There are not many contraindications with reflexology, but a critical one to be aware of is deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
A thrombosis is a blood clot. DVT usually develops in the deep veins of the legs and can be very serious should the clot break loose and travel back to the lungs, blocking blood flow.
You might want to consider adding DVT to your health history intake form, as well as visually and verbally taking note of the following:
* Red or discolored skin on a leg.
* Client reports pain in the leg. The pain often originates in the calf and feels like cramping or just soreness. Run your thumb and palm up the right-hand and left-hand side of each leg gently. If there is pain or discomfort do not go ahead with the treatment.
* Swelling. If you visually notice or feel swelling, check for increased warmth. Do not proceed if positive.
In the above situation, recommend that your client report the symptoms to his or her doctor. You will want a letter of clearance before proceeding. It may be okay to provide foot reflexology to someone with DVT that is controlled by medications.
Some of the risk factors for DVT might be outside our control, but many are not.
* Inherited blood-clotting disorder
* Prolonged bed rest
* Injury or surgery to the veins
* Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. They increase your body’s clotting ability.
* Obesity and excess weight
* Cancer. Some forms of cancer and some forms of cancer treatment increase the risk of blood clots.
* Heart failure
* Inflammatory bowel disease
* Family history of DVT
* Age. DVT is more common in people over 60, although it can occur at any age.
* Sitting for long periods of time
To prevent yourself from developing DVT, follow these four simple guidelines:
* Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
Push away from the desk!
Get up off the couch!
Take breaks on long auto trips.
When flying, stand or walk if possible; if not, do some simple exercises while seated to contract and relax the calf muscles. Example: Raise and lower your heels while keeping toes on the floor; raise toes with heels on the floor. (Also consider wearing compression stockings if you fly a lot or are on a long-haul flight.)
* Lose weight.
* Quit smoking.