If you have been to any complementary health practitioners you may be familiar with the concept of needing to return for a certain number of treatments. But why?
The reason for this is, generally, unlike conventional medicine where a prescription medication is designed to stop or suppress certain symptoms, the complementary approach is to kick-start your body’s own innate healing mechanisms. In comparison to conventional medicine this can sometimes be perceived by people as ‘the hard way’ but when successfully applied is also the most healthy and ideal path to wellness. Often with more chronic illness, over time, medication can start to lose its effect and it is only then that it becomes apparent that restarting your body’s own innate healing mechanism is paramount to your well-being.
(In the case of illness always consult with your doctor first. It is also worth mentioning here that Reflexology is ‘complementary’ which means that it can be used safely alongside conventional Western treatment and is not designed to contradict it.)
How you can begin to tap into this is to start ‘listening to your body’. Sometimes it can be difficult to tune into the subtle messages that our bodies send us but sometimes even when we hear those messages we refuse to listen. Not listening to our bodies and not fulfilling the body’s needs ultimately results in some form of dis-ease e.g. when we are tired and refuse to rest, we may get a headache or pain or in the long-term we may start to experience chronic fatigue. Many of the day-to-day maladies that we experience could be prevented if this communication could be restored.
Reflexology works on the premise of ‘reflex’ points and zones within the feet that communicate with the systems of the body. Reflexology, like other complementary therapies reunites the individual with their innate ability to self-heal. Dis-ease and illness can be brought about by a culmination of years of negative patterns and negative lifestyle. These patterns are not always apparent to the individual, they may have been instilled in them from a very young age. If a negative pattern is not corrected it can influence and spawn another negative pattern and so the web thickens. These patterns can be physical, emotional or even mental.
When a person starts on the path to self-healing they must be willing to truly look at themselves from an objective viewpoint. How you interact with yourself, others and the world around you. Often the symptoms a person may present with are not the problem at all but on further investigation a ‘root cause’ becomes visible. As it takes years to develop these negative attitudes and patterns, often out of a place of survival rather than a desire to be negative, it in turn, also takes some re-conditioning to straighten them out.
On an initial treatment, one is dealing predominantly with the symptoms which are essentially just the ‘crust’ of the problem. This is what the world sees, this is how you are. In the initial treatment, a therapist will most likely be able to determine whether or not there is a deeper issue present. If this is the case, then further treatments are recommended to help the person to come to terms with the root cause. To acknowledge it and to begin to take steps to alleviate it.
Persistently working only on the symptoms will not solve the problem and the symptoms will simply keep re-occurring. (When you weed your garden you need to pull out the roots or the weeds will simply grow back when the conditions allow.)
In the same way, aside from the root cause of the issue there are most likely certain conditions in one’s life which perpetuate the symptoms of their malaise. These conditions may involve the presence of negative people or environments. It is not the place of the reflexologist to act as a psychotherapist or counsellor and if it becomes apparent that that is what the client needs then they should be referred onto the relevant party. A reflexologist is not going to probe into your personal life to try and find out why you act the way you act, or do what it is you do but by helping you to create better communication within your body a reflexologist can help you to gain a greater self-awareness so that you may start to explore these areas for yourself.
Like anything in life, the body needs a certain amount of repetition before it is trained to do something e.g. typing, knitting, driving or playing a musical instrument. Reflexology can help to build that system of communication where you can start to feel imbalance in your body before it is manifest as illness. This is unlikely to happen after just one treatment. After years of giving and receiving reflexology I now find that my feet will tell me that something is about to occur in my body before it actually does. This gives me the space and time to do something about it. I may need to take more rest, drink more water, change my diet, get some exercise, seek some complementary treatment. There are many possibilities.
It is not essential for you to have years of experience however to benefit from this form of communication. I have clients who tell me that they are now much more aware of their feet and they too take special note when they feel discomfort or sensations in any one area of the foot. On further investigation it becomes apparent to them what they need to do.
I believe that the concept behind multiple treatments is to firstly help the body to fully detox from a presenting ailment, secondly train the body and thirdly teach the individual how to read certain signals so that they may live a more balanced and healthy life.