Thursday, June 26, 2008

Parkinson's Disease

If you’ve just been diagnosed/ or are not medicated, check out 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 - )
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:

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.
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

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 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:

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.

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.

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Healing Power of Touch...Fibromyalgia

A number of specific therapeutic touch disciplines are being integrated with conventional treatments to meet the challenge of supporting the Fibromyalgia Community. Medical professionals are recognizing the importance of touch therapies as studies and clinical trials are showing the effectiveness of touch as an essential component of a holistic health model. Touch therapies can play an important role in a multidisciplinary approach for managing pain, fatigue, depressed mood, sleep problems, gastrointestinal distress, poor concentration, restless leg syndrome, anxiety and headaches. Touch therapies promote a "relaxation response" in patients, which allows for a state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress (e.g., decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension). Bodywork disciplines that can have this effect on the body are massage therapy with lighter to medium pressure, aromatherapy massage such as The Raindrop Technique, Polarity Therapy, Cranio Sacral Balancing, energy therapies such as Reiki and Foot Reflexology. The "relaxation response" induced by the many forms of touch therapy is crucial in helping patients overcome chronic pain and the associated overlapping illness. Pain Management Beyond Medication While medications help patients cope with the devastating symptoms of fibromyalgia, touch therapy enables the body to heal and function. Researchers at the Touch Research Institute, University of Miami, have studied adults with fibromyalgia and the effects of massage therapy1 . The results reported reduced anxiety and uplifted mood immediately after a massage session. Sleep quality improved and other fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, stiffness and fatigue were relieved as well. Researchers say that massage therapy alters the sleep pattern, increases serotonin levels and reduces levels of the chemical messenger for pain. Touch therapy practitioners who specialize in treating chronic pain clients agree that a multidisciplinary approach is essential to improve quality of life, lend emotional support, decrease pain and support conventional treatments. As we educate the fibromyalgia community and physicians that many complementary therapies have precisely this focus and expertise, we provide options and avenues for each individual to take an active role in their wellness. Foot Reflexology In Pain Management One specific therapy that is effective in promoting deep relaxation and relief of acute and chronic pain is Foot Reflexology, sometimes referred to as foot acupressure. Reflexology is a type of therapy applied to the feet, likened to massage but having a specific focus on systems of the body (organs and glands). The effects take place through the nervous system and clients often report feeling euphoric and deeply relaxed. One explanation for this is the release of the body’s endorphins (the body’s ‘feel good’ chemicals) that can occur with the techniques applied to the acupressure points and nerve reflexes in the feet. The effects of regular reflexology treatments can have profound results, many reporting overall improvements in health, a greater sense of well being and an increased awareness of their body. As a provider of various touch therapies specializing in chronic pain conditions, Reflexology is the foundation for every therapy I provide because of its ability to relax the body and reduce pain. A program for pain management may include craniosacral therapy, polarity, essential oils and so on. However, as I tailor the treatment for each individual, the feet are the basic assessment tool and an efficient communicator to the rest of the body. How Does Reflexology Work? With the extensive nerve distribution in the feet, and the large portion of the sensory and motor area of the brain devoted to the feet, stimulation and therapeutic movement of the feet activates responses throughout the nervous system. The results are body-wide effects. Circulation is improved, lymphatic movement is enhanced and the body’s natural pain relieving chemicals are triggered. Neurologically, the activation of receptors in the feet changes the tempo and tone of the body by sending new messages into the system, which responds by becoming homeostatic (balanced). In essence, the foot becomes a conduit for sharing information throughout the body. Pressure applied to the feet generates a signal through the peripheral and central nervous system, then is relayed to the brain and on to the various organs to allocate the necessary adjustments in fuel and oxygen. Finally a response is sent to the motor system and the body’s overall tone and tension level is adjusted, reducing stress on the body’s internal systems. Dr. J. Manzanares, M.D., surgeon and reflexologist with 20 years of medical experience who has treated 70,000 clinical cases of reflexology patients, confirms this neurological circuit that takes place from the receptors in the feet2 . There are over 7,000 nerve receptors in each foot and there is no other single part of the body that when massaged can affect the entire body like the feet. No wonder we love foot rubs! Trigger Points In The Feet The feet have tender points and trigger points just as the body does. With fibromyalgia patients, these points in the feet are significant and relevant to aches and pains elsewhere in the body. A Reflexologist assesses these tender areas in the same way that trigger points are addressed in the body. Identifying structural and mechanical factors in the feet or legs that contribute to these perpetuating trigger points is essential for the treatment of the chronic pain. One example is restless leg syndrome which can be caused by trigger points in the feet and calf muscles. Relieving these tender points can often alleviate this syndrome. In addition to treating the body’s 18 FM tender points, the feet need to be addressed. A ‘fibromyalgia foot’ is characterized by certain shape variants. The feet are good indicators of stress in the body. We’ve all heard it said, when the feet hurt, the body hurts. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the importance of the health of our feet and with fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers, they are of vital importance. A reflexologist will address these points in the feet as part of tailoring a session for the individual. In a treatment, a health history is taken and specific concerns are discussed. The feet are assessed and the treatment proceeds to relax the overall body, internal organs and promote relaxation. Closing Thoughts The Electricity of Touch is the title of a report from the Institute of HearthMath that measured the cardiac energy exchange between individuals participating in certain healing techniques3 . It presents a sampling of results which provide intriguing evidence that an exchange of electromagnetic energy is produced by the heart when touch or close contact occurs. One person’s ECG signal registered in another person’s EEG and elsewhere on their body. This study provides a solid, testable theory on the observed effects of caring touch and gives a plausible mechanism to explain how this energy from an individual can facilitate a healing process. J. Madison Taylor, M.D., wrote in 1908: "No single therapeutic agent can be compared in efficiency with this familiar but perfect tool…The Human Hand. If half as much research had been expended on the principles governing manual treatment as upon pharmacology, the hand would be esteemed today on a par with drugs in acceptability and power."4 Science is confirming what we know in our hearts: intentional, caring touch is good medicine. It can create hope, ease the symptoms of disease and calm the body and soul. About the Author Linda Chollar, MTI, APP, CHT, is a board-certified Reflexologist, educator and director of Advanced Body Wellness, a center for healing therapies. She has spent the last twenty years in the holistic health field, treating private clients, researching and teaching at massage schools, hospitals, nursing schools, and health organizations about complementary therapies in an effort to bridge the gap between traditional and complementary medicine. Linda lectures nationally and is available for workshops and training classes for professionals and the general public. She is designing a program for fibromyalgia support groups to learn reflexology for self care and will soon be releasing a book on reflexology and chronic pain.

Reflexology & Allergies

So you suffer from allergies, right? Well, help is here! Reflexology can be very effective for allergies but it takes a little conditioning to do it right.

A client of ours found the "golf ball technique" so effective he would pass out golf balls and instructions to all his friends. He told them it took two weeks of daily application but after that it was a matter of maintenance. The directions he passed out are below.

It is best if you can do the technique several times a day. Some people do it about the same time as they have meals or time it with some activity like watching television or reading a book.

A Self-Help Reflexology Technique-Allergies, Asthma, & Sinus Problems

Results in reflexology are achieved by applying an exercise-type program of pressure technique to specific parts of the hands or feet. Traditionally, the stimulus of pressure is applied to the adrenal reflex area to create a healthful response by the body to allergies, asthma, and sinus problems.

On the hand, this area is found on the palms of both hands, halfway down the long first metacarpal bone of the hand below the thumb. To find the area, rest your right thumb on top of your left thumb. Reposition the right hand moving the right thumb down, toward the wrist. Your hand is now positioned so that your right index finger can curl around the hand and exert pressure at the midpoint of the long bone. Rest your finger tip on the on the palm of the hand and press. Does the area feel sensitive or very sensitive? If not, reposition your finger tip slightly to test another area. Now that you have a target area, try a pressure technique. The above testing technique can be utilized as a working technique. Position your fingertip on the sensitive area and eight to ten times. Repeat with the other hand.

The simplest pressure technique involves the use of a golf ball . Hold a golf ball in your hand. Clasp your two hands together, inter linking fingers. Roll the golf ball over your palms below the thumb. Target the general area of the adrenal reflex area.

How long should this exercise last? There are several strategies. Try a pattern of using the golf ball technique for 15 to 30 seconds and resting for 15 to 30 seconds, alternating work and rest throughout a five minute period. Try this four times though out the day such as morning, noon, dinner time, and bedtime. After two weeks, evaluate your results.

As you continue using the technique, your strategy may change. You may find yourself reaching for your golf ball at the onset of the sniffles or other symptoms. And, then, you may find yourself continuing the exercise until you get lessen the symptoms to your satisfaction.

Warning: This is the application of a hard surface, the golf ball, to a soft surface, the hand. It is possible to apply too much pressure or to apply pressure for too long a time. You've done too much exercise if your hand feels bruised or sensitive to touch. Quit the exercise until the sensitivity passes. When you apply technique again, limit your time to maintain your comfort level. The golf ball technique is a self-help technique not a technique for use on others.

Note: This technique is not for everyone. A key to reflexology use is its application in a conscientious program. Are you willing to spend some time doing this? Think of this as you would any exercise. Just as a certain number of sit-ups is needed to influence one's waistline, a certain amount of reflexology technique application is needed to get results. Many have gotten results and find it worth their time.

The Solar Plexus...the "abdominal brain"

The solar plexus reflex point is one of the most powerful points in foot reflexology.

Within the physical body, the solar plexus is found right in the middle of the upper half of the trunk of the torso, where the rib cage comes together at the stomach level in front of the diaphragm.

On the feet, it can be found if you draw an imaginary line from the second toe down, below the ball of the foot, right within that hollow. It can also be found if you gently squeeze the top of the foot inward. You should find a "little dimple space"- that’s the solar plexus point.

The solar plexus is a great network (or ganglia) of nerves that sits directly behind the stomach. It goes out to all parts of the abdominal cavity and has been sometimes called the "abdominal brain". It is highly affected by stress.

There is a very strong connection between the feet and the solar plexus. Notice that when your feet are cold, you can feel a tightening of the stomach. And if you eat something while you’re feeling like that, your digestion will be more difficult than usual.

You will find that if you soak your feet in hot water it will give you a delightful sensation of relaxation at the level of your solar plexus. This is why in previous posts I have talked about the importance of the "foot bath". It’s a wonderful way to influence and strengthen the solar plexus. Now that you know where your solar plexus reflex point is located, I will share with you how to stimulate it.

Let’s Go!

• While seated, bring the foot of your choice up and over the opposite knee and allow it to comfortably rest there.

• With the opposite side hand, use your thumb to press in and slightly upward on the point (hold for 20 seconds). As you slowly release pressure, don’t loose contact with the point; just relax the pressure. Repeat this 3 times and then move to the opposite foot.

• You can also try inhaling as you press in and exhaling as you release out. If you have been under a great deal of stress, this reflex point may be sensitive- so work gently and compassionately at first. As the sensitivity dissipates, you can gradually increase the pressure. You’ll be amazed at how you will immediately feel a "stirring" within the center of your body.

This reflex point is great for relieving insomnia, stress and anxiety. However if you are feeling a little "low in energy" this point will also help to increase energy levels. Reflexology will always work to balance the body from any extreme.

Personally, I use this technique right before I go to bed each night and upon awakening in the morning. It has always given me whatever I needed in that moment.

So now that you’ve been introduced to your solar plexus point…..enjoy it! I hope it brings to you as much balance and harmony as it does for me. Press away……..and be well! under solar plexus point With permission: Ron Carnival CR (Ron has a wonderful blog on-line. Take time to visit it)

Is Reflexology good for Multiple Sclerosis?

The Answer is YES … Reflexology has been known to produce good results with Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) 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 & 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, and speech and swallowing disorders.
Reflexology improves circulation, boosts the immune system and instigates healing forces. People receiving reflexology treatment benefited in alleviating pain, bladder function, insomnia and sleep disorders, numbness, and many of the other more common symptoms of MS.

Reflexology does not take the place of mainstream medicine. On the contrary it helps and complements the medical profession.

At present, there is no cure for MS. There are, however, effective treatments that can help reduce the severity and frequency of attacks and help manage the symptoms. Two common courses of treatment include drug therapy or alternative healing modalities, commonly known as holistic treatments (including acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and reflexology.) The earlier one is treated, the more effective treatment appears to be. Early treatment may potentially limit the amount of nerve damage incurred and also delay the onset of subsequent attacks. Many people find a combination of drug therapy, physical therapy and complementary methods achieve the best results. -Nancy Bartlett

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Plantar Fasciitis

Pain in the bottom of the heel is among the most common foot problem. People with this symptom usually say there was no trauma to the heel, and that they experience sharp pain when taking the first few steps in the morning. The pain usually improves in the next few minutes and may or may not get worse as the day goes on. In the evening after resting, that same sharp pain returns when the person gets up and walks.
It's important to understand the biomechanics of the foot. Picture a band that runs from the bottom of the heel to the ball of the foot. This band is called the plantar fascia. When a person puts weight on the foot, if it has any flexibility the force of the weight will cause the forefoot to splay away from the rearfoot.
This causes a stretching or tearing of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia does not stretch easily, so when it goes beyond its ability to stretch, it tears at its weakest point, usually at its insertion point on the bottom of the heel bone.
The distance between the heel and forefoot is the shortest when a person is sleeping — the forefoot is then hanging downward — or when driving, sitting, or in any non-weight-bearing position. That is why morning pain is a common complaint: the foot tightens up overnight and tears the band away from the heel with that first step.
If a spur is present, the patient is considered to have heel spur syndrome. If no spur is present, then the diagnosis is simply inflammation of the plantar fascia. Only an X-ray will determine whether there is a spur, but treatment is the same in either case. A spur does not have to be removed to relieve the heel pain. Many people think that the spur is jabbing into surrounding tissue and producing pain. It is the tearing effect of the band that causes the pain. If that splaying effect can be eliminated, then the band will no longer tear.
The treatment is usually an over-the-counter arch support, called an orthotic, or, if needed, a custom molded orthotic. Over-the-counter orthotics are made for a standard arch, so a person with a flexible high-arched foot most likely will not get the needed support, and a person with a flat foot will not be able to tolerate a device that creates too much pressure on the arch. The key is finding the right device and wearing it all the time — at work and at home — which will allow the fascia to heal. (Do not walk barefoot)
A podiatrist usually takes an X-ray during the initial visit and recommends a device for the patient's arch. Antiinflammatory drugs, such aspirin, taken with meals may help. The podiatrist may prescribe ice massages, stretching exercises and/or a night splint. If that does not help, the person may need a cortisone shot or physical therapy. In some cases, surgery is performed to cut or release a portion of the band from its insertion on the heel bone. It then heals in a lengthened position so it no longer tears. Do not jump into surgery, however, since it is seldom necessary and there are no guarantees that it will be successful.
There are other conditions that mimic heel pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, nerve entrapment or referred pain from back conditions. These should also be ruled out by a doctor.
An important part of self treatment for this condition is being sure that your shoes offer motion control and are optimal controlling the forces that contribute to plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Check your running shoes to make sure that they are not excessively worn. They should bend only at the ball of the foot, where your toes attach to the foot. This is vital! Avoid any shoe that bends in the center of the arch or behind the ball of the foot. It offers insufficient support and will stress your plantar fascia. The human foot was not designed to bend here and neither should a shoe be designed to do this.
Some of the most useful home treatments are as follows:
• Ice - this is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Either an ice pack under the sole of the foot of take a frozen can of juice and roll in under your foot to do a bit of ice massage.
• Home exercises to strengthen the plantar muscles - practice picking a golf ball up with your toes, or lay a towel on the floor and scrunch it up with your toes.
• When severe, bracing at night may be necessary - because things tighten up when we point our toes at night sometimes a splint which holds the foot in dorsiflexion (toes up) may be necessary. Commercial ones are available but one of the best ways to splint your foot is to sleep with a boot on your foot. A ski boot works great because it won't flex at all but any high, stiff boot should suffice. It may seem clumsy but I've had people who've found this was the trick in fixing their foot.
• Soak with Epson salts - hot water and Epsom salts will draw inflammation out of the sore muscles.
And… According to Dr. Andrew Weil - "Reflexology is a foot-focused therapy that I think is more than just a relaxing spa treat. It's a health- supporting treatment. I've prescribed reflexology for plantar fasciitis and other foot and ankle problems, with good results." -Nancy Bartlett

Are you Ticklish?

The Ticklish Client – and what you can do… A ticklish client won't be able to relax, preventing them from gaining the full benefit of the session. Ticklishness is a sensation and subsequent response separate from pain, itch or pressure. In general, touch receptors interpret skin sensation, by translating movement or distortion of the cell membrane. A lack of understanding surrounds the tickle sensation because it is not one of the currently known touch receptors, which include temperature, pain, light pressure and deep pressure. Acquiring sensitivity to ticklish stimuli might have been useful in our evolutionary past, says Robert R. Provine, a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Maryland. Highly ticklish locations are parts of the body most vulnerable to injury, such as our feet, neck, chest and armpits. For example, feeling a tickle would have warned us if a poisonous scorpion was crawling along our neck. When it comes to a ticklish response during a session, a number of factors can come into play: · Uneasiness with unknown touch · Excessive or stagnant energy in the area being worked Common ticklish areas include Arch (spinal reflex), Kidney/Adrenal reflexes, and particularly – toes! Tips 1. Communication is most important – explaining what you are going to do, how, and where – so they’ll know just what to expect. This can include your willingness to avoid that particular area if needed. 2. Pressure modification - In general, slowing, broadening and increasing your pressure in that particular area will reduce ticklishness, reducing the element of suspense that initiates many tickle responses. Something else to consider is that the release of the emotional component creating the tickle response can be a healing event. Because ticklishness is often a protective mechanism, focusing on such an area can promote a powerful release. While most therapists are accustomed to emotional releases in the form of tears, laughter can be just as effective. -Nancy Bartlett

Foot Facts - revealed!


  • Walking Barefoot can cause plantar warts. The virus enters through a cut that could be so small you won't notice it.

  • Feet are like a building's foundation. An unstable underpinning creates havoc for the structure it supports. When the 26 bones in your foot are misaligned, chances are that the body will follow suit.

  • 75% of us will experience a major foot malady in our lifetime. Women have four times as many foot problems as men.


A lot of foot pain can be avoided (and alleviated) by strengthening and stretching the muscles in your feet and legs. Do these exercises in bare feet:

  • Heel Raise/Toe Point - While seated, (1) rise onto the balls of your feet, (2) go up onto your tiptoes, (3) curl your toes under. Hold each position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times every day. Good for people with hammertoes, toe cramps, and arch pain.

  • Towel Scrunches - Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place a medium-size towel on the floor in front of your feet. By scrunching your toes, pull the towel, inch by inch, into the arch of your feet. Do one to three times daily. Good for strengthening the whole foot.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I want to express a heartfelt thank each and every person who stopped by my table to make my 1st Corporate Woods Health Fair a HUGE SUCCESS! It was my pleasure to meet all of you who had a chance to take advantage of my free demonstrations and to speak with you one on one about your concerns. However, due to the popularity of my reflexology mini sessions, I want to sincerely apologize to all of those individuals who were unable to experience this relaxing and rejuvenating technique. In addition, I am personally sorry I didn't get a chance to speak with all who came by my table as I was constantly doing demonstrations. As a professional and dedicated single business owner, I hope you understand and find the content you picked up at my table to be interesting and informative. Please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or e-mail with any questions or concerns you may have regarding reflexology in general, A Quiet Sole Reflexology or to schedule an appointment. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you on improving your overall health and well being. If you are interested in A Quiet Sole Reflexology participating in your Company Health Fair or would consider utilizing my services to attract additional business to your location or for special promotional purposes at your event please contact me to discuss details by phone or e-mail.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Body Facts - amazing!

The human body is a machine that is full of wonder. This collection of human body facts will leave you wondering why in the heck we were designed the way we were.
  • Scientists say the higher your I.Q. The more you dream.
  • The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm.
  • You use 200 muscles to take one step.
  • The average woman is 5 inches shorter than the average man.
  • Your big toes have two bones each while the rest have three.
  • A full bladder is roughly the size of a softball.
  • The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.
  • The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • It takes the food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.
  • The average human dream lasts 2-3 seconds.
  • Men without hair on their chests are more likely to get cirrhosis of the liver than men with hair.
  • At the moment of conception, you spent about half an hour as a single cell.
  • There is about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
  • Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.
  • The enamel in your teeth is the hardest substance in your body.
  • Your teeth start developing (in your gums) 6 months before you are born.
  • When you are looking at someone you love, your pupils dilate, they do the same when you are looking at someone you hate.
  • Blondes have more hair than dark-haired people.
  • Your thumb is the same length of your nose.

Foot Facts - uncovered!

  • Feet may come in pairs, but they are frequently unmatched, sometimes differing as much as a full shoe size. Unfortunately, shoes are sold in pairs, not mix-n-match. Always buy shoes to fit the larger foot.
  • Sherlock Holmes was the master of discerning limps, gender, social standing and foot disorders from footprints.
  • People take an average of 10,000 steps in a day, adding up to about 115,000 miles in a lifetime - enough to go around the planet more than four times.
  • Reflexologists’ believe that the feet mirror the body, with the toes relating to the head, the ball of the foot relating to the chest area, down to the heel which relates to the hip or pelvic region.
  • There are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet. Sweat glands in the feet excrete as much as half a pint of moisture a day.
  • The feet of a person weighing 130 pounds absorb 500 pounds of pressure with every step. This impact reaches about five million pounds of pressure each day.
  • Shoes are important to women since they generally average 10 miles a day, outdistancing men who average only seven miles a day.
  • Feet are said to be the "mirror" of an individual's health. Arthritis and circulatory disorders often reveal their initial symptoms in the lower extremities. The foot also gives clues about a person - height, weight and gait.
  • Your two feet contain 52 bones, a quarter of all bones in the body.
  • Each foot also contains 33 joints, 107 ligaments and nerves, 19 muscles, tendons and blood vessels.
  • Most Americans log 75,000 miles on their feet by age 50.
  • A 150 pound person walking one mile exerts the equivalent of 63 1/2 tons, 127,000 pounds - on each foot.
  • Feet are strong enough to support up to four times the body's weight during high impact activities, yet sensitive enough to detect a grain of sand.
  • Your feet mirror your general health. According to conventional medical wisdom, conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet - so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
  • About 60-70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of diabetic nerve damage, which in severe forms can lead to lower limb amputations. Approximately 56,000 people a year lose their foot or leg to diabetes.
  • Only a small percentage of the populations are born with foot problems.

Going Back Through

There is a phenomena you run into the longer you do reflexology. Some people call it a "healing crisis'. We call it "going back through". Going back through is the experience of a past illness or injury again. It is a type of deja vu of sorts. I am going back through an old judo injury currently. My achilles tendon was rupture when I was sixteen. I was laid up for quite awhile. And the pain was so bad that they put me on morphine. The funny part is that these "going back through" experiences can be quite dramatic. My "deja vu" was intense starting as an ache and then actually feeling like the injury from the past. The sides of my ankles were deeply bruised. i could hardly walk. Each footstep was like shards of glass ran from my heel to the ankle. But then in 24 hours it had all started to fade. Right now it is a mild ache hardly noticeable. And my ankle feels really loose and limber. Our bodies remember all kinds of injuries, illnesses and accidents but we have an incredible ability to go on adapting to whatever knock us off course. Even though we adjust to the assault the memory is still there. Why then do we revisit these old traumas? My theory is that there is a three part adaptation process taking place. First our bodies try to survive and throw all it's resources to meet that mandate. Next if we can get beyond sheer survival the body has enough resources to start making repairs. If we have even more resources we move into a state of wellness. But if the body is always in a state of "fight or flight" repairs aren't made and things are covered over. They get buried inside. But reflexology frees up energy committed to these old memories. When enough energy is free the body starts it's incredible repair process. It's like the the body intelligently selects a project to work on. And then it methodically sets out to fix what is still broken. The way I can usually tell if it is a "going back through" experience is how long the experience lasts. Even if it is intense at first the duration is much shorter then the original injury. And at the end there seems to be a resolution to what once lurked in the background. And the other clue is that there isn't a triggering event. I didn't twist my ankle or even stress it much with the current situation. I hadn't been standing for long periods of time or walking long distances. Nothing seemed to trigger it. I felt great before it happened better than I had felt in years. Despite the pain I rejoice at these events because I know it is progress. Even though at moments it is hard to figure out if you are moving forward or backward there is a sense that this is a good direction. By putting energy into the healing process, inputting positive messages through reflexology, massage, yoga and so forth we allow that innate intelligence we all have within us to find the best solutions. Kevin Kunz

Letter re: Effects of Reflexology on Spinal Cord Damage

Dear Sir: I'm not sure if you will be able to help me. I would like to know if you have any info on the effects of reflexology and people who have had severe spinal damage. I have a client who has been in a wheel chair for 16 years. He was healthy until the accident. His spinal cord was not severed but badly crushed and he has had 2 operation to fuse together his T12 and L1 and also some work done on his 3rd and 4th L. I have been working on his feet since the end of December, 2007 once a week, but he has had, right from the first treatment, tingling, twitching and burning sensations in his legs. At first they only lasted an hour or two but lately they are continuing to last almost up to the next treatment. Many times the sensations are in the same area as before, but many times they seem to be in different places. Before working on my client he said he had never felt anything below the knee except for in his feet, but he has had burning and tingnling in his calf muscle on the right the leg. Do you have any research or any information that can help me understand better what might be happening with my client, if there are areas I should be concentrating on or techniques that would be more effective? Any information would be a great help I'm sure.Thank You. Sincerely,Susan Certified Reflexologist Sue Try Pay particular attention to the eye-ear reflex area at the base of the toes. Functional MRI studies now show that this is an integrative area that brings a lot of areas together. It was a critical area with activating the "crossover effect". This is when working on one foot makes the other foot move. In the case of quadriplegia it can be the opposite hand. We aren't sure that the "crossover effect" is present or if necessary for progress in all paralysis cases. But the movement became more sophisticated overtime implying some type of programming was going on. There may be periods of increased spasming. He may be disturbed by this and want to quit. But it does seem to be part of the process. Our points of emphasis list includes the eye-ear, head-neck and spinal reflex areas. The area along the spinal reflex area at the point of the injury (in this case T12 and L1) can be quite rough and as stimulating as the eye-ear reflex area. It is critical to locate and pay attention to this area. You are in uncharted areas. We had some effect on all our paralysis clients. But they never had sensations in their feet to begin with. Stay in touch. It is hard to say where this will end up but we found it kept them healthy above all else. All the best, Kevin Kunz

Chemotherpay & Reflexology

Our friend, Sara, called up for advice. She is a nursing student and one of her patients was asking about nausea, a common side effect of chemotherapy. Sara called us up because she had heard us talking about it in relationship to reflexology. There is about 16-20 studies now on reflexology and chemotherapy that show positive results with nausea. Sara asked where should I show them to work. We went to the research. The procedure is to work lightly and never more than thirty minutes. The emphasis is on relaxation so the one study's routine started out with "desserts" or relaxation techniques including "side to side" and "hook in the ankle". Also the solar plexus reflex area is a good overall relaxing area. See The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology or Complete Reflexology for Life . Sara asked if the solar plexus was on the Interactive Reflexology Charts. It is. The next question is where do you work besides the solar plexus. The answer according to the research is to work the whole foot but with emphasis on the part of the body effected by the cancer. In this case it was colon- rectal cancer. There should also be emphasis on the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal reflex areas to boost the immune system. These are endocrine glands. I mentioned that there was some very interesting research saying that hospitals should teach the partners of cancer patients to do reflexology. Sara replied, "that is what I am doing." If anyone can do it Sara can. Kevin Kunz

Reflexology & the Cancer Patient

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Service is offering a workshop on Reflexology for the Cancer Patient: An Integrative Oncology Seminar for Licensed/Certified Reflexologists. This is really exciting. The only problem is that this seminar is being held in New York State. New York State for decades has barred trained, qualified reflexologist from practicing unless they have a massage license. Now the New York State "reflexologist" needs absolutely no training in reflexology and can claim they are qualified as long as they have a massage license. What is the outcome? Usually you get a foot massage and not reflexology in New York State. They are doing this to protect their citizens. At least that is their claim. So I am curious what this seminar will present. Foot massage or reflexology? I won't be able to find out. I am not qualified to attend. Kevin Kunz On a side note, Israel will be the the site of October's 2008 1st ever annual conference regarding the effects of reflexology in treating patients with cancer. This will truly be a historic event!

No You're Not Goiing to Have a Heart Attack!

"While studying my hand I noticed some tenderness in the heart and arteries area." So started a post to Yahoo Answers. The post ended with the writer being scared that what had been found using a hand chart could be a heart attack waiting to happen. I get these queries all the time. I also try to answer them when I see them on the Internet. Charts do have their drawbacks. They aren't diagnostic tools. Here is my answer to the poor person with the hand chart from Yahoo Answers. **************************************************************** Don't panic. Tenderness is not always a sign there is something wrong. It is simply a stress cue. That means there is stress in an area. And quite simply it could simply be stress in that part of your hand. Whether it reflects stress in another part of the body takes a skilled reflexologist. Here is why it is necessary to panic. Reflexology hasn't been developed as a diagnostic tool. And self diagnosis is one of the worst things to do. I get letters like this all the time. Second when you look at a reflexology chart it isn't simply the heart it is also the surrounding area. The heart overlaps with a number areas like the chest, lungs, and upper back. The stress cue may be reflecting a number of these areas. I have had people strain a muscle in their back and it is reflected in a stress cue in the hand. Is this a heart problem? No but that is why I tell people not to go to a reflexologist for a medical diagnosis. Now if you are looking to find where stress lies in the body we are not bad at that. But that takes a series of questions as well. Third the simple solution that is mostly for your piece of mind is to get a conventional medical exam. Nothing wrong with that. We all need regular monitoring and not because of soreness in our hands. Believe me in my 32 years of reflexology practice I have not run across someone who has used a chart on their own and found a serious disorder. One final note there are several types of pain. Acute problems usually are extremely sensitive to the touch not just sore. Hope this helps. Kevin Kunz