Monday, October 27, 2008

Santa Fe doctor has team of alternative practitioners to ease pain, anxiety

ABQJOURNAL HEALTH: Santa Fe doctor has team of alternative practitioners to ease pain, anxiety

"Santa Fe plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Ronel says he has devised a way to help ease patients' pain and anxiety: Blend cosmetic procedures with acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, medical aesthetology, nutritional counseling, psychotherapy, reflexology and Thai massage." Eric Billingsley, Albuquerque Journal, 10/27/08

This article on plastic surgery and alternative practitioners reminded me of my late friend, Gwen Dara. Gwen was an innovator who did reflexology years ago with plastic surgery patients. Only Gwen worked with the stars.

I never knew who Gwen worked on because I didn't ask. Nor do I think Gwen would tell. She was a very ethical practitioner. But everybody knew they were people you would recognize.

Gwen would come up with all kinds of innovations like getting people up after working on one foot to show them the contrast. I always learned something from her.

A CBS executive called me after Gwen had passed away. She had lost contact with Gwen and wanted to reconnect. I had to break the bad news. The executive broke into tears. I understood completely.

So when I saw this article I thought Gwen could have said, "Been there. Done that." But she wouldn't have.

Kevin Kunz

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Balance problems? Step into the iShoe

Really cool! I have been invited to a focus group for the new IShoe. The focus group will brainstorm on ideas for the IShoe.

The IShoe is a device designed to prevent falls with seniors It is a shoe bed like insert with a lot of sensors. It will signal the user as to their proper attitude.

It is also being to design to work with astronauts who have terrible problems with balance due to zero gravity.

Falls are one of the 4 "geriatric giants". The other three are memory loss, urinary incontinence and depression. But falls if they aren't deadly are very expensive. It is estimated that hip fractures are a 5 billion dollar a year cost in the US.

It will be interesting to see where the IShoe goes. It could save lives and have an impact on the costs of this problem.

Here's hoping.

Kevin Kunz

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bumpy Brain Boosters

Barbara and I have been brainstorming in the mornings while walking on cobblestone mats. We have suddenly noticed how inspired we have become. We think it is all the mat walking.

Cobblestone Mats are all the rage in Asia and have been scientiifcally tested by Oregon Research Institute. They have been shown to help with blood pressure, pain and recovery from falls. It was an Institute on Aging study through the NIH.

Reflexology paths are spreading like wildfire across the globe. The biggest concentration is in Asia but they are they have takesn hold in Europe particularly in Germany. The US is just starting to discover the benefits of reflexology paths with 3 built in Washington State by the Park's Department alone.

The cobblestone mats were originally for indoor use when the weather doesn't permit outdoor participation on reflexology paths. The mats are are easy to use and very portable.

One note of caution is to be sure they are not on a slick surface like a wood floor. Carpet underneath is best.

We just started to casually talk about projects we are working on as we walked on the mats. What evolved was brain storming sessions. We found ourselves tackling tough problems and finding it easier to solve them. Is more blood flowing to the brain? Seems like it but a simple brain scan would tell you more. Unfortunately we don't have one here.

But the really interesting thing about Einstein was when they dissected his brain. Einstein's brain is actually smaller than the average size brain. There were a few differences in his brain but not as dramatically different as one might expect. One theory is that he simply had more blood pumping to the brain.

Brisk walking has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain. Could mat walking be helping pump more of this needed blood to our brains? Only more research will be able to test this hypothesis.

Will the business brainstorming sessions in the future have business people walking around on these mats while tackling problems. Our our government leaders taking on big challenges while pacing across these mats in their socking feet. Imagine the Pentagon planners shoeless and walking on mats.

Could be highly amusing yet very productive. We plan to continue with these bumpy brain boosters.

Kevin Kunz

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Uber Heels

© Image from

Women Fall Head Over Heels for Shoe Makers' Arch Designs -

"Not so long ago, high heels were defined as 3 or 4 inches -- a footnote to give a little height and a more appealing silhouette to the wearer. But this fall, shoes have been supersized with the proliferation of 5-, 6- and even 7-inch heels and platforms." Women Fall Head Over Heels for Shoe Makers' Arch Designs, Teri Agins, Wall Street Journal Online, 10/14/08

Would you call these shoe designers "arch villains"?

Could these shoes be regulated like tobacco as selling an addictive product?

Are the designers liable for reckless endangerment?

The article mentions the popularity of these shoes being fuel by wanton wearers like Victoria Beckham. When we were in England awhile back the tabloids were running pictures of Mrs Beckham's feet. "Gnarled" is the word that pops to mind.

Several years back Newsweek mentioned that it was a good year for reflexology as the heels had risen to 4 inches. This year is going to be a good year for orthopedic surgeons.

Kevin Kunz

Monday, October 13, 2008

Coming of Age for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

A recent St. Louis Dispatch article titled Athletes Get Massage Message addresses what will soon become the newest standard to effect complementary and alternative medicine. It is the use of dosing. In other words, how much, how long and how often massage should be used with athletes is being a center stage issue. With the increasing pressure to win these factors are now under the microscope.

According to a recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers at Ohio State University found that Swedish massage helped speed muscle recovery at the cellular level for rabbits who got mechanically intense exercise.

Athletes also use Swedish massage -- stroking, kneading and pressing soft tissue. Thomas Best, professor of family medicine at Ohio State University and senior author of the rabbit study, said it's too soon for clinical trials on humans. But he considers the rabbits a strong start toward confirming massage's benefits to athletes.

Best said he hopes further research "will dictate how much massage is needed, for how long and when it should be performed after exercise."

We just finished a very extensive survey of 168 studies and found that the most successful studies took into account the frequency of technique application. The Chinese for years have taken a very close look at frequency, duration and strength of signal when trying to produce results.

Could the failure of some studies to achieve results have to do with these factors rather than whether reflexology "works" or not? Could adjusting the dose of reflexology make the difference?

The Chinese reflexology researchers certainly think so. Working with people with serious illness the researchers adjust the dose to a rather high level of once a day ( a half an hour) for 6 days then taking a day off. They do this treatment regime for 2 weeks and then evaluate the disorder. If it needs further action they continue unto another 2 week series of sessions. The Chinese get remarkable results. They are very keen to make sure the frequency in particular is enough to cause change.

If we are to move from reflexology being a "treat" as one study put it to a "treatment" will we need to look closely at these three key factors? We think so. It is hard to come away from these evidence based studies without drawing that conclusion.

But if one has a serious illness and it could be helped by this level of intensity would that be an incentive enough to try a more intense treatment regime?

I would think so. But more research is needed to pin down the required factors.

Would you be willing to give it a try if you had a serious illness?

Kevin Kunz

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pennsylvania Victory- Exemption for Reflexology

Jonna Boyd is a true reflexology hero. For 16 years she has fought for an exemption for reflexology in the state of Pennsylvania. And finally she has won.

Please drop her an email congratulating her for her victory. And tell her where you are from. She deserves all our support.


Hi All! Just a quick update for your information: Governor Rendell signed the Massage Therapy Licensure Bill late yesterday afternoon! It's official! Licensure for Massage Therapists will begin in 2009 and Reflexology is the only named exemption in the bill! I am thrilled to have been a part of this process for the protection of my profession, Reflexology! Thanks again for all your support and guidance throughout the process. Jonna


She's the best.

Kevin Kunz

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Using reflexology to manage stress in the workplace

© diego cervo. Image from

ScienceDirect - Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice :
Using reflexology to manage stress in the workplace: A preliminary study

This study is a preliminary study to "explore the use of reflexology in managing stress in the workplace". It was with a small group people in the UK and it demonstrated positive results.

There have been several studies to this effect. The really interesting comment in a study from Denmark by one employee was that when they felt just a general malaise the idea that the reflexologist was available gave them impetus to go to work.

Hans Selye, the famous stress researcher spoke of this general rundown feeling that stress produces. It isn't a specific disorder. Rather it is a feeling of overall fatigue.

Could reflexology effect not only these borderline "illnesses"? Reflexology by breaking up the patterns of stress off lifts the feeling of being under the weather.

But could reflexology do more than that? Could reflexology actually effect the bottom line? 

I well never forget a simple reaction that took place in a sheltered workshop I worked at right after college. We assembled several products for companies like RCA and Hoffman Laroche.

I had been taking pictures of the assembly lines for a newsletter we produced. When I was done with the pictures I posted them up on the bulletin board just for the clients interest.

Our production shot through the roof on that day and the effect continued for several days. Like a famous Westinghouse lighting study demonstrated the simple act of paying attention to workers had a beneficial effect for the bottom line.

Imagine what having a reflexologist on staff might do. In these troubled economic times it might have quite an impact on profits.

Kevin Kunz

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Top 10 things reflexology can do that medicine can't

© Kurhan. Image from

We have prepared a series of publications on Evidenced Based Reflexology Research. Here is a preview of some of the results. And don't get the wrong idea. This is not to suggest that reflexology is more than a complementary therapy. But according to research there are things that reflexology is capable of doing that medicine cannot do as well.

Top 10 things reflexology can do that medicine can't

1. Phantom Limb pain
2. Postpartum
3. Diabetes
4. Cancer and chemo
5. Neuropathy
6. Hemodialysis
7. Aids mentally ill providing needed benefits to reflexology work
8. Research showed relief from post traumatic stress syndrome
9. Measures of stress are significantly decreased
10. Immediate feelings of wellbeing

10 things
1. Research shows that reflexology work alleviates and, at times, eliminate phantom limb pain

2. Reflexology is  beneficial for post-partum women including issues such as Anxiety and depression and recovery from Cesarean section.

3. Research shows that reflexology work reduces physiologic measures for diabetics and is an effective treatment for type II diabetes mellitus. Circulation to the feet is improved also.

4. Thirteen studies from seven countries (US, Italy, Japan, China, Switzerland, Korea, United Kingdom) target cancer care and show the benefits of reflexology work including anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, nausea, and vomiting.

5. Neuropathy Research shows improvement in blood flow rate, time and acceleration within the feet following reflexology work

6. Research shows that reflexology work helps  individuals undergoing hemodialysis: Improves the kidney’s functions with changes in physiologic measures: an increase in red blood cells (to combat anemia concerns), increase in lymphocytes (to help fight infection), and enhances disposal of waste products.

7. Reflexology programs and research shows that reflexology aids the mentally ill, providing needed benefits unique to reflexology work. Mental health workers report that reflexology work furnishes many advantages including facilitating communication

8. Victims of post traumatic stress syndrome experienced relief from symptoms including anger, depression and muscle tension as well as improved sleep patterns, levels of concentration and a lift in overall mood.

9. Measures of stress such as blood pressure, pulse rate and self-reported anxiety are significantly decreased, decreased or lowered.

The last point came from a client. He said when "I go to the doctor I don't know what the outcome will be. But when I see you I always feel better." He said it was a feeling of well being and that is what he paid for.

Kevin Kunz