World Reflexology blog based in Athens Greece by Spiridon Dimitrakoulas, Orthopedic Reflexologist.
"All people should learn the art of medicine, Hippocrate, especially those who are educated and have experience with words, because this is beautiful and at the same time usefull in life." Democritus
Google Website Translator Gadget_________ ATTENTION "Αγγλικά" is ENGLISH !!!!!
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.
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
definitely quite a few areas that are modality will prove of benefit to all
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
So yes, we still remember and live by Eunice Ingham’s dictum
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".
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.
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.
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
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
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
movementwe 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
For example, for
a sprained right ankle on the medial side – hallux zone, one could look for themost
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
brachii – biceps femoris
brachii – quadriceps femoris
metatarsal – first metacarpal
bone – radial bone
ear, the face.
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.
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
ear is a great tool also to teach athletes to use at home or on their own.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
ever seen in formula1 racing when it rains that there is someone holding the
umbrella over the pilot? This is his therapist!
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.