I don’t know about you, but I didn’t learn a lot about what causes debilitating foot pain when I first studied reflexology or massage therapy. I was forced to learn though as more and more people came to me with their painful conditions – often as a last ditch effort.
Initially, my approach was simply reflexology – very targeted reflexology sessions. Sometimes that worked beautifully, but sometimes it didn’t; and that left me more than a little frustrated and disappointed in myself.
As fate would have it, I developed plantar fasciosis (often referred to as plantar fasciitis). My compassion for those who had sought out my help soared, and my motivation to figure it out leapt into the stratosphere. I was so not willing to accept the prognosis of a one-year recovery time!
I dug around, studied more, talked to a lot of other people, and eventually developed an approach that worked – for me, at least. It took me three months to recover, not 12.
The real test came though, when a well-known massage therapist in town called and asked for my help with one of her clients who had been diagnosed two years earlier with plantar fasciosis (PF). This woman’s experience with PF was way beyond what I had undergone. I “experienced” plantar fasciosis; she was “enduring” it.
I asked a few questions and was told that this woman:
• religiously followed a stretching routine given to her by a physical therapist.
• tried heel lifts and custom-made orthotics.
• had consulted with and received regular treatments from a podiatrist.
• wore “sensible” shoes; in fact, she had gone so far as to have very expensive custom-made shoes created just for her feet.
• had received more than one corticosteroid injection in her heel.
• tried Ultrasound therapy on her heel.
• had received Prolotherapy treatments on her heel.
• underwent ESWT (Extracorporeal shockwave therapy) treatments on her foot.
• and finally had a Plantar Fasciotomy (the last resort – a surgical approach that “clips” the fascia).
Oh, yeah, and she was not overweight, nor was she sedentary, nor did she work at a job that required her to stand on her feet all day!
Yikes! This woman had done everything that the allopathic community prescribes. She reported that her pain was not as excruciating as it initially was, but was noticeably still there. Frankly, I felt less than confident that my approach would make a difference – but I agreed to see her anyway.
I started by asking this woman to show me the stretches she was doing. All were the same that I had performed daily, with the exception of one other that she was not doing.
So, I taught her that one stretch and then proceeded to give the hands-on session that I had developed – which I teach attendees in the How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain workshop.
The session begins with a focused, targeted foot reflexology session, followed by assisted passive and active leg and foot movements to clear nerve compression, erase muscle memory and re-educate the muscles to a balanced state. The release of nerve impingement along the S1 nerve root combined with a solid foot reflexology protocol and adherence to an individualized homework plan is what I found creates a successful treatment for stubborn plantar fasciosis cases.
At the end of that initial session, the woman went home with the invitation to call me the next day to let me know how her feet felt upon rising the next morning. I was probably more anxious than eager to hear from her!
She waited until the late afternoon to call, because as she explained, “I thought the results were too good to be true, and didn’t want to jinx anything by stating out loud how I felt.”
Turns out she slept through the night for the first time since having been diagnosed with PF! First night in two years not being awakened by foot pain! She said that the pain was not completely gone, but it was minimal; and for the first time in this lengthy journey of recovery she felt hopeful for a full recovery. Yay!
She returned the next day. We repeated the session and she set off the following week for a planned walking tour in Europe with her family, accompanied by a new stretching homework routine to prevent re-occurrence. I never saw this woman again.
Buoyed by the success with this client, I added in some additional 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.
Through trial and error and formal study, I have discovered that much of the suffering that people experience in not only their feet, but the knees, hips and low back, results from a number of irregularities within the lower extremity that can be influenced with the protocol that I practice.
Standing Out In The Crowd
Over time I became known in my community for being able to help people with chronic foot pain, especially peripheral neuropathy and plantar fasciosis (both of which are addressed by the same hands-on protocol).
What I do now with clients suffering from chronic foot pain is very different than what I once offered – and that is what I share in the How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain workshop, a two-day event that looks at how bodyworkers can impact 20 problematic foot complaints that people present with.
I hope you will join me for an upcoming How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain workshop. Invest in your business, save yourself years of research, trial and error and create a reputation in your community as the “go-to” person for foot pain. Your grateful clients will do your marketing for you. Mine did. This woman I refer to here and a man that I worked with as part of a study on peripheral neuropathy, by their word-of-mouth, built my practice for me in Saint Augustine. It was that easy.