Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dream Big, Stay Positive, & Believe...

Believe that there is a field of positive energy surrounding you, just waiting for you to engage it. Go play in this field. Embrace it. Give it a chance to empower you and to love you back. Believe the best of yourself and others. Be open o every important wish in your heart; be clear about your purpose. Don't let your dreams fall through the cracks. Fantasize. Play. Work. Set realistic goals. Give yourself every chance you deserve. Think "possible", not "impossible". Believe that life is on your side. Count every single blessing. Let yourself be moved to dance and sing and celebrate. Keep a joyful heart. go back to where you've been to understand yourself better, but don't stay in the past. Live each moment. Always smell the roses, but look ahead to where you're going and make good plans. Swing your arms. Skip your steps. Set yourself free from the don'ts. Enjoy. Believe. Life is good, and it's going to get better! -Donna Fargo

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

As You Reach for Your Dreams

May the days be good to you: comforting more than crazy and giving more often than taking. May the passing seasons make sure that any heartaches are replaced with a million smiles and that any hard journeys eventually turn into nice, easy mles that take you everywhere you want to go. May your dreams do their absolute best to come true. May your heart be filled with the kindness of friends, the caring of everyone you love, and the richness of memories you wouldn't trade for anything. May life's little worries always stay small. May you get a little closer every day to any goals you want to achieve. May any changes be good ones and any challenges turn out to be for the better. May you find time to do the things you've alway's wanted to do! And may you be happy...FOREVER! Author, Douglas Pagels

Monday, October 27, 2008

Heal Thyself—Simple remedies for common problems

**I have not personally tried these recommendations list below and are for informational purposes only. Nor are they recommended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and/or prescriptions given by a licensed health care professional to relieve the symptoms of/cure more aggressive forms of health issues described below or other related/similar health concerns not mentioned in the following article. Reflexologists are not licensed health care professionals and should always encourage clients to seek appropriate medical treatment when needed.** Kristie Martin, Relaxation Professional - A Quiet Sole Reflexology
Heal Thyself—Simple remedies for common problems By Jennifer Haupt
Warts Remedy— Cover with duct tape. A recent study at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center asked patients to wear duct tape over their warts for six days, then remove the tape, soak the affected area in water and scrape it with an emery board or pumice stone. After continuing the treatment for up to two months, participants were free of warts.
Why it works—The duct tape irritates the wart, which causes an immune-system reaction that attacks the growth.
Dull, Splintered Nails Remedy—Rub a dab of cod liver oil or castor oil onto cuticles and nails.
Why it works—Both oils soften cuticles and make nails shiny, plus the massage helps them grow, says Tourles.
Achy Joints Remedy—Soak your hands in a few tablespoons of rosemary mixed with warm water.
Why it works—Rosemary is a natural anti-inflammatory, and warm water helps improve circulation, says Dr. Page.
Dry Skin and Hard Calluses Remedy - After showering, coat your feet with vegetable shortening and cover with socks. Wear overnight.
Why it works - “Vegetable shortening is the cheapest miracle moisturizer,” says Tourles. “The longer you let it soak in, the softer your feet will be.” Swollen Feet Remedy - Fill a foot tub with ice water and another tub with warm water. Add a few drops of peppermint oil and alternate soaking for five minutes in each. Why it works— Peppermint is an essential oil that relieves pain and relaxes the muscles. Alternating hot and cold will reduce the swelling. Athlete’s Foot Remedy - Soak your feet in vinegar for 10 minutes four times a day until symptoms disappear. Why it works—Vinegar is acidic and kills bacteria and fungi. “You can also wash your lesions with Listerine,” says Joey Green, author of Amazing Kitchen Cures. “It stings quite a bit, but the antiseptic seems to kill the fungus.” Foot Odor Remedy—Dissolve two Alka-Seltzer tablets in a quart of warm water and soak feet for 15 minutes twice a week. Why it works—Green says that the baking soda in Alka-Seltzer increases the acid level on your feet, which inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. If you’re allergic to aspirin (a key ingredient in Alka-Seltzer), try sprinkling baking soda into your shoes to absorb any odors. Plantar Warts Remedy— At night, mash a clove of garlic and smear it directly on the wart, then cover with a bandage. Wear a sock to bed and remove the bandage in the morning. Repeat for 10 days. Why it works - “Plantar warts are caused by a virus, and garlic is a natural immunity booster as well as an antiseptic,” says Andrea Murray, a reflexologist and herbalist at Akari Hair and Day Spa in Portland, Maine.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Top 10 things reflexology can do that medicine can't

We have prepared a series of publications on Evidenced Based Reflexology Research. Here is a preview of some of the results. And don't get the wrong idea. This is not to suggest that reflexology is more than a complementary therapy. But according to research there are things that reflexology is capable of doing that medicine cannot do as well.

Top 10 things reflexology can do that medicine can't

1. Phantom Limb pain

2. Postpartum

3. Diabetes

4. Cancer and chemo

5. Neuropathy

6. Hemodialysis

7. Aids mentally ill providing needed benefits to reflexology work

8. Research showed relief from post traumatic stress syndrome

9. Measures of stress are significantly decreased

10. Immediate feelings of wellbeing

10 things

1. Research shows that reflexology work alleviates and, at times, eliminate phantom limb pain

2. Reflexology is beneficial for post-partum women including issues such as Anxiety and depression and recovery from Cesarean section.

3. Research shows that reflexology work reduces physiologic measures for diabetics and is an effective treatment for type II diabetes mellitus. Circulation to the feet is improved also.

4. Thirteen studies from seven countries (US, Italy, Japan, China, Switzerland, Korea, United Kingdom) target cancer care and show the benefits of reflexology work including anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, nausea, and vomiting.

5. Neuropathy Research shows improvement in blood flow rate, time and acceleration within the feet following reflexology work

6. Research shows that reflexology work helps individuals undergoing hemodialysis: Improves the kidney’s functions with changes in physiologic measures: an increase in red blood cells (to combat anemia concerns), increase in lymphocytes (to help fight infection), and enhances disposal of waste products.

7. Reflexology programs and research shows that reflexology aids the mentally ill, providing needed benefits unique to reflexology work. Mental health workers report that reflexology work furnishes many advantages including facilitating communication

8. Victims of post traumatic stress syndrome experienced relief from symptoms including anger, depression and muscle tension as well as improved sleep patterns, levels of concentration and a lift in overall mood.

9. Measures of stress such as blood pressure, pulse rate and self-reported anxiety are significantly decreased, decreased or lowered.

The last point came from a client. He said when "I go to the doctor I don't know what the outcome will be. But when I see you I always feel better." He said it was a feeling of well being and that is what he paid for.

Kevin Kunz http://www.reflexology-research.com

Using reflexology to manage stress in the workplace

This study is a preliminary study to "explore the use of reflexology in managing stress in the workplace". It was with a small group people in the UK and it demonstrated positive results.
There have been several studies to this effect. The really interesting comment in a study from Denmark by one employee was that when they felt just a general malaise the idea that the reflexologist was available gave them impetus to go to work.
Hans Selye, the famous stress researcher spoke of this general rundown feeling that stress produces. It isn't a specific disorder. Rather it is a feeling of overall fatigue.
Could reflexology effect not only these borderline "illnesses"? Reflexology by breaking up the patterns of stress off lifts the feeling of being under the weather. But could reflexology do more than that? Could reflexology actually effect the bottom line?
I well never forget a simple reaction that took place in a sheltered workshop I worked at right after college. We assembled several products for companies like RCA and Hoffman Laroche.
I had been taking pictures of the assembly lines for a newsletter we produced. When I was done with the pictures I posted them up on the bulletin board just for the clients interest.
Our production shot through the roof on that day and the effect continued for several days. Like a famous Westinghouse lighting study demonstrated the simple act of paying attention to workers had a beneficial effect for the bottom line.
Imagine what having a reflexologist on staff might do. In these troubled economic times it might have quite an impact on profits. Kevin Kunz

Friday, October 3, 2008

Remember What Is Most Important

It's not having everything go right;
it's facing whatever goes wrong.
It's not being without fear;
it's having the determination to go on in spite of it.
What is most important is not where you stand,
but the direction you are going in.
It's more than never having bad moments;
it's knowing you are always bigger than the moment.
It's believing you have already been given everything you need to handle life.
It's not being able to rise above them.
It's the belief in your heart that there will always be more good than bad in the world.
Remember to live just this one day and not add tomorrow's troubles to today's load.
Remember that every day ends and brings a new tomorrow full of exciting new things.
Love what you do, do the best you can, and always remember how much you are loved!
-Vickie M. Worsham

UMKC Communiversity Wholistic Health Fair

It's time for the Fall Wholistic Health Fair at UMKC to be held on Sunday November 9, 2008 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm in the University Center Building at 50th & Rockhill Road.
There will be wide variety of vendors there to visit with as well as great workshops going on all day long starting at 12 noon and ending at 5:45 pm. The fair is free, however, the workshops are $2.00 or 3 workshops for $5.00.
When you come to A Quiet Sole Reflexology prior to Nov. 9th, I will giving away FREE WORKSHOP COUPONS as well as discounts for hot stone reflexology sessions!
I look forward to seeing you at Booth # 37 at the Wholistic Health Fair to pick up reflexology information, to have a love offering reflexology session or to say hello! See you all then!
Namaste, Kristie

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ionic Foot Baths: To Be or Not To Be?

Ionic Foot Baths - Might as well flush your money down the john... Posted: 09 Sep 2008 06:19 PM CDT http://www.whosplayin.com/xoops/html/modules/weblog/details.php?blog_id=183 Talk about a hot topic. This is a very long blog on Ionic Foot Baths. They are the latest rage in using the feet to detox the body. They seem to be somewhat related to foot detox patches, The writer of the blog generally discounts the foot baths as being nothing more than a placebo effect., In fact he feels you might as well flush your money down the toilet. However there are a lot of supporters who feel the foot baths have helped them out. I love spirited debates. And this is one spirited debate. How do I stand on it? Well I am a bit skeptical but I am ready to hear more. Research would be really good. Not much research is available. What do you think? Has an ionic foot bath helped you? Kevin Kunz http://www.reflexology-research.com

Reflexology and the (Underappreciated) Urinary System

The Urinary System, Illnesses and How They Can be Prevented,Supported or Managed When it comes to illnesses and how they affect the systems of the body, most people don't think of the urinary system first. Despite this, the urinary system happens to be one of the most important systems of the body - helping to get rid of some potentially toxic waste that may cause us harm. It's no surprise that the urinary system is a factor in ones wellness too. One of the most important things the urinary system does is - it filters our blood and gets rid of it's waste. The urinary system, on the surface may seem simple. It involves only a few main parts: the bladder, the kidney and the ureter. But, these organs perform some vital and complex functions. Each kidney has over 1 million tubules which are known as nephrons. These nephron tubes are the basic unit of the kidneys and they work by helping to filter the impurities andpotentially harmful stuff in your body. Wow - did you know that if you connected them from end to end, they would stretch for as much as 50 miles (80 km). Kidneys do a lot of other things as well:- they're responsible for making a hormone which tells the body when to make more red blood cells. - they also help the body produce active Vitamin D which, in turn, helps the rest of the body especially the bones absorb the calcium from ingested foods which helps in sustaining a strong skeletal system. - and, they also help in regulating the of amount of fluid in your body on a daily basis. Between 7 to 8 litres of blood - all the blood in the human body - gets filtered through the kidneys about 19 times every day! The waste that leaves the kidneys is urine and it moves through a set of tubes called 'ureters' that carry it to the bladder. The bladder, which is also part of the urinary system, holds the urine until it's ready to be passed out to the exterior. Now, a number of different conditions may affect these important parts of the urinary system. In turn, these conditions can affect quality of life, create discomfort or even worse - affect other areas of your body or worsen an existing condition. One discomforting condition is having kidney stones. Kidney stones are formations that occur when minerals aggregate together. Kidney stones tend to be as large as pebbles on the average but they can reach dangerous sizes. Some have been reported to be as large as grapefruit and the record weight of a single kidney is 1.5 kg (almost3 lbs). Kidney stones are 4 times more likely to occur with men than women and the pain that they cause is excruciating. They can also block the urinary tract and cause some very serious problems which may include any of the following: sudden and severe pain in the back, groin, side, abdomen, or genitals; nausea; vomiting; fevers; chills; profuse sweating; or blood in the urine. Bladder infections are another serious condition which may affect the urinary system. They're caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract and they can make the urine smell foul and pus and blood may also come out with the urine. Pain in the pubic region is also a common trait of the condition as well as difficulty in urinating or painwhen doing so. Seeking medical attention is the first course of action to take. Supportive approaches have to do with eating right, avoiding alcohol and tobacco and doing exercises. Dehydration has been linked to the formation of kidney stones - another great reason to drink water. (The recommended amount of water is at least eight glasses of water a day, but that can vary from person to person.) In terms of food, a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits are usually recommended - whole grains and green vegetables especially; vegetables and legumes are rich in potassium as well as citrus fruits. Whether fact or fiction, cranberry juice is largely believed to have some remedial effect on bladder infections as it tends to produce an acid which eliminates the presence of bacteria that leads to bladder infections. However it isusually recommended that the cranberry juice taken should be the version that is 100% pure, the ones with sugar (or mixed sweet juices) could aggravate and not help that much. Regular exercise can be a good deterrent to the formation of kidney stones. This is because the calcium which may cause the stones can be absorbed into the bones instead of accumulating to create kidney stones. About 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week, is usually recommended). Don't forget that it's also necessary to drink enough water after exercise in order to prevent dehydration - otherwise you may nullify the aim of the exercise in the first place. So how does reflexology factor into all of this? I'll often notice the "kidney reflex" as an area with a distinct change in tissue texture. Does mean that there are kidney problems? As a reflexologist in the US, it's not legal for me to diagnose, prescribe or treat. So, I just can't say for sure. But as a reflexologist I know that the inner workings of the body and all its systems can be expressed close to or on the surface. I will definitely detail the area in question as well as other organ reflexes in that particular system. And, I don't need to be right or diagnostic in order to offer the finest stress relief and support for my client and whatever their health challenges might be. I'd be taking the same actions, regardless. So now, let's look at the urinary system reflexes: the kidney reflexes - located on the plantar aspect, around the bases of the second metatarsal bones; the ureter reflexes - a thin line diagonally crossing the medial cuneiform towards the navicular bone, plantar aspect, medial side; the bladder reflex - located on the medial side and anterior aspects of the calcaneus. I detail each of these reflexes every time I feel a tissue texture change in any of the urinary system reflex areas and I'll also include the endocrine system for an all-systems balancing support (especially the adrenals due to associated stress and proximity). I also understand that there is a foot here. Given that - there will be a physiological reason for the changes in tissue texture that I might observe, in this case, located near the center of the foot. I also know that the digital flexor tendons converge in this area and there may be a structural or anatomical cause that would certainly influence this change in the tissue texture. But, that's the domain of a podiatrist or, if muscular in origin, a massage therapist, and if warranted, I'll refer my client to one of them. As a reflexologist, my interest is less about the foot and more about the whole body, and all the organ systems. How do I support the whole body with my fabulous reflexology techniques? That's a no brainer. Inherent in its techniques, reflexology can offer the very best in stress reduction, along with support for the natural homeostatic processes and it even supports circulation! An added BONUS is that these changes in tissue texture, i.e., in the area of the urinary system reflexes, are a perfect reason for bringing my skills of detailing to the area and also, an excuse for me to ask my client "how much water do you drink in a day?" This is a wonderful entry for talking to my clients about the benefits of drinking appropriate amounts of water. Here's something else to think about. Did you know that directly telling someone to drink water could constitute prescribing? Don't laugh, someone actually got into trouble over this. As silly as this may seem, we need to be careful to not prescribe.So, I usually say, "I drink water after every reflexology session" or "would you like a glass of water?" This gets the job done and the information remains anecdotal. The client can choose their action as theysee fit.

Music for Every Mood

The other day I received an e-mail from Nature Made Vitamins. In it there was an article entitled '4 Great Things to Cheer You Up'. Here is one of them: Music! Who doesn't like music? There is music for a tastes. It's free to sign up and it is fun to play with and you never know, you may gain apprciation for other genres you've never heard before. Enjoy the journey into Musicovery! MusicoveryMusicovery is a webradio device that finds the perfect sounds to suit your mood. You can choose from a variety of styles and genres, and then click to “define the mood” of your music. Just move the cursor on the graph based on how you want the music’s mood to be: up and down for Energetic to Calm and left and right for Dark to Positive. If you register for free, you can save your favorite songs to hear again and again. As well as ban songs you don’t like. This is a fun way to discover new music and hear some old favorites as well. http://musicovery.com/

You Have What It Takes to Make Your Dreams Come True

What you think of yourself is far more important than what others think of you. There will be days when people will try to tear you down. Don't let them win. Hold your head high, walk proudly, and remember when you've done the best you can do, there is nothing anyone can say to take that away from you. Keep they song in your heart, and memorize it well. Play it over and over; soon others will take notice and look up to you. Some may even ask you for advice. You have what it takes to succeed. You're a person of integrity, wisdom, and faith. If nagging doubts ever enter your mind, the kind where you question if what you're doing is right, pause for a momet, close your eyes, and just do what you need to do...believe, believe, believe. --Kris Ackerman

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A New Perspective for the Sole

In the past the old addage stated that, "The eyes are the windows to the Soul". In pursuing the gift of reflexology I am starting to think that the following may need consideration and reflection, "The feet are the windows to the Sole".

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gandi once said...

"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result."

Reflexology, Stress & the Immune System

This could be an article on any health paradigm - wellness or disease. That's because the immune (a.k.a. the lymphatic) system is the first line of defense for all that ails us and keeps us well.
Understanding the Immune System, Chronic Conditions and How to Manage Them
The immune system is responsible for protecting the body from external influences, removing metabolic wastes and facilitating the ebb and flow of interstitial fluids. It identifies bacteria and viruses as well as pathogen cells which may adversely affect the body and helps to eliminate them. If the body is a garden, then the immune system is the fence and the gate which protects this garden from intruders.
Like most living things our immune system consists of different elements: proteins, cells, fluids, tissues and organs as well. All of these combine together to function as a system with the singular purpose: keeping the body safe from potential harm. Parts of the body involved include the spleen, the bone marrow, the lymph nodes and T-cells (which mature in the thymus) all which perform very important functions.
Our immune systems evolve as we age in order for the body to adapt and combat new pathogens. A healthy immune system is the foundation for health in an individual. And, we all know that stress plays a part in our immune function and therefore reducing stress may accelerate the process with which the immune system can function to our benefit.
Any disorder in the immune system is a concern. Disease can be particularly harmful in affecting the body when the immune system is at a less than optimal level. A number of chronic conditions affect people with a weakened immune system too. Some immunodeficiency diseases may result when the body reacts to pharmaceuticals, an infection or even as a result of a genetic disease.On the other hand, when the immune system performs hyper actively, it tends to attack otherwise healthy tissues as if they were pathogens or foreign organisms. In this case we have diseases of the immune system which may result and which is known as autoimmune disease including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus type 1 and lupus erythematosus. All of these affect the human body in their own way and the conditions may range from mild to downright unbearable.
Any condition that affects the human immune system will undoubtedly leave a person weak and sometimes painful to a debilitating degree. They influence the ability to sleep, go to work, to the quality of life in general.
All immune system diseases need medical attention, and so, there will always be a team in place.
Diet and exercise can help alleviate some of the symptoms of the chronic conditions. Of course I add reflexology to the help menu because when stress is reduced, everything in the body not only functions better but, has a better chance for rejuvenation (or a return to homeostasis).In the case of painful condition like arthritis, exercise or range of motion techniques may not seem like the thing to do but in moderation, doctors have suggested that exercise with such conditions has immense benefits. Other benefits include increasing bone and muscle strength and increasing energy levels. Exercises like walking, yoga, tai chi, (cycling and jogging which are more advanced) should be done with doctor supervision.
And, people should remember to be consistent with their complementary health protocols such as moderate exercises and refrain from overdoing anything. Remember as with any advanced disease stages a person must get their doctors permission before embarking on any complementary health routines including exercise and/or reflexology. It's also best to exercise when the pain level is at its lowest. It's a good thing to build up gradually and not to overwhelm you by trying to do too much, too soon.
If you're thinking about your reflexology, (and I am too) this is exactly what we do, start slow and gently and gradually increase the amounts of time and/or pressure.
Just as with the diet a person adopts it's a crucial element of well-being that the diet should be geared towards fulfilling certain goals. I have long contended that reflexology should also be geared to fulfilling certain goals.
So what does that mean for reflexologists?
One of the most powerful things we do in our reflexology is to connect to the fluid tides. Not in the way that massage does. No, in a more subtle "conversational" way through the touch that is inherent in our reflexology.
Now, let's go deeper. I'm talking about the touch that is gentle, compassionate, touch that is about the focus, the concentration, the listening and being non-invasive. What I've just described here - our reflexology alternating thumb and finger walking pressure. The tiny incremental "bites" as we inch along, stopping to notice even the most minute changes in tissue texture.
That's the touch I'm talking about.
But there's something more, something greater than the sum of all our concentration and safe, compassionate touch.
There's a symphony of movement beneath our thumbs, there are rivers and streams, canals and tributaries all moving in their rhythms, their orchestrated ebbs and flows.
The fluid that is moving there, beneath our thumb and finger tips is busy helping the body by transporting and removing metabolic excess, waste, fluids, lymphocytes, pathogens... the list of events goes on.
And we're talking in a perfect world here. What if things get sluggish? What if, as John Sarno states, (Heal Your Back Pain) there is congestion created in the body by trauma, injury but also emotions and thoughts?
What's a body to do?
You know I'm going to say Reflexology...
And, as a reflexologist, you also know this is what we'll focus on - the lymphatic system reflexes: the groin lymph reflexes - located around the ankle bones, anterior aspect; the axillary lymph reflexes - located between the webs of the toes, dorsal aspect; the spleen (largest lymphoid in the body) reflex - located midway between the lengths of the 4th & 5th metatarsal shafts, plantar aspect; and the thyroid reflex - located at the heads of the 1st metatarsals, medial aspect.
I detail these reflexes at least once in every session.
Okay, you know that. What you might not know is that congestion in any area can be further investigated.
By listening to the bones - in reflexology, I call it "Foot Whispering".
If the bones are hard and tight, (every bone has its own range of motion) then there is a pull in the connective tissue somewhere. That pull is impeding the structure elsewhere to move in it's natural flow or it's homeostatic rhythm.
These pulls or adhesions can poorly influence the fluid tides of the body. And, a possible byproduct is "congestion".
Now all this is happening on the most subtle of layers and I would never try to manually effect any change to any of these body structures. This is the job of a medical professional.
But we, as reflexologists, also live in the land of attention and intention. Many would say that's the most powerful place to be.
So for your next client session, and the next one and the next one, bring your attention to the level of the bones. It's the deepest, densest layer of the body that everything else floats on.
Put your ear to the ground and listen.
Be attentive, truly listen.Hear the whispers and you'll be amazed at the power of the shifts that will occur.
© Wendy I Coad
Online health and reflexology expert Wendy I. Coad, the "Reflexology Professor" publishes the popular "Reflexology Secrets, Tips and Techniques" monthly email newsletter to subscribers from around the world. If you're ready to enjoy health, express creativity, gain knowledge and skyrocket you reflexology or holistic health career, get your FREE tips now at http://www.reflexologyprof.com and join us at the top right corner.

People Who Achieve Their Dreams Have These Qualities in Common

They have confidence in thenselves and a very strong sense of purpose.
They never have excuses for not doing something and always try their hardest for perfection.
They nver consider the idea of failing and the work extremely hard toward their goals.
They know wo they are and they understand their weaknesses as well as their strong points.
They can accept and benefit from criticism and they know when to defend wha they are doing.
They are creative people who are not afraid to be a little different.
You are one of these rare people and it is so exciting to watch you on your ath to success as you follow your dreams and make them a reality.
By Susan Polis Schutz

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reflexology: How It Helps!

Reflexology improves circulation and can alleviate heel pain caused by a tightened/inflamed plantar fascia, the band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot to the heel, by applying pressure, using thumb, finger and hand techniques.
What you can do: Visit your local reflexologist for a session and ask for “homework”
• Foot bath with Epsom Salts (to draw out pain)
• Grip the foot with both hands and gently twist your hands from side to side as if you’re wringing a towel. (Indian rope burn)
• You’ll need a small towel and a wooden or tile floor. Stand barefoot on the floor and place the towel in front of you, with its edge underneath your toes. Scrunch up your toes to grip the towel, pulling it toward you, then release; repeat until most of the towel is bunched up under your toes.
• Then reverse the motion to push the towel away from you. This helps to strengthen the muscles on the underside of the foot, particularly those in the arch”.
• Rolling your bare foot over a golf or tennis ball can also stretch and strengthen foot muscles while relieving tension. If they’ve progressed to Plantar Fasciitis, they’ll need to do more; ie exercise their feet BEFORE getting out of bed, wear a boot to bed, orthotics………………….. At which point they’ll be thrilled to be wearing ANY shoes that will make their feet feel good :)

Summer & Flip Flops (Don't Flip Flop on healthy feet)

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2008 - 11:15 PM , WJAR Health News By Barbara Morse Silva
It seems flip-flops have a foot-hold on many people during the warm summer months. They were designed to be worn for short periods of time at the beach, around the pool or shower areas. But some people practically live in them, and that can lead to foot, heel and leg pain.

"Flip-flops really should be made for wearing for locker room floors, around the pool, not substitute as a walking shoe," said Dr. Mark Enander, president of the Podiatric Medical Society in Rhode Island.Yet, not only do people spend hours in them, you'll often find children playing and running around in flimsy, flat $2 flip-flops.

"Oh, those are the worst. Those are the ones that I see, inevitably, at least two to three times a week," Enander said. "A young kid who's active, who wears a flip-flop, and if they're actively growing, they can get trauma to the heel plate."

Enander has been a podiatrist for 18 years. He never flip-flops on the subject of flip-flops. "When you walk with a flip-flop, your stride length automatically decreases ... and the toes grip at the ground. So, you tighten the band in the arch called the plantar fascia, and I think that's why we see a lot of heel pain," Enander said.

What about the higher end flip-flops, like those with built-in arches and shock absorbers? Enander said those are better. "But the problem with it ... the heel is not cradled, and so if you're walking and you slipped, the foot will actually slip off the flip-flop. And if it does, that's when you get ankle sprains. I've had ankle fractures," Enander said.

Even many sandals aren't much better. School teacher Karen Menard knows first hand the pain sandals can cause. "It feels almost as if there's a blow torch blowing right on the back of the heel," Menard said. But here's her dilemma. "I like wearing sandals. My feet get so warm and they really get tired from wearing a heavy sneaker with orthotics in them," Menard said. But the doctor said there are concerns with the sandal she wears, especially the heel strap. "The real problem with (the heel strap), it's too soft and the heel, again, can slide off," Enander said. The best sandal option, he said, is a sports sandal that offers ankle stability, a bit of an arch, and a skid-resistant sole.

Menard said she knows that if she wants to continue to wear sandals and not suffer excruciating heel pain, she needs to find the right pair.

Unfortunately, like many of Enander's patients, he gets this response: "I can't promise that. I will attempt to obey the doctor's orders," Menard said. Enander said he didn't realize just how important shoes were until he got in to the field.

Enander said listen to your feet. If a sandal doesn't feel right, change it. He said most people do best with a shoe that has an arch and about a half inch to an inch heel. He said flatter shoes can cause more potential problems.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Keep Dreaming!

You've got strength and courage and lots of things to see and do.
You've got plans and dreams & you know how to see things through.
You've got books to read, places to be, and people to know...
and as far as reaching your dreams and goals?
---Ashley Rice---

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Parkinson's Disease

If you’ve just been diagnosed/ or are not medicated, check out www.pdrecovery.org to see if this would be helpful to you.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system. It is a chronic, slowly progressing and often debilitating disease which ultimately affects the mind and personality. Clinically, the disease is characterized by a decrease in spontaneous movements, gait difficulty, postural instability, rigidity and tremor. Parkinson's disease is caused by the degeneration of the pigmented neurons in the Substantia Nigra of the brain, resulting in decreased dopamine availability. The major symptoms of the disease were originally described in 1817 by an English physician, Dr. James Parkinson, who called it "Shaking Palsy." For the next century and a half, scientists pursued the causes and treatment of the disease. They defined its range of symptoms, distribution among the population, and prospects for cure.
In the early 1960s, researchers identified a fundamental brain defect that is a hallmark of the disease: the loss of brain cells that produce a chemical--dopamine-that helps direct muscle activity. This discovery pointed to the first successful treatment for Parkinson's disease and suggested ways of devising new and even more effective therapies.
Parkinson's disease may be treated by drugs or by surgical therapies or by both. Mind-body and nutritional therapies are useful as supplemental therapies in managing Parkinson's disease. The highest prevalence of Parkinson's disease is in North America and Europe, while the lowest prevalence rates have been found in China, Japan, Nigeria, and Sardinia).
Practitioners of reflexology believe that the brain, head, and spine all respond to indirect massage. To help ease the tremors of Parkinson's, walk your thumb across the reflexology area for the diaphragm and solar plexus. Working areas for the brain and spinal column may help stabilize the nervous system. Work these reflex points:
pituitary/cerebrum/cerebellum/spine/adrenal/kidney/liver/autonomic nervous system.
Work on the reflexes of all glands and the entire spine to elevate alertness and ambition. (Also check into Yin Tui Na - www.pdrecovery.org )
Because movements are affected in Parkinson's disease, exercising may help people improve their mobility. Some doctors prescribe physical therapy or muscle- strengthening exercises to tone muscles and to put underused and rigid muscles through a full range of motion.
You can order a free DVD of Exercises: http://shouldersdown.com/id20.html

ALS & Reflexology

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. Yet, through it all, for the vast majority of people, their minds remain unaffected.
A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment---"No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.
As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue atrophies.
What Types of Nerves Make Your Body Work Properly?
The body has many kinds of nerves. There are those involved in the process of thinking, memory, and of detecting sensations (such as hot/cold, sharp/dull), and others for vision, hearing, and other bodily functions. The nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle power. Examples of voluntary movements are your making the effort to reach for the phone or step off a curb; these actions are controlled by the muscles in the arms and legs.
The heart and the digestive system are also made of muscle but a different kind, and their movements are not under voluntary control. When your heart beats or a meal is digested, it all happens automatically. Therefore, the heart and digestive system are not involved in ALS. Breathing also may seem to be involuntary. Remember, though, while you cannot stop your heart, you can hold your breath - so be aware that ALS may eventually have an impact on breathing.
Although the cause of ALS is not completely understood, the recent years have brought a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding the physiology of this disease.
While there is not a cure or treatment today that halts or reverses ALS, there is one FDA approved drug, Rilutek®, that modestly slows the progression of ALS as well as several other drugs in clinical trials that hold promise. Importantly, there are significant devise and therapies that can manage the symptoms of ALS that help people maintain as much independence as possible and prolong survival. It is important to remember that ALS is a quite variable disease; no two people will have the same journey or experiences. There are medically documented cases of people in whom ALS ‘burns out,’ stops progressing or progresses at a very slow rate.
No matter what your individual course or situation may be, The ALS Association is here to help. http://www.alsa.org/default.cfm?CFID=3848555&CFTOKEN=51464429
I and another ARCB certified colleague, Lynda Byrne, worked with Barbara, in her early 60's, with ALS for a total of 4 years. She initially came to me with the symptom of foot drop -- weakness in one foot. The cause was a puzzle to the neurologist for more than a year, when she developed weakness in one hand. At that point ALS was suspected and finally diagnosed.
ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a degenerative disease of the nervous system with no known cause or treatment. It affects the motor neurons, beginning with weakness and atrophy of the hands, forearms, legs and feet, and then the face, muscles of respiration and the rest of the body. It is the disease written about in the book, Tuesdays with Morrie.
Reflexology did not restore use of Barbara's foot, but she felt energized and uplifted by it. With the hope that it might slow the progression of this degenerative neurological disease and help her to maintain, we continued weekly sessions. The symptoms progressed to include weakness and eventually loss of use of both feet and legs, and weakness in first one hand, then the other.
I began with foot reflexology once a week, then increased to twice a week hand and foot sessions when her hands began to show weakness and the diagnosis of ALS was made. At this point, Lynda treated her while I was away on vacation. When I returned, we each continued seeing her once a week. We work differently -- I use the Laura Norman method and Lynda does the Ingham method, and we both included energy work -- and I think that was helpful for Barbara. I work with affirmations, and always included a heartfelt prayer for trust that there was meaning and purpose in this experience for all of us.
I think it was helpful for each of us to see her only once a week -- it is intense emotionally to work with someone you have come to love, and see her slowly losing ground. I'm grateful that Lynda was available and interested in working with this client.
Barbara also received acupuncture twice a week and "as needed" psychotherapy for 3 years with my husband Jim, who is both a licensed acupuncturist and clinical psychologist. She had retirement income, and the good fortune to be able to pay for all of it, as well as physical therapy, and most recently, water therapy. She passed on last week, surprisingly quickly and easily. She never reached the dreaded stage of struggling for breath and being incontinent. She was blessed with a strong support system -- her loving, dedicated (and exhausted) husband and many, many friends, an active social life, and strong faith. Her mood was almost always cheerful, and we all agreed that it was as good as it could have been.
We believe that our work with Barbara made a huge difference for her, and she and her husband fully agreed.

Reflexology for Shingles

Shingles is a very painful and often debilitating condition. It is caused by the same virus (herpes zoster) as chickenpox. After one contracts chicken pox, the virus can lie dormant in sensory (skin) nerves for decades. It reappears when the immune system is weakened by age, disease or unmanaged stress. When events occur that decrease the immune system, such as aging, severe emotional stress, severe illness, or long-term usage of corticosteroids, the immune system cannot suppress the dormant organisms any longer and they become active again, causing infection along the pathway of the nerve.
Painful skin blisters erupt on one side of your face or body. Typically, this occurs along your chest, abdomen, back, or face, but it may also affect your neck, limbs, or lower back. It can be excruciatingly painful, itchy, and tender. After one to two weeks, the blisters heal and form scabs, although the pain continues.
Shingles itself is not a communicable disease. However, exposure to the rash may cause small children to develop chickenpox. Pregnant women, adults who have never had chickenpox, and persons with impaired immune systems should avoid direct contact with anyone suffering from shingles.
Symptoms of Shingles Slight fever, malaise, chills, upset stomach Bruised feeling, usually on one side of your face or body. Pain (often in the chest) that is followed several days later by tingling, itching, or prickling skin and an inflamed, red skin rash. A group or long strip of small, fluid-filled blisters. Deep burning, searing, aching, or stabbing pain, which may be continuous or intermittent. Symptoms of shingles include a painful rash that usually appears on the torso or face. After a few days, chicken poxlike blisters form, then they crust over and eventually heal after two or three weeks. One attack of herpes zoster usually gives immunity for life. This is typically how the disease progresses:
Several days (three to four) before the skin outbreaks occur, there is usually fatigue, fever, chills, and sometimes gastrointestinal upset.
On the third to fourth day the skin area becomes very excessively sensitive. On the fourth or fifth day, characteristic small blisters erupt that crust and hurt along the path of a nerve so that the reddened outbreak affects a strip of skin that forms a line. This usually occurs over the ribs in the thoracic area and is usually limited to one side. Rarely, it can affect the lower part of the body or the face.
The affected area is very sensitive and the pain may be very severe.
The eruptions heal about five days later.
In about half of those who develop shingles, the pain persists for months and sometimes years.
This is called postherpetic neuralgia. Frequently, the pain is quite severe.
Causes of Shingles

The pain of shingles is caused by an inflammation of the nerve that lies just beneath the skin's surface. Shingles originates from the same virus which causes chickenpox. The virus, after infecting the person with chickenpox, retreats to the nervous system where it remains dormant for many years. It reappears in the form of shingles, only if the immune system is weakened, or as a result of a more severe or lengthy illness, extreme stress, or a therapy involving suppression of the immune system. Herpes zoster is common in people with a weakened immune system, such as AIDS patients or people taking anticancer or immunosuppressant drugs. Shingles is more common in the elderly, who tend to have less efficient immune systems. Overall health and nutrition often determine the severity of illness and length of recovery. No treatment has yet been discovered to prevent or halt shingles. Although steps can be taken to shorten the duration, the virus must simply run its course. Early medical attention may prevent or reduce the scarring that shingles can cause. Medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and help you cope with the pain. Antiviral drugs may help stop progression of the rash. Mild to moderate cases may be controlled with over-the-counter painkillers and self-help remedies. For postherpetic neuralgia, a non- prescription cream containing capsaicin from hot red peppers provides relief for 75 percent of sufferers by anesthetizing the skin's surface.

Hydrotherapy for Shingles

For the first three or four days, try ice for 10 minutes on, five minutes off, every few hours. Later, apply cool, wet compresses soaked in aluminum acetate. (available over the counter in the form of astringent solution, powder packets, or effervescent tablets.)

Take a neutral bath (body temperature). Soak for thirty to sixty minutes. (Add hot water occasionally to keep heat at blood temperature.) This is very calming to the nervous system and reduces stress.

Reflexology for Shingles

Try working the diaphragm, spine, ovary/testicle, pancreas and pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid and adrenal gland reflex points on hands or feet.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Reflexology

By Laurie A. McDonald, Certified in Advanced Reflexology Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a disorder characterized by a specific pattern of numbness, tingling, pain or weakness caused by pressure exerted on the median nerve at the wrist. The nerve enters the hand between the carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament that holds the bones together. This rigid passageway is called the carpal tunnel and swelling in this area can cause compression of the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs most often in people 30 to 60 years old and is very common in women. Injury, trauma to the area, pregnancy or repetitive movement can cause swelling of the tissues and CTS. Injury can be from sports such as racquetball and handball or from occupations such as sewing, use of tools, keyboard/mouse use, writing and other repetitive activities that affect wrist position and usage. Reflexology includes massage, which relaxes the body and eases the mind, putting the client in a calm, accepting state both physically and mentally. Working the reflexes of the central nervous system can calm nerves, ease pain, numbness, tingling and stiffness. Stimulation of the endocrine system reflexes, in particular the pituitary, pineal, thymus and adrenal gland reflexes can assist in the reduction of inflammation and tenderness. The muscular and skeletal system reflexes, especially the neck, shoulder and other affected reflexes when stimulated ease the muscle tension so that swelling is reduced and mobility is increased. Circulatory, lymphatic and urinary reflexes are all stimulated during a reflexology session to nourish cells with essential nutrients and to remove toxic substances to assist with healing. Preventative measures can be taken should CTS symptoms appear. Decrease or stop any activities that cause pain or numbness in the fingers, hand or wrist. Resume the activity slowly and with emphasis on keeping the wrist supported or straight. Take frequent breaks of just a minute or two to rest, assess your posture and stretch every hour. Wrist splints help to reduce stress on fingers, hand and wrist by supporting the wrist and keeping it straight. When the wrist is not bent, blood can flow more freely and tension is released. Utilize the splint at work and/or wear the splint and elevate the hand when sleeping. Exercises also ease swelling and irritation in tendons through stretching. Studies show that a Vitamin B6 deficiency is a common in many people suffering from CTS. Therapeutic dosages in Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C assist with reduction of swelling and stimulation of the body's natural cortisone. It is also appropriate to avoid foods containing yellow dyes and limit protein consumption over the treatment period. Botanical medicines such as Turmeric and Bromelain have been used in both Indian and Chinese systems of medicine for treatment of many forms of inflammation. Hydrotherapy is another form of treatment of CTS, which is easy and effective. Ice the area for 3 minutes and then heat the area for 1 minute. Do 3 cycles and finish with cold. This method is very effective in relieving pain and reducing the swelling. Natural methods of healing take time, care and patience but can often avoid further suffering from the effects of drugs and surgery. Always consult with experts in each field of treatment that you may wish to explore for the best possible results for your condition. The methods above are not meant to take the place of your regular physician as many informed doctors are now including natural methods of healing in their practice. Laurie A. McDonald is certified in Advanced Reflexology and practices in Nanaimo.

Reflexology: A Profile in Gentle Touch

Reprinted with permission from The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer.
The following article appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of the Tommy Fund News.
Julie Innocenzi is one of Damian Rynkowski’s favorite people. Once a week, she comes to Damian’s home in Killingworth to administer reflexology therapy. Damian has known considerable pain from the cancer that has wracked his body. During these sessions, Damian’s entire body relaxes as Julie works her magic on his feet.
Reflexology is a treatment that applies hand pressure to specific areas of the feet in the hope of balancing the flow of vital energy or life fore called qi (or chi) throughout the body. It is one of a growing number of alternative treatments that patients sometimes seek out in addition to standard medical care. According to a recent National Institutes of Health survey, as many as one third of all patients seek alternative health therapies.
Though there is no evidence that reflexology cures cancer or any other disease, Damian’s mom, Sue sees major improvements in Damian’s spirits after Julie leaves. “When he would see Julie during clinic at the hospital, I could always tell. He was just so calm and relaxed,” she recalls. Since his last stay at the hospital, Julie now comes to the house—a service paid for by a grant from the Tommy Fund.
“I am so grateful for these treatments and that Julie can come to the house.” says Damian.
“The Tommy Fund is a great organization run by amazing people.” The reflexology program was originally started to help parents of patients. They carry a tremendous burden of caring for a child with cancer. “What ended up happening was that I would often work on the child or young adult, too, so everyone benefited,” Innocenzi recalls.
Damian was diagnosed more than three years ago with alveolar rhabdomyoscarcoma. He’s endured three years of chemotherapy. Two weeks of recent radiation therapy have made him more comfortable, as have these weekly sessions.
“It makes a big difference to me when she comes. When I was in the hospital getting chemo, the reflexology made me forget all the nasty stuff that was being put into my body. I just concentrate on the good feeling.” he says.
Those good feelings have brightened Damian’s days so he can look forward to playing guitar, which he loves, or hanging out with his two younger brothers, or dreaming about fishing in freshwater ponds near his house.
Connie Nicolosi, MSW, has witnessed the impact of the program has had on both the patients and their parents. “The other day, Julie was working on a little boy as he sat on his mother’s lap. By the time she was done, he was relaxed and ready for his visit, which was a huge help to us as staff members, but also his family, “ she noted.
Julie has performed reflexology on the hands of parents while they are waiting for their children to finish outpatient chemotherapy treatments. “Parents of children with cancer are under such terrible stress. It’s wonderful to be able to offer them something.”
She describes reflexology as helping people reach a deep state of relaxation. “You are very aware, but in another place,” she notes.
The program came about after Innocenzi participated in Nurses’ Day events at Yale-New Haven two years ago. Each year, various vendors are brought in to demonstrate new techniques or products for that day. The staff enjoyed the reflexology so much that the Child Life staff looked into establishing a program at the hospital. Thanks to a grant from the Tommy Fund, the program became a reality.
“It’s been a help in relaxing patients before and during treatment, as well as relieving the nausea they sometimes feel from the medications,” Nicolosi added. “When you can offer your patients something that can do that, it’s a real plus.” In Loving Memory and Recognition of Damian Rynkowski, who passed away from cancer, October, 2004.
The Tommy Fund was organized at Yale-New Haven in 1986 by a group of parents whose children had cancer and the physicians and staff who treated them. Together, they sought to fund programs important for the emotional and medical survival of children with cancer and their families. Through the generosity and support of both individuals and corporations, the Tommy Fund has been able to make a real difference in the lives of families at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.
To make a donation or for information about the Tommy fund, call 203-688-4081 or 800-974-5559 www.ynhh.org/pediatrics/cancer/tommyfund.html

Neuroma's & Reflexology

Can reflexology help with a neuroma? The answer is “Yes”.
Reflexology can help as an integrative care therapy. By working on the feet, you can help with pressure and inflammation, caused by the neuroma, along with a general de-stressing of the entire body.
A neuroma is a thickening of the nerve that arises from irritation of the nerve resulting in an inflammation of the nerve sheath, or covering of the nerve and the formation of scar tissue around the nerve. This is a benign condition that involves the small nerves that run between the metatarsal bones in the ball the foot. The most common nerve to develop this condition is the nerve supplying the third and fourth toes.
This is called a Morton's neuroma. It can also involve the nerves that supply the other digits as well. It usually develops when tight, poorly fitting shoes, often those with high-heels, cause the third and fourth metatarsal bones to pinch together compressing an underlying nerve. Injury, arthritis, or abnormal bone structures may also cause this condition.
Symptoms Include:
- tingling, burning, or numbness around the third and fourth toe
- a feeling that there is a lump in the ball of the foot
- symptoms begin periodically and progress in intensity and frequency
- exacerbated by walking on hard surfaces or wearing high heels or tight shoes What You Can Do About It:
Pain from Morton's neuroma can be reduced by taking off the shoe and massaging the area. Reflexology, Daily footbaths*, cold whirlpool and ultrasound can help decrease inflammation and pain. It is important to have the mechanics of the feet addressed and any lack of movement in the joints of the foot should be addressed and corrected. Roomier shoes, and a metatarsal pad, placed on the heel-side of metatarsal heads, can often alleviate the pain. Orthotics can also be helpful. If conservative measures fail, cortisone injections or surgery may be needed. (note: nerve tissue may regrow after surgery and form another neuroma)
*footbath: Epsom Salt softens the skin, soothes aches, reduces swelling, inflammations, exfoliates the skin, removes odors, draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, relaxes the muscles, provides relief from joint soreness and arthritic pain, and is a natural emollient. Unlike other salts, it does not leave the skin feeling dry. Add ½ cup of Epsom Salt to a large basin or footbath of warm (not hot) water. Essential oils, such as Lavender or Rosemary, may be added to enhance relaxation and medicinal effects. -Nancy Bartlett

Reflexology & Stress

The grim reality of stress is showing up in more and more scientific studies like one by the American Medical Association that reported stress was a factor in 75 percent of all diseases. A recent study even linked the effects of stress to weakening of the heart muscle.
In the August, 2004 edition of Great Life magazine it was reported that Duke University Medical Center researchers in Durham, N.C. studied the effects of stress on hearts in a clinical trial that monitored the reaction of the heart to everyday events.
They discovered that the more stress, anger and sadness someone experienced, the less able their hearts were able to respond effectively. It was like the pressure exerted on the heart by the constant emotional ups and downs of stress caused it to stretch beyond its capacity to bounce back to normal.
Another study determined a link between depression and impaired heart health.

Researchers at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., and Yale University, New Haven, Conn., recently studied 50 pairs of male twins by hooking them up to electrocardiograms for 24 hours. They concluded a link existed between depression and reduced heart rate variability (HRV) or fluctuations between heartbeats. Decreased HRV can weaken the heart and make it more susceptible to sudden fatalities.

Reflexology can be a natural, low cost option to offsetting the effects of stress on heart and overall health. Reflexology endeavors to treat the body, mind and spirit as a cohesive system by getting to the cause of disease not its symptoms. Reflexology possesses the capacity to cancel out the effects of stress while it helps the body to reach a place of deep relaxation where it can balance the body systems.

Through the relaxation process the body is more capable of dealing with the stresses placed on it by daily living and those associated with illness. Reflexology gently nudges the body towards improved functioning of the system by improving lymphatic drainage and venous circulation, simulation to the nerve pathways, and muscle relaxation.

In a report on reflexology research published at www.reflexology-research.com a Chinese study demonstrated how reflexology efficiently alleviated the effects of extreme stress. Twenty patients being treated for neurasthenia, a condition of extreme emotional stress-- were given a course of reflexology at the hospital’s department of physiotherapy. The treatments focused on areas of the feet relating to the adrenal glands, kidneys, bladder, sinus, brain and heart organs that are compromised by the effects of stress.

The treatments were given daily for a week with the following results presented at the China reflexology symposium in July, 1993: 40 percent experienced a complete cure; 35 percent were greatly improved; 15 percent mildly improved; and 10 percent reporting no change at all.

Reflexology therapeutically reduces stress and tension throughout the body’s systems to improve blood and lymph circulation, increase nerve supply to the cells and release toxins from the body’s tissues. It is believed to encourage the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones, well documented in their ability to relieve stress.

These physiological benefits facilitate improvements in the body's assimilation of nutrients, elimination of wastes and immune system stimulation. Reflexology supports the body in its process of self-healing and maintaining the balance that leads to good health.

Plus, reflexology feels great and nearly everyone is a candidate for reflexology--even people who are not candidates for traditional massage therapy due to physical restrictions or who may be inhibited about disrobing. With reflexology, all you remove is footwear.

About this contributor: Thomacine Haywood is a writer, teacher and practitioner in private practice in Indianapolis. She is a Reiki Master, certified reflexologist, massage & sound therapist. Website: http://healing.about.com/od/reflexology/a/stress_reflex.htm

Cancer patients can benefit physically & emotional from massage

By Andrew Weil , Dr. Weil is clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and director of its Program in Integrative Medicine.
Question: Is massage safe for people who have been treated for cancer?
Answer: Yes.
And I know why you ask: Despite the lack of any credible evidence, many cancer patients still believe that massage may spread cancer cells around the body. This is simply untrue.
There's proof that massage is helpful in a variety of ways, and I often recommend it to my patients who have cancer. Several studies show that manipulation of the body's muscles and other soft tissues can reduce nausea, pain, fatigue, and anxiety in people with the disease. Many therapists rave about its profound impact upon their patients' sense of well-being. Other research has found that people with cancer who receive massage (along with acupuncture) after surgery experience fewer symptoms of depression than those who receive only the usual postoperative care.
Still, cancer patients should take some precautions. People who have just had chemotherapy or radiation often have low blood platelet counts and can bruise easily; they should receive only light massage.
If you've recently had surgery, you shouldn't get a massage if there are signs of infection at the surgical site. Radiation therapy patients shouldn't have their treatment sites massaged because it may further irritate their skin. Tell your doctor that you're getting a massage and consider finding a therapist experienced in massaging people with cancer.
Massage is so effective that many cancer centers now offer it to their patients as complementary therapy. For hospitalized patients, experts often recommend gentler forms of massage, such as acupressure and reflexology.
Reprinted from Prevention Magazine, March 2008 issue. www.Prevention.com

Reflexology & some Common Ailments

Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, and if the smallest fraction of blood supply is cut off from one or more parts of the body, the effects soon become evident. More than 1,000 times a day, blood circulates through the body's many miles of veins and arteries.
Stress and tension tighten up the cardio-vascular system and restrict blood flow. Circulation then becomes sluggish, causing high and low blood pressure.
By reducing stress and tension, reflexology allows the cardio-vascular vessels to conduct the flow of blood naturally and easily, and assists in the elimination of toxins and impurities.
Reflexology has been known to produce good results with diabetes, especially if the treatments begin shortly after being diagnosed.
Diabetes is caused by a deficiency of insulin production in the pancreas. Some of the ailments suffered by diabetics are: bad circulation, peripheral neuropathy or damaged nerve, numbness, retinopathy, constipation, rectal dysfunction in males, and heart problems.
Reflexology improves circulation, boosts the immune system and instigates healing forces. The Diabetes Association has endorsed the effectiveness and results gained from reflexology. Many patients have reduced their medication under the supervision of their physician. Since reflexology effectively reduces stress, diabetics who have regular reflexology treatments maintain balanced sugar levels.
Multiple Sclerosis
Approximately 400,000 people have Multiple Sclerosis in the U.S., with approx8mately 200 more being diagnosed each week. It is estimated that 2.5 million individuals may suffer from MS worldwide. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks the Central Nervous System consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. Myelin which protects the nerve fibers, enabling them to function, is destroyed or damaged causing a disruption of electrical impulses from the nerves to the brain.
Common symptoms include: bladder and bowel dysfunction, dizziness and vertigo, difficulty with memory, attention and problem solving, fatigue, balance problems and difficulty in walking, numbness or "pins and needles", pain and vision problems. Other less common symptoms include: headaches, hearing loss, itching, seizures, spasticity, tremors, speech and swallowing disorders.
Reflexology has become increasingly popular in the treatment of MS. The Complementary Medicine Clinic at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, Israel conducted a study with 71 persons diagnosed with MS for an eleven week treatment period. 53 Reflexology volunteers received pressure on specific points in the feet and a massage of the calves. The control group received a nonspecific massage on the calf area. Symptoms were assessed in a masked study in the beginning, in 6 weeks, at the end of the treatment phase and again at a three month follow-up. The Reflexology group showed significant improvements at the end of the study period for scores of paresthesias (numbness, tingling), urinary symptoms and spasticity (a condition in which certain muscles are continuously contracted). Muscle strength scores for the group showed borderline improvement. The improvement in the intensity of paresthesia remained significant at the three month follow-up. Subjects in the control group showed no significant improvements on any of the outcome measures.
A pilot study of the effects of foot and hand reflexology applied to paralyzed clients began in 1980. Foot and hand reflexology techniques were applied to a quadriplegic client and two paraplegic clients. The work consisted of 220 hours of sessions, 338 hours of sessions and 358 hours of sessions applied over a time period of three to five years.
From this work it was concluded: (1) A possible mechanism within the existing nervous system explains the workings of reflexology: the integration of autonomic-somatic information by the body. Such a mechanism allows the body to coordinate the involuntary internal reactions of the autonomic nervous system with the actions of the musculo-skeletal system for the purposes of survival. (2) The application of pressure, stretch and movement technique to the feet can effect a physical change within the body. (3) An interruption of the body's imaging process occurs in paralysis. The imaging can be changed by the exercise of locomotive components, pressure, stretch and movement.
A major observation was that pressure techniques applied to the feet elicited (1) what we came to recognize as a segment of the stride mechanism and (2) a direct response of the autonomic nervous system. Specifically, the spasming of paralyzed limbs in response to pressure applied to the feet of the paraplegic clients came to be conditioned into a series of sophisticated movements consistent with the positioning of hips, legs, ankles, and feet for walking. Pressure technique applied to one foot elicited movement of both limbs, each appropriate for a segment of stride in opposition to the other.
The response of the quadriplegic client differed from that of the paraplegic clients. Pressure technique applied to the sole of the foot, base of the toes of the left foot elicited movement of particular digits of the right hand, as if the client was playing a guitar. Responses were elicited from left foot to right foot and vice versa but paled in contrast to the left foot/right hand response.
Secondly, a stereotypical internal organ response was elicited in all three clients from general work on feet. The response varied from client to client but seemed to be internal body adjustments. One client shivered and her teeth chattered, yet when asked, she would report no sensation of being cold. One client perspired on one side of the head. One client perspired below the level of spinal cord injury and experienced intestinal tract grumbling. The responses developed over time and were extinguished over time.
Aside from immediate responses to reflexology work, none of the three clients experienced a bladder or kidney infection, a common occurrence, during the course of the work. In addition, the quadriplegic client experienced a gradual return of the ability to sense pain, heat, cold, light touch, and deep pressure. This ability varied over his body seemingly from dermatome to dermatome. The pain sensation developed into discrete localization of pain. He reported the ability to sense fullness in the stomach next followed by sensation of the need to empty the bladder. Kunz K, Kunz B, "The Paralysis Project," Reflexions, Vol. 8, No. 1, J/F/M 1987. http://www.reflexology-research.com

Bunions & Reflexology

Bunions, referred to in the medical community as Hallux Valgus, are one of the most common forefoot problems. A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. This bump is actually a bone protruding towards the inside of the foot. With the continued movement of the big toe towards the smaller toes, it is common to find the big toe resting under or over the second toe. This causes a common forefoot condition called overlapping toes. Some of the symptoms of bunions include inflammation, swelling, and soreness on the side surface of the big toe. The discomfort commonly causes a patient to walk improperly.
Another type of bunion which some individuals experience is called a Tailor's Bunion, also known as a Bunionette. This forms on the outside of the foot towards the joint at the little toe. It is a smaller bump that forms due to the little toe moving inwards, towards the big toe.
Bunions are a common problem experienced mostly by women. The deformity can develop from an abnormality in foot function, or arthritis, but is more commonly caused by wearing improper fitting footwear. Tight, narrow dress shoes with a constrictive toe box (toe area) can cause the foot to begin to take the shape of the shoe, leading to the formation of a bunion. Women who have bunions normally wear dress shoes that are too small for their feet. Their toes are squeezed together in their shoes causing the first metatarsal bone to protrude on the side of the foot.
It is important for men and women to realize that wearing dress shoes and boots, which are tapered in the toe area, can cause the bunion to worsen to the point where surgery is necessary.
Treatment and Prevention
In the early stages of the formation of a bunion, soaking feet in warm water can provide temporary relief. Reflexology can help with the pain, swelling and inflammation of a bunion. The best way to alleviate the pain associated with bunions is to wear properly fitting shoes. Shoes designed with a high, wide toe box (toe area) are recommended for people suffering from forefoot disorders, such as bunions. Shoes with rocker soles will unload pressure to the bunion area. Orthotics are also recommended for this condition to provide extra comfort, support, and protection.
Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products designed to accommodate and relieve bunions such as bunion shields, bunion night splints, and bunion bandages. These conservative treatments can limit the progression of the bunion formation, relieve pain and provide a healthy environment for the foot.
If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor. -Nancy Bartlett