Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reflexology History

Most ancient cultures had some form of foot therapy. The Native American Indian cultures, Egyptians and Chinese independently developed methods which were all based on the same principle. In Ancient Egypt dating around 2500BC, there are hieroglyphics on the tomb wall of Ankmahor a famous physician documenting a type of massage on the hands and feet. In Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish traditions shoes are always removed when entering into a Holy space. Feet have always had a special significance biblically. The Chinese have used pressure on acupressure points as a healing method for over 5000 years. Centuries and social change saw much of these techniques lost to time.

Reflexology as we know it today began as a theory called Zone Therapy, conceived by a throat and nose surgeon Dr. William Fitzgerald in the USA in the early 1900s. He had discovered a Chinese method whereby applying pressure to one part of the body created an anaesthetic affect on another part of the body. He did extensive testing and developed a map dividing the body into 10 longitudinal zones; 5 either side of the midline. Everything in each zone is connected so pressure on the head at one end will affect a toe on the other. This demonstrates the meridians of energy used in acupuncture and the interrelationship between all the different parts of the body.

In 1930 a US Doctor called Dr. Jo Selby Riley, alongside his wife began with Dr. Fitzgerald’s findings. They were joined by their assistant in their research, a Physiotherapist called Eunice Ingham. Through much testing they began concentrating on the hands & feet understanding their sensitivity. Eunice Ingham travelled all over the US, adapting her methods and teaching her findings of this new Foot Therapy. Later re-naming the therapy to ‘Reflexology’. Ingham, took the concept further by researching positioning and effects of certain points ultimately leading to an anatomical map of the body being overlaid onto the foot. In 1938 she published her works in “Stories the feet can tell” and later followed with another book “Stories the feet have told”.

Reflexology finally came to the UK in 1960’s with one of Ingham’s students a lady called Doreen Bayley.

Benefits of Complementary Therapies

People are turning to complementary therapies more now as they are not getting full satisfaction and results from conventional medicine alone. A combination of the two appears to be the key for many & much research has been conducted by professionals to support this. This is evident now as Health providers namely VHI, QuinnHealthcare & Aviva offer partial cover depending on your Health Plan on certain complementary therapies for example Reflexology & Massage. These therapies are also used in many Hospitals, Care Homes, Hospices, Mental Health Institutions & in the Corporate world.

Loretta's treatments can assist & promote a variety of the following:

Hormone Balance: Regulate menstruation & PMT; Improve fertility; Healthy & enjoyable pregnancy; Menopausal symptoms

Depression, grief & anxiety: Promote positivity & improve mood; Build confidence & satisfaction in life

Stress Reduction: Enhances clarity & more focused outlook; Cope with economic & financial changes

Aches, pains, arthritis, tired body: Aids flexibility & lubrication of joints; Reduces inflammation

IBS, Colitis & Digestion: Regulate bowel function, assists constipation, promote peristalsis in gut; Can ease bloating

Detox: Improve skin tone & reduce cellulite; assist liver; improve overall health & boost immunity

Insomnia, headaches, migraine & eye-strain: Improve sleep patterns & increase brain function; relieves eyes from glasses & excessive use of computers

Soothe the nervous system: Improve concentration levels; Assists exam studies & work deadlines, Relaxation & ease nerves

Fluid retention, oedema, blood pressure: Improve circulation & lymphatic drainage

Relaxation & revitalisation: Enjoy sense of calm, harmony, well-being & time for you

Stimulate body's own healing power: Increase energy levels, awareness & connection to your body.

Holistic Massage History

Holistic Massage History

Massage may be the oldest and simplest form of medical care. Egyptian tomb paintings show people being massaged. In Eastern cultures, massage has been practiced continually since ancient times. A Chinese book from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, recommends 'breathing exercises, massage of skin and flesh, and exercises of hands and feet" as the appropriate treatment for -complete paralysis, chills, and fever."

It was one of the principal method of relieving pain for Greek and Roman physicians. The Greeks used massage as part of everyday fitness and exercise. The Romans used it for stiffness, curing disease, strengthening and healing the body.

In the 19th century a Swedish doctor Per Henrik Ling used a system based on a study of gymnastics and physiology, and on techniques borrowed from China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Physiotherapy, originally based on Ling's methods, was established with the foundation in 1894 of the Society of Trained Masseurs.

During World War I patients suffering from nerve injury or shell shock were treated with massage. However, later breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology eclipsed massage.

Massage lost some of its value and prestige with the unsavoury image created by "massage parlours". It is now reputable again for being highly effective for physiological and psychological conditions.

Massage is now used in intensive care units, for children, elderly people, babies in incubators, and patients with cancer, AIDS, heart attacks, or strokes. Most hospices have some kind of bodywork therapy available, and it is frequently offered in health centres, drug treatment clinics and pain clinics.

A variety of massage techniques have also been incorporated into several other complementary therapies, such as Aromatherapy, Reflexology an Indian Head Massage.

Indian Head Massage History

Indian Head Massage is based on the ancient traditions of massage and the Ayurvedic system of healing that has been practised in India for thousands of years. This holistic approach combines natural therapies healing mind, body and spirit. The family tradition of massage in India dates back to the beginnings of Hinduism and plays an important role in the life of the family.

Infants are massaged daily till the age of 3, and then twice weekly until the age of 7. Then will be thought massage techniques and will be encouraged to use it within the family. Preparation rituals for wedding ceremonies include massage.

Various oils like coconut, sesame, mustard, almond & herbal oils are used throughout the year relating to the seasons. Hair is kept shiny, lustrous and healthy. Grandmothers, mothers & daughters sit one in front of the other and simultaneously massage the head and hair. Barbers invigorate the scalps using champi head massage which is where we get our word shampoo.

In champissage, the head, neck and face are massaged with the purpose of manipulating energy channels. The goal is to clear blocks in these energy channels that cause a build-up of negative energy that are purported to cause ailments. The belief is when the energy does not flow properly negative energy builds up, causing common ailments, including stress, pain and aches, baldness or hair loss.

Narendra Mehta brought Indian Head Massage to the West in the 1970’s- blind from the age of one - grew up in India and head massage was an integral part of his life. He came to England in the 1970s to train as a physical therapist and in 1978 returned to India to study the benefits and practice of champissage, extending it to include neck, shoulders and face. On his return to England, he developed a sequence of movements. There is no right or wrong way and sequence of movements vary from one therapist to another.

Aromatherapy History

Aromatic oils and plants have been used for thousands of years, as herbal preparations, embalming and preserving the dead, incense, perfume and to help prevent disease. The ancient Egyptian culture clearly documented their use of aromatic medicine in their hieroglyphic records and papyrus manuscripts dating back to the reign of Khufu around 2800 BC. They used aromatics for medicinal and cosmetic purposes and to embalm the dead. Evidence of the use of herbs in the way of aromatic barks, resins, perfumed oils, wines and vinegar's were found dating back to 4500 BC. Egyptian priests were doctors and alchemists and used aromatic substances for healing. Tutankhamen's tomb dated to 1350 BC, and opened in 1922 AD, contained pots which still had traces of frankincense, myrrh and styrax. These oils prevented the bodies from rotting so when the mummies were discovered many years later they were perfectly preserved. They were renowned for herbal preparations and ointments and were experts in cosmetology. Egyptian women wore perfume cones on their heads and as the heat melted the cones, their hair and bodies were scented. Essential oils were extracted by the steeping of plant material in oil, and then squeezing the oil through a linen bag.

The Ancient Greeks travelled to the Nile Valley in Egypt also known as 'The Cradle of Medicine'. They gained much knowledge to help others understand the useful properties of herbs and plants. Hippocrates (born circa 460 BC) the physician known as the 'Father of Medicine' prescribed perfumed fumigations and many remedied preparations as part of his medical treatments. Avicenna an influential Persian ( AD 980-1037) who discovered the art of distillation which he used to produce pure essential oil and aromatic water. He wrote hundreds of books in his lifetime and contributed hugely to medicine.

The Romans conquered many countries and had access to many plants and oils. It became part of their culture to use oils and their essences in their public baths and in massage and also to use aromatic herbs in the home. The Indian and Chinese have a long history of using plants and herbs medicinally. Ayurvedic Indian treatments aimed to heal mind, body and spirit and date back thousands of years ago. Similarly the Chinese uses of herbs are still used today coupled with ancient healing methods like acupuncture and shiatsu. The Yellow Emperor's Book of Internal Medicine dating back to before 2000 BC is one of the earliest records of the use of herbal medicine.

During the Middle Ages these fragrant perfumes became known throughout Europe. Herbal bouquets were carried to ward off disease. Pomanders of Orange and Cloves were used against the Black Death. The 19th and 20th Centuries saw the development of synthetic drugs and chemistry which destroyed the quality and medicinal uses of oils and herbs. It was no longer taken seriously, artificial ingredients in mass produced cheaper remedies were sadly favoured.

In 1937 a French chemist Rene Gattefosse was working in a perfumery lab and badly burnt his hand. He plunged his hand into the closest liquid to him which was a vat of pure lavender oil. His hand healed without scarring very quickly due to the antiseptic qualities of the oil. He began to research the therapeutic healing properties of oil including using oils on soldiers wounds in World War 1. Many other French scientists continued this research, Dr Jean Valnet looked at both the physiological and psychological effects of the oils.

An Austrian biochemist Margeurite Maury brought Aromatherapy to Britain especially whilst using it in massage treatments. Aromatherapy was developed as a clinical therapy by Robert Tisserand.

Reiki History

Dr. Mikao Usui (1865-1926) after many years of study discovered this form of healing practice. He discovered a method of accessing and using this healing energy and how to pass the ability to others. Usui was a scholar taught in a seminary, travelled extensively and learnt other languages. This way he could study both Christian and Buddhist scriptures and

Sanskrit Sutras. He ended up in a Zen Buddhist monastery where he chose to find the answers he was seeking. He did a 21 day fast and meditation up Mount Kumara. On the last day

of his retreat he was struck by a great light and saw sacred symbols. He acquired a deep understanding, spiritual empowerment and enlightenment. He rushed down the mountain with his knowledge and excitement and hurt his foot in his haste. He bent down to tend to his foot, miraculously the pain stopped and he was healed. Usui then realised that he had discovered the healing power that he had been searching for.

This knowledge was passed on to Dr. Chujiro Hayashi (1879-1940) who opened a Reiki clinic in Japan. Hawayo Takata (1900-1980) came for treatment of her cancer to this clinic and was so impressed with the results that she pleaded to be taught this healing. As she was a woman it took much persuasion but eventually Hayashi agreed to teach her. Takata brought these healing

principles back to Hawaii and spread throughout USA and Canada and the Western world.

It is not very easy to write about the history of Reiki since there seem to be a lot of different versions and translations of available information. One reason being that the Japanese written language leaves itself open for a subjective interpretation from the reader. What is true and what is not I have no way of confirming as I must rely on the accuracy of information and translations from others. After extensive research I am satisfied that this information is fairly accurate.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Complementary Therapies for Elderly


It is sometimes assumed that complementary therapies like massage and aromatherapy etc. are designed for younger people however elderly people can also largely benefit from the healing touch and sense of nurturing that these treatments bring about. As complementary therapies also work on an emotional level it can help people to deal with grief, loss, loneliness and seperation. While there are many elderly people who are in excellent health, most have at least some medical situations that must be taken into consideration when performing the treatments.

Most elderly people have more sensitive skin and can be prone to bruising. Depending on an elderly client's level of physical activity, muscle tissue may be substantially diminished and bony structures are likely to be more fragile and at risk of breaking. Blood and lymphatic circulation is probably sluggish. Almost all older people suffer from osteoarthritis caused by worn out joints that can also put pressure on their nerve endings.

As time goes on, we can expect more and more elderly people to visit our clinics for treatment. Their needs are going to be different from younger adults because they are more likely to face multiple chronic illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis and heart conditions. Moreover, illnesses will usually be treated with prescribed medications that will often complicate the health picture by causing side effects and raising contraindications. Hence requiring consent from the clients GP/Consultant.

That is why it is so important, when treating an elderly client, to take a detailed history to understand the underlying pathological conditions that affect the presenting musculoskeletal and possible emotional state.

Benefits of treatment can help with the following:

Lowers stress levels and anxiety, Relaxation, Deepens breathing

Improves sleep patterns, increases brain function and concentration

Arthritis, Pain relief, Reduces oedema/fluid retention

Improves flexibility and mobility in joints and muscles, encourages skin elasticity,

Stimulates circulation, reduces blood pressure, helps heart conditions,

Sense of being nurtured, ease emotional conditions, depression

Stimulates neural pathways,

Aids digestion, eases constipation,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

About Loretta

Loretta is a certified & licenced Heal Your Life workshop trainer. She is also a highly qualified & registered Reflexologist, TM Reiki/Sekheim Master & Teacher, Aromatherapist, Holistic Massage & Indian Head Massage Therapist.

She has experienced a magical journey of self discovery & healing through all of her training. Her life journey & experiences are of great benefit to her in helping her clients to understand their own path, their own bodies & how they can move forward when the time is right for them to do so. Loretta uses elements of gentle healing through all of her therapies to enhance the opportunities on every level. She is delighted to have found a career that she is passionate about.