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 Presurgery

This weekend, I carried out a reflexology case study session for my husband, Markus, this one being the last before his Mohs (skin cancer) surgery on Tuesday. A miracle happened two days ago; he got the call on Friday to go in for Tuesday as there was a cancellation. His original surgery was scheduled for the end of October and we have been putting pressure on the medical system to see if there was a way to get him in sooner, but we were loosing hope. We are quite relieved and very grateful as the wait has been a long one (a year now). We leave to Vancouver on Monday and return home on Wednesday.

Markus is tired from his job (letter carrier) during the pandemic and since we didn’t do a session last weekend, it was overdue. He has noticed however an increase in energy on the job due to his new (gluten free) diet. I noticed something interesting during today’s session; the large bunion on his left foot is significantly smaller! His feet have been surprising us lately! There have been many changes over the past weeks and months from new shoes to diet changes so I am guessing the combination of footwear correction and inflammation reduction have helped the bunion to shrink. The lifestyle and diet changes implemented in May continue to make significant changes in Markus’s well-being and have given us hope. I have started to adopt some of these changes into my own life as well. We are now both gluten-free.

After a full foot reflexology routine, I accentuated the stress-relief reflexes (solar plexus and pituitary) on the foot with the tuning fork. Then, we spent time working on facial reflexology. I have introduced myself to Dien Chan, a unique facial reflexology system founded in Vietnam by acupuncturist and professor Bùi Quôc Châu and further adopted and developed in Spain and Italy. These techniques are used to release tension in the face, for beauty and also health benefits. Oh and it also feels good! I have acquired a few additional tools and have been exploring some new techniques. Since I have been experimenting on my own face, I have noticed a change in my skin and a few of the deeper character lines have receded a bit. Today Markus explored using some of the tools on his own face. After his surgery and once he is healed, he will also be engaging in Dien Chan regularly. Dien Chan is also said to be helpful for healing surgical scars. It will be interesting to see how his face responds since having dealt with skin cancer. In the future, I hope to get certified and offer this modality along side of the foot reflexology. But in the meantime, we will experiment as we are the perfect guinea pigs. Stay tuned for those updates.

Markus appeared very sleepy during the session and expressed some excitement and nervousness around the surgery, but an hour later felt energized. He commented as usual about how amazing his feet felt after the session. Reflexology is effective for reducing the stress of surgery. I will approach carefully afterwards. You can find peer reviewed articles on Google Scholar about this.

Although his (Basal Carcinoma) cancer isn’t fatal (at this stage or that we know of), once we saw it starting to spread back in April – we knew we were in trouble as we realized this wasn’t an isolated incident. Thankfully with the abrupt diet and lifestyle changes, things have helped to calm some inflammation. None the less it has been incredibly scary as we felt so out of control – this in combination with the pandemic have made it a very trying time. I do feel optimistic that we are now in the home stretch.

Markus picked the Wolf (reminds me of the wolf who visited our village in the mountains of Italy last year) card and I added in the Healing Archetype card from the Wild Unknown card series (Kim Krans). Finally we used the Healing card from the Water Crystal (Masaru Emoto) deck for intentionally inspiring his cup of water. This is a special session, so I decided to combine an additional card (Healing) for guidance and good luck.

Markus selected the Italian Dolomite mountain footage for his ambience.

I will close with this new music video from Depeche Mode : Fragile Tension

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 & 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.