Reflexology & Gratitude

This Thanksgiving weekend, my husband received multiple treatments of foot, face and ear reflexology. While I am coming up to my foot reflexology test (October 31), I am also undertaking an ear reflexology course and will have a certificate in that to pair with my main practice. Ear reflexology is especially helpful for people who want to walk away with a self-treatment plan for pain or bothersome symptoms. There are various ways to approach reflexes from different parts of the body; feet, hand, face, ear etc. Auricular therapy (ear reflexology) is a popular one and I am excited to be learning this. I am working on a month-long ear reflexology case study with Markus and once I am certified, I will share the case study here as a PDF.

Markus selected the Lung Water Crystal card, representing gratitude and the Lovers Crow tarot representing partnership. Cards a are a nice gesture of focus and guidance.

Today I focused on just giving him some well-needed R&R from lots of hard work. Markus also complained of stomach issues so I placed ear seeds on the stomach and lung reflexes (on and off tender) and the Shen men reflex that strongly supports other points. Markus used a Dien Chan beauty roller to massage his scar area. This is the first time doing this since the area has been sore over the past few weeks. After the session he felt great on his feet and more energized!

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Case Studies & Ear Reflexology

I have finally surpassed my required 50 treatments and am now hovering around 60, Yay! Sometime in October, I will be assessed and will then receive my foot reflexology therapy certificate! Now, I am spending more time with memorization and making sure I have the sequences down right.

I have also started learning ear reflexology, another yay! Like the foot and hand, the ear maps to the body and reflex points can be manipulated for healing purposes. Ear reflexology has been used for thousands of years and is well known across the globe. I have wanted to add a second modality to the foot and this showed up at the right time. Most importantly, I started consulting ear reflexology to help reinforce healing measures for my husband.

I started a small online course based out of New Zealand with reflexologist Karen Middleton. I choose her course based on the self-paced learning style, the affordability factor and the fact that the course requires a case study to get the certificate. I certainly want to gain the confidence and structure and also enjoy the case study process. I also picked up an ear model and some ear charts from the Pacific Institute of Reflexology in Vancouver and had the privilege of meeting founder Chris Shirley.

I have already started on the readings, and am practicing massage and ear seeding on my husbands ears where there is tenderness. In the photos above, we placed ear seeds on the stomach for digestive issues (left) and lung (right) reflexes for respiratory and skin disorders. Since writing this blog, I have added another seed to the Shen Men point on each ear which is a supporting point for other seeded points.

Ear reflexology is standardized through the World Health Organization and includes the following systems:

  1. Western Medicine
  2. Auricular Landmarks
  3. Traditional Chinese Medicine
  4. Master Points
  5. Zones and Points

Benefits of ear reflexology include:

  1. Release tension in the body
  2. Improve circulation of blood, lymph and Qi
  3. Help the body to normalize its function

Ear reflexology is safe and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Reflexology & Pineal

Markus received a reflexology treatment this past Saturday as he is now back on his outdoor mail route and is putting on the kilometers again bringing fatigue to his body, especially his feet and lower legs. To make matters worse, fire smoke from the US has blanketed southern British Columbia making the air quality hazardous. It’s so bad that the mail delivery has been disrupted.

After doing a foot reflexology session, Markus did facial massage on his own while using the Dien Chan tools. His skin cancer scar has healed very well but is still reddish in colour and will need irrigation for some time still. He has started using rosehip oil on his skin as it’s come highly recommended by European facial therapists. Over the past month, I completed an online facial therapy course and will start to introduce some of those methods to his face over time. We still have a journey ahead of us.

Unfortunately a spot has re-emerged where the cancer was before, on the new part of the cheek that replaced the old, that was removed. We will be going to Vancouver to see the surgeon next Monday and Markus will get an examination of his healing progress and an examination of the red spot that has emerged, along with another that emerged on the other side of his face and was treated a few months back. In the meantime, we do our best not to stress about it and know that he is in the best hands now. We recently learned that Markus inherited Basal carcinoma and he is also at risk of melanoma among other kinds of cancer. We really hope the new spot is not another skin cancer emerging. If it is, then hopefully it is early enough to do something not too invasive as he just went through that. But it’s hard to believe we are mentally bracing for this again.

The cards used in this session are the Racoon from Wild Unknown Oracle (representing artistry and creativity) and the Pineal Water Crystal card, which is a gland situated in our brain that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. In reflexology, we compress a reflex point on the big toe that is related to this gland. Due to poor sleep quality the night before, it seemed a little uncanny that he randomly chose this card. I made sure to give the reflex a good rub’n!

Something interesting has happened. The area on his face where the new spot is emerging overlaps the reflex of the lung, in the realm of facial multi-reflexology. While the medical experts do their thing, we may as well try ours. I am unable to interact with this part of his face other than rehabilitating massage so I decided to locate the lung reflex on the ear, which is located on the back side (dorsal) of the ear. Coincidentally, Markus found that particular spot on his right ear to be very painful. Strange! So I placed ear seeds (a small magnetic ball on a bandaid) on this point on the backside of the ears, where the reflex point can be pressed and activated often. Markus revealed to me that his area has been tender for sometime, but I didn’t know.

The seeds stay in place for up to 5 days and then are removed and replaced again as needed. What is interesting is that after 5 days, when the seed was taken off, the pain was gone. Wow!

And with that I have enrolled in an online ear reflexology course to better understand the mystery. Ear reflexology is recognized and standardized by WHO, making it a widely accessible modality. Many people swear by it for a variety of issues. My journey with reflexology also started with the ear, when I was treated last year in Denmark for rotary cuff tendonitis. After half a year of failed rehabilitation and constant pain, it was reflexology that solved the pain so that I could rehabilitate my shoulder, arm and hand. Although not 100%, I recovered to about 98% and when I run into a flare, I turn to ear seeds and place them on my hands and ears where tender.

I am excited to see what happens once I begin to combine ear with foot reflexology.

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology & Resonance

This past weekend I gave Markus a reflexology treatment, the first since his skin cancer surgery on June 9. Before then, he spent three weeks recovering at home and has since gone back to working indoors over the past two weeks. The incision is healing very well but is going through typical bothersome stages of healing which involves irritations, pain and discomfort to the skin and face overall. Until mid August, he is to wear gauze taped overtop of the scar doubled with a personal mask to help keep environmental toxins off of his face. The pandemic is helping him to fit right in, although there is definitely a strange mask tension in the air.

As he’s been back on his feet, his body is getting accustomed to working and walking often although he is not permitted to engage in any excess exercise or heavy lifting. However the labour is still felt, the stress of the work still endured and so his feet very much craved a treatment after a month off. I refrained working on his feet while he was healing from surgery.

Very soon after starting the treatment, Markus very quickly went into a deep sleep. I completed a full foot routine followed by accentuating the stress-relieving reflexes (solar plexus, pituitary) with the tuning fork and finished with a basalt stone to ground his feet. Markus didn’t wake up; his body was put into a beautiful state of homeostasis. He says it is unusual for him, not to wake up and had no recollection of most of the treatment but did report feeling energized and light on his feet upon waking up. He described how much tension was lifted from his body and felt completely rejuvenated afterwards.

We picked two cards; the Basil card from Herbal Tarot – mainly because we have been eating so much of it lately. The divinatory meaning describes appreciating one’s own manifestation powers and capacities, a good recovery incentive. Markus blindly selected the Resonance card from the Water Crystal deck which was used to intentionally inspire his water for after the session.

This weekend we took a walk through a forest near us, enjoying the benefits of forest bathing. We are engaging little by little outdoors now that he is feeling better. But he still cannot allow his affected areas to be exposed to the sun (for 18 months), so he’s been laying low during the critical healing stage. By the time fall comes around, he’ll be in a safer zone.

I’ve been coming across ‘ghost flowers‘ over the past few weeks. They are a rather rare fungi flower hybrid that presents medicinal properties for anxiety – good for me. I decided to use a photo of them in the feature image. I have also come across rosehips; the oils from the bud are used for healing skin. Rosehips can been harvested in the fall, so maybe I’ll try to make a small batch of homemade oil for us to use. Apparently it’s very helpful for scar recovery and is paired very well with facial therapy and reflexology.

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

From Feet to Face

Now that the surgery has passed, there is much therapeutic work to be done, at least 18 months worth. At the end of June, I will be taking an introductory crash course in facial massage therapy and reflexology through a Danish school in order to help with rehabilitating my husbands face since having skin cancer surgery on June 9. Our sessions with the feet will continue however I will be focusing more of my attention on his face and you will get to see how that process unfolds over time through the blog.

Starting July 1, we will begin massage techniques as prescribed by the surgeon and later I will be integrating multi reflexology tools into the routines. These tools and routines are specialized in helping to restore the face while addressing facial imbalances, dampen scars and discolouration. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed to say the least however I am receiving guidance from experienced reflexologists in approaching this task and am also seeing this traumatic experience as an opportunity to learn to help someone else. Because the scar is large and irregularly shaped, I will need to work with a variety of approaches over time. For instance, the stitching near the eye intercepts softer more delicate skin than lower down on the face and will require different tools and techniques. In addition to the scar, there is also face rejuvenation occurring where part of the cheek was removed. Currently, there is no feeling in this area however it is supposed to return within weeks or months.

I am not currently working on Markus’s feet as I don’t want to move energy around the body while he is in the earlier recovery stages. However I am working with his hands, arms and legs by tapping the skin with a small reflexology hammer. This feels good and helps to bring some circulation into the body while not over energizing. This is important because too much movement and exercise can disrupt the scar healing process and so he has remained mostly indoors and very low activity. It is the first time in a long time where his body has received an abundance of rest. On his job as a postie, he can walk up to 30 km a day, is very physically active and during the pandemic, the work load skyrocketed causing high stress and burn out. We suspect this contributed to the cancers growth. Once back to work, we are hoping that he will work indoors to shelter from the summer sun. He is not to be exposed to UV rays for a year and this is especially critical during the first three months. When the season changes in the fall, there will be less UV rays to worry about but until then, he must gaiter up when outdoors.

Overall, Markus is said to be healing remarkably well according to the surgeon who has seen recent photos. We attribute this to his lifestyle and diet change that he started at the beginning of May where inflammatory foods were removed from his digestion. None the less, he will forever bare a large scar on his face, always reminding him and everyone else around him of the tough lesson he’s come to face. This time cancer spared his life and so we work to ensure his health and safety to the fullest degree as he is now predisposed to getting cancer again. While he rests, I study and prepare to work on his face.

Due to the expansion of this work, a new domain has been added to this website: feet2face.com as I will be focusing on both ends of the body.

I’ve selected two cards for inspiration; one being the DaVinci Strength card (symbolically a woman working on a face) and the other being the Masaru Emoto Water Crystal card of Hope.

Reflexology Self-Care Kit

This kit was assembled based on my own self-care needs and includes a variety of tools that I find useful for relieving stress and pain. 

STICK – The ‘Relaxus’ Thai reflexology/massage stick with two sides is made from non-threatened wood; use to pinpoint pressure points on hand and foot.

STONE – The basalt stone feels good rubbed on hands, feet and even face! The more you use it, the darker the stone will become as it absorbs your oils. It miraculously remains darker even after washing. Stone was handpicked from the beaches of Vancouver Island.

RING – Roll the stretchy reflex-ring up and down fingers for a pleasant and calming experience. Use when experiencing stress due to traveling, visiting the dentist or doctor, writing tests, or on a first date! Please note that this item mimics a ring and maybe worn as such unless you feel it is cutting off circulation. Reflex-ring tools are meant to feel snug but not worn for long periods of time.

BONUS! I’ve included some magnetic seeds to use if you experience any hand, arm or shoulder pain. Originally made for the ears, I used these to help relieve pain from tendinitis as an experiment and found that it worked! Simply stick to areas tender on hand and press every so often. Stickers stay on until they fall off. Sorry, they only come in one colour.

I’ve also included a photocopy of my hand chart for treating stress.

Comes in a handy carrying / storage bag.

Each kit may slightly vary because no two stones are alike!

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problem. Reflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology & Diet

This past Saturday was our reflexology day where Markus is put into a state of homeostasis (parasympathetic mode) aka rest and relaxation. I focused on a full foot reflexology routine, followed by accentuating nervous system and endocrine system key reflexes (solar plexus, pituitary, pineal) with the tuning fork. Markus says he can feel the vibration through the foot and into his body. During our session, Markus didn’t experience any discomfort with his feet since changing up his shoes a month ago; this has corrected issues with tenderness on the feet and knee strain. I always finish with gentle face reflexology and am excited to begin working with some new Dien Chan tools in the near future. Markus choose the dramatic Dolomite mountain range as ambience. After the session Markus felt very relaxed and later became more energized. He always comments on how amazing his feet and lower legs feel over the following two days. This is coming from someone who walks approximately 30k a day on the job, so he really feels the benefits from reflexology therapies.

For this session I choose to work with two cards reflecting on respect and turmeric. The card of respect from the Water Crystal oracle deck was chosen to acknowledge the work he does and highlight respect for frontline workers who are over burdened during the pandemic. The turmeric card coincides with my learning about the herbal formulas for healing digestive inflammation. It seems pretty clear to me now after completing the course on inflammation, that this played a role in his skin cancer. We have since done major diet and lifestyle changes that are making positive impacts in a short period of time. For instance, as mentioned last week, due to the oil change in his body; his feet, hands and parts of his face are softening and more plush.

Markus went gluten free 1.5 weeks ago, and so we have started to bake our own gluten free bread at home. Gluten is a major cause of digestive inflammation and chronic inflammation leads to disease. The next stage will be to remove dairy as dairy proteins mimics gluten and gluten can mimic and bind to connective tissues causing harm aka inflammation. Markus noted that the burning and itching sensations (experienced on a daily basis) with the cancer have slowed down since his diet change 3 weeks ago and completely stopped since becoming gluten-free.

My next stage will be to source and combine up to 5 herbs at one time and make a daily quart; mint, chamomile, fennel, liquorice, plantain, marshmallow – a therapeutic mixture to assist during this diet change. For now we begin with teas with 2+ herbs (turmeric & ginger) as they are more effective combined than on their own. We also use green tea orally and topically to help fight the cancer. For now we work with the following teas on a daily basis. As usual, I continue to create powerful cancer fighting smoothies and meals that are safe for digestion as per recommended by skincancer.org. I am really new to all of this; it’s been a crash course for us both. It isn’t until you find yourself up against such a challenge that you realize you have no choice but to jump right in and do your best. To summarize, the month of May has felt like this.

Since implementing all the changes together (holistic and diet therapies), Markus says he has more energy on his job, experiences less bloating and gas and generally over all feels much better. So everything is working and that means our stress is starting to reduce. On June 1, Markus will be having a teleconference with the specialist in regards to a plan for earlier intervention for the right side of his face as it’s too far gone. My regret is not having woken up to this earlier. Over winter his cancer retreated, confusing us, but now we understand more about the role of UV rays over winter versus summer and diet caused inflammation and its role in disease thanks to the course I just completed. It has made a world of difference. These changes are for life and I am just one step behind him in making all these changes for myself.

Cards: Turmeric of Herbal Tarot and Respect of Water Crystal

Note: I am not a nutritional expert. I am coming at this from a learning perspective to help my husband through a critical time.

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology for Vertigo

I can’t say that I use reflexology for vertigo because I use a physiotherapy technique for mine when it acts up (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) called the Epley maneuver and is effective within 20 minutes. There are several kinds of vertigo, caused by different things therefor there are more reflexes involved than this. However, these are the key reflexes that reflexologists associate with vertigo in general.

I work with the foot but during the pandemic I decided to explore the hand as it is easier to convey the key reflex points on an image, and closely mirror the foot. The hand is easier to manipulate when self-treating. But that shouldn’t stop you from exploring your own feet. I won’t promise anything but if you are feeling explorative and are dealing with some unbalances, why not press on these reflexes and see if anything comes out of it. Nothing to loose right?

There are many studies found on Google Scholar that indicate that reflexology is most effective for managing stress and pain (what I use it for) however if one of these factors is causing an imbalance of the equilibrium, then it might be a good thing to try for calming things down. This chart is very similar to the reflexology for stress except that it swaps the eyes for the ears.

Reflexology & Inflammation

This week is bringing some good news for Markus! It’s been two weeks since we started the “oil change” (removal of offending omega 6 and increased omega 3) and his skin is changing for the better! First we noticed how soft and plush his feet were during his reflexology session this past weekend. His feet still bare some hard calluses but the sandpaper heels are changing. He also noticed how much softer his hands are and the lines on his face are softening. The course I am taking on inflammation indicated that by day 10 there would be some noticeable differences in the skin and that by day 40, an entire oil change in the body would be complete. We are so thrilled by these changes and is giving us hope. Not only this but the suspicious spot on his left cheek has retreated from a few weeks back when it started to emerge similarly as the cancer on his right cheek. We have continued to feed Markus a cancer fighting diet in combination with directed herbal teas. Markus also had his blood work done and is quoted to be in top physical condition. The doctor said to keep doing what he is doing as it’s working. His knee pains have also resolved now that he has introduced a better supporting shoe.

We did a reflexology session on Saturday afternoon to help bring his body into homeostasis or parasympathetic mode (stress-relief) after a heavy work week as a letter carrier with Canada Post. After a full foot routine, I used the tuning fork to accentuate key stress relieving reflexes connected to the endocrine and nervous system (solar plexus, pituitary, thymus). I also used my multi-reflex tool to relieve tension in the face – specifically the jaw line where we clench due to stress. Reflexology is used to combat stress and pain and Markus swears by it; he receives one treatment a week on weekends. I selected two cards for this weeks session; the Thymus Water Crystal card (a powerful immune defence gland in the endocrine system) in combination with the Chamomile Herbal Tarot card (a powerful immune defence herb). It’s a bit ironic that this card also illustrates a crown (head) impaled by a sword (upcoming surgical removal of cancer on face) symbolically suggesting the herbs role in his immune defence. My Herbal Tarot card deck is proving now to be a very helpful learning tool as it outlines the medicinal uses of many popular herbs. The Water Crystal card is placed against a cup of filtered water for Markus to drink post session. The creator of the cards, Masaru Emoto, believed that the card’s intention will infuse into the water molecular structure as it’s conscious. It’s a nice ritual to include in the session and people seem to appreciate it. The other card is used for intention setting and is read at the end of the session. I pair the session with a relaxing nature video and Markus loves to watch the Italian Dolomites.

Markus wearing his new personal Covid / skin cancer mask by Finawear – locally made Indigenous clothing designer

This week in my course with Pacific Rim College, I learned about different herbs, in particular about Chamomile and it’s significance in fighting inflammation. We are now focusing on reducing Markus’s digestive inflammation (has been dealing with excessive bloating for a long period of time) and are introducing an elimination diet in combination with specific herbal teas into his diet (green tea, chamomile, nettle etc). This week also marks his first week of six, of going gluten free. Markus’s appointment with the dermatologist is on June first and we will have a phone conference about how to proceed with the cancer on his cheek. Markus continues to completely cover up on the job with the exception of a 20 min vitamin D exposure window – this is needed to help fight digestive inflammation in the body. Markus’s nutritional changes have been set in motion for hopeful future cancer prevention. When I started out on this journey, I never could have guessed that my husband would become my biggest case study and challenge. And all this on top of a pandemic.

As for me, I am slowly getting my sleep back now that my stress levels are coming under control. What a roller coaster ride the month of May has been. Soon, we are commencing our case studies again and I cannot wait to get reflexology treatments through one of my colleagues! Bring it on! So far 2020 has brought on unprecedented stress due to too many factors crashing down all at once. Our lives are forever changed.

Cards: Chamomile of Herbal Tarot and Thymus of Water Crystal

Note: I am not a nutritional expert. I am coming at this from a learning perspective to help my husband through a critical time.

Disclaimer: Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Always seek proper medical attention should you suspect you have a medical problemReflexology is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Reflexology Case Studies & Covid-19

Reflexology case studies will resume during May of 2020 as per “returning to safe operation Phase 2“. Existing and new case study subjects are now required to fill out a form before setting up their first session upon opening in June of 2020. Should you experience any of the following symptoms throughout the session duration, please let me know so that we can rebook accordingly.

Fill out form here

Because we will be working together within 6 feet, it is suggested that both myself and you wear a non-medical mask while in the clinic space. Please bring your own mask and thank you. Only 1 person is permitted in unit per session.

My protocols:

  • Masks and sometimes gloves will be used for each session
  • Pre and post sanitization of all surfaces
  • Mandatory hand washing before subject enters space, prior to and post session
  • Provide disposable paper towel available for drying hands
  • Provide fresh linen for each session as per usual
  • To wash tools before and after use

Your protocols:

  • To wash your hands upon entering unit according to WorkSafe BC
  • To wear a non-surgical mask
  • To rebook should your health situation change

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the following protocols: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/awareness-resources.html#covid-awareness-table