When East Meets West

I often find myself pondering on the little nuances of my practice. Those little subtleties that signal you to the next revelation or lead you onto another level of awareness.

My recent pondering takes me down both the reflexology and the acupuncture avenues and meets to bring another level or dimension to my understanding.

I have been using the Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) technique a lot lately, and really focussing a lot of attention on this sequence; looking at the particular reflexes and how the areas of the body represented by these points actually function. One of the key points of the RLD sequence is the reflex point for the Subclavian Vein (SV). This point is on the dorsal of both feet and is situated exactly at the same acupoint Liver 3.

The SV is an important point for the RLD sequence, as this is where the lymphatic system, once finished cleaning and transporting lymph through the body, will return it back into the cardiovascular system i.e. the blood. This point gets used A LOT during the RLD sequence; after every sweep and general movement, we ask the body to deposit the lymph back to the cardiovascular system via the techniques of reflexology. It is gently stimulated a minimum of 18 times on each foot, plus additional linking at the end.

From an acupuncture point of view, this point is known as Liver 3. The energy of the Liver is to govern “spreading and draining”. By this we mean that it is responsible for maintaining the free flow of Qi (energy). Liver Qi can be restricted emotionally by anger, and physically by damp-heat. “When Liver Qi stagnates, it gives rise to sensations of pressure, distention and pain”. So these are the same symptoms that we are addressing in the RLD sequence; pressure and distention from oedema, and subsequent pain that this causes. Oedema is a “damp” symptom; fluid starts to stagnate and that is what is known as “damp”. If it stagnates for long enough it can start to warm up which is known as “damp-heat”.

On each acupuncture meridian, there is a principal or “source” point which is known as the most powerful point of that particular channel. Liver 3 is the source point for the Liver channel and it is the main point we would chose to promote free-flowing Qi. In addition, this point (or points if we are thinking bilaterally) combined with Large Intestine 4 (Li4) on the hands, make up the “four gates” which are used for the relief of pain. What is interesting to me is that Li4 is the exact same point we would use for the SV in RLD on the hands!

We might ask what this all means? It just consolidates for me that what we do from either angle, whether its from a western medical viewpoint or whether it is from a Traditional Chinese Medicine viewpoint, it all slots together. The two approaches fit neatly together side by side. They both make sense.

Reflexology for sleep problems – a perspective

Sleep is such an important part of our lives, but what actually is sleep and what does it do for us?

During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

The damage from sleep deficiency can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others. [1] Researchers have linked poor sleep to a number of ailments, from short-term memory loss and behavioural problems, to weight gain, diabetes, and even increased risk of cancer, just to mention a few. [2]

If we spend too much time indoors, in a windowless office during the day and in front of the TV, computer screens and mobile phones in the evenings, insomnia can soon set in because our brains struggle to determine what time it is.  sleep

The combination of light deficiency during the day and excessive light exposure at night causes your biological clocks to get out of sync.

A 30-60 minute exposure to outdoor light every day helps to anchor our circadian rhythm. [2] This means that our master clock is set to be awake and alert during the day and to rest and sleep during the night.

After sustained periods of sleep disruption, we can be left feeling agitated, grumpy, stressed and on high alert. It then becomes ever more difficult to get to sleep, and thus becomes a stress in itself, and the cycle continues.

Reflexology can also help with problems like this, as it allows a time and place for deep relaxation to occur. The appointment is in your diary. You are expected to lay back. You are expected to maybe close your eyes. You are expected to relax. Once in a state of deep relaxation, the body can begin to switch off the “high alert” and allow the parasympathetic nervous system to do its work, increasing digestion, immunity, libido, and most importantly here, providing a good environment for resetting the master clock to promote a healthy sleep pattern.

Combine regular reflexology with reduced time spent in front of TV and computer screens, particularly in the evenings, reduced consumption of stimulants during the evenings (such as alcohol and caffeine), and a good dose of outdoor light during the day, and you should be well on your way to a better night’s sleep.

For more of me on sleep, melatonin and circadian rhythm see my other blog post on the Winter Blues.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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[1] http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

[2] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/12/10/dangers-sleeping-too-much.aspx?e_cid=20151210Z2_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20151210Z2&et_cid=DM92051&et_rid=1256832826

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s the buzz about those blue bottles?

…and I’m not talking about flies!

First and foremost I am an holistic therapist. This means I take the whole person into consideration, looking at the whole body, the mind, the emotions, and the integral biology when a client comes to me for reflexology: it’s not just about trying to reduce symptoms in an isolated manner.

Pairing this approach with Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic (NYRO) is the perfect way to continue a sustained holistic mindset once the reflexology session has ended. I can use and recommend NYRO products to clients with 100% confidence that these blue bottles contain nothing but organic, natural and ethical loveliness for the wellbeing of our skin, hair and inner health such as nutrition and emotional wellbeing.

But it’s not just about the blue bottles – there’s another buzz happening and it’s called community. The NYRO motto is “People Helping People”, and this is what’s at the heart of being an Independent Consultant for NYRO.

People helping peopleThere is a huge community of consultants, many of whom are therapists too (and many are not I might add) and we are all there to help and support each other, and not just with NYRO related issues and questions. We’re there for each other whether it’s personal or professional, whether its brainstorming or off-loading our woes – you never feel alone on the journey.

Turn those “I can’t” thoughts into “I can”, “I will” and most importantly “I want”. Meet new people and make new connections. See yourself grow and develop in confidence and learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before. Apply new skills, new mindsets to other areas of your life. Challenge yourself, step outside your comfort zone and see it stretch out from a small patch of rough ground to a big expase of lush grass. Someone will be with you to hold your hand. Most importantly – enjoy yourself!

So if you want to see what the buzz is about, why not get in touch? Phone or message me, or look at my website – we’re waiting with open arms to welcome you to our blue bottle community.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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