In the September issue of Reflexology World I read how a reflexologist responded to the shocking observation of her right arm involuntarily floating out in front of her body, with no feeling in it whatsoever.
The inspiring story of her level-headed, informed responses to this scary event reminded me of the time when I was faced with a woman falling into adrenal shock right before my eyes.
Three specific actions helped stabilize both these women so that they lived to tell their stories.
The slight tingle in her face, coupled with the “floating” arm, immediately warned the first woman that she might be having a stroke. Her first course of action: take a couple of long deep breaths to move herself away from a sense of panic and fear. The seconds she stole to do that effectively shifted her traumatized nervous system towards the healing parasympathetic state. In addition, deep breathing sent oxygen to her brain that allowed her to perform the second important action: think.
She quickly assessed that a right-sided stroke indicates left brain damage and immediately began to vigorously work the reflexes to the left side of her brain. She worked the points intermittently until she felt her right arm jerk. She continued to use reflexology, massage and exercise all morning and over the next four days until normalcy returned.
Her doctor confirmed her symptoms to indicate a Transient Ischemic Attack, even though carotid artery and heart scans and a brain MRI showed no sign of a TIA!
Years ago I noticed a usually attentive student turn away and curl up on her massage table as I was giving a demo on another table. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this woman shaking and wrapping herself in a blanket. I called over as to how she was. She didn’t respond. I went immediately to her side and saw that she was perspiring, shaking, rolling her eyes back into her head and unresponsive to my queries.
Recognizing immediately that something serious was occurring I first instructed myself to take a few breaths and think. I instructed her also to focus on her breathing. I then asked someone else in the room to call for emergency medical help as I grabbed both her feet and started applying deep pressure alternately between her solar plexus points and pituitary gland reflexes.
Once at the hospital, I continued to work those reflexes without stop while we waited for medical assistance. Slowly, she began to relax, was able to communicate intelligently again and regained normal body temperature. By the time doctors were in attendance her symptoms had almost disappeared. Their examination and interview confirmed what I suspected: adrenal shock.
I share both these stories to underlie the importance of these points:
1. In an emergency, first focus on breathing. Breathing will abort a panic attack and send much-needed oxygen to the brain. You must think quickly and clearly in situations like this. Someone’s life (maybe your own) may depend on it.
2. The power of reflexology when applied immediately in medical emergencies is not to be scoffed at. (There are many more success stories such as these two.) In no way, do I mean that reflexology is a substitute for medical attention. Call for help and then do your best to relax the scared and traumatized individual as you wait for an emergency team to arrive.
Remember: breathe, think and act calmly.
Have you ever used reflexology successfully in an emergency situation?