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Sunday, November 9th, 2014

More Reasons to Eliminate Chronic Stress

Reflexology is acknowledged as a wonderful source of relaxation for people trapped in a stressful existence. If you yourself have ever felt stressed, you may recognize that the experience is often accompanied by irritability and grouchiness, forgetfulness and a lack of interest in doing anything. Researchers at the Brain Institute in Switzerland wondered why and recently set out to find the chemical link between chronic stress, loss of social skills and cognitive impairment.

The study revealed a cascade of events within the body beginning with a massive release of a molecule called glutamate. Glutamate acts on the brain receptors known as NMDA. NMDA receptors are essential to what is called “synaptic plasticity”, the chemical process that makes it possible for us to learn and retain information and experiences.

In turn, the NMDA receptors activate certain enzymes that damage yet another enzyme (Nectin-3). Once damaged, Nectin-3 becomes unable to modulate synaptic plasticity, which leads to loss of sociability, the avoidance of interpersonal interaction and impaired memory and/or understanding.

It seems that science is proving more and more how much damage stress does to the body. Let your community know it’s more than “just feeling stressed.” Explain to them that the chemical reactions taking place in their brains are responsible for the personality changes they are experiencing. Offer reflexology as a way to reduce stress. Offer lots of relaxation techniques and focus on the reflexes to the central nervous system, solar plexus and adrenal glands.



Monday, October 27th, 2014

Is Thai Reflexology Really Reflexology?

Fb imageI’m often asked the difference between Thai Foot Reflexology and the conventional form practiced in the west. The other day I got into a conversation on a Facebook reflexology group page I follow that took that conversation even deeper. The exchange started with a woman’s struggle (her word) around the term Thai Reflexology. She wondered how someone practicing this age-old therapy could call it “reflexology” when the techniques were so different from what she knew. Is Thai Reflexology really “reflexology”?

Her comments sent me back to an earlier time in my reflexology career. Back in 1983, I learned what is now referred to in the United States and Canada as “conventional” reflexology, based on the theories and techniques developed by Eunice Ingham, known fondly as the “grandmother” of modern reflexology. For more than 10 years, I just assumed that reflexologists all over the world practiced reflexology as I was taught, happily thumb and finger-walking their way around an ancient map of foot and hand reflexes corresponding to other parts of the body. And then…

I was exposed to how people taught reflexology in other countries: Dr. Tae-Woo in Korea, Father Josef in Taiwan, Lone Sorenson in Spain, Chris Stormer in Africa, Sharon Stathis in Australia. Ayurvedic reflexology, cranial-sacral reflexology, Thai reflexology, limbic reflexology – the list goes on and on.

As my horizons widened, I expanded my personal definition of reflexology to include all these wonderful approaches and beliefs. I came to the conclusion that any therapeutic work done on the feet or hands that has both the intention and the protocol to affect the body’s physiology was reflexology, no matter the technique.

One of the things that often attracts massage therapists to Thai Foot Reflexology is the short amount of time it requires to learn how to offer the session. It’s a relatively small investment of time and money to explore interest in offering footwork and to witness the acclaimed benefits with clients.

Unlike the conventional model of reflexology, which takes hundreds of hours of training, Thai Reflexology can be learned in only two days. The reason for this is because the session is delivered as a sequence of techniques followed in a particular order, whereas conventional reflexology requires a much deeper study of reflex locations and techniques and how to confidently customize sessions for individual client needs.

Thai Reflexology developed in a country that relied on an understanding of energy and how its status in the body defined wellness or dis-ease. Based on explicit trust of the nature of the human body to seek homeostasis, Thai Reflexology works solely to assist the body to return to equilibrium, as opposed to directing influence to specific organs.

Thai Reflexology is a good way to stand out in the crowd, whether you practice conventional reflexology or massage therapy. We have one more workshop this year and it’s Thai Foot Reflexology! Please join us.


Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Relieving Chronic Foot Pain

Gaga shoesI just finished teaching the How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain workshop this last weekend in Gainesville, Florida and am excited to be able to offer it one more time this year in Ottawa, Ontario.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t learn a lot about what causes debilitating foot pain when I first studied reflexology. I was forced to learn though as more and more people came to me – often as a last ditch effort – with their painful conditions. Over time I became known in my community for being able to help people, with plantar fasciitis and peripheral neuropathy specifically. Initially, my approach was simply reflexology. Sometimes that worked beautifully, but sometimes it didn’t; and that left me a little frustrated. I dug around, studied more myself and eventually added in other protocols and techniques, learned how to really target my reflexology work and most importantly, how to identify better choices my clients could make pertaining to their own foot health.

What I do now with clients suffering from chronic foot pain is very different than what I once offered – and that is what I will share with you in the How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain workshop. I hope you will join us next month, and save yourself years of research, trial and error. Please register soon; registration will end October 28 and there are thousands of people out there crying out for your help!


Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Late-Breaking News for Canadians and Northern Americans!

Last week, I published a post on the How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain workshop, and stated that there were only two trainings available still this year, one in Memphis, Tennessee and one in Gainesville, Florida. It turns out I spoke too soon. (If you missed that post, you can read it here.)

I will be speaking at the Reflexology Association of Canada’s conference in Ottawa, Ontario the first weekend of November on the topic of foot pain. I have just learned that I will be able to offer the How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain workshop following the conference on November 3 and 4! I am also very excited to be able to do so at a ridiculously low price to conference attendees. Register by September 29 and pay only $285. A link to a description of the training is on the registration listing.

The hands-on segment of the class requires a massage table; no reflexology chairs, so those of you who are driving to the conference/workshop are requested to please bring one.

The location is the lovely yoga studio at Planet Botanix in the heart of downtown Ottawa. From the RAC conference headquarters, it’s less than 30 minutes if you’re walking; less than 10 minutes by car. Great opportunity for anyone living just south of the 49th as well!

Contact me with any questions and please spread the word! karen@academyofancientreflexology.com


Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

When Feet Take a Beating

Some people claim that of all our body parts, our feet tend to suffer the most. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that there’s nothing worse than sore feet; and sore feet are a guarantee if neglected. Our feet are our trusty servants, providing a foundation upon which we “take a stand” and allowing us to move forward in life. As a reflexologist, I often hear the statement “My feet are killing me!” Perhaps that painful complaint would be more accurately stated with, “I’m killing my feet”. We stuff them into poorly designed, ill-fitted shoes and then proceed to stand on them hour after hour without rest. We pay little attention to the fact that the feet carry our whole body weight and who we are every day of our lengthy existence here on earth. When you treat your feet well, they tend to return the favor. For that reason I have dedicated my private practice to putting “feet first”. Because I am a board-certified reflexologist, people often mistake my qualifications for that of a “foot doctor”. . . . → Read More: When Feet Take a Beating

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