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Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Peripheral Neuropathy and Reflexology

burning feetNicole Banner, 2014 Academy grad, decided to investigate whether regular foot reflexology sessions would help someone suffering from peripheral neuropathy due to chemotherapy treatment for a rare disease he was diagnosed with. The 5-week study charts the effects of hour-long reflexology sessions on his physical discomfort, sleep patterns and medication use. It’s worth a read, especially if you know anyone suffering from this progressive condition.



Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Nighttime Coughing

CoughingMany of us grew up with moms who rubbed Vick’s VapoRub on our chests at night if we were suffering from a cold. I clearly recall those strong vapors rising into my nostrils. Do you?

I always like to tackle problems from more than one angle though. As an adult, I would choose an essential oil that is a decongestive and expectorant, such as Eucalyptus globulus or radiata (for cough) and Eucalyptus dives (to break up mucus) to massage into my chest. One or two drops mixed into a carrier oil is perfect.

I would also then massage the mixture into the lung reflexes of my feet (located on the plantar surface on the heads of all the metatarsals), perform a little reflexology on those reflexes, don some warm socks, slowly swallow a tablespoon of raw honey, take a deep inhale of the scent permeating my own hands – and go to bed!


Wednesday, July 15th, 2015


GoutBecause dietary causes account for about 12% of gouty conditions, gout has historically been known as “the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”. The heavy consumption of alcohol, fructose-sweetened drinks, red meats and seafood are all associated with the indulgent lifestyle of royalty and the wealthy hundreds of years ago.

Gout is a form of arthritis in which acidic crystals have accumulated within a joint capsule. It is often found in the hallux. True gout involves deposits of uric acid (a by-product of protein metabolism); pseudo gout involves calcium pyrophosphate crystals (from the breakdown of purine proteins found in organ meats, sardines, anchovies).

The prevalence of gout in the United States has risen over the last twenty years and now affects 8.3 million Americans.[i] Gout was listed for 2.3 million ambulatory care visits annually from 2001–2005.[ii] Uncontrolled gout can lead to the development of kidney stones.


  • Excruciating pain
  • Inflammation (redness, swelling and heat)
  • Inability to bear weight 

Risk factors

  • Gender. Gout is the most common inflammatory condition affecting men.
  • Race. Gout is more prevalent in African-American men than Caucasians.
  • Age. Risk rises with age, with a peak age of 75. In women, gout attacks usually occur after menopause.
  • Family history. If your parents have gout, then you have a 20% chance of developing it.
  • Moderate to high intake of alcohol
  • Acidic diet (meats, sugar)
  • Diagnosis of Hyperuricemia. Approximately 21% of the US population suffering with gout have elevated blood uric acid levels.
  • Obesity; excessive weight gain, especially in youth
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal kidney function
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dehydration
  • Aspirin, diuretics, excessive niacin 

Allopathic approach:

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Steroids
  • Drugs to lower blood uric acid levels 

A Reflexologist’s approach

If the person is experiencing a flare-up you will not be able to work the feet. Do a foot soak and let the client dry his/her own affected foot. Offer reflexology on the hands. If the client’s condition is not acute, work the feet.

Hydrotherapy – cool foot soak, ½ cup Epsom salt, 1 drop of an analgesic or anti-inflammatory essential oil, such as German chamomile, Ginger, Eucalyptus globulus, Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint or Ylang ylang.

Techniques – full session on either the feet or hands with additional attention given to the lymphatic, adrenal and kidney reflexes.


It is very important that the individual suffering with gout look closely at all the risk factors involved with this debilitating condition, and attempt to reduce and/or replace as many as those factors as possible.



[i] Zhu Y, Pandya BJ, Choi HK. Prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia in the US general population: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2008. Arthritis  Rheum. 2011; 63(10):3136–3141.

[ii] United States Bone and Joint Decade: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 2008. Chapter 4. Arthritis and Related Conditions.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Go Jump In The Lake!

Jump in the LakePerhaps you’ve said that to someone – or wanted to – or have had it thrown in your face. Or, how about, “Chill Out!” Comments like these are usually indicating that one person is requesting an immediate shift in another’s energy. So, how does jumping in the lake, as opposed to just jumping in the air, accomplish this shift?

Blame It on Your Skin

One of its jobs is to help maintain a constant internal body temperature of 98.6 degrees. It does this by opening pores to release heat through perspiration or shutting down pores to hold needed heat inside. The skin obviously must be very sensitive to changes in temperature in order to maintain this perfect internal temperature.

Any water application that changes the skin temperature (like jumping in a cold lake or soaking your feet in warm water) will produce a primary action in the body. This in turn causes a reaction. This secondary action is the body’s response to the primary one, its attempt to self-regulate, to reverse the primary effect in order to return to its normal internal stability.

The interplay between heat and cold causes blood vessels to dilate and contract, dilate and contract. Kind of like a vascular workout for the blood vessels. An increase in the diameter of the blood vessels allows more blood to flow, resulting in the delivery of more oxygen and nutrients to the cells. More food! The body LOVES this! Without even knowing why, you feel better. Water becomes this magical “mood shape shifter”!

Reflexology and Water

Reflexologists can use this information to enhance their clients’ sessions, by offering foot or hand soaks to begin. Not only does soaking cleanse the extremities and begin the internal shift of restoring homeostasis, the feel and temperature of the water brings a client’s attention to her body, acting as a lovely segue from the external experience prior to entering the clinical space to that of the internal world.

I start all foot reflexology sessions with a soak. I find it humbling to sit at the feet of my clients and wash their feet.

If you’ve not incorporated soaks into your sessions yet, you might want to try it and see how your clients respond. Try a hot soak for someone who needs nurturing, pain relief and relaxation; cooler water for someone who finds the weather uncomfortably warm, is agitated or “hot-headed” as she arrives.


Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Playing Detective

Lately, I’ve been asking myself some pointed questions about my expectations and motivations with health history forms. I’m not saying that I don’t think it’s essential to know certain facts; I’m just turning the tables here and donning my detective hat to ask myself some important questions, as I do my clients. I think of the health history form serving three primary purposes: . . . → Read More: Playing Detective

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