Reflexology for Diabetics

It is well known that people with diabetes need to lookafter their feet. In very basic terms, when the blood is not releasing the sugars into the cells ofthe body, the blood can get syrupy and thick, which means that it isn’t flowingsmoothly and is not getting to the extremities as efficiently and aseffectively as it should. Because of this, some of the smaller blood vesselsbecome restricted and nerve endings can start to become damaged, causingperipheral neuropathy.

My first ever reflexology client I booked after qualifyingwas an elderly lady with type 2 diabetes. She was keen to have her feet touchedand worked on because of the peripheral neuropathy she was experiencing. Hersymptoms were numbness and tingling, making it difficult for her to walk and difficultto sleep. She found the treatments soothing, comforting and relaxing.

It is well known that reflexology can improve circulation within the body: the main contraindication for the treatment is thrombosis and clotting, simply because the improved flow of blood could cause the clot to move. With this in mind, it is a great treatment for diabetics.

Being diagnosed with any type of diabetes, but especially atype 2 diabetes diagnosis in later life, can be very difficult to manage.  A massive change in lifestyle, eating habitsand general discipline around food choices, exercise, blood sugar monitoringand medication timings can be very stressful not just for those with thediabetes but also the surrounding friends and family. This is where regularreflexology treatments can be so beneficial for so many of life’s illnesses andproblems, because it is such a great stress-buster.

Regular reflexology will also optimize the condition and health of the skin of the feet and ankles. As diabetics will have restricted blood flow (particularly to the extremities), this can cause excessive dryness, making the skin fragile and thin, and causing serious problems if a wound occurs. Healing will take much longer and may lead to other complications such as infections and ulcers. Ensuring that the skin is thoroughly moisturized and nourished will be hugely beneficial in maintaining the overall health of the feet.

In addition to general reflexology, the specialized sequence of Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) may also be a good choice to make in a multi-faceted approach to managing diabetes. Diabetes causes the lymph vessels to become weak and too permeable, compromising the flow of lymph and thus the immune system.[1] We know that it is likely that the RLD sequence has a causal effect on the lymphatic system through studies conducted and results published around managing breast cancer related lymphoedema.[2] Of course more research is needed to present evidence, but I wholeheartedly believe in the modality of reflexology and the powerful effect it can have on the mind and body.

[1] http://revistaseletronicas.pucrs.br/ojs/index.php/scientiamedica/article/view/10095

[2] http://www.reflexologylymphdrainage.co.uk/abstract-2016.html

Jackie Marsden is a Reflexologist, Acupuncturist and Foot Reading Practitioner, based at Elder Cottage Clinic, Warton, Preston, PR4. She is a full member of the Association of Reflexologists.

What is Reflexology?

I recently participated in a pamper evening, and it surprised me that many did not know what reflexology was! I don’t remember a time when I have ever not known what reflexology is, which upon reflection, says an awful lot! So here is a brief guide to what reflexology is, where it came from and what it aims to achieve.

Reflexology – What is it?

Reflexology is a “hand’s on” treatment which is applied to the feet (or hands) but its philosophy is to treat the whole body i.e. it takes a holistic approach to healing. It is based on the idea that the feet are mini-maps of the body, and by applying pressure techniques to particular reflex areas on the feet will have a stimulating effect elsewhere in the body.

It is a fact that there are over 7000 nerve endings in each foot, so by therapeutically stimulating these nerve endings will achieve a deep sense of relaxation. It is estimated that 75% of disease is stress-related, so regular relaxation is highly recommended.

Overall, through tension-relieving and energy releasing, a reflexology treatment aims to promote the body’s self-healing abilities.

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Where did it originate?

Reflexology has been known to man for thousands of years, practised by the early Indians, Chinese and Egyptians. However, reflexology as we know it today has its origins in America with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist Dr William Fitzgerald, who founded “Zone Therapy” in the early 1900s. He discovered that certain areas, when applied with pressure, relieved pain and created numbness, but also when the pressure was removed, the cause of the pain was largely reduced too. Once these areas had been mapped they were known as “zones”. Dr Fitzgerald’s physiotherapist, Eunice Ingham, took great interest and became a pioneer in Zone Therapy throughout the USA. Ingham then devised a map of the body within the feet and the hands, developing and evolving “Zone Therapy” into “Reflexology”. Dawn Bayly brought Reflexology to the UK in 1966 after studying with Ingham in the USA and set up the Bayly School of Reflexology. Hanne Marquardt and Joseph Corvo also discovered Ingham’s Zone Therapy and worked on and evolved variations of Zone Therapy around the same time, the latter also taking into account the pressure points in the face.

Reflexology is an holistic therapy, working on the whole body and the person, not just the symptoms of the illness or disease. It has become one of the most popular forms of complementary therapy practised today.

What can it do for me?

Reflexology may bring relief to a wide range of conditions such as stress, anxiety, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, sciatica, depression, back pain and is safe and suitable for all ages.

Reflexology offers an individual some dedicated “me time” to relax and unwind, offering deep relaxation and combating stress.

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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Image copyright Jackie Marsden 2016

Manage your stress

A few months ago I stumbled across these three paragraphs on FaceBook. They describe such a great analogy that I wanted to share it with the readers of my blog.*

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

ID-10051886It is so important to take stress seriously. We all suffer from stress in some form or another, whether it be physical, emotional, continual worries, relationship difficulties, financial problems, stressful job (to name but a few). However small, if they are not addressed, then the “glass” will become heavier, and over time could contribute to ill health.

It is estimated that 75% of disease and illness is caused by stress. We need stress in the short term, for example, to give us that adrenalin rush to cross the road before the approaching car. However, if our bodies remain in this heightened state of alert for long periods then physical strain will be put onto the body.  One common problem in particular relates to digestive issues: if the body is on constant high alert then the digestive system will be on shut down, and thus problems such as IBS present themselves. And then I could write a whole new post about that!

Reflexology takes an holistic approach:  a therapist will take into consideration a client’s integral biology: looking at the complete environment in which the client exists, in an attempt to reduce stress and restore balance. Sometimes just being able to talk about a particular worry or problem can be hugely beneficial, and combined with a relaxing hour of treatment, can create substantial relief.

*I apologise for not knowing who wrote this piece, as I would be grateful to credit the original author.

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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Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net