How to use reflexology for stress relief & weight loss

Reflexology case study

How to use reflexology to help with stress and weight loss

My client sat in a chair and I gave him some quartz water to drink while he was relaxing I made up a warm foot-bath and soaked his feet. Within the water were some clear quartz crystals, rose quartz, for self-love and for replacing negative energy with positive energy and citrine for happiness and energy and amethyst to help with tension, nerves and pain.

Preparation – My client relaxed while I washed my hands again and prepared the towels massage table and put my massage stool to the appropriate height. I then put on some relaxing music ,lit some nice scented candles to create ambiance one of the candles was a Himalayan salt candle , to cleanse, deodorize and purify the air, I then put the lights down lower.

Then I did some hand exercises, some deep breathing and imagined the positive energy flowing through my fingers and hands. I removed the bowl of water from my client’s feet; I dried them and asked him to lie on the table; I then arranged pillows under his head knees and feet. I put a blanket over his body and a towel over his feet.

Dry Feet – I then looked at my client’s feet and saw that they were extremely dry and also cold to the touch which could mean circulation problems, because of this I put the massage table up so his legs were higher than the rest of the body to improve circulation. Because of the dryness of his feet decided that, instead of using powder (cornflour), I would use aqueous cream with a couple of drops of lavender oil which I thought would help my clients stress, also 2 drops of lemon grass essential oil for circulation and aqueous oil would give me the pliability I needed to work on very dry feet, I felt powder would just have dried them more. I explained all this to my client and he was most agreeable and I asked him if he had hay fever and he said he didn’t neither was he allergic to any aromatherapy oil, and he liked the smell of lavender oil.

Breathing exercises – The treatment began with some deep breathing exercises and some relaxation techniques. The techniques I used were inner energy breathing, then gradually moved on to Angels Touch with medium pressure , then Apollos breath, Atlas’s Orb and Poseidon’s Pull, Healing Tornado, I then did some toe rotation , Hermes Stretch. I gently stretched my clients Achilles tendon while supporting his other foot and then rotated it with medium pressure, my client complained that this was rather sensitive so I eased off the pressure and he said this was fine.
I performed Phoenix rising technique, for this I rolled my hands on both sides of the foot, I rolled my hands from the top of the foot to the bottom of the foot and then to the top again, my client remarked that this was rather soothing.

Massage for headaches & eye strain – I now start to work the head reflex points at the toes to help with my clients head and neck area to help with headaches and eye strain, I then work the brain reflex area which is located on the tip and upper soft pad of each foot, this helps our brain to relax and support other functions. To balance hormones I then worked the pituitary, on this reflex I did holding, circular movements and thumb rolls. Because of the tension headaches my client is having I worked the occiput with small thumb roll movements; this was a bit sore for my client so I decreased the pressure which was ok for him.

Sinus & Thyroid – Then I worked on the sinus reflexes even though my client hasn’t complained about his sinuses I thought it would be beneficial, I used small thumb movements because of re-flexing sides and bottom of toes. I then worked the thyroid gland, I worked this horizontally and my client winced to the point where I had to stop as it was too painful. I then decided to use a couple of minutes of effleurage, just to relax my client again.

Teeth & Jaw – Next I worked the teeth area with light pressure as this is a place of soreness for many people; I also worked the jaw reflex lightly for the same reason. I then worked the ear and eye reflexes but was careful not to go near the thyroid reflex, I carefully did this with the tip of my thumb with small movements.

Shoulders – I next worked the shoulder reflex and again my client was sore next to the little toe , this was the same on both feet, the shoulder blade area was also sore. I then worked the heart reflex on the ball and pad of both feet; I worked this with soothing thumb roll pressure. Next I worked on the lung reflex on the ball and pad of both feet, also on top of the foot, my client especially liked me working the top of his feet, this helps with circulation, and the whole respiratory system.

Oseophagus – I next worked the oesophagus with even thumb pressure on this reflex to soften the tissue, I worked this horizontally then vertically, next I worked the thymus using a rhythmical thumb roll, the thymus reflex helps with the body’s self-healing ability. I next worked the breast reflex on the grooves of the feet, my client liked this being worked and said it was comfortable and relaxing, next I worked the diaphragm my client had slight sensitivity just under and below the heart area, as I thumb walked this area along the diaphragm line, I worked slowly with gentle pressure, this is good for the stomach liver and upper abdomen.

Stomach – I next worked with even pressure on the stomach reflex; I felt crystals under the skin there. I next worked the solar plexus, I held the solar plexus reflex on the left foot for a couple of minutes before starting gentle slow movements in a circular direction, as the solar plexus is a nerve cluster it is most important to work the surrounding area well, I applied slow and soothing thumb rolls in the upper soft sole, below the big and second toes, I then repeated the same sequence on the right foot.

reflexology diagram

Spleen – I next worked the spleen which is located on the left foot it is important for the immune system, and may encourage the spleen to work better; I worked this but broadened out to make sure the whole of the reflexes were covered.

Liver & Gallbladder – I worked on the liver beginning with the right foot I reflex most of the upper soft pad to make sure I covered all areas and that was a bit tender for my client, but he told me he had been drinking a couple of nights previously with his sister, I worked on the left reflex which didn’t bother him, working this area will help to rectify drinking the alcohol.

I next worked the gallbladder on the right foot to help with better gallbladder functioning. The pancreas was next worked on ,the greater part of the pancreas is worked on the left foot in the mid soft sole and another portion of it is worked on the mid soft sole of the right foot, but spent more time working the right , my client had quite rough skin around this area on both feet, working this area is soothing for the nerve endings .The adrenal glands are next to be worked, which will hopefully help my client deal with stress , the adrenal gland was sensitive to touch on my client so I held it with the pad of my thumb for a few minutes until the tenderness wore off.

Kidneys & Colon – I next worked the kidneys with light to medium pressure which popped with crystals and I managed to disperse them, I worked the same area on both feet I next worked the urethra from the mid soft sole until I reached the heel. Next the small intestine which is a large area, the area was slightly tender so I worked other areas and went back to it.

I worked on the colon next which improves digestion again my clients feet were dry here and there wasn’t any tenderness there. I worked the sciatic nerve reflex next as it can help relaxed the muscles in the lower back , so I’m hoping it helps my client as he suffers from back ache. I next worked the ileocecal valve of the heel on the right foot, I worked this and the surrounding areas, I had to use firm pressure as the skin of my client’s foot was tough here.

Appendix & Bladder – I also then worked the appendix reflex with firm pressure, with no complaint from client. I next worked the bladder reflex and there was a bit of discomfort there. I next worked the neck cervical spine area, my client had pain on both feet when this was done, the same as when I worked the upper back reflexes, and lower back reflexes hopefully this will ease his tension and aches and pains.

Sacrum, shoulder, arms and elbows – I worked next on the sacrum; this should help the ligaments and muscles attached to the sacrum. I next worked the shoulder joint as this will hopefully relaxed my clients shoulder muscles. I next worked the arms and elbows as my client is at a computer all day and also hand and wrist reflex.

Hip Pain – My client also said his hips had been hurting so I worked the hip reflex which is just below the elbow reflex and the bony part near the heel. I quickly worked the leg reflex, knees and foot as time was coming to a close. Before my client arose from the massage table we did some breathing and relaxation techniques, I then shook any negativity build up that I had picked up from my client out of my fingers and hands .

After care and advise – I then washed my hands and got my client some vegetable juice to drink as its very nutritious, I then preceded to give him after care advice. I advised him not to drink any tea coffee or alcohol for at least 12 hours ,as this helps to prevent dehydration and the introduction of more toxins I did tell him that he could have herbal tea water, vegetable or fruit juice. I told him to rest as best he can as this will help him to heal, also not to have a heavy meal. I told him that after a treatment it is normal to feel energised or relaxed and he told me that he felt very relaxed.

Healing Crisis – I did explain that some clients experience a healing crisis and I said that this is also perfectly normal, the symptoms could include tiredness, nausea, or feeling of being cold, or that he could urinate more, or feel more emotional than usual. I told him that this was perfectly natural and nothing to worry about, it’s the body’s indication of starting to eliminate toxins and heal itself.

I then explained about the reflexes that were out of balance, but didn’t want to get too technical. I also stressed that I am not a doctor , and reflexology is not a substitute for medical practices and any advice given apart from what reflexes were out of balance were of my own opinion. A lot of the imbalances were in the head neck and shoulder areas , so hopefully the reflexology treatment has helped with this , also I told him if he saw his doctor he may be able to put him in touch with a physio therapist. My client thought that his back and shoulder problems could be due to his posture at work so he was thinking of maybe trying the Alexander technique.

Mindfulness for stress – I thought this could be a very good idea, but, I told him to check with his doctor first. I did advise some meditation for his stress, and breathing exercises as his diaphragm was out of balance he said he thought there was a meditation group nearby. I also said that Mindfulness may help with how he feels about the busy office and all the noise, and the stress he feels there, his adrenal glands were also out of balance and this wouldn’t have helped his stress levels I also said meditation and mindfulness may help him to sleep better. I also told him Mindfulness may help with his overeating through mindfulness eating, he said he would give it some thought.

Alcohol –  My clients liver and kidney reflexes were out of balance, but that could have been through drinking alcohol, he did say he had drunk quite a lot. His bladder reflex was out of balance and he said he didn’t drink much fluid so I said to maybe up his fluid intake. His stomach reflex and small intestine were out of balance so I suggested changing his diet and maybe getting some exercise. I’d also picked up imbalances in his thyroid area but that may help with diet, not eating inflammatory, processed or sugary foods, and exercise.

Follow up – My client said he had enjoyed the session and felt so much more relaxed and also much more positive than he had for a while. We discussed when he would next see me and as he was going away , we agreed he would see me in three weeks’ time.

My client came to see me after 3 weeks; he was not as anxious or nervous when greeting me. He said he had been to the Doctors and seen a physio as his doctor thought he needed it. He was waiting for a phone call from a place that teaches Alexander Technique especially for the office. He was now attending a wellness centre where they practiced Meditation, Breathing exercises and Mindfulness and he was happy because he had made some friends there, he was also practicing meditation, mindfulness and breathing at home and the combination of at home and the centre had greatly reduced his stress levels at work. He was also eating better at work and making healthy lunches to take to work. He said his sleeping patterns still weren’t brilliant but were getting better.

When I did his treatment this time I found a lot fewer imbalances , his head and shoulder areas this time were nowhere near as tender or as sore as before, his adrenal glands did not show sensitivity, his kidney and liver areas were fine. The bladder was still slightly sensitive, so was the stomach and small intestine. His feet were in better condition as he had moisturised them with Crabtree and Evelyn hand lotion but at least it had done the trick!

The treatment room environment was very relaxing, with ambient music playing and soft lighting. I was impressed at the depth of questioning regarding my medical history, followed by completing a treatment card.

My therapist explained what she was doing as she applied each different treatment technique.

We discussed meditation, breathing techniques and mindfulness, something I’d heard of and was contemplating before the treatment.
Parts of my feet were quite sore and tender during some of the treatment, but the therapist explained why this occurs; on the whole I found the treatment enjoyable, and I could feel my stress level improving even then.

Since the treatment, I have begun meditation and mindfulness practice, which is helping me to cope better with the stresses of my job; my colleagues have commented on the changes they’ve seen in me so far! I have had problems with pains in my back and shoulders, causing regular headaches which have probably exacerbated my stress. On my therapists advice, I consulted my GP who referred me to a physiotherapist who has helped me with my posture. We have discussed learning the Alexander Technique, which I’m looking into.
As my stress has eased, I’ve found myself eating less junk food and paying more attention to my diet, and have started to lose a bit of weight. I found this reflexology treatments very beneficial.

Helpful links:

Accreditation board for Reflexologists & massage therapists

Distance Learning Reflexology course

Breathing Techniques: A Guide to the Science and Methods


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