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. Tom├ís-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