps the nature of reflexology research needs to change. Medical and scientific research is of course defined by a rigid criteria, which by its very definition it needs to be. Perhaps reflexology doesn’t fit into this research methodology and needs more empirical study – perhaps in this case anecdote actually CAN be the plural of evidence.
I would love to see reflexology entering more into the mainstream. Just think what a better place the world would be if we could all have reflexology every week!
18th January 2019
This is one where not only can I say there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that reflexology can help to balance the endocrine system, but I also have personal experience myself.
PMS is often joked about in the media or used as a catch-all reason (usually by those who don't suffer from it) to explain any kind of female erratic behaviour.
However, those who do suffer from it know that it is no laughing matter and it can be utterly utterly debilitating. I suffer from horrendous PMS which gets progressively worse from mid-cycle onwards. I have learnt to manage this the natural way and have discovered that carefully-timed reflexology is absolutely essential in this. I have two treatments a month scheduled at the beginning of Week 3 & Week 4 of my cycle - this can obviously be quite tricky when life catches up on me and I realise I haven't tracked my cycle that month or booked a session in. The months that I have this I cannot explain enough the difference in my moods. I can even get through with just the slightest smidge of irritation rather than the raging red beast. I also take evening primrose oil and try to do very gentle restorative yoga.
If you're like me and struggle with your cycles, how about giving reflexology a go and we can work out a plan along with your cycle that can optimise its benefit.
5th January 2019
New year, new beginnings…
Well there’s one way to not forget your new year’s intention and that’s to have it tattooed on your hand!
This year I am again, rather than choosing a specific resolution, choosing a word that will act as my intention for 2019.
This year my word is ‘Satya’ (truthfulness in Sanskrit), which forms part of the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
At first thought this seems to be quite an easy one to follow – after all I am not one to go in for pathological lying so surely telling the truth is something that comes automatically to most people anyway.
However, Satya can also be extended in its modern-day meaning to refer to integrity and choosing our words carefully to be as kind as possible to others whilst still remaining within the realms of truth. This includes gossiping (something which I am sure most of us have been guilty of including myself!). Speech can be very powerful – we can make someone’s day with a kind word and destroy it instantaneously with a cruel one. Often our internal speech, the way we talk about ourselves can be the most harmful of all and can sap us of our prana, our vital energy.
Speaking kindly and with integrity is a way to stay in tune with the Universe and our fellow humans.
The aspects which I will be working on this year:
- Working on my own inner truth. Rephrasing the negative self-talk. Being honest with myself about my motivations and where my path is leading me over this coming year.
- Speaking kind words and thinking about my use of language, particularly hyperbolic speech. I am going to aim to not use exaggerations such as ‘never’ ‘always’ etc.
- Aiming to find out others’ own inner truths and having greater awareness that everyone is on their own path with their own demons to face.
And maybe I need to think about those little white lies I tell my children too….