Joanne Davies Complementary Therapies
Reflexology is a touch therapy; by making hand contact with the clients feet, hands, face and ears.
HISTORY OF REFLEXOLOGY
Reflexology is an ancient therapy and has been around for over 2000 years and was practiced by Egyptians, Chinese, Indian and Native Americans. But the science of modern Reflexology practiced today was developed by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an American Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon in the 1920's and was known as ZONE THERAPY, as Dr. Fitzgerald divided the body into 10 vertical equal zones. Later in the 1930's Eunice Ingham an American Physiotherapist, mapped the reflex zones onto the feet and Reflexology was based based on the observation that tension in the foot corresponds to tension or congestion in the related part of the body.
WHAT IS REFLEXOLOGY?
Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary therapy based on the principle that different zones, points and reflexes on the feet, hands, face and ears, which relate to the internal organs, glands and other structures of the body. By stimulating these reflex points, through using massage techniques with fingers and thumbs to stimulate these reflex points. Specialised techniques are used on the reflex points which creates changes in other parts of the body to help to restore health, overcome illness and correct imbalances in the body . It encourages the body’s own natural ability to heal and regenerate itself on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. For me it's like switching a computer off and on, a reset, just holding space to breath and relax.
WHO IS REFLEXOLOGY SUITABLE FOR?
Reflexology is suitable for all ages, but being mindful of contraindications a full health and wellbeing consultation will be assessed prior to your appointment. Reflexology is not a substitute for medical intervention and its important that for any medical conditions, diagnosis is made by a medical professional. As Reflexologists, we cannot claim to cure, prescribe or diagnose, but we do believe it is a great opportunity to re-balance, relax and restore mind, body and spirit, holistically.
WHAT DOES REFLEXOLOGY DO?
Reflexology is an incredible relaxing, non-invasive therapy which can alleviate everyday stress and tension, improve circulation and in turn bring about an overall sense of well-being. Reflexology may help with many ailments that are acute, as well as chronic. It can also help to manage life’s challenges, helping to re-balance then mind, body and spirit, helping your body get back to its normal balance and promote healthy circadian rhythms.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
There are several theories of how reflexology works:
Reflexology Works With The Central Nervous System
Research in the 1890's by Sir Henry Head and Sir Charles Sherrington, showed that a neurological relationship exists between the skin and the internal organs, and that the whole nervous system adjusts to a stimulus. By applying pressure to feet, hands, or ears sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which in turn signals the body to adjust the tension level. This enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs and their systems into a state of optimum functioning, and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal). It positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems in the body.
Reflexology reduces pain by reducing stress and improving mood
Another theory that may also explain how Reflexology can produce pain relief is the gate control theory, or, more recently, the neuromatrix theory of pain. This theory suggests that pain is a subjective experience created by your brain. The brain does this in response to the sensory experience of pain, but it can also work independently of sensory input and create pain in response to emotional or cognitive factors. Thus things that influence the brain, such as mood or external factors like stress can also affect your experience of pain. According to this theory, reflexology may reduce pain by reducing stress and improving mood
Reflexology keeps the body’s “vital energy” flowing
Yet another theory holds that there is a "vital energy" in the human body. If stress is not addressed, it leads to congestion of energy, which in turn causes bodily inefficiencies, which can lead to illness. According to this theory, reflexology helps keep the energy flowing.
The recognition of reflexology as a specific type of treatment began with Zone Theory, in which the body is divided into 10 vertical zones. Each zone corresponds to fingers and toes all the way up to the top of the head.
Duopody is a modern form of Reflexology, it is a symmetrical technique which works methodically through each body system. Working both feet at the same time stabilises our energy and diverts our mentally overactive energy back to our feet, helping us to become more "grounded".
Working each system means that as a Duopodist I am able to develop a treatment plan specific to your individual needs, rather than a "one treatment fits all sequence" approach.
Reflexology for Stress
There are many physical and psychological responses to stress on the body. The physical response to stress affects all of the systems in the body:
- Skeletal system – similarly tension can cause skeletal aches and pains
- Muscular system – stress can cause tension in muscles resulting in aches and pains
- Nervous system – stress can cause pins and needles, panic attacks, fatigue, an inability to concentrate and memory problems
- Respiratory system – stress can cause hyperventilation
- Digestive system – stress can cause constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, indigestion, heart burn and stomach ulcers
- Endocrine system – arguably the most affected system in the body. The hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal link produces the heightened reactions throughout the body
- Cardiovascular system – stress can cause heart problems and high blood pressure
- Reproductive system – stress can cause menstrual changes, loss of libido and sexual problems
- Urinary system – long term stress can cause bladder incontinence
- Lymphatic and immune system – stress can reduce white blood cells lowering protection against illness and disease
- Integumentary system – stress can cause rashes and skin irritations
In addition to the physical response to stress, there are many psychological responses - namely feeling anxious, depressed, unable to concentrate or make simple decisions, becoming forgetful and easily distracted. People suffering with stress can become emotional, experience mood swings, feel angry and irritable. They can become overly sensitive to criticism and can be defensive. Often people with stress feel as if they have no time for themselves, they have trouble sleeping and can become reliant on alcohol, caffeine or smoking. They can become workaholics or contrastingly be absent from work more often. It is therefore imperative to look at ways to reduce stress levels. Reflexology is a wonderful way to relax, alleviate everyday stress and tension and revitalise the body and mind. There are many articles and research papers on the effects of reflexology.
NeuroEndoPsychoImmunoPody (NEPIP) is an advanced reflexology treatment effective in helping people suffering from stress and anxiety. It is exclusively performed by Level 5 Practitioners and is an unique treatment routine working the feet simultaneously. It is an effective protocol for accessing the immune, endocrine and nervous systems through specific techniques together with powerful focused intent in the form of a client relative guided visualisation.
Neurology is the study of the nervous system
Endocrinology is the study of the endocrine system
Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour (the Greek word psyche =spirit/soul)
Immunology is the study of the immune system
Pody means feet in Greek
NEPIP, the scientific study of the relationship between our brain, our nervous system activities and their direct relationship with the endocrine system, how this affects our health via the immune system and all replicated/reflected on the feet.
History of NEPIP
NEPIP is based on the scientific principle of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) which is the study of the interactions that occur between the nervous and immune systems and their relationship with behavior and health. PNI is an important relatively new field that lends solid research to our understanding of the mind-body connection.
An interesting article:
How does NEPIP work?
The NEPIP treatment works with the theory that each bodily system affects the other and by enabling the flow from one system to another we help the body and brain interact and communicate. NEPIP is a unique reflexology routine for accessing the immune, nervous, endocrine and limbic systems through specific techniques. This is further facilitated with powerful focused intent.
Potential Benefits of NEPIP
In addition to all potential benefits of a reflexology treatment NEPIP is proving to be very effective for stress and anxiety management. It is a useful tool in tackling high stress on the body and the mind, due to either emotional or physical factors) and reducing the impact of persistent stress on our bodies.
Reflexology for Fertility
According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) 84% of couples will conceive within 1 year if they do not use contraception and have regular sexual intercourse. Of those who do not conceive in the first year, about half will do so in the second year (cumulative pregnancy rate 92%). People who have not conceived after 1 year of regular unprotected sex would be offered further clinical investigations including semen analysis and/or assessment of ovulation.
For approximately 25% of couples who have investigations there will be no obvious reason why they cannot conceive (idiopathic infertility). In either case, stress levels in both partners are likely to be high. The Association of Reflexologists explain the evidence to suggest that stress may affect fertility. “Cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress can cause the release of an inhibiting hormone that reduces the production of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone. Both of these hormones are integral to the release of the egg and the implantation of embryo after fertilisation. In other words, feeling stressed may be detrimental to the chances of achieving a successful pregnancy”.
Reflexology can help support you both physically and emotionally, providing you with relaxation and stress reduction.
Reflexology For Pregnancy
Pregnancy and childbirth can be a wonderful experience however it can also be very emotional. The fluctuation in hormones can increase anxiety and the physical changes can leave women feeling exhausted. Reflexology can help support women through these physical and emotional changes. Reflexology during pregnancy can encourage relaxation, reduce anxiety, reduce feelings of stress and improve sleep. It can also provide relief to many physical symptoms experienced in the second and third trimester. Postnatal hormones can also leave women feeling low, tearful or anxious. These feelings can be exacerbated by lack of sleep. Research has shown that reflexology can improve the quality of sleep in postnatal women. Offering parent and baby treatments which can be a perfect way for you to both bond and relax.
Reflexology for Women's Health
More women then ever are leading busy, stressful lives. Prolonged stress can affect our wellbeing and hormone function. According to The Mental Health Foundation the pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to mental health. The cumulative effect of increased work hours is having an important effect on the lifestyle of a huge number of people, which is likely to prove damaging to their mental wellbeing. Hormonal balance is a major factor in women's health, from puberty to Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) to later in life when fluctuating hormones during menopause can lead to both emotional and physical imbalances. In addition to the psychological response to stress, there are many physical responses. Such as; digestive problems, high blood pressure and tension. If untreated, stress can start to make us feel overwhelmed, exhausted and we can become susceptible to illness. Studies have shown reflexology can support women's health by reducing the severity and duration of menstruation pain, improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and relieve constipation.
Reflexology For Men's Health
According to The Mental Health Foundation the pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to mental health. The cumulative effect of increased work hours is having an important effect on the lifestyle of a huge number of people, which is likely to prove damaging to their mental wellbeing. A recent survey showed when working long hours more than a quarter of employees feel depressed (27%), one third feel anxious (34%), and more than half feel irritable (58%). In addition to the psychological response to stress, there are many physical responses. For example; digestive problems, high blood pressure and tension resulting in muscular and skeletal aches and pains. If untreated we can start to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and can become susceptible to illness. Reflexology is a wonderful way to relax and alleviate everyday stress and tension and revitalise the body and mind.
Reflexology for Children
Children and teenagers can be prone to feeling stressed. The Association of Reflexologists explain there is so much going on in their bodies and minds due to the physical, emotional and cognitive development, that children can sometimes find it difficult to verbalise what is wrong and stress can show up as changes in their normal behaviours. For example, trouble sleeping or waking in the night, thumb sucking, nail biting or chewing hair, becoming clingy, withdrawn, sad or angry or suffering with frequent ailments. Reflexology can help reduce anxiety and can be a fun treatment for children and young adults.
Reflexology for Palliative Care
According to the World Health Organisation “Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual”. Palliative care therefore includes all the care a patient and their families and carers receive, from the tests they have in the diagnosing stages, through to the treatment they receive, social care to help with other areas of their life and the care for physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Depending on the prognosis of a client's cancer, then the treatment may potentially lead to remission of the disease in which case, they may need support in returning to their life, or in situations where prognosis is unlikely to lead to remission, then care in the final stages of life and also support for the bereaved family, can be included in supportive and palliative care.
There are many benefits to using reflexology in palliative care:
- Reflexology can help improve quality of life by supporting emotional well-being and often helping to reduce the side-effects of some of the medical treatments
- Reflexology can help to relieve anxiety, stress and depression, which are symptoms that may often occur following a diagnosis of cancer, both for the patient and their carers
- Reflexology can help improve sleep
- Research has shown reflexology can help to reduce pain, therefore may reduce the amount of pain relief required, thus also reducing side-effects of higher levels of painkillers.
- Reflexology may help reduce oedema in the ankles
- Reflexology is non-invasive, it does not require the patient to remove lots of clothing and does not invade personal space
- Reflexology can be carried out on a chair or in the bed, so can be adapted to different settings.
- Reflexology can boost energy levels and improve a sense of well being
There are many reasons for using complementary therapies. They can be a good way of helping you cope with some of the stresses caused by cancer and cancer treatments. Many therapies are relaxing, and having an enjoyable experience may lift your spirits when you aren't feeling your best. Some complementary therapies can also help to relieve specific symptoms or side effects caused by cancer or its treatments.
Many people regard using complementary therapies as a positive choice they can make for their health and wellbeing. You may be looking at ways to make positive lifestyle changes and see complementary therapies as one way of doing this. You may want to use them to try to boost your health before, during or after cancer treatment. Some people say that the relationship they develop with their complementary therapist is an additional benefit. Complementary therapists usually work with the person as a whole, not just the part of the body where the cancer is. This is called a holistic approach and is something good healthcare practitioners also do. Many people say talking to their complementary therapist is a valued part of their complementary treatment. Someone who listens may help you cope with difficult feelings, which can be an effective way of getting back some control.
Complementary therapies may help to:
- Feel more in control
- Improve your quality of life
- Reduce stress, tension and anxiety
- Sleep better
- Relieve some cancer symptoms
- Lessen some of the side effects of cancer treatments
Reflexology has the potential to help with all of the points listed above, so can help people with cancer on multiple levels.
There are many articles and research papers on the effects of reflexology.