This is a very good article written by Michelle Milder, a reflexologist in California, on the subject for Massage Magazine. Well worth a read as you consider how to re-boot your business in the coming year.
Much has been written about the importance of touch in childhood development.[i],[ii],[iii] but, what about adults? Turns out our need for touch does not diminish as we age. We unconsciously reach out to shake the hand of someone we’ve just met, greet people we know and love with a smile and a hug, hold hands with people we love, and offer loving touch to someone in pain.
Well, at least we used to.
Now, the idea of getting close puts us on alert; dredges up primordial fear and even anxiety in some. What to do then during these times? Here are some simple suggestions you can incorporate into your lives and share with clients that you are maintaining contact with:
* Stimulate your own touch receptors by massaging a luscious warmed oil all over your body before taking a hot shower or bath. In Ayurvedic medicine, self-massage is called Abhyanga and is credited with stimulating circulation and helping to eliminate toxins. Traditional oils of choice are sesame and coconut but use what you have.
Put a little oil into a glass container and then warm in a pot of water. Start with your feet, circle the ankle joints and then continue up the legs with long strokes. Do the same with the arms. Massage the oil into your abdomen in a clockwise direction as you look down at your own stomach. Finish with long strokes across your upper chest and gentle strokes on the face (avoid the eyes). Don’t use too much oil. Some will be absorbed into your skin; the rest will be washed off in the shower.
Try it for a change on the weekend and see what you think. Take your time and really feel your touch.
* Give yourself a hand or foot reflexology session. Do it mindfully, not as something to do with your hands while watching an adrenaline-pumping television drama. Refer back to the short video on March 25’s blog for a simple reflexology procedure you can do on yourself that will help support your immune system right now.
* If you live with furry friends, love ‘em up a lot! They will go mad and so will you.
* And remember to move your body to help release more endorphins, our body’s ‘feel-good’ hormones. Blast a favorite piece of music and dance! Take a walk around your neighborhood – I bet you usually just drive out of it every day and likely miss a lot of what’s there.
I continue to think of you often and send healthy ‘vibes’ your way. I’m starting to think of how I can give back when all this isolation has passed – that gets me excited! I’m looking forward to a rekindled business model later in the year.
Doctors are identifying a possible new symptom of COVID-19. They are noticing that toes get swollen, discolored, hot and/or painful; the symptom being exhibited more in kids and young adults, even when they are not showing other symptoms. The symptoms resemble that of frostbitten toes.
As of yet, the cause is unknown; however, theories abound:
- Indication of systemic inflammation in the body
- Development of vasculitis, an inflammation of the wall of the veins.
- Possible blood clot.
When reflexologists and massage therapists return to work, it would be prudent to visually check the appearance of your clients’ toes and determine if touch to them elicits pain. The fact that the condition creates pain on touch and that there is a possibility of a blood clot constitutes a contraindication to offering foot reflexology.
Here are a couple of articles on the subject, if you wish to read more. Please keep in mind that these symptoms can occur for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus. No conclusive studies have been completed.
Many people are feeling the effects of uncertainty and prolonged stay-at-home orders. One thing you may be noticing is that your digestive system is not functioning as it usually does. Stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea, and unusual reactions to certain foods are common complaints when people are living under stressful times.
Researchers have discovered why this is so – and that’s good news. Armed with information, you can do something to restore a smooth operation within your body’s core.
Science has a better understanding now of the relationship between the stomach and the brain than it did 100 years ago. The gut is now acknowledged as the body’s ‘second brain’. It turns out there is an equal number of neurotransmitters lining the gut as are found in the brain! One hundred million to be exact! These transmitters provide a two-way avenue of communication between the brain and stomach, with the brain communicating as much to the gut as does the stomach to the brain.
What that means is that your stomach is responding directly to your thoughts and to the hormones released as a result of those thoughts.
Perhaps now, more than ever, it is paramount to get a handle on any negative repetitive thoughts that circulate in your head.
I decided the moment I sheltered-in-place not to let the stressful events around me threaten my comfort and my life. I took steps to keep tension at bay.
Here are some ways in which I manage my monkey mind:
* I start each day with a meditation. Before eating, checking emails or social media. First thing.
I recently completed the free 21-day meditation on Finding Hope in Uncertain Times that Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra offered, and was delighted to learn today that they have extended this spot-on series to May 15. I have sat in on many of their mediation series and think this is one of the best. I got so much out of it the first time that I started round two today. It’s a great way to set the tone for the day. They each share something very inspirational and hopeful for a few minutes and then you meditate. Total time is 20 minutes.
* Then I move. I have learned that if I don’t do this early in the day, it rarely happens. And movement is one of the best ways to relax a stressed-out nervous system and energize your spirit. The more you can get your heart rate up, the better; but even a slow stretching or yoga routine done to quiet music will help a lot. Or do both!
* Do nothing but eat. Eating while watching the news or scrolling through your newsfeed will heighten your sense of dread, release more cortisol into your system and shut down your digestive processes. Eat slowly, paying attention to how everything tastes and feels in your mouth. Avoid drinking liquids while you eat (dilutes your stomach’s hydrochloric acid). Oh, and never eat when you’re upset. As you heal your gut, you will find that your thoughts are lighter and more positive.
* Create some structure in your day. (I just revealed mine above: meditate, exercise, eat.) The brain likes structure. The experience of familiarity provides a sense of security and safety.
* Spend some time outdoors. Breathe in the air and feast your eyes on the greenery surrounding you.
* Limit the amount of time you allocate to watching newscasts and scrolling through social media. I am working towards just once a day. Things don’t change so much or so quickly that you have to be glued to these platforms all day. Never engage in these before eating either or before going to bed. Believe me, your digestive system will be very happy if you fill most of your day with happier, more positive stories of what is going on in the world. And there are plenty.
* Work on your digestive reflexes before you eat and/or before going to bed. On your feet, they are located in the arches; on your hands, the palms. Thumb-walk and spend a little time holding places that have more sensation than the rest; breathe slowly and rhythmically a few times.
* In addition to the above, think about what relaxes you and changes your mindset when you’re caught in a negative loop. Creating art? Getting lost in a novel? Laughing through a comedy movie? Tackling a tough Sudoku or crossword puzzle? How about starting a small garden? Here’s a foolproof way to grow your own food, if, like me, your thumb is barely a mint green!
Make your mental health your priority – please.
Feel free to share this if you have clients suffering from gut pain and disfunction right now.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) occurs when the nervous system and the immune system malfunction as they respond to tissue damage from trauma. The nerves misfire sending constant pain signals to the brain; pain that is measured as one of the most severe on the McGill University Pain Scale.
Although excruciating to live with, few studies have been conducted with RSD, and none testing reflexology’s effects – until now. Academy grad, Vicky Mood, decided to see if weekly foot reflexology sessions might make a difference for a woman living with this disease since 2011. Continue….
Today’s blog is a continuation of the one I previously published entitled, Here’s How I’m Doing It. I want to update one point I made regarding how I’m taking care of myself during the Coronavirus and share a video of how you can work on your own lymph reflexes to support your immune system.
When I wrote the previous blog on March 10, I was under the impression that the Coronavirus caused a form of flu. I later learned this not to be true (again something I shared on the Academy’s Facebook page on March 19). In my ‘normal, regular life’ (whatever that is!), I travel around with hand sanitizers that are made from witch hazel, which is what I wrote about in the last blog. With what I understand now about the Coronavirus I have decided to stick with hand sanitizers that are (rubbing) alcohol-based, at least 60%.
In that previous blog, I also shared that I work my lymph reflexes every night when I get into bed. For those of you who are unfamiliar with where those are on the hands and feet, or how to work them, here is a short video to show you.
Given the choice, I would work on both my feet and hands, if just one, the feet. If you are unable to work your feet, definitely work your hands!
Stay strong. Stay well. We will get through this.
2019 Academy grad, Grace M. Beck, decided to test whether or not weekly foot reflexology sessions might help to decrease the anxiety, frequency/urgency issues and pelvic pain of a 69-year-old female living with IC since 2006.
The results were favorable and very encouraging. Read how the study was administered.
I don’t know why, but I woke up this morning remembering a client from a few years ago, who had called seeking help with her painful plantar fasciitis. During the phone call, she shared that her doctor was suggesting surgery and that she did not want to go that route. She had heard that I had a protocol that helped that condition a lot. She said that she had tried cortisone shots and stretches the physical therapist had prescribed, but that she was still experiencing excruciating pain in both feet. I invited her to come in to see what we could do together.
Imagine my surprise when she hobbled in on crutches and sporting three-inch heels!!!
When I inquired if she had considered changing her shoes, she quickly informed me that was not something she was willing to do! It was then I understood why nothing was helping her and that the only plan of action the doc could suggest was surgery.
I basically told her that unless she was willing to make some significant changes, beginning with a change in footwear, all reflexology could do is bring her some temporary relief – no recovery. I told her that as long as she understood that, she was welcome to come in for a specialized plantar fasciosis session as often as she wanted. She received the session that day, left feeling some relief, and never returned. No surprise.
I think that woman was a bit of an exception though. Most people living with chronic foot pain do want to get better and are willing to do something to change the situation.
If you have people who are willing to participate in their own healing with any number of chronic foot pain conditions they are living with, then I invite you to attend the ‘How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain’ workshops scheduled in Toronto and Pennsylvania this year. We’ll look at dozens of painful foot situations and how we can provide hands-on support and education for each. You’ll leave knowing a highly-effective hands-on approach for plantar fasciosis (what’s the difference between plantar fasciitis and fasciosis?), tarsal tunnel syndrome and peripheral neuropathy (as well as video access to that protocol so you can review whenever you want).
March 28 & 29, 2020
September 26 & 27, 2020
Believe it or not, the first piece of research linking stress with digestion was recorded in 1883! The study revealed that the digestive system is much more than a ‘cement mixer’ and ‘delivery truck’. Results showed that our daily food includes emotions and all of life’s experiences, not just edible substances. Everything we take in is ultimately broken down and ‘judged’ by our digestive systems.
And why is a healthy digestive system important? All organs and systems of the body rely on the health of the digestive tract. Without REAL food (not food-like substances) to sustain them, the cells – and ultimately, the organs and glands – are unable to function. It’s that simple.
Importantly, today’s scientists have also discovered that 75% of the cells necessary for the immune system to function effectively are connected to the gastrointestinal tract! And that means a high-functioning digestive system is key to health and quality of life.
Join Marian Thompson, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and me to learn simple ways to reduce the impact of stress on your digestive system. Discover how easy it can be to make wise food choices in the care of your digestive system, and practice simple reflexology techniques to relax and support smooth operation of your ‘second brain’.
This is a free class offered on Thursday, February 6 from 1 to 3 pm. No reservations; first come – first served.
St. Johns County Public Library
Anastasia Island Branch
124 Seagrove Main Street
Saint Augustine Beach, FL 32080
Your immune system plays a key role in keeping you healthy. It safeguards your body against infections and diseases by blocking pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and parasites from entering and wreaking havoc in your body.
But what if your immune system turns on you and begins attacking your body instead? This is the reality of those who have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
The Basics of Autoimmune Disease
A properly functioning immune system would be able to tell the difference between invaders and your body’s cells. An autoimmune disease, however, causes your immune system to mistake healthy body cells as foreign ones. Thus, it attacks your body by producing proteins called ‘autoantibodies’ that impair the body’s tissues.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences notes that there are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases that stem from an interplay of genetics and environment. Some of the most common ones are type 1 diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Celiac disease. Typically, medication is prescribed to help ease the painful symptoms of an autoimmune disease. From oral medication to injections the kind of medicine depends on the condition. There’s still no cure for them, but their reaction on the immune system can be managed with immunosuppressants — medications that weaken the immune system’s activity.
Researchers still cannot pinpoint a clear reason as to what causes an autoimmune disease to develop. What’s more, Parsley Health reports that a worrying 20 million Americans currently have some form of autoimmune disease — but most don’t even know. Unexplained rashes, body aches, fatigue, and hair loss are just some subtle but common signs you may be suffering from an autoimmune disease. If these are symptoms you experience, it would be best to consult with a medical professional to check the condition of your immune system.
Reflexology’s Role in Treating Them
Tracing its roots as far back as ancient China and Egypt, the art of reflexology is a form of therapy where pressure is applied to the hands, feet, and outer ears. Reflexology has healing effects like providing deep relaxation, decreasing body pain, and strengthening nerve stimulation, which was previously shared on the Academy’s post ‘The Real Benefits of Reflexology’. So, how can reflexology help aid those with autoimmune diseases?
Living with an autoimmune disease can be extremely stressful, as the bodies of those diagnosed will most likely be attacked by their own immune system for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, a study published in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion found that anxiety, depression, and stress in women with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder, significantly decreased thanks to reflexology treatments. This is because its relaxation techniques have the ability to release muscle pain, which has severe implications on both a person’s physical and mental health.
More than just a massage, the pressure applied to the body part touched by a reflexologist can reach different body systems, such as the digestive system, the endocrine system, the nervous system, and the circulatory system. This, in turn, can help bring balance to an immune system that’s not functioning properly. By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system that helps calms down high-energy functions in the body, reflexology lowers the amount of stress-inducing hormones while helping the body harmonize and relax.
Although autoimmune diseases are complex conditions, the simple power of touch can make all the difference for the pain they cause.