My road to becoming a holistic therapist began when I first had a reflexology treatment – I’d always liked a bit of a foot massage and was very grateful when my birthday turned up a voucher for a local treatment. What I wasn’t expecting was that not only would I find the treatment hugely enjoyable and relaxing, but I would also experience a classic “healing crisis” that began the end of my chronic sinus pain that had made cold weather a misery. The following winter I was able to manage without the prescribed steroid spray and antihistamines I had been using for several years and I have never needed them since.
Now, as a reflexologist myself, I am used to experiencing clients’ reactions to reflexology treatments. As the theory of reflexology centers around the mapping of bodily parts and organs onto reflected areas (reflexes) on the feet (and other parts of the body), treatments are able to be targeted towards the body systems that are involved while maintaining a holistic approach. So, if a client presented to me today with chronic sinus pain, I would work the direct sinus and the whole of the facial reflexes, the central nervous system reflexes for coping with the pain response, the lymphatic system as part of a possible immune system imbalance and the digestive system reflexes, particularly the ileocaecal valve, for the regulation of mucous production. I would pay attention to the full medical and personal history gained in my consultation to ensure that no other related aspects had been missed. Following treatment I might expect the client to experience increased symptoms and expulsion of old scar tissue from the sinuses before the condition hopefully settled down as the client’s body regained homeostasis.
So reflexology is very much a “doing” therapy, with the skill and learning of the reflexologist being paramount in the client receiving the most appropriate treatment. Even more of a “doing” therapy is massage, which I am trained to give as a holistic aromatherapy treatment. Added to the benefits of direct massage to areas of the body are the use of essential oils. Often these are used for their properties of relieving muscle tension, promoting blood flow and warming, tackling pain or reducing inflammation. In other instances essential oils might be chosen that have therapeutic effects on the psyche or emotions, relaxing, uplifting, calming, restoring the spirit. Again, oils are chosen for each treatment for each client following a full consultation and taking all needs into consideration.
At the other end of the spectrum from “doing” therapies is reiki. One of the tenets of reiki practice is that reiki cannot be manipulated and will act on the receiver in the way that is most beneficial or “for the highest good”. As a reiki practitioner I therefore channel the energy from the universe to my client in order that they might benefit in whatever way they need. My focus in all reiki treatments is that of empowerment – that my client receives what they need in order to help them change whatever it is they need to change or to move on. It is a spiritual practice in the widest sense and I think it can be particularly helpful for clients whose concerns are not necessarily directly linked to physical symptoms.
Also key in deciding which therapy is best for a particular client is personal preference. If you dislike having your feet touched than perhaps a body massage or reiki would be best for you. Although, of course, reflexology can be performed on the hands and other parts of the body such as the ears and face. If you don’t like the idea of massage then perhaps a foot reflexology treatment to target the affected areas is better for you.
If you are unsure about which therapy might be best for you I am always happy to discuss your needs. And you can always experience a combined treatment – such as some reiki followed by a short massage which helps ground the reiki treatment. Or perhaps reflexology combined with aromatherapy – using essential oils on the feet has a direct effect as they are absorbed into the blood and possibly a subtle effect on the reflexes themselves.