My interview on the Small & Mighty Podcast

This week I was invited to record an episode of the Small & Mighty podcast with Sam Burgess of Social Mouth.

My participation was suggested by my lovely friend Annabel Bird from luxury online retailer, Bleak House.

Sam's podcast series is about small business owners and women entrepreneurs, how they use social media to grow their business and meet like-minded souls, and lots of other fascinating insights on their business journey.

In my episode, I talk about how I became a Reflexologist and recently my move to Sydney, Australia. Sam and I discuss the value of using video with Facebook and why getting yourself a Mentor is a really great idea for personal and business development and for getting out of your own way.

So please take half an hour to put your feet up with a cup of tea and have a listen.

There are a few 'ummm's' so I apologise in advance, but really just hang in there until the end as there is a Tip for the super-stressed and busy.  It's the most important thing to get right if you want to ensure you have enough energy and motivation every day.

I'd love to know what you think, especially if your name is Sam too!

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p.s. make sure and have a listen to the previous 5 podcasts too, there are some golden nuggets of advice to take forward into your life.

12 Ways, including Reflexology, to get a good nights sleep

We've all heard how important it is for our health and well being to get a consistently decent nights sleep. Sometimes that's easier said than done and putting pressure on yourself to get to sleep and stay asleep once you've climbed into bed can add to an already challenging exercise.

More often than not, when clients receive a Reflexology treatment, they report back on feeling calm and rested.  That evening, they get to sleep much easier and sleep more soundly for longer.  That's the most striking and instant effects of a Reflexology treatment.

There are, of course, other tactics that can be used to prepare for slumber, that may have a healthy impact on the most chronic of insomniacs.  Here are a few that I pass on to clients, that I think you might find useful too.

1. Say no to consuming stimulants. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, beer, wine and spirits in the four hours before bedtime.

2. Don’t exercise and then go straight to bed. Allow at least two hours before retiring to bed to allow the body to come down from its euphoric state.

3. Take a warm bath, enhance it by adding a drop or two of essential oils such as Ylang, Ylang, Geranium or Lavender.

4. Refrain from checking mobile phones or other technology at least an hour before bed and importantly, avoid distractions by keeping them out of the bedroom, all night.

5. Sleep in a dark and quiet room that isn’t too hot or cold for you.

6. Drink a warm herbal tea such as camomile and lavender, or lemon balm, an hour before bed.

7. Spritz your pillow with an organic lavender spray to help you calmly drift off to sleep.

8. Don't cat nap later in the afternoon/early evening.

9. Wind down during the 30 minutes before bedtime by doing something relaxing such as listening to gentle music, reading a book, or closing with a 5-10 minute meditation session.

10. Keep notepaper and a pen on your bedside table to jot down all the things on your mind, either before bed and if you wake in the middle of the night.

11. Set a regular sleeping pattern to regulate your body clock, trying for a good 7-8 hour cycle.  Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

12. Set an alarm and get up as soon as it goes off.  No snoozing!

13. Receive Regular Reflexology :)

Do you have any additional tips? Do tell below.

How Does Reflexology Work?

When I began to study Reflexology, I knew nothing about it.

Except for one thing... I knew it worked for me. 

Back in the days when I began having Reflex therapy myself, it made me feel better and it got my monthly cycle back to, well.... a monthly cycle!

I wasn't interested in 'how' it worked back then, it wasn't something I wanted to spend time analysing. 

As with many things in life, I booked that first appointment with a lovely local Reflexologist (in the UK) because my best friend recommended I try the therapy, and as I trusted her advice implicitly, of course I was going to give it a shot.

Now with hindsight, I realise that the decision I made and took action on that day, was as they say... an absolute 'no brainer'.

You see, sometimes you don't need to know the 'ins and the outs' of things, provided there's no real risk of death, you just need to take a leap of faith and see where it takes you.

After receiving those Reflexology treatments, it took me a while to get to the 'study' stage (2 years!).  On my first day of practical work, when I was finally able to get my hands on a pair of feet, the passion and intrigue for Reflexology became overwhelming.

It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, just thinking about it... even now, after all this time.

But I understand that you may be wondering how Reflexology actually works?

I guess, for reasons to do with how governments and local authorities fund research into health and medicine, there is unfortunately no scientific evidence relating to precisely what happens when pressure is applied to points on the foot and how that causes a positive response in distant part of the body. 

A big toe being pressed, causes an effect in the brain, for example.

Findings are either anecdotal or small scale and independently researched.  If you go and google 'Reflexology research', you'll find tons of studies from across the world. 

In fact, we are heavily reliant on pioneers and key figureheads in the Complementary or Alternative Therapy arena.

Supporters of Reflexology, who over the decades, have independently dedicated their lives to understanding, developing and then tirelessly raising its profile.  Of course, we've got the millions of people around the globe that know beyond doubt just how effective Reflexology is for the mind and body because they depend on regular treatments to heal, preserve and optimise their physical, mental and emotional health, particularly when other, more orthodox options don't work for them.

Reflexology is simply a very safe, subtle and effective therapy and let's be honest, spending government money on research to prove or try to dispel its superpowers will not fill the pharmaceutical companies pockets.

But what about the effects of the treatment itself? There are a number of differing theories that have been put forward over the centuries (the Egyptians were first you know) behind why such positive results are experienced.

For me, the more plausible explanations are any combination of the following:

Circulation of blood and lymph...

The body needs energy in the form of oxygen and nutrients in order to function.  As Reflexology improves blood circulation through pressure and massage, so the efficiency of organs, muscles, tissues and cells increases, as everything is inter-connected.  Where there are blood vessels, there are also lymph vessels carrying toxins and waste away from the body.  Increase circulation and the elimination of waste products is more efficient too, leaving you with a lovely balanced body that works as it should.
 
The Nervous system…

There's a theory that Reflexology works with the nervous system, as a vast network of neural pathways exist in the feet (7,000 approx) that run up through the body.  In the simplest terms, apply pressure to a specific part of the foot and it sends an electric signal up the neural system pathways, affecting the part of the body at its end point.  If a pathway becomes blocked or impaired then the nerve function is affected as the signal cannot reach its destination which leaves the body less able to function properly.  Reflexology aids the clearing of these neural pathways.

Energy, Chi or Life Forces...

As in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there's the belief that every living thing has an electromagnetic energy field running through it.  Our bodies have channels or 'meridians' that the Chi, or life force naturally flows through.  Disrupt the movement of Chi through stagnation, blockage or imbalance and disease and illness occurs.  TCM works to alleviate the problems and get the Chi flowing properly again, bringing the body back into balance.  This theory applies to Reflexology, Acupressure and Acupuncture too.

Our own individual beliefs...

There's our own belief system and attitudes to life and the things that happen to us, what we experience and how we deal with them. When we are open to new ideas and philosophies, could it be that we stand a better chance of them benefiting and enriching our lives? 

Could it be that those with a closed and more cynical viewpoint, set themselves up to anticipate failure so get failure, or are they happy to just risk missing out on the experience altogether?  

Simply, isn't it better to try something new instead of writing it off at the first hurdle?

Give Reflexology a try today, I promise you'll have no regrets.

Reflexology Association's worldwide demand a high standard of practitioner experience and qualification from their members.  These websites all have a Find-A-Practitioner link, so try them first and foremost:

UK - www.aor.co.uk
Australia - http://reflexology.org.au/RAoA/
USA - http://reflexology-usa.org/

Love, light and your very best health.



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Reflexology Life: Feb 16 - Referrals, Breathing, Belle Flowers & Snapchat

How are you today?

February has gone by in a flash, so quickly that I almost forgot to write this post!  Good start Sam.

To start, some important things for your diary.  My therapy room will be closed at the end of March for a week so I will not be treating from Wednesday 23rd to 30th inclusive.  I'll be back to normal from Thursday 31st and appointments can now be made from this date forward.

I still have availability between now and the 23rd so if you would like a treatment in March, please book now to avoid missing out and waiting until April.

So firstly, February was a biggie for me in terms of new clients.  I've doubled the number of people that have trusted me with their feet or faces compared to January and I'm totally over the moon to be able to help so many new lovely people.  Thanks in particular go to those that has referred me to their friends and felt delighted enough to recommend my Reflexology treatments.  Referrals are a massive part of my business, like all therapists.  If we don't do a good job and you don't feel happy that you've benefited from a treatment then you won't talk about me to others.  So for that, I give you my deepest gratitude.

Building relationships with clients is very satisfying, especially so when they have chronic conditions or complications with health that are lengthy and frustrating to deal with day to day.  Even treatments involving persistent conditions that don't involve being 'ill', such as pregnancy and the menopause but can be uncomfortable and affect daily life. 

Being able to create a treatment plan to aim to improve the severity of ailments and be able to see a difference in health over a few sessions is always satisfying yet surprising, which might seem like a daft thing to say but it's true, Reflexology never ceases to amaze even me.

There's been a theme showing up on the feet, and that's lots and lots of tight diaphragm reflexes, I'm finding a need to work them for longer periods during a session, or going back to them before the end of a treatment.  If you follow me on facebook you'd have seen me posting about this a few days ago.  Honestly, there seems to be so much tension around currently.  With our busy lives, regular relaxation, deep breathing and taking time out to nurture ourselves ends up on the bottom of our priority list and feels like an extravagance we can't afford but our health depends on it.

I'm a big believer of self-help and I'll use my own Reflexology techniques to take care of myself but I'm also fond of mindfulness and I use resources that I think you'll find useful too.  Here are my 3 tips:

1) Work your own diaphragm hand reflex once a day, while taking a few deep breaths.  This is good to create some calm and relax a tight chest, but and it's also an essential lymphatic reflex for boosting immunity and fighting infection. Follow along using this video.

2) Try mindfulness and meditation daily, for 5 to 10 minutes.  Use resources like Headspace and Calm to get off the radar and focus on yourself and clear your mind.

3) Spend an hour each month on my therapy couch and allow me to lull you into pure quiet and relaxation via your feet or your face.

In other news, I mentioned last time about some new projects. Well, I'm pleased to say that I started my Reflex clinic on a Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning at Belle Flowers in Sylvania yesterday. I'm among a great group of massage therapists and yogi's that are massive supporters of women's health although the guys are just as welcome too!  I of course continue to treat every day in Rozelle, so don't worry.

If you know of anyone that would like to have some proper, professional Reflexology that lives in the Sutherland Shire area, do encourage them to get in touch. I'm taking bookings via my website rather than through Belle's system, so I'm the first point of call for appointments there.

Are any of you on Snapchat?  With Facebook, Instagram and a YouTube channel, plus a blog, you'd think that would be enough social media to update and deal with every day.  I thought Snapchat was an app for teenage boys and girls to talk crap to each other all day, at least its the app of choice for my teenage nieces, but my husband Den assures me its the next 'big' thing.  It has almost 8 billion views a day which isn't far off Facebook in terms of popularity so I've signed up and decided to give it a go if you want to follow along, My user name is samalenn.

I warn you now, it's not easy to get your head around its workings, it's not fool proof (read: forty-something woman proof) but it's actually quite addictive once you get the hang of it. You post 10 second videos or photos of your day to your 'story' and everyone has 24 hours to view them before they are automatically deleted.  It sounds ridiculous and don't shoot me, but go have a look, it's a bit of fun and a birds eye view of folk!

Have a great month, I'll see you on the couch soon.

Warmest wishes

Dispelling Reflexology Myths

Before coming to Sydney, I believed that Reflexology would be a really popular complementary therapy here, on a par even with massage.  Then when I visited Australia a few years ago, it was fantastic... I found alternative therapy clinics and holistic health and wellness centres for yoga, meditation and fitness on every street.  People were totally into ‘looking after themselves’  They walked, cycled, jogged and meditated, drank copious amounts of fresh green juices and ate an abundance of organic nutritious food.

Now I’m living here, all this is mostly accurate but, as I’ve been discovering over the last 6 months, there is a massive gap in public knowledge and experience of Reflexology as a serious, holistic modality.

Here are some things a Reflexology treatment is not:

1) A simple ‘massage’ or ‘foot rub’
2) A therapy where your feet are stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stick causing pain, soreness and discomfort
3) Something you have done while you are getting a regular pedicure
4) A treatment without medical history or lifestyle dialogue, or a prescriptive plan
5) Where you leave the couch without home advice and tips on enhancing your treatment.

The more people I talk to in Sydney, whether they are an alternative therapist, or a member of the public, it seems everyone’s experience of Reflexology is encapsulated in at least one of these sentences above.  I feel that it’s time to break down all the myths, not just because you deserve to know what’s what, but for the benefit of others doing their research into holistic therapies that could be misinformed or misled about what Reflexology actually is.

For those looking to improve their overall wellbeing, Clinical Reflexology (A much better definition) is a valued and respected modality that is seriously worth considering and trying out to see if it works for you.

When I think back to my first Reflexology treatment, it took place on a beach in Malaysia many years ago, while on a very relaxing Summer holiday.  Within the confines of the hotel grounds, an elderly man with a low stool came over and with broken English, offered us a foot massage, so my husband and I decided to give it a try.  Ten minutes later and after a bit of vigorous poking and prodding of the bottom (or plantar) of my feet, I ask myself ‘what just happened there?’  It was only after the event, that we realised it was a ‘Reflexology’ treatment that we were given.  Using the word Reflexology very loosely, is this is the type of treatment you’ve experienced?

It’s not until I had Reflexology back in the UK a few years later, that I realised I had been short changed.  My experience of Reflexology in the UK was completely different, for a start I did my research.  I was recommended to try it by a girlfriend and pointed in the direction of the Association of Reflexologists register for a fully certified, professional therapist with at least 100 hours of practical training, with representation and the highest standards of cleanliness, professionalism and client care, as demanded by the Association themselves.

Here in Australia, there is an equivalent association, with just the same stringent rules, accreditation and reputation as the AoR.  The Reflexology Association of Australia (links at the bottom of this post).

So, back to the task of Dispelling those Reflexology myths….

Clinical Reflexology is not a simple ‘massage’ or ‘foot rub’

As a therapist, providing the right treatment starts before I touch my clients feet.  Planning and preparation based around a client’s health and lifestyle determines the type of Reflexology treatment that’s given.  A routine treatment incorporates all systems of the body for a holistic experience but there will be organs, tissues or systems of more focus dependent on a client’s health complaints no matter how serious or trivial the issue.

A Reflexology treatment by a certified Reflexologist will include an element of ‘massage’ or ‘effleurage’ to use its proper name, which takes place at the beginning, because it’s important to warm and open up the feet.  Effleurage is used to close off a treatment too.  What happens in-between is so much more involved than just a bit of general foot rubbing.

A Reflex therapist learns to understand the feet by reading or observing them - I look at the position of the feet, their colour, smell and feel, their temperature, lines, marks and skin.  Then when I take the feet in my hands, the feeling of the skin and tissues beneath my fingers and thumbs allow me to make considerations about the areas of the body that are out of kilter, and require some rebalance to take place.  That might mean stimulating moves to improve sluggish or lacklustre reflexes and therefore the associated part of the body, or winding down, sedative moves if an area of the body is being overworked and there’s lots of tension for example.

A therapy where your feet are stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stick causing pain, soreness and discomfort

Having a wooden implement pushed into the bottom of your foot is no fun, especially when you have no idea that it’s about to happen.  That’s hardly a relaxing experience or one that you’d want to repeat again.  I’ve experienced the feeling of being unprepared for a treatment that’s about to take place and it put me on edge through the entire session.  I know some people prescribe to the ‘if it doesn’t hurt it doesn’t work’ school of stimulating treatments and love the thought and feeling of being prodded about, but strength doesn’t equal power.  Gentle, lighter Reflexology pressures will be just as an effective a treatment and great practitioners adopt a stimulating or relaxing technique, or both depending on the needs of the client on the day.  Take also into account; if a therapist doesn’t know the state of a client’s health because they haven’t asked, how do they know that a foot doesn’t have a localised acute or chronic injury?  It’s vital to me that a client leaves my therapy room feeling calm and relaxed and in a much better condition both mentally and physically than when they arrived!

A Reflexology massage while having a Pedicure

As seen on Australian high streets, countrywide (and much less so in the UK).  Beauty shops with their line of large chairs and built in foot baths may offer a foot massage as part of their pedicure treatment offering. Lasting around 5 minutes, a few cursory glides up and down the sole and top of the foot.  They are not bone fide Reflexology treatments and should not be labelled so.  I’ve had this massage myself. Yes it feels nice, and it’s a easy way for the business to upsell clients to a higher priced treatment for little gain on the clients part.  Let’s be honest, if a full medical history was taken and prescriptive treatment created, they’d be charging at least twice the price.

A Reflexology treatment without medical history or lifestyle dialogue, or a prescriptive plan

At the first Reflexology consultation and before any treatment commences, I take clients through a full health and lifestyle questionnaire and talk about what to expect from a treatment.  There are good reasons for this.  Firstly, it is important to know if a client has any existing health problems, is taking medication or is currently having tests for undiagnosed complaints.  Why? Reflexology is a safe therapy but depending on the state or seriousness of a health complaint and where it exists in the body, I may decide to alter my treatment, or move from working on the feet to the hands, or advise not to treat a client at all, until it is clear and safe to do so.  I am respectful of the clients health but also of the advice and medication given to them by their specialist doctor or GP.  Reflexology sits alongside and beautifully complements orthodox medicine and can enhance the quality of life, it does not replace the advice and instruction provided by a qualified doctor.

In addition, when I know a client’s health situation, I can begin a treatment that is best suited to their needs.  Here’s a simple example, if I know that they are in a job where they are on their feet all day and they have persistent lower back pain, I can tailor the treatment so we focus on healing moves to relieve the pain and possible inflammation in the lumbar spine reflex area of the foot.

Where you leave the couch without home advice and tips on enhancing your treatment.

No professional Reflexology treatment should be without a closing discussion, before the client leaves the room.   I want to ensure clients go away with more information and techniques that will further enhance the treatment they’ve just received.  Simple self-help techniques they can do for themselves on their hands or their face, in between treatments will continue to help the body to balance and heal itself in the already identified problem areas of the body.  

Also, there are other simple but important pieces of advice that every client should be aware of post-treatment.  They must drink lots of water to help release toxins from the body, rehydrate their bodies to avoid any unnecessary headaches or fatigue, refrain from drinking alcohol or any substances that will stimulate the body. Plus, if at all possible, I like to encourage my clients to maximise the treatment by taking it easy for the rest of the day.  Why take the time and money to put your body into a lovely relaxed, healing state to then rush around like crazy thing, straight after?  It’s kind of counterproductive.

So to recap, here is my advice for finding a professional Reflexologist and getting the best treatment you've paid for and deserve:

1) Be clear in your own mind what your end desire is from a therapy treatment.  Is it just a short, swift in-and-out-of-the-chair, type of foot massage, or would you like to get something more specific and long lasting health-wise from a therapy session.  Once you know, you'll have a much better idea of where to get your treatment and from whom.

2) So presuming you've decided that you want to have some Reflexology, do your homework, and when you’ve found a Reflex therapist, ask lots of questions to make sure you know what you are getting and that you feel comfortable with what they are telling you.  Speak to them face to face or on the phone and you'll get a good idea of their professionalism and if they are the right fit.

3) What certifications does the Reflex therapist hold and are they accredited and recognised with national associations? See links below.

4) Check what a so-called Reflexologist is charging.  If it’s too cheap, you are probably not getting a fully qualified therapist that's invested in developing their techniques and confident they are giving a top notch treatment and therefore it’s not really doing you any long term favours.  The value comes when you feel at ease during and after a great treatment and you are happy that the therapist has understood and is working fully to your needs.
 

If you are still confused and need some clarity or help and advice on making the right decision, drop me a line and I'll be happy to help. 

In the meantime, you can follow my visual exploits on Instagram or receive all my well being and Reflex articles and posts direct to your inboxAlternatively go ahead and book a professional Reflexology treatment with a certified Reflexologist.

Reflexology Life: Jan 16 Round Up

In the run up to the start of a brand New Year, did you heave a sigh and think ‘blimey, I've got the whole of January to get through now’

When I was living in the UK, I’d think this every single January but as we are right in the middle of Summer here in Sydney, funnily enough, I haven’t given a second thought to the cold weather and long dark nights.  But… missing family and particularly my boys, and often wondering what they are up to, leave me feeling a bit melancholy.

January for me, tends to mean a quieter time in the therapy room.  This January especially so as starting up business in a brand new country takes an immense amount of courage, effort, determination and perseverance.  There’s a stark reality in the fact that when you turn up in a brand new location, whether that’s a small town, a country or a continent; nobody gives a toss! There are no doors flung wide open in anticipation of your plane landing or a long line of welcoming arms ready to embrace you.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a criticism, only an observation. And I guess I’m writing this as it might resonate with you or, if you are thinking of starting your own business, it might serve as a piece of useful advice and insight.  It takes time to find common ground with local people and forge valued, lasting relationships, especially in a business that relies on ‘referrals’.  From experience so far, Sydney dwellers are a nice bunch... honestly, and a special handful of them have made both Den and I very welcome.  It’s just that my impatient gene gets the better of me from time to time.  But I’ll get there :)

During moments between clients, I’ve been posting some basic how-to, YouTube videos for you, leaflet dropping around the neighbourhood and working on growing my social media presence, particularly on Facebook and Instagram, as contacts, great collaborations and fab ideas will often come from having these platforms.  I’ve discovered they are quite different in what they do and it’s important to get to grips with what your objective is before posting, otherwise the whole social media thing can feel ‘rudderless’ and a bit of waste of time. 

Oh, and the website got a bit of a facelift too.  Please do go have a look around and tell me what do you think?

Meanwhile, in the therapy room.  The most interesting and satisfying moments come along when you least expect them and among the clients I’ve treated this month, I had a referral for some relief from sudden arm swelling.  Normally, the aim for clients is to achieve some long term improvement in health, and this takes time for the body systems to react, heal and then maintain themselves.  A single, one-off session is less common.

Having trained in Reflexology Lymph Drainage techniques, I spent most of the session working points on the feet to draw excess lymph fluid from the arms and into the Upper Lymphatic drainage points for removal.  The specific benefit of working these points are two fold, firstly to reduce the local puffiness and secondly to relieve the pressure and residual pain. 

I’m always really keen to find out how a client got on after an initial treatment, so 24 hours and a phone call later, the client enthusiastically reported feeling well and the swelling had subsided.  That’s a fix and a fist-pump! Job done.

RLD is a fantastic technique I’ve been using for a year now but it never ceases to amaze me how effective it is, so I use elements of it on every client I treat.  One of my objectives for February and the coming months is to be able to help more people to feel better using RLD. From my experience so far, I believe not enough is known about the benefits of RLD or Clinical Reflexology in Sydney (as opposed to the foot-rubbing type massage you get on the high street when getting your nails done, which IS NOT proper Reflexology) and I want to make it my mission to raise awareness of this therapy as a serious contender for optimum health & wellbeing.

So, if you know of anyone who could dearly do with some help improving their health, who'd love an hour of down-time, purely for themselves, then do refer them to me and I’ll gladly do what I can holistically to help.

As the beginning of the Year seems to be all about new beginnings and setting out plans, intentions and dreams for the future, I’ve decided that I’m going to dedicate February to fully embrace new and different things that come along in life, as you never know what direction it might take you in!  In addition, I have a couple of Reflexology projects that I’m keen to get off the ground and I’m trusting will see some progress by the time I share next month's Round Up with you.

And on that note, I’m officially committing here and now to doing a monthly update, so I hope you enjoy the stories, and you get something useful from them.

What about you? Have you set yourself some plans or goals this year?

Warmest wishes

Reflexology for treating Secondary Lymphoedema

It's been almost a year since I studied RLD - Reflexology Lymph Drainage in the UK.  Since then I've treated a number of clients using this spectacular and highly effective form of Reflexology.  At the risk of sounding like a 'stuck record' I cannot praise enough, the impressive results they get from the treatment, so I think you'd be interested to here about it too.

Here's a story I'd like to share with you.  A particular case study of mine, a lovely middle-aged lady that suffers with bi-lateral Secondary Lymphoedema of the legs, as a result of cervical cancer some 15 years ago.  This is what the power of RLD did for her physically and psychologically.

This wasn't a client that felt helpless and in utter despair with her condition. She had spent a great deal of time, money, determination and commitment to making sure that the secondary lymphoedema didn't take over her life and she wanted to feel well enough, strong enough and confident enough to live her life as normally as possible despite the condition.

At our first treatment session, it became quite clear early on that my clients expectations were low.  Not because she thought RLD wouldn't work, but because she managed her Lymphoedema with a text book efficiency.  Over the years, she'd learned how to improve her diet and lifestyle to control the swelling in her legs and lower abdomen, she had MLD, wore multiple compression tights 24/7 (and was proud and relieved that she could still get into fashionable, size 10 clothing as a result. Read: skinny jeans) and months earlier, she'd had liposuction treatment on both legs with the only surgeon in the UK to pioneer this type of lympho surgery.

All of this activity helped a great deal in her management of this incurable, inoperable condition and enabled her to lead a relatively normal life.

Quite simply, because she was so strict with managing her secondary lymphoedema, she didn't see what more could be done.  She told me her concern and said that it would be totally fine if I decided that her condition and situation wasn't severe enough to warrant treatment.

Don't you just love a challenge?  I thought... right, a reduction in swelling and lymph fluid or not, it makes no difference. I was keen to get cracking as the study was a useful exercise and a result is a result, whatever the outcome.  So we went ahead with a set of 4 sessions, taken weekly.

Initial volume measurements pre-treatment, showed that my clients left leg was larger and more swollen than the right. So, when it came to doing the actual RLD treatment, we started the Reflexology on the right foot first, then left, then back to right to finish.  The theory for starting with the opposing foot is to clear the lymph on the right side to 'make room' so that we can then encourage the larger volume of lymph in the left side into the less swollen right side before working it out of the body via the lymph duct reflexes.  Interestingly, my client believed that her right leg was worse than her left, at least she reported having more problems, it behaved more erratically and was often more sore than the left.

The whole treatment from initial measurements to closing Reflex moves and a re-measure post-treatment takes around 1 hour.

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised and a little disappointed that leg volumes went up slightly comparing pre to post 1st treatment.  My client, having reflected on her thoughts about the scepticism of treatment, was not fazed at all.  She felt apologetic for the time spent on the session for a negative result.  However, she reported that her limbs did not feel any different or worse, but she went away from the session feeling content and relaxed, having enjoyed the therapeutic effects of Reflexology.  Onwards and upwards... we committed to getting together again 7 days later.

Week 2 arrived and the initial pre-treatment measurements threw up some serious changes! Not only had those week 1 gains in swelling disappeared, incredibly there was a marked loss in lymph swelling in both limbs. 

The interesting point to note was that as the measurements indicated, RLD seems to be effective long after a treatment takes place, like a continued benefit to the client, even though just after a treatment, lymph movement was evident in each limb and volume appeared to be worse. Had my client changed her routine, was there anything healthwise like a cold or infection that could affect the result? Notably, she had not changed anything diet or lifestyle wise, at least there was nothing she could put her finger on what would help or harm positive changes to her lymphoedema outside of RLD.

So on to Treatments 3 and 4 over the following 2 weeks. The results gave some interesting lymph volume measurements, largely a fantastic reduction in lymph swelling but the odd-looking figure that was in complete contradiction. Lymph seems to move around the body in weird and fascinating ways.  I'm no doctor or lymph specialist but perhaps these skewed figures are indicative of blockages in the vessels that take more time and effort for the body to resolve.

During these weeks, my client reported feeling much better in herself.  With some serious family health issues to contend with, not only was she dealing with her own condition but supporting her closest family members with theirs too.  Her outlook on life and what might happen long term became calm, more measured and philosophical.  From an RLD perspective, she felt that there was a slight improvement in the heaviness of each limb, that they were perhaps feeling lighter than before treatments.  RLD results aside, we enjoyed some client-therapist 1:1 time, where we talked about life, family, marriage, health, jobs and fashion.  It became a way for my client to take some time out of her daily routine of looking after the family, she looked forward to the Reflexology treatments each week.

After being measured and leaving my treatment room for the last time, I calculated the treatment 4 figures and compared them to the figures pre-treatment 1.   Week after week, despite small improvements in lymph swelling measurements overall, my client remained convinced that the end result would show that her lymphoedema swelling would not have improved. 

As the top line figures show below, there was a reduction in lymph swelling in both legs in just 4 weeks.  The volume in the right leg had the biggest improvement, it reacted better than the left which is the leg my client has the most issues with. 

In summary, my client lost a total of 1795 millilitres from both limbs during the 4 treatments, so in laymans terms, almost 1.8 litres or a large plastic bottle of supermarket water.

The client couldn't argue with the facts and figures.  She was both surprised and pleased with the result.  She now also felt confident that during times when she would have a setback in her condition, there was another treatment she could turn to, to help manage it.  Plus, she got the added bonus of feeling really well at the same time since Reflexology is a holistic therapy that works to heal the body as a whole.

This is just one client story, and I must say that in the time I have been using RLD technniques in my Reflexology treatments, every client has experienced some relief in their condition as a result.  These clients have had a number of issues, largely related to the lymphatic, digestive or endocrine systems, all of which have involved a level of inflammation or swelling. 

I think this case study demonstrates that whatever level of self-management a client has of their condition, there is a very real possibility that RLD can further improve it physically and the effects of it.  Ultimately offering the chance for the client to lead a happier, more confident, comfortable way of life.

Any questions?  Please get in touch or comment below.

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