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Volume 11 Issue 3
Sept/October 2005

Slow Food: Take Time to Savour the Flavour
International Slow Food® Movement

Cookin' With Kale!

Reflexology in the New Millennium

Why is Peace So Elusive?

Renewing the Sacred Balance;
Transforming and Healing the Whole Earth Community

Editorial

Reflexology in the New Millennium
by Roxanne Wayland
Kahlee Keane


A well-known pictograph found in the tomb of an Egyptian physician, illustrating foot and hand work being performed on two (lucky) recipients, is thought to be the first documentation of reflexology. According to some researchers this ancient natural healing art form has persevered 5,000 years or more. In this new age of sophisticated technology and quantum physics we are now coming full circle with likely explanations for our ancestors’ equally sophisticated wisdom and intuition.

What is reflexology? I will recap for those as yet unfamiliar. The Reflexology Association of Canada (RAC) states reflexology is based on the principal that there are zones and reflexes in the feet, hands, and ears that correspond to every part, gland, and organ, of the body. Most popular has been foot reflexology—as the feet provide the largest holistic representation of the body, giving easy access to more than 7,000 nerve endings on each foot. Through application of pressure, stretch, and movement, reflexology relieves tension and helps to promote the natural function of the related areas of the body. A reflexology treatment improves the body’s circulation of both blood and lymph, aiding in elimination of excess wastes. It also enhances nerve and immune function, helping to maintain or reestablish homeostasis (balance.)

It is conventional thought that reflexology’s rhythmic thumb technique serves to distract the peripheral nervous system from patterns of stress to facilitate movement away from the sympathetic state (fight and flight) towards the parasympathetic (rest and repair). It has been suggested this rhythmic stimulation disrupts the pain pathways, impeding pain impulses from making their normal ascent to the central nervous system (CNS). Throughout this stimulation released endorphins activate the many opiate receptors along the CNS pathways to further inhibit transmission of pain. Occasional nerve awakenings and myofascial shifts can occur during this deep relaxation of the body. These are some of the processes that may account for the commonly expressed feelings of being more centred (or grounded), energized, cleared of sinus congestion, flexible, as well as relieved of pain. “Walking on air” is a refrain many people use to describe the sensations resulting from changes to the body’s balance mechanisms after treatment.

Dr. Richard Gerber’s landmark book, Vibrational Medicine, sheds new light on the meridian system and perhaps reflexology’s Zone theory, as well. Dr. Gerber states man’s biological interconnection with the higher frequency energies takes place through the meridian system, interfaced with human form’s grid of magnetic domains. These domains move between the primary blueprint of the “overself” and the pattern angles of the human organs—a process known as the axial relationship. The lines that tie together these magnetic domains are known as axiatonal lines. Reflexology’s foot map, representing the body with its delineated zones, seems to align with these concepts and also ties in with the holographic model of the universe (each part containing the pattern for the whole). Dr. Gerber also states the meridians use the passageway between the nervous and circulatory systems to feed the life force into the body extending almost directly to the molecular level. Consequently anything that influences one of these systems would have an impact on the others. To further enhance a session reflexologists can use acupressure on select points of the meridians—an addition to the meridian points that overlap with reflex points.

Oriental medicine embraces both acupuncture and reflexology. Reflexology, being the more hands-on of the two, lends itself to the healing intent of the practitioner. Gifted healers’ energies have been likened to powerful magnetic fields, capable of influencing the recipient’s innate healing mechanism. In many cultures fluttering or rhythmic motions are associated with trance, serving healers to connect to something greater than themselves. Interestingly, axiatonal lines have terrestrial and celestial counterparts that result in resonant frequencies. The primary resonance carries the same rhythmic frequency range as those associated with deep relaxation and meditation. The healer, and in turn recipient, may synchronize with similar frequency—enabling order to be restored within the body’s magnetic domains. Experiments in high energy particle physics have shown that at the particle level all matter is really energy. If we are beings of energy, then it follows that we can be affected by energy. Reflexology evolves within this new paradigm with newly defined forms—Chi Reflexology, Reflexology with Aromatherapy, Colour Reflexology, Reflexology with Reiki, Healing Touch, Chakra Toning, etc. Brief summaries of some of these modalities are included with the booklists provided by Reflexology World, a magazine for practitioners.

As Reflexology gains wider acceptance as a therapy, its effectiveness for specific conditions is being researched. Presently there is a growing body of evidence confirming extensive therapeutic value beyond the realms of mere relaxation and stress management. Denmark and China have been leaders in research. A 1996 report in China found foot reflexology to be 93 percent effective in treating 63 disorders—notably, back pain, migraine, infertility, hormonal imbalance, digestive disorders, stress-related illness, sports injuries, sleep disorders, and arthritis. Reflexology was also assessed as a valuable application for diabetes and nervous system/sensory disorders. More specific details on this study are available at www.reflexology-research.com/medapp.htm under Medical Applications of Reflexology/Findings in research about safety, efficacy, mechanism of action, and cost effectiveness. Another study that has received much press recently is, The Cobblestone Walking Project, conducted by the Oregon Research Institute. This study examined the effects of cobblestone mat walking on adults aged 60 to 88. Mat walking entailed three 45-minute sessions per week over eight weeks. Results indicated significant improvements in health-related outcomes in older adults. The paper by Li, Harmer, Wilson, and Fisher can be found in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (2003,11,487-501) and the website, http://healthyaging.ori.org/cobblestone/cobblestone.html, will provide details and helpful information for interested seniors and care facilities. Cobblestone mat walking is rooted in traditional Chinese holistic medicine.

Most intriguing are the barefoot parks and reflexology paths, popular in many European countries. As these potentially health-enhancing experiences have not yet materialized in Saskatchewan you can experiment with one of the many reflexology rollers that are available, or you can try rolling your feet on a couple of golf balls tied securely in a sock. Better yet, you can enjoy the most beneficial experience by receiving professional treatment from an RAC certified reflexologist. I have found this local group of inspired reflexologists to be passionately committed and well suited for this type of healing work. They possess attributes that surely served them well in meeting RAC’s high qualifying standard for professional practice. Once certified, most practitioners add their own intuitive signature to the simple but complex reflexology experience. Equipped with highly skilled hands, and fingers that “see”, practitioners enter a learning curve often open to universal energy (source).

According to the Reflexology Association of Canada’s scope of practice, reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe, or treat for specific conditions. For further details visit www.reflexologycanada.ca. The written views and opinions in this article are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect those of the Reflexology Association of Canada or its board of directors.

Roxanne Wayland, certified foot reflexologist, uses therapeutic grade essential oils, chi healing intent, chromatherapy, and an extensive nutritional background in her work. She also works in conjunction with a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) when more concentrated nutritional counselling is indicated and desired. Vitaflex “Raindrop Therapy” is offered, as well. Roxanne can be reached in Saskatoon at (306) 477-2708.

 

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