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Listen to your hands and feet
by Linda Wordsworth BSc(Hons), M. A. R.

Reflexology is holistic or, if you prefer, wholistic. The therapy treats the whole person not just the symptom. No-one is just a body, after all.

Reflexology involves work on the feet, or hands, enabling the body to heal itself. Illness, major stress, injury and disease, can really set us back, and we can be left feeling that we will never be the same again - that, in some way, we are no longer able to function as effectively as we used to. Our energy is low and we feel we have little, or no, resilience.

Reflexology can be used to restore the bodys natural equilibrium by encouraging the natural process of self-healing. And, then, it really comes into its own when it is used to maintain health and well-being. Because Reflexology treats the whole person, not just the body, as treatment progresses you begin to experience other, unanticipated benefits which may include:

Increased ease of mind; The feeling of coping better with lifes ups and downs of having equanimity no matter what life throws at you. Having a clearer perspective so that you can see the patterns in your life that are linked with the discomfort, disorders, difficulties, depression etc., that originally brought you for treatment.

You may be surprised to discover that the Reflexology treatments will be addressing more than just the symptoms you present with. It will be working on everything including conditions you forgot to mention (maybe, because you didnt think they were relevant, or treatable; or youd been living with them for so long youd lost all sense that they arent carved in stone, or necessarily a permanent part of your life).

Reflexology is about creating a balance in the whole person.

The Reflexology treatment technique
Sometimes Reflexology is described as a foot massage. This may seem to be the case but the technique used in Reflexology is called palpation and is quite different from massage. The Reflexologist uses sensitive, trained fingers and thumbs in this specific technique to apply pressure to all areas of the feet identifying, and treating, pockets of congestion wherever they occur.

This encourages self-healing which the system (body-mind etc.) is always more than ready to do given half a chance. The treatment is relaxing and at the same time, circulation and elimination are improved. This gentle therapy encourages the body to balance itself, often counteracting a lifetime of misuse.

Who can benefit from Reflexology?
Since reflexology treats the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease, most people benefit from treatment. There are very few contra-indications (check with your therapist before treatment). Reflexology is suitable for children and adults. Some of its uses include the treatment of:

Acute and chronic conditions like: Back and Joint Pain, Sinusitis, Migraine
Stress related conditions like: IBS and other Digestive disorders
Sleep disorders and the inability to switch off and relax
Fertility problems, Maternity care, and preparation for Childbirth
Sports injuries

It really comes into its own when used as a preventative therapy, as a means of maintaining health and well-being.

And, it complements and supports other therapies and treatments too.

Indeed, Reflexology can benefit almost everyone. An increasing number of people are using this safe, natural therapy as a way of relaxing, balancing and harmonizing the body and the mind. Increasingly you will come across Reflexology being used in orthodox medicine, too, with midwifery, and oncology, being in the vanguard of this movement towards an integrated medicine. Doctors in training now have the option of a module in alterative (complementary) medicine which can include Reflexology so that they have an appreciation of its benefits, scope and when to refer their patients for this holistic therapy.

What happens when you go for treatment?
On your first visit there is a preliminary talk with the practitioner. The Reflexologist then begins to work on your feet (or hands, if necessary) noting problem areas. There may be some discomfort, but it is fleeting, and is an indication of congestion, or imbalance, in a corresponding part of the body. For the most part, the sensation is pleasant and soothing. A treatment session usually lasts 30 - 60 minutes. A course of treatment varies in length depending on your bodys needs. Your Reflexologist will discuss this with you at the first session.

After the first treatment, or two, your body may respond in a very definite way: you may have a feeling of well-being and relaxation; or you may feel lethargic, nauseous or tearful, but this is transitory. It is, however, vital information for your Reflexologist as it shows how your body is responding to treatment.

Please ensure that your practitioner is professionally qualified and a member of the Association of Reflexologists (indicated by the initials MAR after their name).

The Association of Reflexologists (AoR)
AoR is a constituted body with its own Constitution, Codes of Ethics and Practice and a Disciplinary Procedure to govern the conduct of its members. It is a non-profit making organisation whose members are professionally qualified practitioners, or those undergoing training for professional qualification. Its activities are largely educational and its aims include the promotion of reflexology, distribution of information, support of its members and the provision of a valuable service to the public.

AoR is a member of the Reflexology in Europe Network (RIEN) and the International Council for Reflexologists (ICR), and provides up-to-date information on reflexology worldwide. AoR is a government recognised Awarding Body for the Practitioner Certificate in Reflexology.

Linda Wordsworth BSc(Hons), MAR qualified in 1993 and is a Member of the Association of Reflexologists (MAR) which means she has trained to internationally recognised standards, and works to Codes of Practice and Ethics with all the relevant professional insurances.

Linda came to reflexology through personal need and by a fluky, serendipitous process which now appears to have been completely inevitable. Having experienced for herself the benefits of Reflexology in the 1980s she immediately knew it was for her, and set about arranging her life so that she could become a qualified therapist. As the years go by, and her experience goes on expanding, Reflexology never ceases to amaze and its potential seems endless.

In the mid 1990s, in addition to my work with clients, I created a Reflexologists' support group for the whole of Hertfordshire which gave me the opportunity to pursue my interests in networking and on-going practitioner training. In 2002 I was awarded Honorary Membership of the Association of Reflexologists in recognition of services rendered to Reflexology.

In addition to providing Reflexology treatments and gift vouchers, I have many years experience of giving talks and demonstrations, and taking part in events that promote this wonderful therapy. I have my own practice and also work from a local chiropractic and health clinic.

If you would like more information about Reflexology you can contact Linda on 01923 662843