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.

Are you getting enough Vitamin O?

What am I talking about? Oxygen.

I’m no expert on yoga/breathing/meditation, however what I learn and find useful for myself, I always share where needed, particularly with my clients.

Many people come to me with stress-related issues, anxiety, sleep problems. Our minds wander and we worry, we ask:

  • Why me?
  • Why (insert loved ones name here)?
  • Why did it happen?
  • I wished it hadn’t happened
  • I’m worried it will happen
  • … the list could go on but you get the idea.

While we’re wasting our time doing this, our bodies are responding with the “fight or flight” response. Heart rate quickens, blood pressure increases, our immune and digestive systems start slowing. Our breath becomes shallow.

We need something to get away from the mind’s futile worrying. What could be easier and more opportune than our breath? Take some deep, slow breaths. Allow the oxygen to fill up our chests, our tummies, our whole bodies. Sweep in through the nose, and if you can, out through the nose, if not slowly and gently through the mouth. Try counting 1,2,3,4 as you inhale, 1,2,3,4 as you exhale. Add in some pauses. Count 1,3,3,4 after every inhale and exhale.

These simple techniques should help you tune out your mind’s babble and focus on the present moment. What is actually bothering you right now at this present moment? Nothing.

Posture during these breathing exercises is important too. If you’re doing them in bed in the middle of the night then you should be horizontal and comfortable. Make sure you’re warm and you can relax your muscles. If you’re sitting then it might be useful to use a small cushion to “prop up” your seat bones (those bony bits in your bottom cheeks). Tilting the pelvis forward like this will shift the spine straighter and open up the chest area, allowing more space.

During my reflexology treatments, my sequence always starts with the diaphragm line, followed by lung reflex, to help calm the breath and aid relaxation.

When we breathe we are literally giving our whole bodies oxygen: what could be more holistic?

The breath is so obvious that it often gets overlooked, but this is one of the greatest tools we have to help ourselves.

Are you getting enough Vitamin O?

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 hinnamsaisuy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net