Reflexology vs acupuncture

Many people have heard of acupuncture. But, they’re still asking what’s the difference between reflexology vs acupuncture?

Both modalities have their origins in traditional Chinese medicine and although both are similar in the sense they alternative therapies, or as we like to refer to them, complementary therapies. Both modalities balance your entire body (holistic) through releasing energy flow, there are some intrinsic differences between reflexology vs acupuncture.

Acupuncture uses needles to puncture the surface of the skin
Acupuncture uses needles
The key difference for me is that acupuncture uses needles to pierce, or puncture, the skin.
Karen the MAR reflexologist specialising in Fertility at Essential Feeling Gidea park, Romford giving reflexology on foot
Reflexology uses pressure points to relax and balance at once

Your reflexologist will use a combination of differing pressures (acupressure) on the surface of your skin using a kind of massage which is done within ‘reflex zones’ specifically on ‘reflex points’. Each of these relate to other parts of the body which are not usually reached with a normal massage.

There are no needles involved in reflexology, it is totally non-invasive and very often your practitioner only use a gentle pressure combined with healing energy to improve your health. It also has a wonderfully relaxing effect.

Many clients who have tried acupuncture and then moved to reflexology because they didn’t like it, say that the benefits of reflexology is that is so much more relaxing.

Similarities between reflexology and acupuncture.

Both treatments work with the sympathetic nervous system to calm it down, so in theory clients should fall asleep just as they do in reflexology. However, there is something about having needles sticking out of them during the process that makes them tense and hinders their ability to relax.

Reflexology is like time out.

Thankfully, this doesn’t happen with reflexology which is like a wellness time out, whereas when they’ve had a therapy involving needles, clients describe it as being more like a doctor’s appointment.

While reflexology uses reflexes (pressure points) in the hands and feet the location of which largely resemble the shape of the human body, acupuncture has a more haphazard approach in that the meridians channel all over your body.

So, while reflexology works on the entire body using many pressure points within one area, mainly the feet (although there is foot and hand reflexology) acupuncture uses meridians spread throughout your torso and from foot up to the top of your head.

Ready to book a reflexology session to relax, balance and unwind?

Hopefully that has explained a little of what you were interested in finding out about acupuncture and reflexology. Just one more thing to note, reflexology is safe throughout pregnancy as long as you are attending sessions at a clinic with a trained pregnancy reflexologist as we are at Essential Feeling. If you’d like to ask specific questions, please email us at admin@essentialfeeling.co.uk. Or you can book online now.

Reflexology and back pain.

Real life results supported by accredited research.

When I tell people that as a reflexologist, I have experience in using reflexology to reduce back pain, they think I’ve lost the plot.
But, it’s true. I have clients come to me who are unable to move because they’re in so much low back pain. And these clients aren’t just one demographic, chronic back pain, or acute afflicts most men and women at some point. I mean, who hasn’t had to complain of back pain at some point in their lives?
I work with them all* ranging from serious back problems where surgery is the only option, to men with mechanical chronic low back pain to a niggling discomfort. I treat your back pain with reflexology techniques specifically designed to target the muscles and bones in your spine.
They stagger into my therapy rooms, cringe in pain as they lower themselves into my padded reclining chair and eek their legs up to get their feet on the pillow from which I work during their treatment.
Reflexology and back pain. It works!
Give them an hour of either relaxation or chat and they spring up at the end of their spinal foot reflexology session like they’re different people. Relieved of the pressure in their back and neck. And all this from what on the surface appears to be little more than a foot massage. What’s more is that these techniques work equally as well at relieving pain whether you’ve been suffering with back pain for many years or if it’s a recent issue.
Invariably, clients aren’t fixed after one session. It often takes at least two spinal reflexology appointments in close succession for them to no longer feel any pain or experience only slight problems. But, the effects of that first therapy are always an absolute delight, to both me and my clients because, let’s face it, serious back problems result in us being less mobile, and ultimately enjoying our lives less.
So imagine my glee when I found there is a research study to support the link I found between reflexology and back pain. Although I guess me finding this research means that I didn’t discover the link, but I’m happy to skip over that if you are).
Reflexology and back pain, spinal pressure pointchart
The research was listed in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research was conducted with 50 female and male nurses who each suffered from chronic lower back pain which is great because they are in the top ten careers to suffer with neck and back pain due to them constantly lifting etc. They each had three sessions of reflexology for back pain a week for a period of two weeks.
And guess what the results showed! Yep. That after this two week period during which they had intensive treatments such as those that I provide at Essential Feeling in Gidea Park, the nurses who had received reflexology had a notably lower level of lower back pain than those who didn’t receive the complementary therapy. This led the researchers to draw the conclusion that reflexology therapy can be effective in reducing the severity of chronic back pain with reflexology. It is able to reduce pain from moderate to mild and they recommend it for nurses which is good news if you’re one of the many suffering from work induced sciatica pain.
Now, bear in mind that these groups of people by the sounds of it only had standard reflexology as opposed to the spinal and nerve therapy that I do at Essential Feeling in Gidea Park, and you can see why I jump up and down at the results. I have clients who have been told their only option is to have spinal surgery, and then a few one hour sessions with me and they’re like new people. I truly think that reflexology is amazing.
*Other than patients suffering the kind of pain associated with a physical break in the back, or severed nerve etc.

Understanding grief

The role of a therapist is to build a relationship with the other person so they can gain an understanding of grief for that person and find healthy ways for them to express their grief.
Grief is invisible and people will be told that they look well, but underneath the person will feel let down because they’re really feeling terrible.

Pain and sorrow is the agent of change. It forces you to adapt to the new reality that you don’t want to face.

Counselling is the way to get help to adapt to this new reality.

The length of the grieving to some extent lasts years and a lifetime because we hold memories in our bodies and they live on in us, whether this be for a spouse or a pet. Understanding the longevity of grief is part of understanding grief. What we know from good recent research is that the bond is still there, the relationship continues even though the person has died and we mourn them.
Everyone uses a mechanism that they use to default to coping with loss. This may be to work hard, to drink, to have sex, keeping busy. People use these as blockers to stop them feeling so we need to find different, healthy, mechanisms to allow us to feel and reconnect with our past experiences with the close person we have lost.
As society we don’t accept people suffering because it makes us feel awkward. We don’t know how to say they must be really gong through it so we avoid these intense conversations with platitudes. But this is no support.
Every thought has a physiological outcome, we feel pain in e,g. our chest and it can affect our breathing. This can quickly start to take over if we’re not expecting it and we feel like we’re losing our mind. It’s easier to panic about the physical effects than deal with and recover from our emotional loss.
This is why exercise can help because you are telling your body that you are flying, your using the panic pro-actively. Massage helps simulate this same outcome by stimulating your blood flow and endorphins as sport would.

Grief is a small tidy word that describes a chaotic process.

Around 15% of psychological disorders come from unresolved grief, so understanding grief has a massive impact throughout the world on our mental health. The process of grief is finding the level of our grief, expressing the emotional loss that we feel in our being. The pain is what forces you to express your grief. Some people painting, others play music but these ways are outlets that allow us to express our grief and move forward, hence why we say that pain is the agent of change.
When we are grieving, we block our grieving and then we block our healing. We function on a daily level, but our emotional capacity to engage with love is shortened and often confused.

Pain

Pain is one of the most confusing aspects of grief and most people feel guilt. It could be that you’re alive, that they didn’t have the last conversation, there are many regrets and there aren’t any rules about how to cope with this.
The thing that helps the most is self-compassion. When we’re hurting we end up attacking ourselves. When we’re already down. The best thing is to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and treat yourself as you would a friend. Be kind and give yourself some compassion.
When someone dies the whole family system is disrupted. You have the different members of the family and one thread is cut out which tilts the balance. Each family members have different ways of expressing and dealing with their grief. Grief doesn’t follow one linear path.

Open communication

What’s critical is open communication where people are allowed to be different, grief will likely subside for some people faster than others who struggle more with getting back to normal. These family units with open communication are the most successful at reorganising because they understand the intensity of your grief is different, but no more or less relevant. Often a family is ruptured so not only the person dies, but the source of comfort is also now missing.
So, family and friends are the source of comfort, but when they’re missing this is when you need the bereavement after death services the likes of which Essential Feeling offer. A compassionate ear, a clear space to express your thoughts in a safe environment, whilst understanding the importance of how physical pain and emotional release interact and connect to help you with getting over grief.

How to help someone who is suffering with bereavement after a death.

1. Acknowledge the loss. Don’t try and avoid it, or negate it. Don’t say it’s a relief, they’re in a better place. The person who is grieving doesn’t feel this, they feel loss and grief and will probably want to punch you.
2. Be in it for the long-haul. There are many stages of grief, so stay in contact and allow the person to be honest and either speak or not speak as the person who is grieving feels the need. If someone is suffering from complicated grief, recognise this and help them with how they are coping with grief.

Men and women grieve differently.

Men tend to want to get on and fix things and not talk. Women want to go over the circumstances and focus on their loss. This can cause issues within a couple, if e.g. there is a miscarriage or loss of a child.
The biggest single factor in having a good outcome then it is love that helps us survive the loss, so we need someone who we can feel supported by. And also having anything that helps us relax our body and remove stress, such as a massage. And we mustn’t try and forget the person. Don’t try and push their memory away, we need to reconnect to them in a positive way.
Give yourself treats and have a break away from the grief. Watch a movie with a happy ending that will likely make you feel better, even for the short term. Being around friends helps even though you don’t think it will because its that emotional contact. And if you can’t face friends, then you can always book in with Essential Feeling who understand about your grief over the loss of your loved one.

Find out more here

The phases of grief

Before we get into the phases of grief, it’s important to understand, what is a bereavement?

Bereavement can be defined as the loss of someone close to you, or the loss of a loved one. The grief experienced is the response to that loss.

So in this context grief and loss is a process which can be considered permanent. There will always be an element of loss. But, grief does change over time. There are a series of emotions experienced, even though there will always be a reaction of some kind to losing someone we love.

Stages of grieving

There are stages of grieving which is comforting to people as they see themselves or others moving through these phases or stages in an ordered way. It helps us understand and contain the chaos of grief if we have five jobs to do. We’ve discussed these in more detail, here.

However, this breakdown of the various stages of grief implies there is a particular order to dealing with grief and that grieving is a linear model where in fact we know that grief is a roller coaster with good and bad days being unpredictable.

In this video, they discuss how grief can be conceptualised:

1. Acute grief (grief shock).

The initial stages of grief which usually begins shortly after the death of a loved one. However, in the case of long term, terminal illnesses such as cancer or alzheimer’s, it is not unusual for the grief to start even before our loved ones have died. Many people feel guilt at grieving for the terminally ill prior to their death. This is a normal part of our acceptance. We should expect to behave in this way. It is misunderstood sometimes as being disloyal, but mourning is distinct to individuals and everyone’s process is valid.

Acute grief can include a whole host of experiences that you have never encountered before and you may feel vulnerable in a way you have never felt before. Grief postulates a series of emotions which are deep rooted such as a need to reconnect with the loved one that we have lost or are losing.

This can be overwhelming and you may feel significant emotional pain that can feel physical pain. There may be physical pain that you’ve never felt before such as fogginess and dizziness, heart palpitations and feelings of unreality and denial.

In this phase you may have frequently distracting thoughts about your loved ones. You may have issues concentrating on things that you would normally have been fine with. When we’re grieving our brain is less concerned with remembering normal day to day things. Consequently small things that were previously easy are suddenly more complicated. We find ourselves bargaining guilt, dealing with anger or slipping into an emotional tumble. This could lead to depression later on.

2. Integrated grief.

This is the enduring residual form of grief. In this the reality and meaning of the death are gradually understood. We meet a period of coping and acceptance. This is when we’re able to start moving forward again with enjoying ourselves and forming meaningful relationships.

Integrated grief does not mean that we forget about our loved one, we don’t miss them any less or stop experiencing sadness when we think about them. But, when we deal with integrated grief we’re able to find a way to feel connected to our loved one. Without them needing to be a physical presence in our lives.

We’re able to start to enjoy our life again without the thought of our loved one being constantly on our minds. However, there may be periods when acute grief and grieving re-emerges and it’s common. It can occur around the times of significant dates, e.g. holidays and birthdays, another loss, general life stress etc. But, when we hit the integrated grief phase, we’re understanding and beginning our process of healing.

Prolonged grief

A number of people may suffer with prolonged grief which is a timeline of an extended period of acute grief with complicated features which impede the restructuring process necessary for integrated grief.

To grieve is the natural process to help us adapt, and with other natural processes they don’t always run smoothly and so complicated grief can go on for years without the intensity of the grief decreasing.

If you’re suffering from complicated grief then you should consult with your GP who can refer you to a clinical psychologist with experience in complicated or prolonged grief.
If you’d like to book a grief therapy experience, you can do this here.

The role of counselling psychology in healing grief

.It’s important to understand that many people who are bereaved will heal on their own without the intervention of medical measures or even counselling psychology. Grief is a normal phenomenon as a response to loss. When the loss is of a loved one, we call this a bereavement. Under normal circumstances, the best course of action is a sympathetic ear and a hug, and this is enough for people to make their way through their grief and eventually come out of the other side and get on with their lives.

However, not everyone has someone close to who they feel comfortable confiding in. It may be that you don’t want to be a burden, or you’re simply alone after the loss of your loved one.

Bereavement therapy at Essential Feeling

This is where the bereavement therapy at Essential Feeling comes in. We offer that loving touch, a warm and cosy space in which you can relax and process your bereavement and grieve with the comfort of a trained therapist. It’s not counselling per-se, but you have the opportunity to open up and for the tenseness in your muscles to relax without the pressure of professional psychology counselling for your grief.

Look for the signs

There are two major circumstances where a program of professional medical treatment of grief and bereavement may be useful and it’s important to look out for these signs:

1. When the grief from the loss of a loved one triggers depression

One of the symptoms of grief is feeling sad for a period of time, but a serious clinical type of depression is very different. We all know that because the loss of a loved one is so severe this could trigger a major depressive episode which is more serious than simple grief which people get over with a little tender love and care.
There are lots of aspects to the vulnerability experienced through tragic loss but someone who has a past history of depression either themselves or as a family history may become more vulnerable. In the first instance, a quick doctors appointment may not be a bad idea.

When a grief triggers a depression, then this makes everything worse. The grief is more difficult to get through and has significant consequences on its own. One of the things to look out for is whether the bereavement has triggered a major depressive episodes. If this is the case, then this is when the grief should be treated through the normal way that doctors would treat any other depressive episode, such as with drugs and so forth.

2. The pain of the bereavement just doesn’t heal on its own.

Most of the time supportive loved ones and time is all it takes for someone’s grief to heal. But for 5% to 10% of individuals time doesn’t help and healing doesn’t occur. Intense prolonged non-healing that lasts for more than 6 months is then likely to continue for years. At this point, deep grief will take a stranglehold on the individual and will interfere with their overall health and wellbeing as well as daily functioning. At this point, the bereavement increases the risk of a number of illnesses and psychological treatment from an accredited psychologist who has a practice speciality in bereavement can make a major major difference. Traditional medication may also help.

Daily symptoms of grief

When someone is still suffering from the daily symptoms of grief on a daily basis they will show certain behaviour. For example, they may have a preoccupation with the person who died on a daily basis. Or they may display acute pain or non-acceptance of the death, for longer than 6 months post the person dying. This is called complicated grief. This is a complication and extenuation of grief. In this instance grief treatment from psychologists who understand the mental effects of grief is necessary. And can be life saving. This specialist treatment from counsellors can help bring someone back from their bereavement. This will assist them in progressing forward having gained the support they need for healing to occur.

Research

In one study of complicated grief, a specific form of psychotherapy can be curative. Some medication can help and may help in combination with the counselling and psychotherapy. There is work ongoing at the moment to look at the specific combinations of medication and psychotherapy.

If you would like to know more about these studies and how medical research into counselling psychology is supporting them, please feel free to watch this video.

To find out more about the bereavement therapies offered at Essential Feeling, you can check out the pages here.

 

Effects of stress on health

Imagine sitting in traffic and you’re late for an important meeting, or for picking the kids up from school. How stressed does that make you feel? These are the effects of stress on health.

The fact that it makes you feel anything means that stress has an emotional effect on your health. Anything which affects our body, either positively or negatively and whether that be mental or physical, has a serious longer term impact on our health.

So, by default, the way you react is the short term impact of stress on your health.

 

Symptoms of stress

Subtle changes over time

Underneath all that panic there’s a subtle change going on to how your body processes all this stressful information. Your physical body is adapting to your increased mental pressure and turning stress into a more negative, chronic problem. You’re sweating to cool down on the off chance you may need to run, because back in the old caveman days, when we’re under stress we needed to run. Our bodies haven’t got over that yet, and so that’s also why our heart rate increases because we may need the extra blood and oxygen to make that run for it.

So, this is the long term affect the stress of repeatedly being stuck in a traffic jam can have. Day after day that sustained peaks in stress takes its toll on our heart and our health, because our system is overworking meaning it doesn’t now have enough energy left to keep us properly healthy.

Big changes and by then it’s often too late

Compound that little health issue with additional mental stresses that we all take for granted as being part of a busy life (picking up the kids, preparing food, holding down a job etc), and you’re now starting to see how easily stress can built up and the impact it very quickly takes on our health.

By utilising our energy to deal with stress, we’re taking from the available resource that we would use to function normally. This is when our body then starts to not have enough resource left to fix itself properly. So, we might get headaches from tension, our fight or flight response doesn’t know when to shut off so we don’t sleep at night and often times we are depressed.

Compound effects of stress

And so the story continues to compound as our body is now not only dealing with stress and a base level of anxiety, but also the triggers.

We’re busy so we forget to drink enough. And because our body needs water to filter out toxins, the situation worsens further. The whole thing turns into a self fulfilling prophecy.

Fertility and stress

Infertility and hormones reflexology and massage

The first physical thing to suffer usually is our fertility because this isn’t critical to keeping us alive. So, our sex drive will drop, we’ll miss periods and men will suffer symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Over time, the problems of stress on health are unimaginable as cells don’t have the resource or the necessary sleep time to reproduce effectively. Malformed cell over the longer term become disease.

Our clients scoff at us when we tell them that stress is the root of all evil, and while that may be a tad on the dramatic side, hopefully you can now see how there are valid points to be made about reducing the impact stress has on our health. And if we can’t, then at least managing the effects it has on our body.

Reflexology is a great way to improve our immune system and reduce the way our mind overworks, thus reducing stress levels. A bit of self care goes a long way when we’re trying to combat the way stressors which make us jump to conclusions about events that are not actually as harmful as we perceive. Within a few reflexology sessions you’ll be able to see life from a more understanding perspective. Once you do this, stress disorders that you’ve been living with usually start to clear up on their own as your fight or flight reactions dull in line with the more relaxed approach you’ve now adopted to life.

You can find out more about reflexology and how it can improve your health, here.

Reflexology for pain

More than one study shows reflexology for pain is helpful

When reviewing the pain in cancer arena, there have been several studies that suggest that there is a place for reflexology in the care pathway. A study by Stephenson in the USA[1] in the difficult to treat group of metastatic cancer showed an ‘immediate positive effect of reflexology for patients with metastatic cancer who report pain’.

A second study from America[2] on post-operative pain and anxiety amongst patients with digestive cancer showed that together with standard postoperative analgesia, compared to a control of usual pain management, the reflexology group showed statistically less pain, anxiety and requirement for analgesia than the control group.

When we look at pain outside of the cancer field, a recent exploratory study of reflexology with pain threshold and tolerance[3] compared a sham TENS machine treatment as the control to reflexology in an ice bath pain experiment. The results showed that the reflexology treatments significantly increased pain tolerance at 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minutes. There was a reduction in heart rate over the first 60 minutes too, indicating that the results may be due to an anti-nociceptive effect. ‘These results suggest the possibility that reflexology may be useful on its own or as an adjunct to medication in the treatment of pain conditions in man’.

Issues regarding pain

One of the issues regarding pain is that it can result in the long term use of medication, of both over the counter painkillers (OTC) and prescription only medication (POM).  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories have potential to cause stomach ulcers, kidney disorders and even liver failure and act additively when used concomitantly with other common drugs[4]. Even multiple doses of Paracetamol and/ or the prophylactic medicines can produce drug induced refractory headaches[5]. Reflexology for pain can improve this.

Another study for menstrual pain

In a small study of students with dysmenorrhea a comparison was made to Ibuprofen. The Ibuprofen was prescribed 400mg every 8 hours over 3 days for three cycles. The reflexology group received 10 treatments over the first 2 cycles, but no treatment during the third cycle. Reflexology was associated with a greater reduction of menstrual pain duration and intensity across all three cycles as compared to the Ibuprofen treated group[6].

Reflexology and migraines

Published studies of reflexology indicate that it aids with Migraines. Lafuenta et al compared reflexology to Flunarizine, a drug often used in the treatment of headache. 32 patients with a variety of headaches including Migraines were randomised into two groups, one received reflexology and a placebo tablet, while the other received Flunarizine and an unspecific friction massage of the arms to control for human contact. The frequency and pain intensity was measured and the results show that the reflexology was at least as effective as the Flunarizine which could be particularly useful where pharmacological intervention is contraindicated[7].

It continues…

In a study comparing reflexology to segmental massage in females with Migraine Wojciech et al looked at the frequency, intensity and duration of Migraine attacks. All variables were reduced at the end of the intervention with both therapies. At three months post intervention, the variables were both still improved with both therapies, however, if the Friedman test is applied the results were much more favourable to the reflexology group[8].

Angina and heart failure

Finally, a study was carried out on Migraines induced by nitroglycerin which is used in the treatment of acute and chronic angina and congestive heart failure.  Reflexology was applied to the big toes, which under reflexology theory is representative of the head; compared to application of pressure to another irrelevant part of the heel or no treatment at all as a control.

This study was on all males which is unusual for Migraine research but which is reflected the original presenting condition of angina and congestive heart failure. The results showed a highly statistical difference for the reflexology group (p=0.000) using the numeric rating scale for pain as compared to the other two groups.[9]

Sources

[1]The effect of foot Reflexology for pain in patients with metastatic cancer. Stephenson N1Dalton JACarlson JAppl Nurs Res. 2003 Nov;16(4):284-6.

[2]Effects of Reflexotherapy on Acute Postoperative Pain and Anxiety Among Patients With Digestive Cancer Shiow-Luan Tsay,  Hsiao-Ling Chen,  Su-Chiu Chen, Hung-Ru Lin, Kuan-Chia Lin Cancer Nursing Vol. 31, No. 2, 2008

[3] Exploratory study on the efficacy of reflexology for pain threshold and tolerance using an ice-pain experiment and sham TENS control Carol A. Samuel Ivor S. Ebenezer, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Volume 19, Issue 2 , Pages 57-62, May 2013

[4] Analgesic, antiulcer, antithrombotic drugs and organ damage: a population-based case-control study. Battelli D1, Riccardi R, Piscaglia AC, Stefanelli ML, Mussoni L, Zani A, Vitale V, Monachese N. Minerva Med. 2015 Dec;106(6):323-31.

[5] https://www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk/migraine-and-headaches/migraine-and-headache-factsheets/medication-overuse-headche/

[6] Comparing the effects of reflexology methods and Ibuprofen administration on dysmenorrhea in female students of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Valiani M, Babaei E, Heshmat R, Zare Z.Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010 Dec;15(Suppl 1):371-8.

[7] Reflexology for pain in comparison to prophylactic flunarizine treatment (powerful migraine medication) on patients suffering from cephalalgia (permanent) headache. Lafuente A., Noguera M., Puy C., Molins A., Titus F. and Sanz F. Dr. Annemarie Kesselring, SBK, Institut fur Pflegeforschung, Bern.

[8] Effects of feet reflexology versus segmental massage in reducing pain and its intensity, frequency and duration of the attacks in females with migraine: a pilot study. Wojciech K, Pawel L, Halina RZ.J Tradit Chin Med. 2017 Apr;37(2):214-9.

[9] Effect of applying reflexology massage on nitroglycerin-induced migraine-type headache: A placebo-controlled clinical trial. Imani N, Shams SA, Radfar M, Ghavami H1, Khalkhali HR.Agri. 2018 Jul;30(3):116-122.

Reflexology for cancer patients — evidence based research

Reflexology for Cancer Patients

In the field of Reflexology for cancer patients and cancer care,  in 2009 62% of cancer units in the UK provided reflexology and it was second only to counselling[1]. This vulnerable and very unwell group have nothing but good things to say about reflexology massage cancer care, with the only complaint being lack of availability of appointments:

‘The improvement in my lower back pain has been staggering’

‘My sleep has improved and I feel relaxed and content’

‘I found having treatments helped me focus and be more positive and able to deal with incidents that made me feel fragile.’[2]

When Reflexology for cancer patients was evaluated in a busy London hospital there was a 28% change in perceived well-being. [3]

‘Patients appear to perceive complementary therapies as enhancing compassionate care and providing comfort during an extremely difficult clinical experience.’

Even in a palliative care setting all participants in the Reflexology for cancer patients felt their quality of life had improved and words such as relaxed and comforted were used while symptoms were reduced.  [4]

When considering mental health, a study of reflexology on the psychological effect of having breast cancer[5] resulted in a statistical improvement in quality of life even at one month after the completion of the intervention. This difference was to a level that was calculated as being clinically worthwhile. While a small cross over trial (the patients were their own control) from America in lung and breast cancer patients showed that both groups of patients in the Reflexology for cancer patients study had a significant decrease in anxiety after reflexology.[6]

Read more about Reflexology for Cancer Patients at Essential Feeling.

Sources on Reflexology for cancer patients

[1] Availability of complementary and alternative medicine for people with cancer in the British National Health Service: results of a national survey. Egan B1, Gage H, Hood J, Poole K, McDowell C, Maguire G, Storey L. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 May;18(2):75-80

[2] Is reflexology as effective as aromatherapy massage for symptom relief in an adult outpatient oncology population? Dyer J, Thomas K, Sandsund C, Shaw C. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2013 Aug;19(3):139-46

[3] Effects of complementary therapies in cancer care. Briscoe J, Browne N (2013) Nursing Times; 109: 41, 18-20.

[4] Does reflexology impact on cancer patients’ quality of life? Hodgson H. Nurs Stand. 2000 Apr 19-25;14(31):33-8.

[5]A randomised, controlled trial of the psychological effects of reflexology in early breast cancer. Sharp DM1, Walker MB, Chaturvedi A, Upadhyay S, Hamid A, Walker AA, Bateman JS, Braid F, Ellwood K, Hebblewhite C, Hope T, Lines M, Walker LG. Eur J Cancer. 2010 Jan;46(2):312-22.

[6] The Effects of Foot Reflexology on Anxiety and Pain in Patients With Breast and Lung Cancer ONCOLOGY NURSING FORUM Stephenson, N. L. Weinrich, S. P. Tavakolil, A. S. 2000 VOL 27; PART 1 , page(s)  67-76

Read also about how garlic benefits can help you with cancer.

Reflexology science based medicine

Reflexology Science Based Medicine (EBM)

Whenever reflexology is mentioned within a clinical setting the question that always arises is where’s the evidence? If only large randomised trials are used to make science based medicine decisions then it is absolutely accepted that reflexology does not have that level of evidence. But the original Sackett definition of evidence based medicine (EBM) is:

‘the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.’ [1]

This definition actually does not define EBM as only requiring  large Randomised Controlled Trials but more that the best research available together with a clinical decision should be brought into the decision making process for individual patient care. The clinical expertise originates with the health professionals involved but the patient also brings with them personal preferences and expectations that are involved in the decision-making process. It further goes on to say, that the evidence by itself, does not make the decision, but it can help support the patient care process.

The full integration of these three components into clinical decisions enhances the opportunity for optimal clinical outcomes and quality of life. EBM actually melds very well with the NHS England ‘Putting patients first’ policy, that not only should the best decision be made for that individual patient but that they themselves should be involved in the making of that decision.

With this in mind, while the best evidence about Reflexology science based medicine is not a large and comprehensive collection of research studies, neither is reflexology solely specific to one medical condition.

The very nature of reflexology as a complementary therapy means it is not condition limited,  it can be used across many areas where patients are feeling stressed, anxious or in pain and/ or need a boost to their quality of life and wellbeing. This lack of specificity does not bode well for research meta-analyses, and when meta-analysis for complementary therapies is undertaken it usually results in a negative outcome. This does not necessarily mean that reflexology has no worth but rather that its action is too heterogeneous to be successfully analysed using this system.[2]

If, however, the existing best evidence;  that of the separate research studies are taken into account,  then it can be seen that there is potential in this low cost, supportive therapy. Potential that could help care for patients in a way that perhaps is missing from the present-day NHS.

 

[1] Science-based medicine David L. Sackett Seminars in Perinatology Volume 21, Issue 1, February 1997, Pages 3-5

 

[2] Meta-analysis: Its strengths and limitations Esteban Walker, Adrian V. Hernandez, Micheal W. Kattan Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2008 June;75(6):431-439

Long term conditions

Conditions, especially long term ones, can be a complex vortex of illness, pain, anxiety, depression, emotions and needs.[1] Standard medical care does not cope well with complexity as it rather follows straight paths as compared to swirling spirals. There is evidence that people with long term conditions receive poorer quality of care than those with a single condition.[2]

 

[1]http://www.nhsconfed.org/~/media/Confederation/Files/Publications/Documents/Investing%20in%20emotional%20and%20psychological%20wellbeing%20for%20patients%20with%20long-Term%20condtions%2016%20April%20final%20for%20website.PDF

[2] https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/mental-health-and-long-term-conditions-cost-co-morbidity

Reflexology Q&A — Certified Reflexologist near me

Karen, your MAR reflexologist at Essential Feeling, Romford answers your reflexology based questions so you can find a Certified Reflexologist near me.

If you’re looking for a Certified Reflexologist near me but you’re not sure where to start, then here are a list of the common questions answered. That way you can be sure that when you book with Karen MAR at Essential Feeling Gidea Park, Romford, you’re making the right choice.

1. What qualification in reflexology do you hold, and when did you qualify?

I qualified with the ABC awards which is recognised by the AOR (Association of Reflexology) the professional reflexology association as a quality training. I have a Level 3 Diploma in Reflexology and Anatomy and Physiology. 

Karen reflexology qualification certificate. Certified Reflexologist near me

On top of this, Karen has also continued her professional development and holds many other training certificates in e.g. fertility reflexology, pregnancy reflexology, spinal reflexology, nerve reflexology and cancer care. She is also a certified nutritionist and counsellor.

2. Do you belong to any professional associations?

As noted above, Karen is a member of the AOR. Membership of a reputable professional association such as the Association of Reflexologists is a strong indicator of a continuing commitment to high professional standards. Don’t be afraid to check this association out – they are reputable and have a Code of Practice and Ethics that all members ascribe to, a robust complaints procedure, will require all practitioners to be fully insured and will require all practitioners to continue their learning and professional development throughout their career.

MAR status means Karen has passed a rigorous quality control process before they can even enter membership, and they are required to continue their learning about reflexology throughout their career.

3. Where do you give treatments?

Essential Feeling have treatment rooms at their home address. They are separate to the house in an annex so you won’t have to endure a TV blasting or dogs barking during your session.

We have free off street parking on the drive in allocated parking spaces right outside the entrance to the treatment rooms. 

4. How much do you charge for treatments?

All of our sessions at Essential Feeling are the same price. It’s £60 per hour and the minimum time is one hour. We won’t compromise on this, we want to do a great job for you, otherwise it’s our reputation at stake and cutting down the time affects the quality of your outcome.

We work on an appointment basis, from 7am in the morning to 10pm at night, 7 days.

5. How long should I allow for an appointment?

Your slot is one hour and please do check out our policy on this, here.

6. What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?

Nothing, just yourself. It’s easier if you are wearing something that is easy to remove on your feet, but it’s no issue if not. The main thing is to make sure that you return the online consultation form well in advance of your session so that your therapist has the time to give it good consideration before you come along.

7. How firm or gentle are your techniques?

If you have a preference then let us know. It’s no issue to adapt. The pressure we would naturally use will be different depending on why you are coming. If we need to stimulate something, then we’ll use a more firm pressure than if we’re working with you on cancer care.

8. What medium do you use on the feet?

Karen uses a specialist reflexology wax by choice.  Please let her know in advance of your session if you have any allergies.

If you’d like to go ahead and book with Karen, a Certified Reflexologist near me in Gidea Park, Romford, you can drop her a text on 07757 946023 or if you’d like more information on the types of reflexology she offers, then more information is here.

Reflexology — how it works

How reflexology works
How reflexology works

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary health therapy that can be effective in promoting deep relaxation and wellbeing; by reducing stress in people’s lives can be key in optimising good health and building resilience. It is a touch therapy that is based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body and reflexologists work these points and areas. At Essential Feeling, Karen specialises in foot reflexology, but also sometimes works on hands instead of or as well as your feet. This is because some conditions are better treated by using different methods.

However reflexology is viewed, there can be no doubt that what it does provide is a period of time for relaxation where the client has one to one attention and supportive touch in an empathetic listening environment. Reflexology can be used safely alongside standard healthcare to promote better health for their clients.

To get a better idea what reflexology looks like, feel free to watch our video.

What’s the main theory behind reflexology?Reflexology how it works

The theory of reflexology is that all the systems and organs of the whole body are mirrored or reflected in smaller peripheral areas, for example the feet, hands, ears and face. These can be seen in relation to the feet by following the link to our interactive reflexology map (right).

Back in the 1920’s investigative studies regarding this concept allowed the first Western reflexology foot map to be produced. Since that time the other anatomical areas have been mapped allowing this model to be applied to the hands, ears and face.

The reflexologist simply works those reflected areas with their sensitive fingers, aiming to bring those areas back to balance and therefore aiding the body to work as well as it can. Reflexology very much works on an individual basis, the reflexologist provides professional facilitation of your body’s own potential for well-being.

While there are few available scientific studies specifically into how reflexology works, there are scientific studies that support the potential positive effects that can be achieved by touch. Essentially, according to the advertising standards council, as a reflexologist, we can only claim the directly proven effects of reflexology. These being listed in the image below.

Benefits reflexology

So how can you claim reflexology helps with all the other health issues?

Because firstly, we’ve worked with clients who we know this has helped, so that’s our personal experience. But, here’s the underlying issues that the ASA can’t support for legal reasons.

When our body undergoes changes, then the knock on effects are massive.

Take the example above of ‘aids sleep.’ This has huge knock on benefits because our body uses the downtime when we’re napping to fix itself. So, all of the stresses and strains of the day that cause a negative imbalance on our system are cleansed while our body has extra energy from not having to move us around.

This benefit is massive. If we’re starting the next day with a ‘fitter’ body then the negative effects of everything else that we load onto our system are so much less impactful.

A brief history of Western reflexology

Whilst the art of reflexology dates back to Ancient Egypt, India and China, this therapy was not introduced to the West until Dr William Fitzgerald developed ‘Zone therapy’ in the early 1900s. He believed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.

In the 1930’s, Eunice Ingham further developed this zone therapy into what is known as reflexology. Her opinion was that congestion or tension in any part of the foot is mirrored in the corresponding part of the body.

 

Is reflexology suitable for me?

Reflexology is a therapy which can be received by anyone at any age, from newborn babies to those receiving end of life care, and everyone in between. However, there may occasionally be times when it is not suitable to provide a treatment. If you’re in any doubt, give Karen a call or text on 07757 946023 and ask! Please note: reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice.

Will reflexology help me?

Well trained reflexologists do not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe. Reflexology is a very individual treatment which is tailored to you as a whole person, taking into account both physical and non-physical factors that might be affecting your wellbeing. Some people find it works for them – some don’t. The best way to find out is to try it!

The theory is that reflexology helps the body to restore its balance naturally. Usually, after a treatment your tension may be reduced and you might feel relaxed. You might also notice yourself sleeping better and find your mood and sense of wellbeing improving. You may also find that other aspects improve too; however, this happens on an individual basis.

There have been some positive research projects carried out with reflexology; however, as yet, there is not a large enough body of evidence for us to make clinical claims of effectiveness.

With ever increasing levels of stress in everyday life, it is important for people to take more responsibility for their own healthcare needs. Reflexology may be one of the ways to mitigate the stresses of modern life.

 

What happens when I go for a treatment?

A full medical history will be requested on your first treatment, and you will be asked to sign a consent form for treatment. This information will be kept confidential. Reflexology is a very easy therapy to receive; depending on the type of reflexology, the most clothing that will have to be removed for a treatment to take place will be your socks and shoes.

The therapist will then use their hands to apply pressure to the feet, lower leg, hands, ears or face, depending on the type of reflexology chosen. You may feel areas of transient discomfort during the treatment, but generally the experience should be relaxing.

The therapist may recommend a course of treatments.

 

How will I feel after a reflexology treatment?

It is useful to give feedback to the reflexologist as this may show the response of your body to treatment. This in turn might help the reflexologist to tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs. After one or two treatments your body may respond in a very noticeable way. Most people note a sense of well-being and relaxation; however, sometimes people report feeling lethargic, nauseous or tearful, but this is usually transitory and reflexologists believe that it is part of the healing process.

We hope that helps to answer the questions about reflexology and how it works. If you’re interested in booking a session, we’re in Gidea Pak, Romford, Essex. You can text Karen MAR on 07757 946023 or book online.

Reflexology aids cancer patients

Living with cancer can be tough. Particularly when you’re suffering with peripheral neurpathy. Reflexology in the management of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy: A pilot randomized controlled trial Author links open overlay panel Seda Kurta Gul Beyaz Canb

Highlights

• Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can limit a patient’s quality of life functions.

• Reflexology increases the level of the quality of life functions related to CIPN.

• Reflexology can be recommended to the patients.

Abstract Purpose

The current experimental study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of reflexology on the management of symptoms and functions of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in cancer patients.

Method

This study was conducted as a randomized controlled trial in 60 patients (30 experimental and 30 control patients) who had chemotherapy-induced Grade II-IV peripheral neuropathy complaints from July 2013 to November 2015. Data were collected using the patient identification form, European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (EORTC-CIPN-20) form, and BPI (used for related chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms).

Results

The majority of the patients were being treated for gastrointestinal or breast cancer and were primarily receiving Eloxatine- or taxane-based treatment. It was found that reflexology applications did not lead to differences in either group in terms of peripheral neuropathy severity and incidence (p > 0.05) and only led to improvement in sensory functions in the experimental group (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

It was determined that reflexology is an effective method in the management of patients’ sensory functions related to CIPN.

Elsevier European Journal of Oncology Nursing Volume 32, February 2018, Pages 12-19 European Journal of Oncology Nursing

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Interested how to help cancer? Read about garlic benefits.

Best reflexology near me

If you’re looking for the best reflexology near me and you’re based in Essex then you should consider Karen Botha, a highly rated reflexologist who runs the Essential Feeling studio in Gidea Park, near Romford with her husband who is a massage therapist.

The husband and wife holistic therapy team enjoy a great track record with both massage and reflexology services sporting fabulous online reviews. Karen is a member of the Association of Reflexologists and has been practising professionally since 2011.

Best reflexology near me

Unlike many reflexologists in the area, Karen is a full time reflexologist and so not only does she have the qualifications and years of experience, but she also has seen a lot of clients over those years which has given her a wealth of therapy and wellness experience which have compounded her learning.

Experience and intuition as well as training

There is no acupressure point on the foot that Karen does not understand and know how to use to treat various conditions and diseases with reflexology. She is qualified in anatomy and physiology and understands how the different reflex points on your feet (which are used in the ancient art of reflexology) fit with conditions of the human body and then how to use these to deal with any number of varied illnesses and diseases.

Wide range of appointment slots

Karen is available for appointments 7 days a week and as long as you book in advance, her first appointment is at 7am in the morning meaning that you can come Massage and reflexology open 7 daysbefore work.

If you prefer to relax in the evenings then that’s fine too because her last appointment is 9pm for a 10pm finish giving you plenty of slots within which to visit.

Last minute appointments available

What’s more, unlike many people who offer reflexology in and near Romford, Karen is happy to take last minute appointments — before becoming a reflexologist, Karen used to work in the city, so she understands the demands that a busy schedule can place on booking therapies.

Specialisms

Karen specialises in a number of wellness issues linked the human body. She works to heal these through using pressure points on your feet. The types of issues she commonly deals with range from fertility (and pregnancy), depression and anxiety ranging up to issues such as insomnia. There is one common factor at the root of all theses issues, stress. Something which is pretty impossible to separate from our busy working lives nowadays.

What is reflexology helpful for?

Reflexology is also great for reducing inflammation. Some of the treatments e.g. fertility work alongside this benefit. So, if for instance you’re suffering with endometriosis, then acupressure points will help to relieve the pain of this. But, it’s also great if you have other health complaints which are causing you deep rooted pain. For instance, if you’re suffering with chronic back ache then reflexology is truly amazing at helping, often where traditional medicine isn’t.

All this just from the sole of your foot!

Reflexology romford essex

Counselling thrown in. If you want it!

Karen works with fertility/ infertility which in turn leads to her working with a lot of clients suffering with signs of stress/ depression. This led her to go and qualify in counselling, and so today she is also a certified counsellor.

This doesn’t mean that you need to worry about opening up if you’re not feeling it. Karen firmly believes that the hour you set aside for your reflexology is yours to do with as you choose. If you want to use that hour purely for relaxation, that’s totally fine.

Private outlet

If you decide that as part of your reflexology session you’d like a private outlet. A place where you can vent your hurt and frustrations without the risk of causing shock or offence. Karen is there for you. She’ll listen with a sympathetic ear and then help you find a way to make yourself feel better. She’s all about self healing and taking back control. Sometimes it’s easier for an outsider, removed from our personal situation, to spot a simple solution. Internally we are often drowning in confusion.

Looking forward to hearing from you

In terms of visiting Karen, you’ll find she has the best online reviews which you can check on Google and Facebook and then if you’d like to make an appointment to start your healing process while taking the opportunity to relax, please text her on 07757 946023 detailing the following:
Your name
When you’d like to book (date and time ideally)
The reason you want to book reflexology
She’ll then check her calendar and come back to you with her closest available slot.

Alternatively, if you’re ready to make your booking online, then you can do so here.