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Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Lending a Hand to Survivors of TBI

IMG_0524You never know where your actions may take you. One small step may lead to BIG outcomes. That proved true for Academy grad John Guinta who submitted an article entitled Stress Relief Is In Your Hands to the Jacksonville, Florida Natural Awakenings magazine in August 2013. That single act resulted in one of the more profound and surprising research studies done to date utilizing hand reflexology.

John’s short article, meant to interest the public in receiving hand reflexology, caught the attention of a staff member of Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, Florida. The Clubhouse operated by Brooks Rehabilitation is the only facility of its kind in Florida. It runs a full-time day program offering a range of innovative activities designed to help individuals who have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) reclaim their lives.

A phone call from this forward-thinking employee resulted in a 12-week formal study that assessed the therapeutic value of hand reflexology in improving functional fine motor skills in six people who are living with the challenging repercussions of a TBI.

Following a careful selection process, the study proceeded with pre- and post-study evaluations performed by ChristyIMG_0526 Ruggiero, certified reflexologist and licensed occupational therapist, and weekly 45-minute hand reflexology sessions performed by John Guinta and Ken Cook, both Academy-certified hand and foot reflexologists and Florida-licensed massage therapists.

I hope you will take a moment to read this outstanding study and congratulate John, Ken and Christy for their pioneering study, the first ever to approach the challenges of people living with TBI with hand reflexology. I am proud and excited for the results, and hope that the future holds the possibility of teaching victims of TBI how to provide the healing benefits of hand reflexology to themselves.


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5 comments to Lending a Hand to Survivors of TBI

  • John Guinta

    Thank you Karen for such a nice write-up. This was only possible through the collaboration and dedication of the individuals mentioned in the article above. And of course your role as a guiding hand and teacher was invaluable. We are so lucky we were given a chance to work with this population, and for a couple of the participants it appears our efforts have made some significant improvements in practical daily living skills. Very grateful for this opportunity!

  • Christy Ruggiero

    Thank you Karen for all your support and this great write up. John and Ken gave selflessly of their time and had incredible patience and compassion, Kathy allowed us use of the Clubhouse with support from staff, families helped with transportation and evaluation, and members worked hard each week to be on time and give full participation. It was a great experience for all and so rewarding to see individuals gain greater independence in their lives. I am also happy to report that I have been able to meet with 3 of the participants recently and 2 maintained their gains and one improved since the end of the study (approx. 3 months ago). I too am very grateful that I had this opportunity.

  • Ken Cook

    Thank you Karen for posting this informative article. I certainly enjoyed working with the people at Brook Rehab & especially the privilege to work with Christy & John. Christy provided the groundwork for the study & continues to be involved with the people we worked with. Thank you to all that we’re involved in this study.

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