Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The New Reflexology: A Theoretical Summary Part 3

We wrote this orginally after our Paralysis Project in 1980. The percepts have really remained the same which is remarkable considering this was written 30 years ago. Editor


© Eraxion Image from BigStockPhoto.com. 
The Foot as a Functional Unit
Man's stride in walking sets him off from other creatures on earth. The role of the feet is to provide an upright, stable pedestal to support the body in a stationary position. And the feet provide the leverage necessary to propel us forward in the act of locomotion, or walking. The latter act requires a structure that is flexible and has the capacity for absorbing shock loads and dispersing them evenly throughout the body. 

The contact the foot initially makes with the ground is called a heel strike. This pressure indicates to the muscles used in this phase of the stride mechanism that it is time to use their specific roles in the stride. The foot rolls forward along the outside edge of the longitudinal arch and then to the Metatarsal which form the ball of the foot. Pressure here signifies another segment of the stride mechanism and thus triggers another set of specific muscles.

The push-off for forward propulsion begins here and ends with the final thrust of the big toe. This “rockinghorse” motion is normally smooth and sliding with uninterrupted motion from each part of the foot.

“It is this functional communication which links the areas of the feet and hands to the body rather than any one single nerve or bit of magic.”

The flexibility needed to carry out the stride mechanism efficiently is determined by the sensory demands made on the feet and the on-going educational process provided by these demands. Any interruption in the efficiency of the stride mechanism takes energy from another of the body's functions.


Barbara and Kevin Kunz

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The New Reflexology: A Theoretical Summary Part 2

We wrote this orginally after our Paralysis Project in 1980. The percepts have really remained the same which is remarkable considering this was written 30 years ago. Editor

The Foot as an Educable Structure
During childhood, the foot along with the rest of the body, receives an education, an exploration of the body's potential and its interaction with internal world. Swinging on playground equipment, jumping rope, and other forms of what is considered “play” are actually educational processes for the body. 

The body's education does not end in childhood, however. Because of the life-long need to adapt to the constantly changing environment, the body requires life-long continuing education in the form of sensory information and the demand placed upon the body to deal with this sensory information. Bending over to tie a shoe, for example, becomes a difficult task if one seldom practices it.

Adulthood and civilization join to create a lessened sensory demand on the feet and the body as a whole. Civilization has given us shoes to walk in and smooth surfaces to walk on. The foot no longer has practice at traversing rough terrain. Adulthood encourages routine, a kind of “sameness” of sensory experience. The routine of, for example, going to work and working at the same time, in the same place, at the same job, creates a sameness of sensory information. There is a way out of the rut, however. Continuing education in the form of sensory demands made on the body can serve as a supplement to everyday sensory “sameness.”


Barbara and Kevin 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The New Reflexology: A Theoretical Summary Part 1

We wrote this orginally after our Paralysis Project in 1980. The percepts have really remained the same which is remarkable considering this was written 30 years ago. Editor

 Our views of the foot and of reflexology have changed dramatically in the last two years (since 1980). This view suggests that the foot contributes to two basic integrated functions of the body, the stride mechanism and the survival mechanism. The foot is thus a participant in the body's interactions with both the external and internal worlds. The following is a summary of the logical extensions of this viewpoint, which lies at the heart of the “new” reflexology.

The Foot as a Sensory Organ
The foot is a sensory organ and a participant in the functioning of the body. Just as any other sensory organ, the foot has its specialty. It specializes in the information which makes locomotion possible. This information is in the form of proprioception, a type of sensation from joints, muscles, and tendons, communicating that which is not always consciously perceived about their position in relationship to the rest.

“This view suggests that the foot contributes to two basic integrated functions of the body, the stride mechanism and survival mechanism.” of the body, so that posture is maintained by reflex movement. This is the raw data used by the Central Nervous System to perceive the body's position in space so that it can be maintained or changed to make adjustments to the changing environment.

Additional thoughts from the editor. 
This concept is completely revolutionary in the sense that the foot takes on a very important function. the foot is not simply a conveyance but also detects pressure, stretch, movement, heat, cold and vibration. The foot is also key to "ground awareness". Indeed to stay upright in a field of gravity on two legs is indeed a difficult task. And the feet and it's communication links play a key role in preventing disaster.  

Barbara and Kevin Kunz

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thoughts on Reflexology Case Studies

Alzheimer's Toe?
Thoughts on case studies are presented here as a follow-up to the Skype Presentation by Kevin Kunz for the Maine Council of Reflexologists (MCR) 20th Anniversary. 

Reviewing interest by MCR members in case studies, Kevin and Barbara have come up with suggestions for pursuing case studies that will succeed in provide validity for reflexology.

As noted by Kevin, case studies are considered light weight science and are given little credibility. However, validity and interest are heightened when the case study involves an interesting case, one from which illuminating information can be gleaned.

First, observations about stress cues or key reflex areas in case studies can have an impact, serving to: (1) encourage future studies and (2) serve as useful information about which reflex areas to target in future reflexology work applied to such cases.

Example: An Alzheimer’s sign on the foot was discovered by a Canadian reflexologist who looked at the feet of 21 residents of his father’s Alzheimer’s ward. (http://reflexologylive.blogspot.com/2010/04/alzheimers-sign-more-pictures-more.html) This observation provides food for thought for any reflexologist when evaluating stress cues of the big toe. It also provides material for possible future research in the early detection of Alzheimers.

(To learn more about observing stress cues of the feet, see The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology (Third Edition). Available in paperback.)

Next, create a plan for a case study that includes sufficient technique application will lead to achieving the best results possible. Parameters of technique application (how long, how often and with what pressure) have been shown to influence results. Review such parameters in research for reflexology applied to 78 disorders drawn from 169 studies in Reflexology Research for Health Professionals and Researchers.

Also, consider volunteering to work with a targeted client or clientele can provide an interesting case study. As previous studies of cancer patients and aging populations have found, these are areas where reflexology helps what medicine can’t. Consider volunteering to work with cancer care or chemotherapy patients; stroke patients; individuals who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Twenty-four studies with cancer patients find that reflexology helps with: nausea, vomiting and pain reduction. Studies with the elderly found that reflexology helps with: constipa- tion, sleep, pain relief and control over falls for the elderly.

Resulting observations about stress cues, key reflex areas or dosing (how much, how often, how long) in such case studies can have a large impact: (1) encouraging future studies and (2) serving as useful information for care giver both professional and family members.

Example: The research of Dr., Nancy Stephenson, reflexologist and assistant professor of nursing at Eastern North Carolina University, has broken ground for both dosing and the impact of reflexology application to cancer patients to alleviate pain. Her work provides verification for family reflexology work with cancer patients as well as incentive for family members to apply reflexology.

To learn more about dosing and the impact of reflexology work applied to cancer patients, see Reflexology Research in Cancer Care: What it means for cancer patients (a full discussion of 24 reflexology studies) or Reflexology Research and Cancer Care: Dosing (how much reflexology.helps cancer patients (a discussion of how much reflexology work was applied during 24 studies of cancer patients)

By the way, you never know where a case study might go. The word “pressure” is now included in reflexology definitions around the world—all because of Kunz and Kunz work with three case studies of paralysis (as well as literature research).

 Further ramifications of the work include the foot as a sensory organ and a mechanism of action for how reflexology works within the nervous system. The China Reflexology Association refers to the Kunzes as the leading Western reflexology experts—attributable to, in the Kunz’s opinion, years of work starting with the Paralysis Project. Read more.

Barbara and Kevin Kunz

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reflexology work on left foot causes right hand to move

Why would reflexology technique applied to the eye/ear reflex area of the left foot result in movement of the fingers of the right hand? A good question asked during a recent Skype participation in the 20th Anniversary of the Maine Council of Reflexologists.

Such a response would seem contrary to the basic reflexology tenet of zones, relating one part of the foot to the body (right foot to right side and left foot to left side) in ten segments.

There’s a two part answer: (1) the foot was that of a quadriplegic and (2) sometimes a foot is a foot, a participant in the foot’s contribution to walking.

(Note: This discussion is based on 916 hours of simultaneous hand and foot reflexology work over five years applied to a quadriplegic client and two paraplegic clients. Literature research included two years of studying a foot step by Kevin as well as study of the nervous system by Kevin and Barbara.)

First consider this response was replicated in work with paraplegics with one exception: it was the other foot that moved. Then there’s how the opposite foot moved. What started as random spasming of the other foot changed over six months into positioning for a footstep.

Think about a foot step for a moment. The heel of one foot hits the ground while the toes of other foot are leaving the ground. This heel strike and toe off pattern results as one foot moves itself into a flexed position (dorsiflexion) and the other foot moves itself into a toe-pointing position (plantarflexion).

What we saw after six months was one foot (the foot to which technique was applied) move itself into a position of dorsiflexion. The other foot moved into a position of plantarflexion. We were watching a nervous system disrupted by spinal cord injury try to take a foot step—all prompted by pressure to a sensor keyed to make such movement happen (what reflexologists call the eye/ear reflex area). Yes, the body is hard-wired in the nervous system to respond to the stimulus of pressure to a specific part of the foot. Putting together such bits of pressure sensed by the foot makes a footstep take place along with a key component of survival: movement.

To consider what was at play with the quadriplegic client, think about the footstep again. As one foot moves forward what do the opposite arm and hand do? They move in concert with what is called the cross extensor movement. 

Food for thought: This would not happen when working on the foot of an uninjured individual. What happened, happened because a an other-than-normal response was made within a nervous disrupted by a spinal cord injury.

While this would not happen with a typical reflexology client, nonetheless, the same signals are at play in the nervous system. Pressure applied to the foot impacts the body’s walking mechanism. While no movement will take place in an individual with an intact spinal cord, the client’s opposite foot and hand will be impacted when technique is applied to the eye/ear reflex area of the other foot.

No wonder the feet themselves feel so good after a reflexology session. They’ve received a tune- up of their basic function of walking in addition to a reflex area workout.

For further infomation read the Paralysis Report.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Marketing Reflexology Mats: “The best gift to send parents”

Used in China During Bad Weather
Tap shek (stone stepping), the Chinese tradition of walking on a reflexology path for health, is a popular activity in China’s city parks. When it rains, tap shek continues indoors on cobblestonelike mats. The mats, made of plastic “cobblestones” embedded in felting, are commonly sold throughout China.

The marketing of cobblestone mats has moved on from merely offering the product to touting its positive qualities. Plastic “cobblestone” mat products have evolved with differently shaped “cobblestones.” One company notes its products are “more environmentally friendly, more reliable quality” Want a mat with “cobblestones” embedded into the shape of a reflexology chart, complete with words noting the reflex areas in English and Chinese? Want the best mat to give your parents? They’re available.

Marketing of reflexology mats now includes copy directed at propitiate customers: “(Those who) Often sit and work or study of people: “People in the business unit's office or school for people who work long sitting, sitting in the production of long-term operation of the factory workers, taxi drivers and students, due to the specific needs of work or study, due to the long and monotonous work or study in attitude and too little activity will be more frequent in the mental outlook of tension, forgetfulness, neurasthenia, lack of energy, gastrointestinal diseases, arthritis, obesity, allergies, loss of appetite, eczema, dermatitis, decreased immunity and so on, through the use of the product above can be eliminated or reduced the size and extent of disease, long-term use can achieve better health results.”

Kevin Kunz

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Fallout from the Skype Lecture

Wendy Decker1:18pm May 16
Kevin, I used your double thumb technique and paid special attention to the middle cunieform both on two clients today and on myself. Wow! Got great results! Thank-you so much for the information! I especially liked how the double thumb(or finger) technique opened up the forefoot and toes resulting in a huge reduction of tension in the neck and shoulders! I used it on the lateral aspect of the foot to really work the arm and elbow with a resulting miracle (according to client). And working the cunieforms and metatarsal joints with a loosening technique and rotation on a point really helped the intestines return to normal action. Thank-you!!!
Thanks Wendy. So glad we brought it up during the Maine Council of Reflexologists conference. 

We are so eager for reflexologists to try this technique we have dropped our eBook from $7.95 to 99¢. Give it a try and see what you think.  
Click here to order. 

Barbara and Kevin 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Our Skype Reflexology lecture- the reviews are in.

Donna Dyer commented on Our Skype session with the Maine Council of Reflexologists. 
Donna wrote: "I attended the 20th celebration and meeting of the Maine Council of Reflexologists yesterday in Augusta, Me. Your skype session where you explored the field of research for today's reflexologists was fascinating and enormously informative. You inspired all of us to the challenge of trying to do some case studies here in Maine. Your breadth of knowledge and your williingness to share with so many is a tremendous gift to all of us. Thank you from the depth of my heart for your generous spirit. I hope one day to meet you and to shake your hand and thank you in person. Kindest regards, Donna" 

Wendy Decker
Today's skype session
Hi Kevin and Barbara....yeah Barbara, I could hear you in the background adding in information, too. :)) I want to honor you both for your wonderful information in today's skype session! Thank-you SO much for sharing with the Maine Council of Reflexologists and being part of our 20th anniversary celebration! I think you being with us today really made this the best meeting ever! I thoroughly enjoyed your WONderful knowledge, answering our questions and showing us your two thumbs approach! And I heard so many people say how they LOVED the skype session with you! You have so much to offer us! We are all just thrilled with our skype session with Kevin and Barbara Kunz!! And you have many of us really thinking seriously, at the least about doing some case studies and some thinking about who would be a good match to run a reflexology research study. After we ended the call, we broke into groups to talk about what really interests us among our clientele, what health issues we would really be interested in seeing how reflexology works and in the dosing idea of frequency, duration and strength of signal.

Thanks again!! I hope you can come do a workshop for us some day in the future!
Wendy Decker

From Barbara and Kevin: Thank you both for your kind words. And thank you to the Maine Council of Reflexologists for the opportunity to present our thoughts and ideas. It was fun. 

Contra indications to Walking the Reflexology Path

Tap shek (stone stepping), the Chinese tradition of walking on a reflexology path for health, is a popular activity in city parks. When it rains, tap shek continues indoors on cobblestone-like mats. The mats, made of plastic “cobblestones” embedded in felting, are commonly sold throughout China.

Among recent developments in cobblestone path walking is consideration of contraindications.

City/ State Government Directions to “stampede the cobblestone”

One government site notes benefits of the “healthy way,” walking the reflexology path but cite "counterirritations", those with:

  • Parkinson's disease, cerebellar dysfunction, and balance thecervical spinal cord, such as patients, due to poor control of the pace, can not conduct such training;
  • more serious hip and knee patients, the less flexible joints, uneven pavement will increase the load on joints, increasing joint lesions
  • bedridden due to physical injury or a fixed time people started to practice walking, due to the lack of lower extremity muscle strength, exercise such right may be at risk
  • lead to lower limbs due to neurological disorders such myasthenia should not exercise.”
More Contra indications

“Old (senior citizens) if fitness walking cobblestone road, to consider their own physical condition, in general, each time not more than 15 minutes is appropriate. Prohibited under the following conditions walking: the first is leg pain, sprains, trauma, swelling of the time; Second, rheumatoid
 ever exposure to cold and flu; Third, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, liver and kidney dysfunction and other chronic deterioration; Fourth alcohol, dizziness when psychosis imbalance; Fifth, the weather changes unexpectedly, when the ground has frost. The knee bone joint inflammation in patients with pebbles fitness should be prohibited.

“Po doctor also suggested that if foot pain appears to be the best to the hospital for treatment, usually
before going to sleep every night under warm water for half an hour by foot, foot massage can take the method, which can effectively prevent the plantar fascia inflammation and the formation of bone spurs, but also to prevent the arch of the change.” (People's Health Channel)

Editor's Note: Quotations are taken from Google Translate therefore they may appear a bit awkward. 

Kevin Kunz

Friday, May 13, 2011

The “Smart Cobblestone Road” / Reflexology Mat

“Smart,” “intelligent” reflexology mats are now being sold in China. Marketing material notes that walking on the mat’s special stones provides the opportunity to receive in two months the benefits typical of walking on a regular mat for two years.

All sorts of questions come to mind. How much difference could result from walking on the mat’s tourmaline and geranium stones? Is it a miracle product or a hyped marketing ploy?
Tap shek (stone stepping), the Chinese tradition of walking on a reflexology path for health, is a popular activity in city parks. When it rains, tap shek continues indoors on cobblestone-like mats. The mats, made of plastic “cobblestones” embedded in felting, are commonly sold throughout China.

Kunming Fukurokuju hi Fitness Equipment Co., Ltd. has created a “smart cobblestone road” or “intelligent cobblestone path.” (In the following the Kin Kin Tourmaline energy mat is referred to as a “health blanket” owing perhaps to the original manufacturer of the plastic cobblestone mats, a blanket company.)

The mat is made with tourmaline and geranium stones so that “…it not only has cobbled road foot massage function, but also release large amounts of the beneficial far infrared, magnetic, negative ions, the effect of the cobblestone road to the limits. Stepped on a day 15 minutes, so that each foot point is to move, not only can eliminate a variety of chronic, intractable diseases, but also longevity, many of the elderly is reflected in the step and more energy to go blanket foot health for some time, drugs do not eat a lot of chronic diseases all good!

“Dr. Chang pointed out that Chinese researchers: take the cobblestone path is to use the body's own point of gravity on the foot reflex zone massage, people have multiple, massage intensity there is much that a hundred times stronger than the intensity of foot massage, the new smart cobblestone path that has Energy massage is unmatched outdoor cobblestone road, take the 2 years before the effects of cobblestone road, now only 2 months to achieve. Smart cobblestone road has now swept South Korea, Japan, in China Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities, people have started using this amazing smart cobblestone road.”

One consumer notes his exploration of improving his health by walking on the above described Kin Kin Tourmaline Energy Mat (blanket). “I stumbled Taobao go on sale this blanket, and normally should be good for the body, before walking to the park with my parents, my mother would let me take off your shoes full of stones in the road to go, that is good for you, then without thinking to take off their shoes in the gravel on the way to go, really go in the above, the foot simply can not stand, or even pain untenable. Now grown up, knew the concept of health, often on television or the Internet to watch Beijing TV's “Yangshengtang” section, that there are many experts will be invited to explain the health regimen of treatment, about 30 minutes per episode, after seeing benefit, so I know Yang Yi, it is the speaker foot, and listened to her explanation, that the foot is so important,…”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stone for Building Reflexology Paths

China Reflexology Path

To build a cobblestoned reflexology path, you need rocks. Providing stone appropriate for paths is a part of doing business for companies that sell stone. They advertise their wares by noting not only the benefits of “fitness walking” but also that the activity will be more effective is the right stones are chosen.

Nanjing Stone notes on its Web site: “Selection of materials is the key to successful fitness walking, according to the physical condition of materials to choose their own fitness, fitness effects will be more effective.… “The foot of the nervous system is rich in many important points in the soles of the feet, if effective massage to stimulate the soles of the feet, can promote blood circulation, help digestion, improvability to respond to heart, liver, lung, gallbladder, stomach, bladder and kidneys is very benefits, especially for the benefits of a larger brain system.”

Part 3 The “Smart Cobblestone Road” / Reflexology Mat

Kevin Kunz

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Latest in Reflexology Paths Part 1

© cozyta. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.

What’s new in the reflexology paths of China? For one thing, the rocks underfoot are now touted for their qualities. Walking on the paths has been refined with contra indications noted for those who should not participate in such “fitness walking.” Also new is a generation of cobblestone mats with questions raised for promises made for use of the “smart,” “intelligent” mats.

Reflexology paths, cobblestoned walking surfaces, are found throughout Asia. The beneficial pressure of reflexology is provided by gravity’s pull as one walks on a surface of cobblestones or other rocks. In China the tradition of Tap Shek (stone stepping) is now a part of the country’s 10-year Fitness Health Plan. It is a “fashionable fitness activity” with senior citizens eagerly lining up to take their turns at walking on paths in city parks. When it rains, the Chinese roll out the cobblestone-like surface of a reflexology mat.

Research confirms the health benefits. In a study frequently noted in Chinese articles about reflexology paths, Oregon Research Institute scientists compared walking on a usual surface to walking on a cobblestone mat. They found that the older adult mat-walking participants experienced a reduction in blood pressure and pain as well as an increased feeling of control over falls.

Part 2 Next- Stone for Building Reflexology Paths