Friday, August 26, 2011

Stand up for longevity

Pilates and yoga are up and we’re all sitting down too much. Two seemingly disparate items from the news this week actually converge on one idea. And the feet and reflexology are in the mix too.

So, what am I on about? Here’s the news: We sit too much while watching television and it’s impacting our health and longevity. A study has shown that for every one hour of television watched, 22 minutes of one’s life is lost. According to Australian researchers, reporting numbers that are comparable to previous studies, those who watch 6 hours of television a day can expect to live 4.8 years less when compared those who do not watch not television.

In other news, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that yoga and Pilates studios are a good investment for the future, considering their increase in sales and profits over the past five years.

The idea that binds the two reports?  The exercise or lack of exercise of postural muscles, the muscles of the body that hold us upright as we walk and stand. Sitting too much, for example, while watching television incapacitates the body’s postural muscles. These muscles are tied into the body’s internal mechanisms that create cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Failure to give these muscles enough of a workout, the net result of prolonged sitting, creates a greater risk of these and other health problems as well as a decrease in longevity.

Where do postural muscles fit into yoga, Pilates and, yes, reflexology? The exercise of postural muscles is what these practices are all about.

The goal of Pilates is the strengthening of the core—or postural muscles. Yoga? Activation of postural muscles through its exercises. Reflexology? Reflexology’s techniques apply pressure to feet—a key signal we’re not sitting and central to postural muscle activation. Reflexology provides what may be a bit of a trompe l’oeil. While the artist’s technique fools the sensory receptors in the eye about what is being seen, the reflexologist’s work fools the pressure sensors in the feet about whether postural muscles activated. The nervous system is, thus, tricked into its estimation about activities of the postural muscles and the commiserate internal mechanisms. And, yes, research demonstrates that reflexology effects, among other things related to postural muscles, measures of cardio-vascular system and those related to diabetes.

So what’s with this increase in sales at yoga and Pilates studios and will reflexology as an investment opportunity be far behind? First, popularity translates into sales. It’s all about people responding to what their bodies need, a workout of the postural muscles. This is known as an archestructure, an innate drive to meet the physical needs of the body or “a felt or perceived function or structural feature of the nervous system, projected or unconsciously acted out in the life-style or the beliefs, customs and social structure s of the individuals concerned or of whole communities.” (Gooch, Stan F. Total Man, Ballantine Books, 1972, p. 299) Yoga, Pilates and reflexology enthusiasts are responding to something their bodies need by participating in what is, in essence, postural muscle exercise.

Next: when will investment come to the reflexology industry? Reflexology has already increased in popularity in many Western countries but if we lived in the Far East, we’d be looking at the explosive growth of a reflexology industry. Frankly, the only thing holding it back in the West is what one author refers to as traditions and expectations of how health happens. In the Far East, reflexology is a star.

It is estimated that 4 million Chinese provide reflexology services with the government seeing a shortage and calling for another million. The reflexologists practice at reflexology “parlors,” some chains with as many as 700 locations. Then, there are the medical practitioners of reflexology with “first class” reflexology licenses issued by the government working in clinics and hospitals. (By the way, the inclusion of reflexology in medicine is based on research. Consider the research monies spent to position the Chinese as world leaders in reflexology research, with hundreds if not thousands of studies that would meet NIH standards.)

Then there are the reflexology paths, special cobblestoned sidewalks, in parks where senior citizens line up twice a day to walk, considered to be a “fashionable fitness activity.” (Aside from traditions of Tap Shek (stone stepping), the Chinese frequently quote a study by the Oregon Research Institute demonstrated the benefits to seniors of such “enhanced walking.”) Rock companies offer and sell specific stones to be used for paths at one’s home. The Chinese government is currently funding paths to be built in outdoor sports facilities across the country as a part of its 10-year Fitness Program. (Imagine the construction mini-industry of path building.) Then, there’s the industry of manufacturing and selling reflexology products—mats and sandals available at any and all pharmacies.

The same could be said about the reflexology industry in other Far East countries. It’s hard to imagine a condominium complex in Singapore, a city park in Seoul or a national park in Malaysia without a reflexology park. There are reflexology kiosks in shopping malls. Japanese tourists travel to Taiwan for their specific reflexology practitioners. A Shiseido factory in Japan has found the reflexology path use improves productivity and lessens medical bill for employees.

We leave you with this thought: stand up, America. Your health and longevity will be the better for it. (A minimum of every 30 minutes is suggested by researchers) And, oh yeah, if you want to super-charge things, think yoga, Pilates and reflexology.

Barbara and Kevin Kunz

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kevin goes to the hospital—stories from the reflexologist at the foot of the hospital bed

Remembering back to my first reflexology hospital call—the client who had undergone surgery for stomach stapling due to morbid obesity—I wasn’t aware as I rolled the chair up to the foot of the bed after his surgery that his doctor had given him a 50-50 chance of surviving. His aunt was there, the loving relative who was also a nurse, watching my every move. She liked me personally but didn’t think too much of that “reflexology stuff”. 

All I can say about her attitude is—the next time I visited, she rolled the chair up to the bed and folded back the covers. It turned out she had been monitoring his vital signs and they had improved after my previous visit. Dick survived the surgery and lived for another 20 years.

The point is that Dick needed the stomach stapling operation. But that very same operation could have killed him. Reflexology acted to be like a life perserver until his body could respond and normalize. What happened with no official sanctioning was a hybrid of medicine and reflexology. 

The next time I made a hospital call it was at the request of the head of the Nursing Department at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. One of her graduate nursing students was in CCU (Cardiac ICU) for a heart attack and the heart attacks were continuing—in the hospital. It was the first time I could watch the heart monitor as I worked. I could see her pulse rate decline from 140 bpm to 70. She was asleep when I left.

She did have a blocked artery and there was a heart bypass surgery performed. She needed the operation but the reflexology helped stabilize her prior to the surgery. The surgery had a positive outcome. 

Then there was the time my father-in-law was in ICU with congestive heart failure. His heart refused to go into a regular heart beat and they wanted to cut him open to shock his heart, hoping it would go into sync—something he definitely did not want to happen. Two hours after I left, the nursing staff noticed his heart dropped back into a regular rhythm where it stayed. No surgery was required. 

I used to call it under cover work, visiting the hospital to do reflexology and hiding my work. But things changed dramatically over the years. 

 Many years ago my 6 year-old grand nephew was in pediatric ICU with flesh-eating bacteria attacking the pericardium protecting his cardiac muscle (23 days I would not want to re-live). It was life threatening. I worked on him day and night fighting to keep him alive. 

I always stopped my reflexology work when the staff came in so I wouldn’t be in the way. One time as the doctor was leaving after a visit, she turned around to say, "Be sure to work the lung area."

 With that, I knew then that times had changed for reflexology visits to the hospital. By the way, Jakey just turned 21. He needed both medicine and reflexology to survive. 

Maybe it is time to build a hybrid between what medicine does well and what reflexology does well. In all these cases these people needed medical attention. But there is no reason it has to "be either or" medicine. In fact it is more like the "best of both worlds" medicine.

You could say it is a medical hybrid of sorts.

Barbara and Kevin Kunz

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Your Own Medical Hybrid: Reflexology and medicine

A hybrid of reflexology and medicine—an idea I like. And, as it turns out, it’s an idea that could work to help not only a loved one but also the health care budget.

What am I talking about? 

Well, the medical community is starting to research and use reflexology, for example, post surgically—but it’s not yet available most places. So, I want to start my own medical hybrid with reflexology, helping friends and family as needed, working with assurance of positive results using the same research the medical community would use when it adopts reflexology.

The idea came to me as I was looking at exactly that—the research about reflexology undertaken for use within the medical community. What stood out were the number of studies for use of reflexology in medical facilities for patients in: post-operative recovery, labor/delivery/post partum care, and cancer care. 

Hmmm, I thought, this sounds familiar. Been there, done that. Sitting in the hospital room, visiting a loved one just out of surgery, holding a hand—but really applying reflexology. So, now I’m looking at the research. What do I find? Reflexology helps post surgically with recovery, pain reduction, and lessened anxiety. 

Hmmm, more thinking: What if everyone and anyone was reassured by research that he or she could help a loved one, providing reflexology and doing what the hospital would provide if only they had the money and knew about the research? What would it mean? Sitting helplessly by a hospital bed wanting to help would be a thing of the past? Money would be saved because hospital stays would be shortened?

It turns out I’m not the first to have this idea as shown by this on-line story. The individual wanted to help his friend be released from the hospital but first the patient had to defecate—standard for hospital release. He looked up a reflexology chart on-line, worked on his friend’s feet and, yes, the friend was released promptly. Exactly as the research had found—reflexology helps bowel and bladder functions return more quickly.

Barbara and Kevin Kunz

Monday, August 15, 2011

High Tech / High Touch: Medical Hybrid- Why medicine needs reflexology

Medicine is turning to reflexology to do what it can’t. It’s medicine as a hybrid—all the advantages of advanced science and targeted touch. It’s the best of both worlds to make medicine work, save money, and, oh yeah, get people well again. It doesn’t have to be "either-or medicine". The medical hybrid of medicine and reflexology just makes sense. 

Research shows that, when the high tech of medicine isn’t enough, the high touch of reflexology helps. The value of reflexology in a medical setting, serving as an adjunct for patients post-surgically, is demonstrated by fifteen studies conducted in eight countries. And, it’s this research that shows both (1) why medicine needs reflexology and (2) what doors are opening for reflexology use in medical settings. 

The studies show the value of reflexology as it helps with recovery from surgery, doing what medicine can’t: pain reduction when pain killing medicine isn’t enough; speedier wound healing; quicker restoration of bowel and bladder functions; and help to reduce anxiety, a common recovery-interfering post-surgical emotion. In addition to improving quality of life for patients and providing a possible intervention for nurses looking for solutions, such improvements thanks to reflexology have financial consequences: earlier discharge from the hospital as bowel and bladder functions return earlier as well as savings in the lessened use of pain medication.

The studies about the post-operative effects of reflexology work noted here were conducted in: China (6), Austria (3), Iran (1), UK (1), Korea (1), Taiwan (1), Thailand (2), and India (1). 

In six studies—three from China (pacemaker installation, abdominal and gynecological surgery) and two from Austria (unknown and abdominal surgery)—positive results are noted for post-operative foot reflexology application to enhance return of bowel and bladder functions earlier than those of the control groups. These functions are disrupted after surgery and necessary for discharge from the hospital.

Aside from patient quality of life, earlier discharge is a money-saving issue. Recovery results specific to the type of operation were reported for pacemaker installation (postoperative wound pain, “postural hypotension,” wound healing) and gastro-intestinal surgery (abdominal distension rate).

In one study reported in the Journal of Nursing, Chinese researchers compared patients recovering from pacemaker installation, providing usual care to a control group and usual care plus foot reflexology to the another group. In reporting results, they found reflexology to be “conductive to improving the lives of patients’ quality, accelerated postoperative rehabilitation” specifically “postoperative wound pain, sleep time, constipation, postural hypotension, wound healing time was significantly different.” (1)

Mood / Anxiety / Quality of Life
Lessened depression and anxiety as well as improved quality of life (physical, social/family, emotional, and functional well-being) resulted from the application of reflexology post-surgically in two studies of abdominal surgery patients and one of breast cancer patients. Aside from emotional well-being, such psychological enhancement through reflexology work improves recovery from surgery.

As noted in one study: because “Anxiety is a common phenomenon after all surgical operation,” the effects of reflexology and relaxation techniques on reducing anxiety for women who had undergone abdominal surgery was studied by nurses on the Faculty of Nursing at the Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Three groups were included in the study: reflexology, relaxation and a control group. “Spielberger scale used to measure the anxiety and data analyzed by descriptive and analytic statistics.” A significant difference was found between the reflexology and control groups as well as the relaxation and control groups. The researchers “so recommended to use as complementary methods for decreasing anxiety.”

Pain reduction is a significant result of reflexology work in general as noted in some 35 studies. Ten of the studies have been conducted post-operatively. Lessened pain and/or a decrease in the amount of medication is reported post-surgically for mastectomy; abdominal surgery; gastric and liver cancer; prostatectomy; open heart and general surgery patients. 

As noted in one study: even after receiving analgesia, patients with gastric and liver cancer still report moderate levels of postoperative pain. As reported in Cancer Nursing, Taiwanese nurses conducted a study of the use of reflexology to relieve pain and anxiety in postoperative patients with gastric cancer and hepatocellular cancer.

Less pain and anxiety were reported by reflexology group members when compared to those in the control group. In addition, “patients in the intervention group received significantly less opioid analgesics than the control group (P <.05). Findings from this study provide nurses with an additional treatment to offer postoperative digestive cancer patients.”

The Future
Doesn't  it make sense to build a hybrid of Hi Tech (conventional medicine) and Hi Touch (reflexology, massage and so forth). What do you think?

Barbara and Kevin Kunz

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Do you have a longer second toe? The Video

We have been talking about a longer second toe for years. Here is the video version. Enjoy!!!

Much of the world's population have longer second toes. Longer second toes are not a defect rather than are a genetic variant. If we were running around in the wild longer second toes wouldn't be much of a problem. Because of the modernization of the foot's environment with shoes and flat, hard surfaces the longer second toe has caused not only stress to the feet but also to the rest of the body as well.

This video is an explanation of a longer second toe plus some simple, cheap and effective solutions by Barbara and Kevin Kunz., authors of 18 books on reflexology in 20 languages.

Kevin Kunz 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reflexology Jade Walking Blanket

So popular is reflexology mat walking in China that new products are constantly cropping up. We like the name of this cobblestone mat product—the Jade Walking Blanket. It combines reflexology Tap Shek (stone stepping) ideas with thoughts about the value of jade as a health enhancer.

It’s interesting to follow the development of the reflexology mat industry in China. It is a reminder of the value of the reflexology industry as a whole. Aside from mats, it is estimated that 4 million Chinese are employed at and provide reflexology services at small, one person reflexology businesses or at a reflexology “parlor” chain, with 700 locations across the country. Then, there are the medical applications of reflexology, carried out in clinics and hospitals by those with “first class” reflexology licenses issued by the government. (By the way, the government estimates it needs another 1 million reflexologists and is seeking to up-grade education for reflexologists.) Then, there is the industry of building reflexology paths. Rock companies offer and sell suggestions for stones to be used for paths at one’s home. The government is funding paths to be built in outdoor sports facilities across the country as a part of the country’s 10-year Fitness Program.

Reflexology mat use indoors grew with the popularity of reflexology paths in parks. The current use of “walking blanket” to describe a reflexology mat possibly started out with the manufacturer of the first mats, a blanket company. Plastic “pebbles” were embedded into felting, an existing product of the blanket company. This mat is widely used throughout China to experience the benefits of walking the reflexology path when it’s raining outside and paths in parks are not usable. It has been available for sale for years at pharmacies (drug stores) all over the country.

Points of importance to the consumer are reflected in advertising copy for the Jade Walking Blanket: “high-grade agate massage blanket / health trail walk / foot massage pad / pebble.… “This section walks away blankets, at the end of glue imported from Germany with a silicone medical environment, superior adhesion, non-toxic and tasteless, agate never fall, can be washed, … “Particularly highlighted: agate size specifications are recommended by experts, people step up, through its pressure on the plantar foot massage to stimulate acupuncture points, exactly in line with traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture massage pressure points, such as another bigger or smaller, simply not achieve the effect of massage points.”

Benefits of mat walking are: “Agate health walk blanket is based on science and health Foot health theory developed from jade. Foot health study it and study in one health and jade, agate natural stone instead of manpower through the body's own pressure, while walking on the foot pressure point massage therapy to acupuncture. And thus help promote blood circulation, strengthen the heart power. Adjusting the internal organs function, and enhance immunity. Eliminate fatigue, relieve stress, improve sleep quality foot health effects.”

Instructions are given about how to walk on the mat to achieve effects for specific health goals.
“Here are some more efficient use of walking blanket approach:
1, heart relaxed walk method: go easy on walking on the carpet. (Leisure and fitness)
2, focused massage the pain points of law: that is to go walking on the carpet and found that pain point, then focus on massage. (Health, physical therapy)
3, hands Paitui law: that is to go on a walking carpet, the order making the legs with both hands simultaneously forcing up the legs. (For arthritis, osteoporosis and other patients)
4, body tapping law: that is to go walking on carpet, use both hands free to beat the abdomen, chest and other parts, play the effect of relaxing the body. (Through the meridians)
5, four-step health law: that is to go walking on the carpet, the pleasant four-step jump, while meditation soles of the feet, soles of the feet. (For patients with hypertension and mental)”

Monday, August 8, 2011

Reflexology Golf Ball Technique

We call this technique the million dollar self help technique because it so valuable in helping a number of conditions like asthma, allergies, sinuses and digestive upset. And the best part is all you really need is a golf ball.

Barbara Kunz invented this. It is truly a simple way to do self help on your hands. We use it in all our self help books.

Kevin Kunz 
Tweet me