Stories of Success
The Possibilities of Reflexology
The possibilities of reflexology speak to the potential to have an impact on the quality of one’s life and that of others. Reflexology gives the sense of being able to do something. At your fingertips lies an ability that’s always there. It empowers you to positively address the challenges and stages of life. (LINK Read more of the authors’ experiences)
The following are stories of those who used reflexology successfully to address challenges in their lives.
Child’s Ear Infection
“Every mother dreads her child going into the hospital. For Kim Badcock, the trauma was made even worse because her son Alastair’s adenoid and ear operation were to be carried out at Christmas … Alastaire came out of the hospital on Christmas Eve but the next Christmas her would hae been having more grommets put in and would have been having the same operation had Kim, a nurse working in a local GPs surgery, not taken the situation, quite literally in hand. It was then she came across an article in Daily News (London) on reflexology which said it had been successful for the treatment of glue ear… Although Alastair said his ears felt better after the first session, Kim and David didn’t notice any improvement until after his third visit.”
Heather, age five, had been plagued by constant ear infections. Her treatments included: removal of tonsils and adenoids, tube put in her ears, hospitalization and medication. Her mother found relief for her through reflexology treatment. “’It was unbelievable,” Mrs. Ridenour said, “I would not have believed it had I not been there and seen it. I honestly believe that is what cleared it up.’ ”
Little Alexander had failed a hearing test at the age of 8 months. Tests revealed a blockage of the eustachian tubes and concerns were raised about problems that could result in speech development. After three weeks of work by a reflexologist, Alexander’s cold had not returned and he would turn his head at the sound of a whisper.
Children’s natural curiosity and innate ability to learn create a unique situation for reflexology in a child’s life. The ability to “play” with one’s hand and feet for a benefit does not escape the notice of children. For example, the parents of a five year old were driving their son to a birthday party when he insisted they return home. He wanted his golf ball. It wasn’t until that moment that the parents realized their son was using a reflexology self-help technique to cope with his migraine headaches. His baby-sitter had placed a bowl of gold balls in the house. She used the golf ball self-help technique to cope with her sinus headache. He had picked up the golf ball and learned of the technique at her house.
We were visiting friends and their little one started fidgeting and crying. Colic was their verdict as to the cause. I asked if we could try a reflexology technique. After a few gentle presses, the little one drifted peacefully off to sleep. The child’s father turned to its mother and said, “Why can’t we do that?” And, they did to good effect.
They called her the “poop” nurse, a title she proudly wore. We met her some twenty years ago, a nurse with an interest in reflexology. She worked at a Lubbock, Texas hospital and whenever there was a new born who had failed to defecate for the first time in a timely manner (as needed for hospital release), she’d get the call to come to the nursery from her ward. She’d apply a little reflexology and “get them to do what I want” as she put it.
Pre-mature baby, breathing problem
The Daily Mail article of August 4, 2008 was titled “Premature Baby Survived Because Mother Tickled Her Feet.” Tiny Emma Young was one pound, 3 ounces at birth with an under-developed heart that required surgery. The first time her breathing stopped nurses sprang into action, tickling her postage-stamp-sized feet. “Nurses and Emma’s mother, Angela Young, were amazed to discover that by tickling the soles of the baby’s feet jump-started her body and got tiny Emma breathing again.” Emma Young’s mother sat by her side tickling her feet literally dozens of times a day for 8 weeks. Emma overcame the problem at 15 weeks.
“Recently Emma celebrated her first birthday. At her age she has a normal weight and height…. ‘My daughter is alive thanks to her feet being tickled. It really is a miracle that she is still with us,’ said Mrs. Young … ‘Now she has a great sense of humor – which must have been all the tickling we did to keep her alive. We still tickle her feet now, but it’s just to make her laugh, and there’s no better sound in the world for us than her giggling.’”
Emma is not alone as a premature infant with breathing problems. According to the Web site www.kidshealth.org, “Apnea is another common health problem among premature babies. During an apnea spell, a baby stops breathing, the heart rate may decrease, and the skin may turn pale, purplish, or blue. Apnea is usually caused by immaturity in the area of the brain that controls the drive to breathe. Almost all babies born at 30 weeks or less will experience apnea. Apnea spells become less frequent with age…. “In the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit), all premature babies are monitored for apnea spells. Treating apnea can be as simple as gently stimulating the infant to restart breathing.” And, we think, the tickle of the feet is exactly what Emma’s mother did to help her tiny one restart breathing. While reflexology is a more formal stimulation of the feet, quite frankly, with the small foot of a baby formality is out the door and casual touch (or tickle) is in.
A Chinese study demonstrates that reflexology helps with problems experienced by the premature baby. Premature infants with a 32 to 36 weeks gestational age were randomly divided into treatment group of 35 and a control group of 34. A significant difference was found in sleep, sleep duration, weight gain compared to the control group whose tiny members received standard care. (Yuqi, Shao-ying, Ms Aw gold, “Touch with reflexology massage on the area of weight premature infants,” Zhejiang Chinese magazine 2006 02)
School Age Children: Reflexology for Mainstreaming
“… At present we are within four schools and one after school club where we offer a series of 8 – 15 weekly reflexology sessions to children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. These are specific partial treatments aimed at calming down the children and young people so that their behaviour becomes less challenging within the classroom and generally, making the mainstream more accessible.
“The children and young people’s difficulties can vary from bereavement to neglect, sexual, emotional, mental and physical abuse as well as exposure to drugs and alcohol. Some have witnessed and experienced horrific events within their country of origin and are separated from family members. … The experience of living in an unsafe environment over a period of time or a severe threatening experience can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or an unbalance within the bodies systems which can lead to anti-social behaviour. …
“The results from evaluation to date show a reduction in aggression, stress and anxiety and an improvement in focus, concentration, self esteem, listening skills and confidence.”
(BUD, Therapies for Life, Accessible complementary therapies for vulnerable children and adults to improve quality of life)
Reflexology services in school
“… it (reflexology) helps bring children closer to parents with whom they previously had little relationship, says the head of the Lilian Baylis Technology School in Lambeth, South London, UK school. Reflexology services for children and their parents are were among innovations added to improve performance problems such as low attainment and attendance as well as poor discipline. The school is now one of London’s most improved. (Smith, Alsion, “From tearaway to head teacher,” BBC News, February 9, 2006) Feb 2006
Reflexology Path for Children
In Germany, teachers hold fair-like events, encouraging children to gather materials and place them into a barefoot path, indoors or outdoors, for temporary use. Paths are seen as helping children develop sensory perception and coordination and, perhaps most of all, as a fun and beneficial time spent away from the ever-present sedentary- producing television and video games.
In Germany, teachers hold fair-like events, encouraging children to gather materials and place them into a barefoot path, indoors or outdoors, for temporary use. Paths are seen as helping children develop sensory perception and coordination.
Adult Ear Ache
Kelly woke in the middle of the night in pain so excruciating that it drove her to tears. It was caused by an earache, common for her when she had a cold as was the current situation. She found the ear reflex area on her feet and applied pressure techniques for several minutes a her pain eased and she could return to sleep.
Touch as a Nutrient
The wedding was about to start and the bride called for help from a wedding guest, her cousin a reflexologist. A few minutes of work on her feet allowed her a few minutes respite during an emotional time exaberated by a future mother-in-law.
The wedding was over and it had gone well but the bride asked for reflexology help from a relative to relieve feet grown unhappy with dressy heels.
The operation was not life-threatening but the hip replacement patient asked his sister to apply reflexology to his feet, hoping to relieve swelling, constipation due to medication and the distress of the hospital stay.
It was a minor operation but the elderly husband used reflexology to show his care and concern for his wife.
Reflexology and Infertility
Anecdotal stories and research evidence leave open questions about the impact of reflexology on infertility. Among issues are: the frequency of reflexology sessions as noted in Chinese research as opposed to British research and whether the stress reduction aspect of reflexology results in improved fertility in women.
In a small study. Chinese researchers found success for infertility with reflexology work. Four women trying to become pregnant received reflexology sessions. One woman became pregnant after 6 courses of treatment, two after seven courses and one after nine course. (One course = 30- 40 minute session daily for 10 days)
In a British study of ovulation and pregnancy, 48 women received either reflexology or sham reflexology in 8 sessions over 10 weeks. “The rate of ovulation during true reflexology was 11 out of 26 (42%), and during sham reflexology it was 10 out of 22 (46%). Pregnancy rates were 4 out of 26 in the true group and 2 out of 22 in the control group.”
Anecdotal reports in newspapers cite success of reflexologists. The Western Mail of Wales reports that reflexology “is helping women overcome stress, anxiety and depression associated with infertility problems…. “Reflexology is commonly used as a fertility aid in Denmark where one in four women will undergo sessions. It is being offered by fertility clinics as a means of increasing the success of infertility treatments, such as in vitro fetrtilisation (IVF).” Cardiff-based fertility reflexology Helen Talfryn Walters has specialised in fertility and pregnancy treatments for three years. She says, “‘The majority of women I see have unexplained fertility issues and the reasons can be numerous. The advantage of reflexology is that it is a holistic therapy which looks at the woman’s well-being beyond the most obvious symptoms. … “‘Often my clients have very high stress levels either as a lifestyle issue or as a result of the disappointment of not being able to conceive. Stress has a major physical effect on the body – it depletes it of essential nutrients and upsets the delicate hormonal balance of the reproductive system. But Helen said it also helps the body to make best use of nutrients and stimulates the lymphatic system so that the body alienates toxins. … “Helen added, ‘It’s not a quick fix treatment and can in many cases involve my clients taking responsibility for their health by making changes to their diet and lifestyle. The natural outcome is a healthier, happier woman who is more likely to conceive, enjoy her pregnancy and have the energy to look after a healthy, happy baby.’” (Brindley, Madeleine, Western Mail (Wales), June 10, 2006) (June 2006)