Reflexology views and issues: seminars and lectures in the UK and the continent (as it used to be called), presentations, ART tutors, to demonstrate to reflexologists and the public everywhere, the huge difference between the generally accepted image of reflexology as a gentle, relaxing, beauty type of therapy, with that of proper, authoritative, professional, therapeutically effective reflexology
I was very honoured to have been invited by Peter Lund Fransden and Dorthe Krogsgaard owners of the Touchpoint school in Copenhagen to give two A.R.T. seminars in May. One in Copenhagen and the other further north in Aarhus. Denmark is one of my favourite countries, not only for its visual identity but also for the easy-going friendliness and happiness of its people.
Both of the seminars were well received and in the free time we had Peter and Dorthe took me sightseeing around Copenhagen and Aarhus. I was interested with the dominance of the spiral symbolism built into some of the buildings as the ones shown.
The spiral has always been a fascination to me, and how its symbolism is evident throughout nature, the double helix symbol for D.N.A. is one example, and the spiral pattern of the head of a sunflower is another. Also the Romanesco cabbage or Broccoli as shown is a dramatic example.
Peter and Dorthe and I have a shared interest in the significance of the spiral in natural medicine. In fact, Peter has a great interest in energy medicine and is developing presentations to explain how it can be utilised into therapy. Combined with his degree in medicine it will, I am sure offer some fascinating insights into reflexology - it is something I am very much looking forward to.
I admire the way their seminars are presented, and I am pleased to say that there will be an excellent opportunity to meet Peter and Dorthe when they come to London to present a seminar on fertility in November.
I am looking forward to presenting this A.R.T. seminar, organised by Regina Curley & Sile Leech. At one time, Ireland was almost a second home to me, I spent many happy times in that lovely country.
I gave my first seminars there in the 1980s as Director of the International Institute of Reflexology. Last September it was a great pleasure to give a presentation and a short workshop at the N.I.I.R. conference, in Mullingar, which was very well attended and organise Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Denmark May 10/11 at Touchpoint school, Copenhagen May13/14 Arhus
It was with great pleasure that I accepted an invitation to give two A.R.T. presentations for the Touchpoint School based in Copenhagen. I have long admired the groundbreaking work of the founders, Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund Fransen. Their research combined with excellent presentations has revealed new levels and possibilities of Reflexology. I was fortunate to be able to attend one of their summer classes a couple of years ago and found it to be very informative and very well presented. I recommend their courses to all seriously minded reflexologists.
My seminars in Ireland and Denmark will focus on the history and development of the A.R.T. techniques from the origins up to the present concepts, and how A.R.T. should be integrated with the classical methodology.
A few of the subjects at the seminars will include:
Viewing the body as an electrical matrix, and how the constant changes in the electrical potential show up as variations of reflex textures (disturbances)
The meaning of the painful reflex?
What does a painful reflex indicate?
What do the various types of 'texture' at the site of the reflex represent?
The different types of reflex contact which can be used and the responses each of them produce.
The use of the techniques in Endocrine, digestive, gynaecological, lymphatic conditions.
Why shorter treatments can have more therapeutic benefits than longer ones.
The use of lubrication:
When used correctly and with specific techniques, lubrication can be of great, therapeutic benefit.
There will be many other subjects included in the seminar.
The subject of my recent blogs highlighted the importance of taking into consideration the significance of the toes in reflexology. I mentioned a case of a patient who was born with renal insufficiency and how intriguingly this showed up by her fifth toes which are on the kidney meridian being underdeveloped.
A considerable amount of interest was generated from this and brought to mind so many instances from the past of how reflexology has an excellent record for helping with disturbances to urinary function.
The constant supply of oxygenated blood through the kidneys is one of the most essential functions of the body - Reflexology is very good at helping with this function.
I came across this research paper which backs this up:
Researchers in Austria studied the effects of reflexology upon renal blood flow on 32 healthy, young adults (17 women and 15 men). A placebo-controlled double-blind trial was set up.
The treatment group received reflexology at zones (reflexes) corresponding to the right kidney. The placebo group received treatment on other foot zones (reflexes). The blood flow of 3 vessels of the right kidney was measured then monitored before, during and following reflexology. Systolic peak velocity and end diastolic peak velocity were measured and resistive index calculated.
The two groups showed significant differences; a highly significant decrease showed during and following reflexology. There were no differences between men and women nor smokers and non-smokers. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that reflexology is effective in influencing renal blood flow and confirms the results of independent research that reflexology can significantly help kidney function.
Sudmeier I et al. Changes of renal blood flow during organ-associated foot reflexology measured by colour Doppler sonography. Forschende Komplementaermedizin 6(3) 129-34 1999
The subject of my recent blogs highlighted the importance of taking into consideration the significance of the toes in reflexology. A mention was made concerning a patient who was born with renal insufficiency and how intriguingly this showed up by her fifth toes which are on the kidney meridian being underdeveloped. This produced a great amount of interest and brought to mind so many instances from the past of how reflexology has a great affinity for helping with disturbances to urinary function. The constant supply of oxygenated blood through the kidneys is one of the most important functions of the body - Reflexology is very good at helping with this function. I came across this research paper in my files recently which backs this up:
Researchers in Austria studied the effects of reflexology upon renal blood flow on 32 healthy, young adults (17 women and 15 men). This was conducted in a placebo-controlled double-blind trial. The treatment group received reflexology at zones (reflexes) corresponding to the right kidney. The placebo group received treatment on other foot zones (reflexes). The blood flow of 3 vessels of the right kidney was measured then monitored prior to, during and following reflexology. Systolic peak velocity and end diastolic peak velocity were measured. Systolic peak velocity and end diastolic peak velocity were measured and resistive index calculated. The two groups showed significant differences; a highly significant decrease showed during and following reflexology. There were no differences between men and women nor smokers and non-smokers. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that reflexology is effective in influencing renal blood flow and confirms the results of independent research that reflexology can significantly help kidney function.
Sudmeier I et al. Changes of renal blood flow during organ-associated foot reflexology measured by colour Doppler sonography. Forschende Komplementaermedizin 6(3) 129-34 1999
My last blog focused on the dorsal areas of the feet. In this blog, I want to enlarge on this subject by including the dorsal areas of the toes. This is an area which generally does not receive the attention it is worthy of, which is a pity as the toes are areas of great reflex, significance. It is because the toes can be something of a challenge, is a reason they are usually given scant attention, particularly to those who are at the beginning of their career in reflexology. Working the toes completely as I suggest has a wide physiological influence, creating an alchemy benefiting the entire reflex, matrix, thereby making each treatment more effective.
In fact, and I have made the point before — the toes have such reflex, significance that an entire treatment can be dedicated to them. However, while saying this I am taking about a focused and positive application to all the surfaces of the toes for at least 20 minutes. This has to be given within the tolerance of the receiver, particularly during the initial stages. The effect of this is a pleasantly, stimulating and mentally uplifting experience to the receiver.
The contacts are made with all the areas of the fingers and thumbs, which requires dexterity, but with practice and perseverance this will be achieved. I suggest that practice should be confined to sharing sessions with colleagues. This will not only enable the techniques to be practiced, but also to experience the various sensations during and after each session. There are various types of contacts which I devised to enable effective contact to be made on all the different types of toes. These are taught at my A.R.T. seminars. There are two phases which are very important to observe:
Phase 1 is performed using techniques without any lubrication Phase 2 is performed using techniques with lubrication
There are types of feet (and toes) which only need the Phase 1 treatment - without lubrication.
It is important that if lubrication is used it must be applied very sparingly. Oil is not suitable as it is too slippery. It must be of the type which is absorbed or evaporates, leaving the skin dry.
What is the significance of the dorsal areas? There is a marked difference in the effect of reflex stimulation between the plantar and dorsal areas of the toes (the medial/lateral are also important).
The dorsal reflexes of the toes exert a wide influence, including and not exclusively, digestive, urinary, lymphatic and hormonal. It is the lower parts of the toes where they join the metatarsals and beyond which also needs to be included as shown on the illustration. I also include the webs of the toes in this protocol.
The illustrations below show a few of the techniques for working the dorsal surfaces of the toes. In general the dorsal reflexes of the feet (including the toes) are of a Yang nature, in contrast to the Yin of the plantar. Once the toes and the dorsal areas receive as much attention (or when indicated, more attention) as that of the plantar, treatments will have a greater, therapeutic benefit, leading to increased patient satisfaction. This after all is our purpose for being reflexologists.
My Blog on the significance of the dorsal surface of the feet, provoked a great amount of interest. What I want to make clear is that it is the way the application is made to the disturbed, reflex areas which is crucial. The application is not only to ‘work’ the disturbed reflex, but also, importantly to be able to detect it. The key in being able to do this is perseverance, and, as I mentioned, through his will come the cultivation of the finger, brain sensory, awareness attribute which will have a transformational benefit to treatments. It is important that no lubrication is used on this area of the feet as it will make the detection and interpretation of the disturbed reflexes impossible. This subject is fully explained and demonstrated at my A.R.T. seminars.
The significance of the toes in reflexology Another area of reflex, significance, which often is not given enough manual attention and consideration are the toes.
In earlier times, the toes were considered as rather neglected reflex, outposts, only worthy of attention for sinus problems. Thankfully things have changed somewhat since those times, perhaps due to the popularity of ‘foot reading’, where their various shapes and contortions are said to reveal not only physical states of distress but also emotional. I do not claim to be a practitioner in this field, but throughout my career I have seen ample evidence that the first place where disturbances in the body are often revealed are the toes. In fact, one of the most significant changes I have seen, is the way that the toes and sometimes their relevant joints become distorted as a disease state progresses, such as in cardio-vascular disease.
At one time Dwight Byers and I made it a mission to take foot prints with a manual and digital imprinter of as many peoples feet at conferences and seminars as possible — after three years we had literally thousands of prints, many of which dramatically correlated to known structural and physical problems.
To illustrate my point — below is a picture of a former patient of mine, a young lady, in her 20s who was born with congenital kidney malformation, in fact she was waiting for a suitable donor kidney to be found at that time. It can be noted that her fifth toe on each foot shows significant under development. When we consider that the fifth toes are on the kidney meridian, it illustrates in a dramatic way the influence the toes have on all areas of the body.
Because of the infinite variations and discrepancies of the toes, it is impossible to give effective contact by using one technique. As an example, how could hammer toes be ‘worked’ by using the default setting of the classical ‘walking’ technique? The only way the toes can be worked effectively is by using the fingers and thumbs in a variety of ways which will enable positive contact to be made to all the areas. Including the Dorsal surfaces. Working the dorsal areas of the toes, has an entirely different effect than those of the plantar. However there are many different ways of applying the appropriate contact. In my next blog I will show a few applications.
Once working the toes with various applications has been mastered, it will enable a very effective treatment to be given at the exclusion of any other part of the foot. To demonstrate this, an interesting and often dramatic phenomenon is demonstrated at my A.R.T. seminars. By working the toes in a specific way the receiver experiences the effect of reflexology from toes to head.
I received the sad news today that A.R.T. Honorary member Robert (Bob) Souter passed away this morning at his home in Switzerland. Robert, originally from the U.K. moved to Switzerland where he lived with his wife Elizabeth and family.
Bob, a qualified cardiological nurse worked in the cardiology department of a hospital outside of Lausanne. His work involved monitoring and assessing patients. On the occasions when Bob was visiting the U.K. we would meet up in a typically British pub which he loved, and discuss all things reflexology while enjoying traditional British beers. Bob was a highly gifted reflexologist in general, but also encompassed A.R.T. with a great passion, and became an inspiring ambassador for the techniques.
His medical expertise in the field of cardiology led to him introducing reflexology to patients at the hospital. This was so successful that he was given a wonderful treatment room with panoramic views over mountains and the lake where he treated the fortunate patients. His reflexology proved to be so successful that it became an accepted part of cardiological care at the hospital.
I am sure, that many of you may remember the most interesting presentations he gave at seminars at the Columbia Hotel in London and in Geneva where he showed clinical evidence of the efficacy of reflexology in cardiology.
His contribution and dedication to reflexology has left an indelible chapter in the annals of reflexology. A great loss, particularly at such a comparatively young age. I have sent condolences from the A.R.T. family and colleagues to his wife Elizabeth and family. Tony Porter
During my first reflexology seminars back in the later part of the 1960s, the emphases of reflex attention was almost exclusively to the plantar areas of the feet — the areas of the dorsal, lateral and the heel were relegated to something of a reflex no-mans-land. It may be that the plantar areas offered an easier option of contact, owing to the proximity and the convenience of using the thumbs, or perhaps is was because the reflex charts showed a sparsity of reflexes on that area (as many still do today) Neglecting these areas does a great disservice to the potential of reflexology treatments and therefore, most importantly a disservice to patients.
Even today this plantar exclusivity persists. It is for this reason that I decided to write this blog article on the dorsal areas.
To be able to ‘work’ the dorsal areas effectively demands an entirely different approach than that of the plantar. This can present problems for many reflexologists who have not the experience of using the fingers effectively on the dorsal areas of the feet. These are the considerations which are needed to effectively work the dorsal areas.
No lubrication can be used
The dorsal area has to be presented as a convex surface, rather than concave, which is achieved by the thumbs pushing the heads of the metatarsal joints forwards.
The fingers have to have the necessary dexterity and sensitivity to make effective contact, and to be able to locate disturbed reflexes.
The fingers have to be used to apply the appropriate contacts and in an effective manner to the disturbed reflexes.
To be able to work in this way necessitates the therapist to sit above the feet and not low as is a common mistake.
For those not familiar with the term ‘disturbed reflexes’, I will explain briefly what this means. Reflexology is commonly based on the misunderstanding that a painful reflex equals an imbalance in its corresponding part of the body. However this is not always a reliable indicator. In my experience it is the existence of a ‘disturbed’ reflex area and not just the pain which indicates an imbalance. Put simply, a ‘disturbed’ reflex is where there is a difference to the feel of the area of the reflex in contrast to its surrounding tissue. A ‘disturbed’ reflex will display a variety of textures.
Having an understanding of the principle of 'disturbed' reflexes forms the very foundation of reflexology, without this, treatments will only be on a very superficial level.
The dorsal areas (when the appropriate techniques are used) can reveal an entirely different reflex-picture, provoking a greater response than those of the plantar. This is born out by the common occurrence of the receiver perceiving sensations from the contact on the foot to other areas of the body. Some of the dorsal, 'disturbed' reflex areas are easy to detect, such as those of a lymphatic disturbance, or those involving breast tissue, while others are very subtle in their presentation. It is for this reason that the sensory connection between the finger tips and the brain of the therapist has to be cultivated, and this comes only through practice. The general type of contact (once the 'disturbed' reflex has been detected) is static and applied with the finger tip. (I give up to 40 seconds, although generally it is around 20.) Once familiarity with working in this way is attained, reflex assessment will have a far more accurate meaning and the treatment which includes the proper working of the dorsal surfaces will have a far greater therapeutic benefit.
Successful reflexology is about touch and the way that the touch is applied (which varies between each person). The finger’s thumbs and hands are conduits which receive reflex information to our perception.
Some of the disturbed reflexes are very subtle and will be missed unless the correct techniques of locating them are used. With continued practice, the mind finger-tip relationship will develop to such a degree that another level of reflexology will be uncovered — one where the influence of the underlying electromagnetic circulation will be revealed. It will be through this that the experience of being able to feel the ebb and flow of this circulation will lead to the understanding that no two treatments on patients can be the same — and each patient has to be treated according their unique energy pattern, which is also constantly changing — this is what it takes to work ‘in tune’ with patients.
Below are examples of contacting disturbed reflexes. Note how the dorsal surface of the foot is presented convexly, and the way the fingers are supported (the type of support is dependent on the type of disturbance present).
The subject of disturbed reflexes, their detection and interpretation is an area of focus at my A R T seminars.