Saturday, December 2, 2017

Why People Walked Differently in Medieval Times | Mental Floss

By Stilfehler (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Why People Walked Differently in Medieval Times | Mental Floss

We are heel walkers. In fact we are very hard on our heels. According to this article our ancestors were more toe walkers.

Barefoot runners are very different than shod runners in the area of the foot that receives the initial impact. The stride impact is directly on the toes with a barefoot runner. YouTube has a video which shows this dramatic shift.

As we age we tend to lose the fatty pad and the heel gets harder and harder. Also the heel is prone to spurs, jagged calcified outcropping from the bone.

In recent years I have focus more and more on the heel. I think the heel as much more sophisticated than I once thought. Because of the heel's role in locomotion I now think of it as a multitude of sensors whose job is to feedback information about the terrain under foot.

It is hard work and can be hard on your thumbs but by working the heel more I find it helps loosen the whole foot. Breaking down the deposits in the heel helps me to reset the this stress level not only in the foot but the rest of the body as well.

Kevin Kunz

Monday, September 11, 2017

Caregiver Reflexology: Beneficial for Cancer Patients

How much can cancer patients benefit from reflexology provided by friend and family caregivers? A lot according to a study headed by Dr. Gwen Wyatt of Michigan State University. Symptom severity was reduced significantly when reflexology was provided to women with advanced breast cancer by caregivers such as spouses.

Most interesting: results were obtained with little training to the caregivers and the number of sessions was few. The first visit was a training visit by a study reflexologist. The first weekly 30 minute caregiver session was observed and coached by the reflexologist. During the second weekly session, the caregiver was observed and received any needed adjustments in technique. Two further unsupervised weekly sessions were provided by the caregiver.

Significant reduction in symptom severity began for the cancer patients were seen at the second week and continued to the fifth week with results reduced at the 11 week mark. The caregiver-provided reflexology group saw significant reductions in: pain, fatigue, nausea, disturbed sleep, distress, shortness of breath, difficulty remembering, decreased appetite, drowsiness, dry mouth, sadness, vomiting, numbness/tingling.

The importance of the study is seen as the now proven ability to manage symptoms (see below) at home for the advanced cancer patient. 

  • Previous studies have shown that unmanaged symptoms lead to a reduced health-related quality of life. Management of symptoms can improve quality of life.
  • “more than 80% of women with breast cancer turn to complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapies for symptom management” with foot or hand reflexology as one of the most common choices
  • Home-based symptom management allows patients to receive interventions when needed (Such a conclusion was also drawn in a previous study of caregiver provided reflexology for pain relief of cancer patients.) 
  • Home-based symptom management allows patients to avoid “scheduling appointments for some time in the future with practitioners” (and as noted above receive immediate attention for symptoms) 
  • Home-based symptom management “minimizes the financial expenses and potential exposure to outside contaminants (experienced during a visit to a health care facility) for immunocompromised patients with advanced disease.”

The decision to research results of caregiver reflexology in the current study followed observations of 2010 research by Dr. Wyatt et al. During that study an unexpected result was the positive results obtained for cancer patients by research staff with no reflexology training.

Further research is planned to explore mechanisms of action at work. “The finding of the stable social relationship in this study points to the need to consider other potential mechanisms of action of reflexology, such as underlying biology. To date, the potential physiologic mechanisms suggested in the literature include: activation of receptors to release oxytocin for its positive effects on well-being [52]; facilitation of optimum circulation, which in turn eliminates toxins and supports immune, nervous, and glandular systems [53]; activation of the relaxation response [22, 54]; and complex inputs and processing via neuromatrices in the central nervous system [20, 55]. These theoretical mechanisms may or may not be the active ingredient in reflexology, and further research is needed on the pathways that may explain symptom reduction due to reflexology.” 

20. Stephenson N, Swanson M, Dalton J, Keefe FJ, Engelke M (2007) Partner-delivered reflexology: Effects on cancer pain and anxiety. Oncol Nurs Forum 34 (1):127-132
22. Sharp DM, Walker MB, Chaturvedi A, et al. (2010) A randomized, controlled trial of the psychological effects of reflexology in early breast cancer. Eur J Cancer 46 (2):312-322
52. Cronfalk BS, Strang P, Ternestedt BM (2009) Inner power, physical strength and existential well-being in daily life: Relatives' experiences of receiving soft tissue massage in palliative home care. J Clin Nurs 18 (15):2225-2233 53. Wilkinson S, Lockhart K, Gambles M, Storey L (2008) Reflexology for symptom relief in patients with cancer. Cancer Nurs 31 (5):354-360
54. McVicar AJ, Greenwood CR, Fewell F, et al. (2007) Evaluation of anxiety, salivary cortisol and melatonin secretion following reflexology treatment: A pilot study in healthy individuals. Complement Ther Clin Pract 13 (3):137-145
55. Stephenson N, Dalton J (2003) Using reflexology for pain management. J Holist Nurs 21 (4):179-191 
Gwen Wyatt, RN, PhD, FAAN, Alla Sikorskii, PhD, Irena Tesnjak, PhD(c), Dawn Frambes, PhD, RN, MSA, Amanda Holmstrom, PhD, Zhehui Luo, PhD, David Victorson, PhD, Deimante Tamkus, MD, “A Randomized Clinical Trial of Caregiver-delivered Reflexology for Symptom Management during Breast Cancer Treatment,” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2017 Jul 22. pii: S0885-3924(17)30301-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.07.037

(Note from Editor: The meaning of “management” of symptoms became clear to this writer when she accompanied her 96 year old mother to a semi-annual physical. Oh, you’re managing your symptoms, said the doctor when my mother described her successful efforts to care for her problems with acid reflux. Her description of another health situation evoked the same response. The value of managing one’s health? My mother has the blood work (blood sugar, cholesterol etc. levels) of “a twenty-year old,” according to the doctor. He also describes her as amazing.)

Further research- 
Medical applications of Reflexology:: Findings in Research about Cancer Care

Baby Boomers: Get off the Couch Now Or You May Not Be Able To Later

Move now or you might not be able to later. These are the results of a study that followed a group of people ages 50 to 71 for 8 to 10 years. Those who sat “the most and move the least had more than three times the risk of difficulty walking by the end of the study, when compared to their more active counterparts. … “Some ended up unable to walk at all. The study appears in the current issue of The Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.”

Our advice: get up and move. The study’s authors suggest being up and about every 30 minutes.

Learn more how much and how often to move as well as others health dangers of sitting too much: Un-Sit Your Life

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

PTSD, the Fight or Flight Mechanism and Reflexology

By Icemanwcs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Recent research into use of a drug to treat those with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) offers a clue to how and why reflexology work offers help to soldiers returning from war.

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.
In a study by the U. S. Army shots called stellate ganglion blocks, an anesthetic, are injected into the necks of study participants. “The shots (used for decades for arm pain and shingles) interrupt messages along nerve fibers that control the fight or flight response.” (

Could interaction with the fight or flight mechanism provide explanation for the successful results using reflexology with Israeli soldiers suffering from PTSD following the Yom Kippur War of 1973?  
Improvements of 75% to 80% in the common symptoms were found the day after a  reflexology 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.
The link between reflexology and the fight or flight mechanism is the role of the foot. in the body as noted by Kunz and Kunz. In case of danger, the feet participate in the overall body reaction to ensure the survival of the being. This reaction is commonly known as "fight or flight" because the body gears its internal structures to provide the fuel necessary for either eventuality. Muscles ready for action are also a part of this overall body response. The sudden adrenal surge which enables a person to lift a car is an example of this reaction. In case of danger, the hands reach for a weapon and the feet prepare to fight or flee. Pressure sensors in the feet are a part of the body's reflexive network that makes possible the "fight or flight" response.” (Kunz, Barbara and Kunz, Kevin, The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology (Revised) RRP Press, 2005, p. 8
How does this work? “Reflexology is the organized, systematic application of pressure technique to the feet. Technique is applied on the basis of evaluation of the individual's feet, which reflect a body image formed by adaptation to stress. …
“Think of a slide or a movie projector. The projector projects a picture onto a screen. And you can make adjustments if the picture is blurry. The brain serves as a projector. It projects instructions down the spinal cord and throughout the nervous system about how the body is to operate. It is, in essence, projecting an image of how the body should work. Each body part receives instructions appropriate to its task. The kidneys, for example, are sent directions about their job of elimination of waste products and mineral balance. The feet receive information about locomotion as well as information about the whole body, so that their activities can match the abilities of other body parts to fight or flee. It is these shared images or projections of instructions from the brain that make integrated activities possible.” (Kunz, Barbara and Kunz, Kevin, The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology (Revised) RRP Press, 2005, p. 15)

Reflexology Investment Opportunities — in China

By Ssolbergj [GFDL (, GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

How large is the reflexology industry in China? So large the government has issued a 200 page document providing information about investing. 

“2017-2022 Edition Foot Massage Industry Government Strategic Management and Regional Development Strategy Advisory Report by the research and technology in the foot massage industry analysis experts led the writing, the main analysis of the foot massage industry market size, development status and investment prospects. At the same time on the future development of the foot massage industry to make a scientific trend forecast and professional foot massage industry data analysis to help customers evaluate the foot massage industry value.”

Cost of an electronic version of the document: US$6000

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Multiple sclerosis and recovery from falls

I always explain the MS nerve delay like this: “Healthy folks trip over a throw rug and their other leg slams down on the floor and catches them. For me, by the time the message gets from my legs, to my brain so my brain can tell my legs to correct, I’m down” Today my left leg got stuck on a spot on my tile and my right leg slammed on the ground and caught me. That hasn’t happened in 20+ years and possibly 30. That’s big. 

That should start both of our weeks off well.

Diane and I had a very interesting discussion of the above statement. She has had multiple sclerosis for decades. Falls are a major issue for her. Once they start they have up until now ended on the ground.

Just being able to avoid a fall was a huge thing for her. It happen in an instant without a concious thought. It just happened

Recovery from falls is not only an issue for MS patients but it is an issue for all of us particularly as we age. It has become a critical issue as baby boomers are aging in mass.

Simply defined when we trip, stumble or are thrown off balance our ability to "catch" ourselves can be quite literally a life saver. The ability to right ourselves can not only save us from injury or even death but also the staggering costs of hospitalization and recovery.

The secret to recovery from falls is stimulation to the bottom of your feet. This helps build and maintain the information super highway between the feet and the brain. As we have stated in the past the feet are sensory organs which help ground awareness. Ground awareness is our ability to perceive what is underfoot and to appropriately respond to all types of terrain. 

If the feet have little or no stimulation one can lose the reflexive responses necessary to respond to the onset of a fall. Shoes and flat surfaces do not help the sensory functions of our feet. Shoes and flat surfaces dull the foot senses serving as a type of sensory blindfold. 

A disease like MS also mutes the response. The delay MS contributes makes the person's response just too late to stop a fall. 

What Diane demonstrated was an instantaneous reflexive response. The skin reflexes and the deeper proprioceptive reflexes acted together to fashion this response. Any delay in this reflexive response and you quite simply fall down. 

Reflexology stimulates the sensors on the bottom of your feet. But other things can help as well such as going barefoot or rolling your foot on a foot roller. 

You get the idea. Stimulate, stimulate, stimulate to make those connections grow. And good connections can serve you throughout life. 


Sleep … an elusive activity- Reflexology research

By rachel CALAMUSA (It's time to sleep  Uploaded by xiaphias) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sleep … an elusive activity for many. Now research is showing how and why reflexology might help in the never-ending search for sleep.

Did you ever fall asleep during a reflexology session? Feel like it? Did a client ever fall asleep in the midst of your reflexology work? Did you ever wonder why this would happen?

Wonder no longer. “… the application of reflexology induces changes in the activity of brain waves in correspondence with the appearance of a high degree of sleepiness and sleep.”

“A previous study suggested a possible relation between the relaxation obtained during the reflexology session and the sleep” so  members of the Nursing Faculty at the Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain went to a sleep lab to look for answers.

Twelve adults were enrolled in the new study. Following a 35-minute reflexology session, the effects were measured by polysomnography, a record of brain waves, the blood oxygen level, heart rate and breathing, as well as eye and leg movements. Nine of the study participants were found to “move toward” brain wave activity in correspondence with progressively deeper non-REM stages of sleep, stage N1and stage N2.

“Researchers note: “There is a gradual transition and an orderly progression from wakefulness to sleep, which could explain the effects of relaxation and well being obtained with this method, as well as many other benefits.”

Another interesting finding among results was the length of time effects were measured to exist: “After controlling for baseline data, nine of the participants did move toward N1 (p = 0.833) and N2 (p = 0.227) stages, remaining in these states between 4 min (minutes) and 25.5 min (minutes).” 

Ahh... sleep, sweet sleep.

N. Esmel-Esmel. E. Tomás-EsmelM. Tous-AndreuMaria Jimenez, Reflexology and polysomnography: Changes in cerebral wave activity induced by reflexology promote N1 and N2 sleep stages,” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Therapies, August 2017, Volume 28, Pages 54–64

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Walking Reflexology: The world of Chinese reflexology socks, sandals, insoles and shoes

You could be providing your feet with reflexology work as you walk around — if you wore one of the many reflexology socks, sandals, insoles and shoes products as seen on Chinese Web giant Alibaba. 
Whatever your needs from leisure wear to sports to business to high heel wear, there is a reflexology product. Metatarsal shock absorber, pain relief, odor control, moisture wicking, anti-sweat needed? Products are available for you. Whatever health theory you seek from magnets to tourmaline to orthotics, there is a product. 
sabusinesses seeking to buy quantities of products. Yes, someone somewhere in the world is buying reflexology sandals, shoes, insoles and socks—in the 1000s.
Choose among sandals: Battery operated massage sandals, Tourmaline magnet massage slippers, natural stone sandals, or nubby sandals. Or there’s electronic TENS/EMS slippers.
Reflexology shoes have gone electric. Maybe you’ll want shoes with TENS units installed. Maybe it’s steel-toed reflexology boots you need. Or, how about battery powered booties, a gold lame fashion statement. Then there are space age looking clunky shoes where two inch soles hide the electric massage equipment. The shoes are Blue tooth enabled, offer a deep massage even when you’re walking and come with a long lasting battery.
The list of reflexology insoles for shoes is endless. There is an insole for every purpose and health goal. Training magnetic reflexology insoles, for example, offer: This soft insole will make your feet feel comfortable - anywhere you go. Helps to relieve your painful pressure points, absorb impact, and prevent pain and fatigue.”
• Interested in reflexology liquid gel insoles? Choose among cooling, acupressure, or sports purposed.

• How about memory foam reflexology insoles? Cork? Latex foam?

• Or maybe your needs run to anti-odor, anti-sweat, or deodorant? There’s an insole for each of these goals. 

• Magnetic insoles are available as well as those specially for wear with high heels.
• Metatarsal shock absorption needed? Choose from general wear or sports wear.

• Orthotic reflexology insoles for sports needed? No problem.

• Why not fill two purposes with one insole? Multi purpose soles are available: Metatarsal shock absorption with magnets, Or there are moisture absorption with magnets.

You’ll find a large array of reflexology socks:
  • reflexology socks with five toes, reflexology socks with no toes, 
  • dress socks, sports socks, flight socks
  • electric socks for electro muscle stimulation 
  • heated socks, cooling socks, moisturizing socks, infrared socks
  • conductive fiber TENS/EMS electrode socks for physical therapy
  • compression medical socks

See More
To see more about reflexology products, go to In the “Product” box, type “Reflexology.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Shingles +reflexology

© 2006, John Pozniak

I had a client come in yesterday with a new case of shingles.Her shingles were on her abdomen and look quite irritated and active. The shingles were very painful to her.

I have only worked on one other person with shingles. I had had success in turning the reaction back. But would it work again?

Here is a little about shingles from Wikipedia if you aren't familiar with it.

"Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a localized area.[1][2] Typically the rash occurs in a single stripe either on the left or right of the body or face.[3] Two to four days before the rash occurs there may be tingling or local pain in the area.[3][4] Otherwise there are typically few symptoms.[3] The rash usually heals within two to four weeks;[1] however, some people develop ongoing nerve painwhich can last for months or years, a condition called postherpetic neuralgia."

 I had found a very distinct stress cue long the spinal reiterative area. It was quite pronounced about half way down the foot. As I worked on it I could feel it breaking up. Eventually it was flatten out.

I also worked on a part of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve has the impact of being anti-inflammatory.

At the end of the session the shingles no longer looked irritated and in fact looked like they were receding.

I am kicking myself for not taking before and after pictures. There difference was quite dramatic. Well next time...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Most Unfortunate Design Flaws in the Human Body

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.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sensory determination and reflexology

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.

The simple act of applying pressure to the surface of the body requires this reaction. Increased communication with this part of the body can have a healing effect as blood supply and nerve stimulation help to normalize the conditions that exist.

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.

Reflexology Helping Wounded Warriors

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.
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?”