What is Therapeutic Reflexology?
Reflexology may be a new word to some and not so new to others. Otherwise known as therapeutic foot massage for health and well-being, reflexology is also an art & science. Specialised firm, yet gentle, massage techniques are applied to nerve endings (reflex points) in the feet, hands and ears in order to aid the body in finding homeostasis (balance) and healing itself. Reflexologists mainly concentrate on the feet helping to improve circulation here and in the whole body, bringing increased oxygen and nutrient supply to the various tissues and organs and helping to maximise the clearing of waste products therefrom. This helps to revitalise the body and contribute to healing and regeneration.
What are Meridians?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), wherein Therapeutic Reflexology and Acupuncture have their roots, we talk about the meridians. Meridians are electro-magnetic pathways that run vertically up and down the body. Our body’s vital life force, derived from our nutritional intake, oxygen, etc, runs along these energy pathways and feeds our various organ systems, as well as muscles and other tissues. When these pathways become blocked through toxins, the vital life force is impeded and disease may follow over time if not corrected.
By administering reflexology treatment on the feet, one is not only improving circulation to the nerves and other tissues of the body, but also clearing neural pathways, helping the body to regulate the hormonal system, and allowing the vital life force to flow more efficiently, bringing about greater healing and vitality and homeostasis (balance).
MENSTRUAL PAINS, PROBLEMS WITH THE BIG TOE, ACNE AND BLOOD SUGAR IMBALANCES! How are these connected?
Breast cancer, as well as uterine, ovarian and other cancers, can largely be avoided by learning to recognise various minor conditions or pains along the meridians as early warning signals of an imbalance, and thereafter by taking action and responsibility towards a lifestyle change as prevention of further development.
The incidence of breast cancer is on the increase and statistics claim that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. From a Western approach there are no known definitive causes, but likely risk factors emerging from research, including food substances and stimulants such as animal fat, cigarettes and high alcohol consumption. Pesticides used in the production of vegetables, fruits and animal feed are also being researched. These mimic the oestrogen in the body, causing many signs of hormonal imbalances.
Out of the twelve parallel meridians traversing the body, four meridians penetrate the breasts. The Stomach and Pancreas Meridians will be discussed in more detail.
The main function of the stomach is to break down and digest food with a mixture of acid, mucus and digestive enzymes. The pancreas contains enzyme producing cells that secrete insulin and glucagon which regulate the level of glucose in the blood. When observing case studies, any persons with acid/alkaline imbalances (stomach) and/or imbalanced blood sugar levels (pancreas) can manifest any number of conditions (warning signals) along the Stomach and Pancreas Meridians respectively, and if not controlled, could develop into cancer.
Conditions along the Stomach Meridian can include acne on the jaw line (considered by the medical professions as a hormonal imbalance).
The Stomach Meridian also passes through the ovaries, and any females who suffer from acne will often develop PCO (polycystic ovaries). In the breast, the Stomach Meridian penetrates the nipple.
Other warnings of weakness with the Stomach Meridian can include knee pains and problems with second and third toes, e.g. abnormally long second toes, corns or nail conditions. All these, including PCO and breast cancer, can be associated to a high acid level in the tissues and this must be corrected with lifestyle changes.
The Spleen/Pancreas Meridian penetrates the breast on the lateral side of the nipple which is often the section where females become sensitive and swollen during their menstrual cycles. During most menstrual cycles, females “loose” control of their sugar intake and start craving chocolate and carbohydrates. The meridian passes through the uterus and associated weaknesses can include uterine fibroids, endometriosis and/or painful and heavy cycles. On the medial section of the big toes, weaknesses along the meridian can result in bunions, bent big toes or problems with the nails.
These conditions indicate that females have problems with their blood sugar levels, and if not corrected, can lead to diabetes or cancer, or both.
The meridians are a great assessment tool and when truly understood can help prevent many serious health issues if precautionary actions are taken.
The Internet has abundant amount of research on cancer, including breast cancer. The general trend agrees that many of the cancers could be prevented if people adopted healthier lifestyle choices.
Recently film star Angelina Jolie has been credited with a surge in the number of women who want to be genetically tested for breast cancer. In addition to her acting abilities and good looks, Angelina Jolie inherited the genetic predisposition to ovarian and breast cancer from her mother. She underwent a preventive double mastectomy after her doctor told her she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer due to a gene mutation.
Angelina Jolie plans to potentially have additional surgery due to an elevated risk of ovarian cancer as her mother died at 56 in 2007 following a long battle with ovarian cancer.
It is important to remember that only 5-10 % of cancers are medically attributed to an abnormality inherited from parents. The other 85-90% of cancers are a direct result of the aging process and the “wear and tear” of life in general. Also, just because one’s relative has breast cancer does not automatically mean one qualifies for the same.
Considering that so much research talks about lifestyle and risk factors, it might be a good time to have a closer look at the issues and use the Chinese Meridian theories as an early assessment tool, linking an imbalanced lifestyle to issues with the breasts, uterus and ovaries.
Other interesting assessments that belong to the Stomach and Spleen/Pancreas Meridians are the fatty connective tissues, e.g. people having problems with too much weight gain or being too thin. The lips are also connected and warning signs like dry or cracked lips, as well as sores are indicators of problems with the blood sugar (Angelina Jolie often shows a crack in her lower lip, as well as being very thin).
Do not underestimate the power of the body to warn us of imbalances – even the slightest little assessment with the lips or the toes are important warnings of bigger issues to come!
In conclusion, Reflexology may not be able to cure any disease such as breast cancer. However, patients’ quality of life and emotional outlook may be greatly improved with regular treatments given by a Registered Therapeutic Reflexologist, especially for patients who have already undergone cancer treatment. Generally, one would start off with once a week for 5-10 sessions. As the feet become less painful, one may reduce frequency of treatments, as this could reflect improvement in overall health of the body’s systems and a release of toxins. A maintenance program may be followed, of once or twice a month thereafter.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is to override one’s medical doctor’s advice, prescription, medical treatment, etc, nor be a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment and or advice.
To find a reflexologist in your area go to www.reflexologycourse.co.za/listed-therapists/Therapeutic Reflexology is a registered profession with www.ahpcsa.co.za
Main body of article sourced from blog article written by Inge Dougans
Written by Nicolette Da Costa