Reflexology & Heart

Today is Valentine’s Day and this made for a perfect treatment day for my husband, Markus. As some of you may or may not know, he walks up to 30k a day on his job as a letter carrier at Canada Post and reflexology is a necessity for his rest and recovery. I love rubbing his feet with Cherry Rocky Mountain Body Butter, it makes his feet silky and smooth while giving me good traction.

After his foot treatment, I did a chakra sweep with the pendulum as a closing ritual and found his heart chakra to be active (the pendulum made small circles – I recaptured this in the video to the left). I placed a rose quartz on this chakra while reciting some of the characteristics. The heart chakra represents love, healing touch, walking (in the forest), and joyful endeavours. I use the chakra system as a means to reflect on different things in our lives, such as the activities over the past weekend.

Vancouver Island just had a huge winter storm bringing with it tons of snow so yesterday we took a walk in the forest near our home. It is a magical thing to be able to walk out of our home and in the old growth forest. Interestingly, Markus heard the eagles while there and today he picked the eagle card (representing truth, power, karmic transformation) from the Wild Unknown oracle deck. He also picked the ‘Right Brain Hado’ Water Crystal Card; a healing card representing creativity.

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.

Markus is still recovering from skin cancer; in June it will be his 1 year since surgery. You can see in this photo – the scar is still slightly visible but he is no longer in any pain. There is still one spot under observation that emerged over the surgical site and will be taken care of in the spring. Skin cancer sucks and I now dread summer because of this. Although we don’t get as much sun during winter, he still needs to protect himself. We need to observe him often as we learned that both Basal cell carcinoma and Melanoma run in his family. I thought this photo provided a decent visual update on his recovery.

Reflexology & Solar Plexus

Here are some images I took from a foot session I did with Markus over the weekend. As always, his work load as a letter carrier is extremely heavy throughout the pandemic and his feet could definitely use some loving. After the treatment, I did a chakra sweep with the pendulum and found his solar plexus chakra to be active. The solar plexus is an area of the body that is tied to our sympathetic nervous system and we accentuate the reflex to reduce stress and induce relaxation. I placed a citrine crystal on his solar plexus for a short time. I don’t have personal experience with crystals for healing but I feel they make a nice ritual inciting meditation and calmness while allowing focus on an area of our healing. Some people believe that citrine releases negative traits, depression, fears and phobias; perhaps it’s what we make of it.

Markus commented how much better he felt after his treatment and that his feet felt amazing. Prior to his session he was commenting on how unbalanced he felt from a long stressful work week. Reflexology is a wonderful way to reverse fatigued feet and overall stress.

We always pull cards to accompany the session and for this we used the Hierophant (symbolic of learning from a teacher) from the Mushroom Tarot and the Love & Thanks Water Crystal Card. One of the benefits of the sessions in our new place is the never ending hummingbird views. They are always dancing in the windows. Luckily for the client, they get a front row seat of lots of bird activity.

Digital Use Implications

As you may or may not know, I have an interest in helping people who are dealing with digital injuries; physical, emotional or both. More than that, I hope to help people to manage their digital use in a safer way and help to prevent injuries. I spent a great deal of time studying the implications (both positive and negative) of technology on our society during my graduate studies at U of A; you can see my graduate project here. I am also someone who was impacted by a digital injury; this is how I first came to know reflexology and managing my own use is an ongoing process. As part of my rehabilitation regime, I bike and forest bathe for 2 hours at a time, 2-3 times a week to rehabilitate from sedimentary habits and detox from digital use. This is my way of intervening my own behaviour. I also periodically cleanse of digital accounts (deleting or deactivating) in order to help reset my behaviours. When I experience any kind of imbalance, I turn to reflexology and forest bathing.

These notes were taken at Royal Roads University’s free talk on digital distractions given by Paul Mohapel, PhD (Psych.) in September of 2019. I transcribed the presentation into a bullet list for easiest reading. There was much more information presented but this is what I jotted down. I highly recommend attending his next seminar if you can access it.

I will be using this information to better steer my own digital usage and content creation. In the end, it comes down to balance but really, there are some major steps to mitigating the damage that digital screens is doing to our brains. I’ve also activated the new screen time feature on my iPhone. We need to become digital use stewards and act as examples.

Implications of Digital Distractions & Multitasking

  • We have attention span issues
  • Multitasking = problems in brain due to distraction and addiction
  • People spend ⅓ less face-to-face time due to social media; this is causing major behaviour issues
  • Focus times have decreased from 12 min to 3 min attention span; we’re losing our ability to focus
  • Every psychological disease up 20% including emotional disturbances
  • People get less done due to digital distraction and multitasking
  • People spend 50% more time online than they thought
  • 30-40% check phone first upon waking up in bed; looking at screen 1 hour before sleep inhibits melatonin production, replace smartphone alarm for traditional alarm clock instead
  • ADT (Attention Deficit Trait) on rise in adults
  • High level multitasking is bad for the brain, but demanded of us everywhere
  • Multitasking = wasting time, creates a blindspot impairment
  • Distraction is the biggest threat to productivity
  • Canada has the highest screen time usage, average of 36.7 hours / week (not including work)
  • Canada has the most internet usage per capita in the world
  • Kids are using screens 2.5h / day global average
  • Breastfeeding babies receive less attention from mother who is looking at digital device
  • There is a correlation between obesity and screen time usage
  • People eat in front of screens (even the fit ones)
  • Screens are diminishing social relationships
  • Screens impair our thinking
  • Screen impact severity ranges from TV being the least to smartphone the most severe
  • Reading on paper = recall more information whereas reading on screens = diminished retention
  • Hand-eye coordinative activities help heal brain
  • We participate in superficial screening and scrolling, meaning the longer the scroll is or digital text is, the more fatigued we become. Paper reading gives our brains the break we need, digital scrolling does not.
  • Online activities are rewiring our brains, is severe and profound
  • Our brains can’t multitask
  • Goal direction is impaired
  • Excessive online gaming = results temporary lobotomy of part of the brain
  • Multitasking maybe physically shrinking our brains
  • Gaming and internet addiction showing similar brain impacts
  • Multitasking releases stress hormones of cortisol (I experienced this first hand in 2016 and after that shut my digital practice down to figure out what happened to me), prolonged impact can cause harm to frontal cortex, hippocampus
  • Addiction / multitasking consist of three traits: 1. Compulsion 2. Loss of control 3. Negative emotions
  • Distracted driving is the #1 cause of death in car accidents
  • 1 min use of social media spikes positive sensations, after 5 mins falls down to negative
  • Conditions for addictions, check if you experience the following: stimulated multisensory cues, immediate gratification, social reinforcement
  • Phones are extremely addictive
  • Canadians check phones 150 times a day but only 4 times a day is safe
  • Average person checks phone every 15 mins
  • 73% feel panic when phone is misplaced
  • Online addiction sources in the following order: email, social media, porn, gambling, shopping
  • Internet addicts and gamers have thinner brains (muscle loss) and are less functional
  • Hands on skill activity increases brain health
  • Too much information is a bad thing; Technology drives more information
  • Social media is all about more = quantity not quality, in other words social media cares for quantity not values
  • We are not having a deep experience through social media
  • Focus of attention = more intelligent – risk of loss
  • Prefrontal Cortex is at risk
  • Doctors in Canada are at 50% burnout due to multitasking
  • We don’t know the fullest fallout extent yet
  • Seniors are the fasted growing user group
  • We are spending less time in our optimal zone and more time in under and over stimulation zone, affects our productivity
  • Corporations exploit our addictions to feed us more information technology for $

Mitigating These Impacts

  1. Containment Strategies
    • Set boundaries and limitations – turn off notifications. Use less apps and applications less often.
    • Focus – on one thing at a time ‘mono’ task to completion. Limit multiple tasks.
    • Technology breaks – check social media / digital device no more than 4 times a day and no longer than 5 mins sessions. Abstain from screens for at least 4 consecutive hours a day – doesn’t include work or sleep. More than that puts us at risk of addiction patterns = brain impairment / shrinkage.
  2. Sustainment Strategies
    • Exercise – 30 mins a day at the min, 20 min nap = full night sleep brain restore.
    • Substitutions – books, physical board games, writing, reflection, meditation.
    • Mindfulness practice – meditation goes in reverse of distraction, stay present, in the moment, non judgemental, open emotionally, sustained attention. Meditation reverses effects of brain thinness to thickness.

Ex-employees of Silicon Valley started up the Humane Technology Society to help steward digital use impacts. Visit Net Addiction for self-help.

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.

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.