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Κυριακή, 5 Απριλίου 2015

Reflexology and Sports Related Injuries

Article written for the ICR International Council of Reflexologists Newsletter March 2015 here.

It has been a long time now since Eunice Ingham first started visiting clinics and hospitals trying out Reflexology in order to formulate her chart, but also to inform patients and physicians about our beneficial method. So nowadays it comes as no surprise when we hear that Reflexology has been integrated into that clinic or that hospice or other medical settings for that matter.

There is another area though that Reflexology has proven worthy of integration but unfortunately this is not well known, neither researched nor documented thoroughly. This area would the area of sports. Athletes either your average weekend warrior or the high performance athlete all want to live up to the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger” In order to do this they too require wellbeing, stamina, health and a injury free status.

Reflexology most of the time will not be their first choice in order to acquire these elements. 

But as is with most of our “ordinary” clients seeking to resolve health issues, athletes will come to us when they have tried everything else. This means that by the time they visit us, a possible muscle strain for example, will be chronic and unresolved.

Hopefully one day when a Reflexologist has built his reputation, athletes will be requesting his/her services much sooner, possibly even sports clubs will integrate us in their standard medical team.

What are we good at?

There are definitely quite a few areas that are modality will prove of benefit to all athletes.
One of my favorites has to do exactly with our immediate influence on the feet. Of course we work through a concept of an exact reflection of the human body on the feet, thus affecting it indirectly, but is there anyone who will deny the direct relief to the feet themselves offered by the experienced and loving hands of a reflexologist? 
So yes, we still remember and live by Eunice Ingham’s dictum 

"If you're feeling out of kilter. Don't know why or what about. Let your feet reveal the answer. Find the sore spot, work it out".

But, besides what that sore spot refers too, will our hands not loosen up all the joints in the feet, thus loosening up all the bodies’ joints? Let’s take as an example the most common stiff big toe (Hallux Rigidus). In sports (and in life!) this joint is very important because it has to bend every time you take a step, jump, and run or propel yourself.  If the joint starts to stiffen, even walking can become painful and difficult.
So, among numerous sports, imagine if a swimmer or a diver has a stiff big toe, will he/she propel themselves from the diving board or every time they flip turn inside the pool the best they can? The answer is no! 

Obviously besides thumb walking, I like to work on this joint sitting on the side of the foot and holding it between the base of the palms of my hands pumping it and gently rubbing it with circular movement. After a while the joint softens and loosens up. To finish off I like to practice a wave like traction movement on the two joints of the big toe. Many times I hear the popping release sound the joint makes, but I never struggle to make this happen, if it does good, if not no problem. Anything else I consider invasive. Of course when I approach such an issue I will obviously ask the athlete about any complaints/issues in the head/neck area (organs and myoskeletal), and have a look out for signs along the spleen and liver meridians since they too are associated with the big toe.

Let me finish off on this part by saying that I pay extra attention in loosening all toes and opening up the metatarsals. Besides a stronger push off phase, this spreading offers more stability and flexibility that will be utilized by the athlete. It will also improve proprioception and in cases of pain conditions associated with the sclerotomes of the feet, for example low back pain, you will be stimulating the normal somatosensory input that closes the pain gate thus hopefully reducing the perception of pain.

Another area that definitely stands out is that of issues regarding the digestive track. We all know that reflexology is beneficial and has an immediate effect on the autonomous nervous system thus on the organs because the two major nerves involved in Reflexology, the tibial nerve and the median nerve have a high neurovisceral portion (Barral-Croibier)

In sports, athletes especially high performance ones, are trained to not complain about pains and aches this is part of their life so they build tolerance, and this has to do mostly with their myoskeletal system. But they are still human and under stress, so it is very common to encounter a hiatal hernia or acid reflux or constipation. Now something strange that cannot be easily explained happens often here.  I will ask them while working on their feet and feeling something at a given reflex “is there anything wrong or are you concerned with your ….stomach, for example?” And the answer will be “yes”, but not in a concerned way, rather in a “…do not concern yourself with that, make sure my shoulder is alright.” Be on the lookout for these issues and treat them accordingly. It is imperative that a form of “training“ take place here on the importance of the digestive system for example and a more wholistic approach to health, or that shoulder will possibly not be alright.

In order to treat these issues the area we are interested in is definitely the solar plexus. Inghams solar plexus on the diaphragm line has proven worthy many many times. 

Let me just add the solar plexus reflex according to nerve reflexology (Nico Pauly). This would be placed on the plantar aspect of the base of the first metatarsal bone and the plantar surface of the medial cuneiform bone, all in zone 1. I love this reflex because besides the solar plexus reflex, close to it is the adrenal reflex and the attachment of peroneus longus.
Peroneus longus is important because of its connection in myofascial terms with the lateral line which coincides with the gallbladder meridian.
According to Tom Myers: Postural function of this Lateral line is to balance the front - back and the left - right sides of the body; it also mediates forces among other lines. This line can bend the body, flex the trunk, and function as a brake for any lateral and rotational movements. It participates in frontward or backward movement by "containing it". When we use this line in movement we go or turn sideways = think of obstacles in life, avoiding them or looking the other way.
I like using a circular movement with my thumb on this area, move in both directions clockwise-anticlockwise and use the one that feels more relieving to your client. A related article of mine on this topic here.

It is so interesting that though neurologists, physiotherapists and gymnasts have been taught this knowledge, have documented it and researched into this field they do not use it. Reflexologists are the ones who broadly use this therapeutic concept as it was handed down to us by Eunice Ingham in her books. I have to admit though that I have noticed unfortunately the last few years there is a tendency to leave this knowledge out of our basic training. None the less it is a very efficient method for treating pain and assisting various myoskeletal issues.

For example, for a sprained right ankle on the medial side – hallux zone, one could look for the most painful area on the medial side of the left ankle (cross reflex), or the lateral side of the right wrist – thumb zone, (referral area). Upon locating the painful area apply forcible rubbing and in between sedative technique. I advise you to teach the athlete also to do it himself 4-5 times a day, they are more than willing to learn and apply, plus it has remarkable
Other examples are:
biceps brachii – biceps femoris
triceps brachii – quadriceps femoris
first metatarsal – first metacarpal
tibia bone – radial bone

The ear, the face.
The ear chart is a great tool to know of because it might "unblock" something that otherwise would have not. I remember last year towards the end of the championship our team captain had sustained severe muscle strain in his hip after direct contact with the knee of an opponent. Although the medical team was treating it with standard care the player did not feel as the pain was being addressed nor was he gaining mobility. What happened was that I started working on his hip reflex on his ear the morning of game day.

When we met up at court, he anxiously came up to me and showed me his ear; some skin had peeled off from the spot I had been working on. But what was really interesting was that he also showed me his hip, it seems that the internal bruise had surfaced in a couple of hours relieving him of pain but also adding mobility.
The ear is a great tool also to teach athletes to use at home or on their own.

The face is very interesting because I will use it under specific circumstances. Extreme stress is such a circumstance. During competition an athlete might need stimulation, but it is not always easy to offer treatment especially if they are dressed and wearing their shoes ready for competition. When I am with my handball team at the court on game day I touch everyone’s hand, try to see if they are sweating or not, stressed or not. 
So when I find them sweaty/stressed I try to bring balance utilizing the ear and the face. Once during a title game, our star player was not himself in the court. At half time I let the coach speak to all of them and just as they were ready to go out for the second half I asked him how he was. He answered that he did not feel well, something was wrong. I offered to treat him on the face, he gracefully accepted. This was a two minute maximum stimulation, the player had the best game of his career and was announced MVP. I am sure you would like to know what I focused on…,  I followed Ingham’s dictum, “find the sore spot, work it out.”

Like I stated in the beginning ordinary people and athletes come to us when they have first tried everything else. So what is left to try? Chinese medicine is one concept we could and should bring into our reflexology work.
So for general tissues and muscles we should initially palpate and then treat accordingly the earth element reflexes on the feet which would be stomach and spleen/pancreas but also follow the meridian up to just below the knee or elbow respectively. For issues regarding muscles, tendons and ligaments we will do the same but for the wood element meaning the liver and gallbladder reflexes. In my experience the gallbladder reflex is very effective for any muscle issue.

In the early 1960’s George Goodheart came up with the new idea for working with muscles. Goodheart’s research showed that most muscles have an association with internal organs through the meridian system. Through this concept he devised a system of therapy called applied kinesiology. The association of each organ/meridian and muscle follows.

Small intenstine - Abdominals, Quadriceps
Triple Heater- Sartorius, Gastrocnemius, Soleus & Gracilis (Adrenals), Teres Minor (Thyroid)
Heart - Subscapularis
Pericard - Adductors, Piriformis, Gluteus
Stomach - Neck Flexors and Extensors, Levator Scapula, Pectoralis Major Clavicular, Brachioradialis
Spleen/Pancreas - Trapezius (M & L), Triceps, Latissimus Dorsi, Palms, Opponens Pollicis Longus
Large intenstine - Hamstrings, Fascia Lata, Quadratus Lumborum
Lungs - Deltoid, Diaphragm, Coracobrachialis, Serratus Anterior
Urinary Bladder - Sacrospinalis, Anterior & Posterior Tibialis, Peroneus
Governor vessel - Teres Major
Kidney - Psoas, Iliacus, Upper Trapezius
Conception Vessel
Gallbladder - Popliteus, Anterior Deltoid
Liver - Rhomboids, Pectoralis Major Sternal

So, when do we use this knowledge? 
Many conditions that seem to be of a mechanical nature may not have mechanical etiology. It might be caused by organic, Chi, lymphatic or emotional conditions and the mechanical condition is where the athlete is housing the symptoms. One good way to find out is to ask how the condition appeared. If it was a direct injury or sprain then standard procedures may be used. If the answer is “it happened suddenly or built up slowly” then we are not dealing with mechanical etiology and the therapist has to find out what the real cause is or else the symptoms will return.

LynneBooth is well known in sports reflexology; from her I have been influenced and utilize concepts from her vertical reflex method. The needed weight bearing position of the recipient in this approach offers something that having the client lie down does not. The clients muscle chains are activated and will show tender spots then contrary to having them lie down where their muscle chains will be deactivated possibly showing no tender spots. Give it a try, have them stand for a while and work on the feet, pay attention to the reflex area we recognize as “fallopian tube or seminal vesicle” respectively. Something beautiful happens there but I will let Lynne tell us herself this September in Sheffield.

Lastly I would like to add some knowledge from our colleague Arve Fahvlik (Norway). For any chronic issue, meaning anything over four months, it is safe to assume that the homunculus also has been affected. For example, if an athlete has had a tight left biceps femoris for several months something additionally we could try is to work out the representation of that muscle on the homunculus reflex on the right foot! The homunculus being in the cortex would be around the edge of the thumb. Article source: Introduction to full-body-reflexology - part 4 - by Arve Fahlvik 

As a final piece of advice, if you choose to work closely to athletes, try the best you can to be fit, to be optimistic, psychology is very important, and try not to be affected if they are victorious or when they are not, somebody has to keep the balance. You can cheer silently at home alone later, you can also be sad alone later. 

You will be the one that will feel their anxiety, their pain, their tiredness, you will also be the one that will feel their positive prospective and their joy.  If we are blessed, we might be the person that touches last these super people, before they accomplish the unaccomplishable

Have you ever seen in formula1 racing when it rains that there is someone holding the umbrella over the pilot? This is his therapist!
In conclusion, I know as a certainty that we have a lot to offer in this part of life also. When in high performance sports winning first place or second place comes down to details, reflexology is one such detail.

Τετάρτη, 11 Μαρτίου 2015

Steps Toward Massage Therapy Guidelines: A First Report to the Profession

In establishing an evidence-based consideration of massage relative to health care, multiple challenges must be dealt with. Among them are the diversity of massage techniques, philosophies, and contexts, and the evidence base itself. In the United States at least, not all that falls under a regulatory context of massage can be assumed to be health care system–related; a broad and diverse range of services can appropriately be considered client facilitation or client-directed somatic/sensory exploration. As part of a general set of health care system definitions, the construction of massage regulation in the United States has been based on a “wide-net” paradigm of touch practices rather than on an outcome competency paradigm. Addressing this situation, Rosen() recently commented on the need for a more compactly defined knowledge and competency base for health care system inclusion.


Τετάρτη, 4 Μαρτίου 2015

Referall areas

Referall areas

De Medicina (On Medicine) 
by A. Cornelius Celsus Book II

"Finally, if particular limbs are rubbed, many strokes are required and forcible rubbing; both because the body cannot be as a whole quickly rendered weak through a part, and it is necessary that as much as possible of the diseased matter should be dispersed, whether our aim is to relieve the limb actually rubbed, or through it another limb."

Paragraph 14 - p181

Picture reference: http://www.dailybandha.com/2011/07/antagonistsynergist-combinations-in.html

Evidence based practise

From Denmark: Reflexology for colicky babies.

The treatments are reimbursed by the goverment. Even though we do not understand a word we hear, we understand so much just by looking! So cute, good work from Helle Roed!

Δευτέρα, 23 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Ο Γκάλης, ο Φιλ Τζάκσον και ο... ΛεΜπρόν! Διάβασε περισσότερα στο: Ο Γκάλης, ο Φιλ Τζάκσον και ο... ΛεΜπρόν!

Τι κοινό έχουν ο Νίκος Γκάλης, ο Phil 

Jackson, ο Νίκος Κακλαμανάκης, ο 

Lebron James, η ομάδα χάντμπολ 

Διομήδης Άργους και πολλοί 

άλλοι πρωταθλητές και Ολυμπιονίκες;

Απάντηση: Όλοι τους χρησιμοποιούν ή κάποια στιγμή χρησιμοποίησαν Συμπληρωματικές και Εναλλακτικές Θεραπείες (ΣΕΘ) στην προσπάθειά τους να είναι οι υγιέστεροι, οι πρώτοι, οι καλύτεροι!

Διάβασε περισσότερα στο: Ο Γκάλης, ο Φιλ Τζάκσον και ο... ΛεΜπρόν! | gazzetta.gr 
Follow us: @gazzetta_gr on Twitter | gazzetta.gr on Facebook

Τρίτη, 27 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Evidence Based Medicine

Conventional medicine is very far from being fully evidence based and the NHS has not decided to remove interventions that are not evidence based from what it offers to the public. Thus it is hypocritical and disingenuous for opponents of CAM to call for homeopathy for example to be removed from the NHS for ‘lack of evidence’. Why is this disingenuous? Because it leaves in the public’s mind the very false message that conventional medicine is obviously all evidence-based.

Unfortunately for people like Edzard Ernst, Michael Baum, Simon Singh, Ben Goldacre et al, that use EBM (evidence based medicine) as a tool to attack homeopathy and CAM exclusively, the case for orthodox medicine being evidence-based just got a whole lot worse.



Σάββατο, 17 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Woman Sues Over Reflexology Socks — But Do They Really Work?

Woman Sues Over Reflexology Socks — But Do They Really Work?

(Photo: Flickr/Feel my feet - Day 16)

This is a realy interesting story, we wonder what the outcome will be, especially since....

"the amount in controversy exceeds the sum
of value of 5,000,000.00, excluding interest and costs" page 4http://www.scribd.com/doc/252646919/Orgasmic-Stockings-Lawsuit#scribd

What 2 things we also find interesting are:

1. In Christine Issel's book, Reflexology: Art, Science, Historyhttp://www.christineissel.com/reflexology_histor.html, Christine tells us that Eunice Ingham tried applying pieces of cotton to peoples reflexes on the feet, a tactic similar to these socks. The results Eunice describes where the opposite of what she was hoping for. I suppose not enough can be said of the importance of knowing history!

2. On the website’s section on the science of reflexology there is an interactive chart depicting a few reflexes. The brain reflex and the heart reflexes are placed on areas I have never encountered before!!!!?

Pain Science patient and therapist workbook 2015

This workbook is an introduction to understanding why we have pain and what we can do about it.

The book should be used with a therapist and a patient.
Each page in the book introduces a concept about pain and that is followed by questions to be answered by someone in pain to make those concepts relevant to the person in pain.
To Therapists: Pain is a person specific event. Therefore, not every lesson about pain is relevant to each person. Feel free to choose which sheets are relevant.



Τρίτη, 13 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Τρεις κυρίες πίνουν τσαί ή Sān Yīn Jiāo ή SP 6

Παρασκευή, 9 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Book review Relational Reflexology: The Blog Posts

Around the world much debate on various levels and areas (legal, social, economic, scientific) has been going on regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine, of course as Reflexologists we should also focus on the debate regarding our modality more closely.

The time of anecdotal evidence and unsupported claims is fading away, especially and specifically if one has the ambition of Reflexology accepted and integrated in what we call western medicine.

I consider myself your everyday Reflexologist, I have not gone through nor posses academic rationale. 
I love offering Reflexology; I feel very good at it, and enjoy my acceptance as a practitioner from the recipients of our modality. 
The first time I touched another person’s feet with the intention to offer what we call Reflexology was in 1992.

I state these things because these issues are adressed in the book and by reading Nicholas book, Relational Reflexology: The Blog PostsI lived again my development from the first glance I took at a Reflexology chart to how I anticipate who I am as Reflexologist today, what I am doing today, and pausing for a moment now, choosing how to proceed. 

For a long time now I feel very strongly that there is more to Reflexology then just stimulating a given reflex point. If you also have felt this way but have found it difficult to put down in words, then this book is for you. This book contains the answer to the question 

“What makes a successful Reflexologist”. 

Of course there is not one answer to that question, for every recipient of our method there is at least one element of our multidimensional method that they relate too. I never would have expected for somebody to find an easy to understand, thoroughly structured step by step, and academically sound way to surface all that Reflexology is.

For instance the area of research, this can be a very stressful area for your average Reflexologist, by now we already know that research is not only offering Reflexology. 
But what is it, what is bias, blinding, quantitative/qualitative? 

Nichola explains these and much more in simple language, even for me your average Reflexologist. I understand now and can utilize the information.

Who are our clients, why do they come to us, probably for Reflexology. But why do they commit to treatments with me with you? In some cases for a long ongoing period of time, even when the initial issue has gone. 

Is it me? What part about me? 
If I only new, I would refine these qualities, I would get better. 

Nichola addresses this, it is like she has seen me and you work. She even has advice on how to get better, stay humble and introduces us to the ethics associated.

I appreciated very much the information on Traditional Chinese medicine and the examples given from her own experience on how to utilize this knowledge in our practice. 
Of course the tremendous amount of information provided on the unattractive matter of scientific principles like, psychoneuroimmunology, cognitive neuroscience, are offered to the reader in such an attractive way that you wish there was more. 
I understood, and there are no pictures, incredible! I can begin to explain, justify what I am doing when I touch someone’s feet.

The chapters of the book  addressing complex health issues like sub-fertility and migraine could easily each be a book on their own. There is a lot of useful information, information that you as a Reflexologist can immediately use.

This is not another book depicting a new method or a new chart, it is a book about you the individual therapist, and what makes you as a Reflexologist special and unique. 
Either novice or experienced Reflexologist, think of it as a book of the possible "new you", it will help you find yourself!

At the end of this review I have a confession to make.

I am in despair!

I am to speak at the 2015 ICR conference about the science behind Reflexology, leaving the charts aside. 

By reading Nicholas book I see that she has covered many parts of my planned presentation! 

What am I to do?

I know, I will utilize her information also, I will develop, I will make it even better, I will become better. Maybe that is what Nichola means by self-development.  

This paragraph kind of stood out for me.

"Leaning too heavily towards understanding the exact mechanics of a reflexology encounter from a solely quantifiable stand-point might be akin to trying to understand the taste and texture of a chocolate cake through describing its molecular structure. Whilst it might be useful to know how it is constructed, perhaps it is the taste that really counts.

Spiros Dimitrakoulas

Πέμπτη, 8 Ιανουαρίου 2015

After Slovenia, now Australia, ...let us hope nothing happens to Denmark!

Tax subsidies for Swedish massage, aromatherapy absurd say health experts

Public health experts are calling on the Federal Government to end to a long-running debate on the future of public subsidies for complementary health treatments.

A draft Government report leaked this week has added to speculation the Government is preparing to scrap public funding of a range of natural therapies offered by private health insurance companies.

The insurance industry and complementary medicine groups are adamant subsidies for natural therapies like iridology and reflexology should continue.

Deborah Cornwall reports.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Australia's love affair with complementary medicines last year cost taxpayers more than $135 million in public subsidies for private health insurers.

That's a staggering 335 per cent increase in the past decade - a trend public health experts say is both alarming and unsustainable, because there's still no scientific evidence that any of the natural therapies even work.

The Australian Department of Health has found none of the 17 natural therapies which are covered by health insurers and subsided by the government – including aromatherapy, reflexology and yoga – have been proven to work on patients.
The report will pu
t pressure on Tony Abbott's government to either strip the rebate from polices that have no evidence suggesting they work, or to fund an expensive research program to resolve the efficacy and effectiveness issue for good.



Reflexology Research from Iran

Comparing the effects of reflexology methods and Ibuprofen administration on dysmenorrhea in female students of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences


Findings of the study showed that the two groups had no statistically significant difference in terms of demographic characteristics (p > 0.05). Reflexology method was associated with more reduction of intensity and duration of menstrual pain in comparison with Ibuprofen therapy. Independent and Paired t-test showed that there was a significant difference in the two groups between intensity and duration of menstrual pain using VAS and PRI in each of the 3 cycles between reflexology and Ibuprofen groups (p < 0.05).


Considering the results of the study, reflexology was superior to Ibuprofen on reducing dysmenorrhea and its treatment effect continued even after discontinuing the intervention in the third cycle. Therefore, considering that reflexology is a non-invasive, easy and cheap technique, it seems that it can replace anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to avoid their adverse side effects.

Τρίτη, 6 Ιανουαρίου 2015

I always wondered about Reflexology in Egypt, here is some research!

Effect of Reflexology on Pain and Quality of Life in a Patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Therefore, reflexology must be considered as a complementary treatment modality in rheumatoid
arthritis. It should be introduced to nursing and medical students, and in postgraduate staff development programs.
Further research is recommended for the long-term effects of this treatment modality in terms of pain and
disablement. Research may also extend to assess the effectiveness of as a useful modality in geriatric care and for
patients with other chronic conditions. 

The reflexology intervention:
Reflexology therapy is not massage, and it is not
a substitute for medical treatment. Source: The
reflexology manipulations in this intervention have
been adapted from the techniques taught in David
Vennells' book entitled Healing Hands: Simple and
practical reflexology techniques for developing good
health and inner peace (David Vennell 2007). A
reflexology session involves pressure treatment that
is most commonly administered in foot therapy
sessions of approximately 20 minutes in duration.
The foot therapy may be followed by a brief 15-
minute hand therapy session and 5 minute for video
film on reflexology treatment. No artificial devices or
special equipment are associated with this therapy. If
the part of the body corresponding to the reflex area
is out of balance then a degree of tenderness will be
felt in the foot when pressure is applied. Treatment to
all of the reflex areas in both feet takes about 40
minutes and during this time the patient is sitting in a
comfortable, reclining position with the feet raised.
Treatment is not applied to inflamed or painful joints.
After receiving a massage treatment, the patient is
instructed to drink water to eliminate toxin and lactic

acids developed during the massage process.