Monday, 9 December 2013

Reflexology and Foot Mobilisation Technique: great combination for all ages

Reflexology and Foot Mobilisation Technique (FMT) benefit all, including athletes and the elderly

Besides reducing stress and having all round physical and mental benefits, Reflexology stimulates nerves, blood flow, muscles and tendons in the feet. FMT creates space within joints in the feet, increases foot mobility and flexibility, and improves weight bearing and posture.

The foot
Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints (of which 20 are actively articulated) and approximately 7,800 nerves. Tendons and muscles are attached to the bones. It is said we take an average of 10,000 steps a day.

Physical activity
Human beings are meant to be active and the body copes very well with pressures put on feet and joints. Exercise slows and/or prevents injuries as it helps to maintain balance, strength and flexibility. In today’s world however, many life styles are more sedentary resulting in poorer recovery from the occasional exercise routine. Landing hard on their feet, athletes have bodies that are conditioned to absorb this shock and the resulting vibrations working themselves up the body. The elderly, due to loss of general flexibility, may be restricted in their activity as gradual stiffening of the joints limits their range of movement. Gait changes and increased joint stiffness often lead to decreased confidence, which may cause injury.

When strained, a muscle may be contracted long enough to pull on the bones within a joint. The body adjusts itself by contracting other muscles to accommodate for the change in alignment. Nerves pass on information that something is not quite right; for example, the pain in a sprained ankle will prompt us to realign our body to avoid the pain. This puts undue tension on muscles and tendons in the direct and wider area of the injury.

Reflexology and FMT
Reflexology and FMT combined in a treatment are great tools to help the body function better and within its own limits. Nerves are stimulated, and muscles are warmed and stretched.

Reflexology through specific techniques
  • ·       Warms and loosens up muscles in the feet
  • ·       Allows the body to deal with inflammation
  • ·       Loosens up tight muscles in the body
  • ·       Brings nutrients to all muscle tissue

FMT through painless and gentle mobilisation:
  • ·       Breaks down fibres around stiff joints restoring range of movement
  • ·       Creates space within joints effectively increasing mobility, flexibility and strength
  • ·       Muscles and tendons realign
  • ·       The body benefits giving:
    • o   Everyone better weight bearing and posture
    • o   Athletes a more effective use of energy for performance, working from a stronger base
    • o   The elderly higher confidence whilst in motion
Both techniques are very useful, Reflexology balances the body’s functioning and FMT creates space and improved mobility within the 33 foot joints. The increased range of movement is very useful for anyone as the foot is more agile, fluid and responsive. Athletes are able respond to quick changes in direction and intensive loads on the feet are better tolerated, overall performance is improved. The elderly are more confident on their feet and thus can go for longer walks, which improves mental and physical health as well as independence.

Jedynak, T. (2012). An introduction to the principles of Foot Mobilisation Techniques. Podiatry Now
Jedynak, T. (2007). Foot mobilisation techniques (FMT) for reflexologists. Course material
Johnson, L. Learn orthopractics. ANZ College of Orthopractics. Course material.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ticklish feet? Reflexology's different approaches

Many people are hesitant to have Reflexology as they have very ticklish feet. In my 14 years as a practitioner and a few years of student supervision, I have only ever seen two people who found it difficult. One made me chuckle as she had trouble suppressing her laughs during the treatment. Who says you cannot have fun whilst working!

Each part of the body is a microcosm of the whole, this means that when someone’s feet are too ticklish Reflexologists have a few options.

Over time, the hands, the face and the ears have all been mapped out and are very effective in their own way.

Hand Reflexology 
Each hand, as per the attached picture, represents half the body. The right side of the body is to be found in the right hand and the left in the left hand. Many Reflexologists use the hands for ‘homework’. The client goes home having been shown which parts of the hands to work in between appointments.

Auricular therapy
As the attached photo shows, the whole body is represented in the ears with the head ‘in’ the earlobe and all the internal organs located in the hollow of the ear. Are you suffering from back pain? Work the cartilage ridge on the ear lobe, find the tender spots and work them several times a day.

Facial Reflexology 
When it comes to the face there are many projections of the body on it. The attached diagram shows but one-way of looking at it. Again, a sore back can be worked by massage the top of the nose from the tip to in between the eyebrows.

Of course, all of the above methods or a combination of these can be used during a treatment. It will vary from practitioner to practitioner and from client to client.

So, do you have ticklish feet? Have a go at experiencing Reflexology, as you can see there is more than one way to experience this amazing treatment.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Reflexology and prevention

Reflexology by its nature is a wonderful tool for health prevention as it works from the inside out. It
has been demonstrated over the last few decades that the body’s natural healing resources are stimulated1 during a Reflexology treatment resulting in all functions of the body to become more balanced, including hormonal function. Reflexology helps lift one's mood which encourages us to be more proactive in our well-being.

The following statement though struck a chord:
''There's a waiting list for treatment, but there's no waiting list for prevention'' says Melbourne University's Professor Rob Moodie2.
After a heart attack, about 40% of patients do not follow their doctor’s advice to change their lifestyle2. We have become complacent in the face of Western medicine, and believe that medical science will take care of all our ills and can fix us quickly without too much hassle.

The media is partly to blame as it reports the unusual and the extreme such as an IVF Mum at 50 and some research that led to a major breakthrough. Along the way the heart broken couples that gave up on a family and the serious affects of disease are not mentioned.

Asked what caused their illness, most people mention stress, it is an outside contributor so there is no need to take responsibility as stress ‘cannot’ be controlled and let’s face it, not only do most of us have stress at some stage in our lives but it is also invisible, so, easy to blame.

Lifestyle is a huge contributor to our ills. Advertising promises delicious foods and drinks that will enhance our lives. Our taste buds have been conditioned, and to be honest we have become addicted to the added ingredients, such as salt and sugar, to make the food taste good.

Taking responsibility for our own health
Are we ready – and encouraged – to look at prevention? Change the way we eat and exercise? Are we ready to put the effort in? It is said that it takes 21 days to change a habit.

We can be ‘pro-active in prevention’ by eating healthy, simple foods and by exercising. These steps do not need to take hours in the kitchen or in the gym. Simple, healthy meals do not take long to prepare and walking can be pleasurable by adding a sense of fun, ask a friend to join you and/or chose an interesting walk.

Feeling better
The production of the ‘feel good’ hormones such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine are released after exercise and eating a healthy diet. These hormones make us feel happier and they reduce anxiety and stress. The body also feels more energetic. It is worth trying for at least 21 days, the time needed to change a habit!

Last but not least, have regular treatments that will enhance your well-being, Being a Reflexologist, I certainly advocate receiving these treatments regularly as it supports body and mind which lift the spirit which in turn can motivate to implement healthy changes. Other treatments that are very beneficial are, to name just a very few: Reiki, massage, acupuncture and a nutritionist advises on a healthy, balanced diet. 

If prevention were well done, you would never know if a specific problem would have appeared1.


1.     Kruchik, M. Maternity Reflexology. Retrieved from

2.     Dunn, A. (2013). The Age. Retrieved from

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The effects of Reflexology on the mind

I had a wonderful massage with Linda yesterday. As we were chatting, couldn’t doze off with this, at times painful, therapeutic treatment ☺, she told me how she experienced my treatments.

Physical benefits
Yes Reflexology is very beneficial for our general health, it allows the body to get back on track, and it helps with pain relief, makes you breathe easier, helps with constipation, sore muscles as it helps with many other health issues but Linda’s answer acknowledged another great aspect of the treatments.

Mental benefits
What Linda told me first off is that she felt happier after each treatment! She had more energy and felt she wanted to do things that benefitted her, take charge of her life in a positive manner.
When the financial crisis hit us in 2008, I worked with a client who was right in the middle of it, as were all financiers, and he was stressed, to say the least. Not only did Reflexology help his physical health but it also allowed him to function better at work, as he was calmer in the face of this immense global crisis. It was not ‘his problem’ and acknowledging this at a cellular level made him better at his job.

Feeling more relaxed in the face of events does not make you lazy, does not stop you from caring or to be involved with what is happening, it allows you to not take it personally. When in that position, your overall health is better as long-term stress causes damage to the body.

Friday, 5 July 2013

How to help foot pain

The foot

The 24 bones in the feet are ‘kept’ together by how they fit ‘into each other’ and by ligaments. The muscles and plantar fascia provide secondary support. Fat pads help with weight bearing and absorb impact.

As the foot strikes the ground, this force unlocks the bones in the feet, which are then able to adapt to any surface. Imagine, if this bony structure was rigid the effect it would have on our legs and the rest of our body. As the foot rests on the ground and carries the full weight of our body, it becomes rigid and is ‘held together’ to support weight and propel the foot off the ground to repeat the cycle.

Pain in the foot is a sign there is either an internal or an external problem. If nothing is done about it, it may worsen the source of it, and body movement is adjusted to compensate for the pain, which then affects ankle, knee, hip and even shoulder joints creating new problems.

Foot mobilization techniques (FMT)
Feet are our foundation, when out of balance or distorted, it affects the rest of the body; imagine the foundations of a house moving, the windows will crack. FMT, using gentle techniques that mobilize the various joints in the feet, helps with the following:
-      Increases synovial fluid production in the joints
  • -      re-establishes normal muscle tone
  • -      releases restrictions in the foot joints
  • -      reduces joint degeneration by improving

o   range of movement by breaking up stiffened fibres
o   joint swelling
o   inflammation
o   abnormal sensations
o   mobility
o   fluid flow
o   nutrient supply to all tissues
o   re-hydrates joints

Foot exercises
Strong muscles stabilize the foot and support movement. Exercise helps those muscles to be strong so the foot moves freely. Months and years of muscle weakness will affect not only the health of your feet but also your posture.
Specific exercises help many foot problems; try these at home:
  • Before getting out of bed in the morning point the toes towards the end of the bed and then back up towards the ceiling. Do this a few times, and then rotate them clockwise and anticlockwise a few times. These movements stretch the various tendons and muscles and also increase blood flow before putting weight on the feet. This is very helpful for plantar fasciitis.
  • Whilst brushing your teeth lift your heels off the floor as high as you can, then down again, repeat several times.
  • Toe crunches: whilst standing straight, crunch your toes so that the outer ankle bone moves
    Toe crunches
    further out lifting the arch off the floor. This strengthens the arch of the foot.
  • Balance on one foot, this exercises and strengthens the small muscles.                    
  • Whilst sitting, roll a tennis ball from your toes to the heel whilst applying as much pressure as is comfortable, this massages the tendons and muscles in the sole of the foot.

Reflexology works the reflection of the body on the feet. Doing this, fingers prod, poke and massage the muscles and the tendons as well. This increases circulation and softens muscles and tendons.

How do the feet benefit
Feet benefit from FMT and Reflexology, even healthy ones. The gentle FMT movements restore mobility and function and reduce pain in a stiff joint and associated tissue. The gentle movements create space between the 24 bones, which helps dissolve deposits between the bones. Reflexology, through the prodding and poking, increases blood and fluid flow reducing pain and inflammation.

Foot and Leg Centre. Retrieved from

Goo, J. (2012). Foot pain. We bring doctor’s knowledge to you. Retrieved from

Jedynak, T. (2007). Foot Mobilisation techniques (FMT) for Reflexologists. Course material.

Jedynak, T. (2012). An introduction to the principles of foot mobilisation techniques. Podiatry Now.
Robinson, J., Barrett, K. & Moyes, T. (2000). How to look after your feet. Marrickville, N.S.W.: Choice Books