The Most Unfortunate Design Flaws in the Human Body: The Overly Complicated Human Foot
Anthropologist Jeremy DeSilva of Boston University put it this way:
Starting with the foot, DeSilva held up a cast with 26 bones and said: "You wouldn't design it out of 26 moving parts." Our feet have so many bones because our ape-like ancestors needed flexible feet to grasp branches. But as they moved out of the trees and began walking upright on the ground in the past 5 million years or so, the foot had to become more stable, and bit by bit, the big toe, which was no longer opposable, aligned itself with the other toes and our ancestors developed an arch to work as a shock absorber. "The foot was modified to remain rigid," said DeSilva. "A lot of BandAids were stuck on these bones." But the bottom line was that our foot still has a lot of room to twist inwards and outwards, and our arches collapse. This results in: ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and broken ankles. These are not modern problems, due to stiletto heels; Fossils show broken ankles that have healed as far back as 3 million years ago.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
As a part of survival the body must make a sensory determination on whether a demand placed on the surface of the body is benign or a threat. It has a split second to do this. It must first determine where the demand is and then how grave the danger. It does this by activating the sensors in that area of the body. This requires blood and nerve supply to fuel this inquiry and hormonal supply to react to the need for inflammatory responses if indeed something serious is going on.
This reflexive response can be used to reset the stress mechanism.I look at the foot for example as a stress pattern. It can form over a day but also it can accumulate over a lifetime.
The simple act of rolling your foot on the foot roller or golfball can break up those patterns of stress and reset the tone of not only the foot but the entire body. It is a way to quite quickly and effectively put the brakes on not only the stress in your feet but also the stress in the rest of the body.
One thing to remember is that the feet's communication helps set the tension level for the whole body. If the signal is lost the result is simple. We fall down. It is all or nothing situation. The acts of standing and walking require a continuous stream of information to be successful. Any interruption can be castatrophic
Harnessing this sensory reflexive response is a way of focusing on the areas of the body that need our attention It is simple and it puts you in control making you your own body manager.
For some veterans the experiences of serving continue after the trip home. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and, for those who have lost a limb, phantom limb syndrome create issues seeking a solution. Research shows potential for reflexology to help. Researchers in Israel and physiotherapists in England demonstrated such potential.
PTSD and Reflexology
It is estimated one-third of veterans who returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Common symptoms include depression, outbursts, muscle tension, concentration levels and sleep disruption.
Researchers analyzed results following reflexology work applied to 15 Israeli soldiers suffering from PTSD following the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Sessions of 50 to 60 minutes were applied over 14 weeks. Improvements of 75% to 80% in the common symptoms were found the day after a session. General feelings improved by 90% and medication was reduced by 50%. Improvements were reduced two days after a session and measured at 50%. Day 3 found symptoms back as before. Researchers suggested 2 or 3 sessions a week to achieve a more effective result. http://www.reflexology-research.com/?page_id=117
Phantom Limb Pain and Reflexology
Phantom limb pain (PLP) is experienced as pain or sensations such as tingling, cramping, heat or cold coming from a part of the body that was removed. Some 60% to 70 % of amputees experience PLP. A 30-week study found that reflexology work made a highly significant overall difference and was “effective in eradicating or reducing the intensity and duration of phantom limb pain.”
Seven men and 3 women “with unilateral lower limb amputations and a history of phantom limb pain” followed a five phase program conducted by British physiotherapist and reflexologist Tina Brown at the Prosthetic Services Centre in Wolverhampton, England.
Notes researcher Brown “Although I do not think that reflexology is the answer to everyone’s PLP (Phantom Limb Pain), I do feel that it is a pleasant, non-invasive therapy that does help in some situations. Another benefit found was that the patients could self-treat after being taught how to use reflexology on their hands. … I would love to see if it helped pre-amputation: i.e. would it help prevent PLP from occurring?”
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Amelioration of symptoms for health concerns
Rejuvenation of tired feet
Improvement in blood flow
Impact on physiological measures (e. g. blood pressure and cholesterol; measurements by ECG, EEG, and fMRI)
Beneficial for post-operative recovery and pain reduction
Enhancement of medical care (e. g. cancer, phantom limb pain, and hemodialysis patients)
Adjunct to mental health care (e. g. depression, anxiety, Post traumatic stress disorder)
Complement to cancer care (pain, nausea, vomiting, anxiety)
Easier birthing / delivery / post-partum recovery
These benefits are backed up by research.
Monday, November 7, 2016
From the moment the reflexologist’s hands start their work, the relaxation—and more—begins.
Yes, measuring real-time as reflexology is applied, an EEG shows that the brain immediately goes into a more relaxed state as reflexology work commences.
But there’s more. The creation of brain waves indicating relaxation as measured by EEG is not the only effect of reflexology work on the brain shown by real-time measurements.
Real-time measurement by fMRI shows reflexology technique prompts activation of a particular part of the brain when technique is applied to a specific part of the foot.
• The part of the brain responsible for short-term memory shows more blood flow when reflexology technique is applied to the side of the big toe.
The part of the brain responsible for integrating body, mind and spirit—the insula—shows more blood flow when reflexology technique is applied to the adrenal gland reflex area. The insula integrates actions to balance emotions, homeostasis, and pain center.
The left frontal lobe activated by reflexology technique applied to the eye reflex area of the right foot. This is a part of the brain responsible for writing, movement, as well as personality traits such as problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgement, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior. The cerebellum was also activated by technique applied to the eye reflex area. The cerebellum is responsible for posture, balance, and coordination of movements.
• Technique applied to the eye, shoulder and small intestine reflex areas of the foot resulted in activation in the brain of areas related to the foot and also to the areas of the brain related to the eye, shoulder and small intestine.
Then there’s improved blood flow to the kidneys and intestines when technique is applied to the kidney and intestine reflex areas respectively as shown in real-time measurements by Doppler sonogram.
In addition there’s the general influence of reflexology work shown by research: pain relief; improved blood flow to the feet; decrease in heart rate and blood pressure; increase in oxygen saturation and lowering of the respiratory rate.
Now you can tell your clients what’s happening with their bodies as you work on their feet. Give a guided tour as you point out the sites of influence: temporal lobe reflex area, improved blood flow for part of the brain responsible for short term memory; kidney reflex area, blood flow to the kidneys improving; same with intestine reflex area; adrenal reflex area, straight to a part of the brain important to integrating body, mind and spirit; eye reflex area, influencing parts of the brain responsible for moving.
It’s an image of ourselves none of us wants to think about: being rolled into surgery. And, it’s easy to imagine anxiety running high both before and after the operation.
Well, it turns out reflexology can come to the rescue. It’s a real-world application of reflexology’s well known relaxation results. This is important as anxiety can be detrimental to the successful outcome of the medical procedure.
As note by Israeli researchers, “Preoperative anxiety, which can lead to elevated blood pressure, rapid pulse and sugar metabolism changes, is one of the most significant factors predicting mortality among postoperative cardiovascular patients, according to Prof. Lital Keinan Boker from the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies at the University of Haifa. … “These symptoms of preoperative anxiety can influence and extend the postoperative recovery period, added Boker,…
Can alternative therapies help with pre-op jitters? Prof. Boker, Dr. Elad Schiff of B’nai Zion Hospital in Haifa and master’s student Samuel Attias decided to find out. And, reflexology turned out to be part of the solution.
360 general surgery patients were assigned to one of three groups: standard care; an alternative therapy (acupuncture, reflexology, individual guided imagery or a combination of reflexology and guided imagery) or generic guided imagery.
“The study found that the greatest reduction in anxiety – by an average of 4.22 points – was achieved when patients received a combination of standard care together with reflexology and guided imagery.”
“In general, patients who received the combination of complementary medicine and standard care showed a reduction of 60 percent in their anxiety level, … representing a reduction from an intermediate-to-high anxiety level to a low anxiety level. Those who received standard care reported an increase in anxiety levels with “70% of patients in this group continued to report intermediate to high anxiety even after receiving medication.”
For further information about alleviating pre-op and post -op anxiety and more, see
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
How do your hands feel right now? Stiff? Hurting? Do you have trouble buttoning buttons? Are your finger joints enlarged or crooked? If so you’re not alone.
What can be done about aging or arthritic hands? If you are a reflexologist, you, like me, may hear this question frequently. Or, maybe you’re just wondering what to do about hands that no longer work the way you want. Or, for some, you’re concern is aesthetic—you’re not happy with the way your hands look.
Here’s some good news: there’s a simple, inexpensive and easy thing you can do to make your hands feel and work better.
It’s using a paraffin wax machine with benefit that results from exposing your hands to the warmth and moisture of melted wax.
Why do this? You’ll want to do this because of what research has found. “Paraffin bath therapy seemed to be effective both in reducing pain and tenderness and maintaining muscle strength in hand osteoarthritis.”
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or you’re feeling the years or you’re feeling the need, your hands can benefit. Research shows this treatment results in significant improvements including:
- hand pain and stiffness
- pain during activities of daily living
- range of motion
- hand grip and pinch strength
- the number of painful and tender joints
- maintaining muscle strength.
In other words, “Those who used the paraffin wax experienced more pain relief and stronger hands compared to those who did not use the paraffin wax. Overall, the group using the hot wax treatments seemed to have a little easier time doing all those mundane daily activities like buttoning shirts and tying shoelaces. “ (http://www.healthcentral.com/osteoarthritis/c/240381/160434/treatments-arthritic/)