by Marsha Walke, PhD, RN, LMT
I have been teaching and giving massage and reflexology for 40 years now, I want to share some information and experiences to help you get a little acquainted with this form of helping with your hands.
In 1977, I had just finished nursing school and loved giving my patients the evening back massage I had learned in school. They went to sleep without pain meds or sleeping pills. I wanted to learn more about the power of the hands to connect with others and help the body heal.
I began taking a 12 week community massage class. There were no massage schools in Texas at the time. One of the other students told me about Stanley Burroughs and that he was teaching Vitaflex, a form of working with the reflexes of the body to help it release stress and to heal.
I went to Weed, CA and took a week long class with Stanley. It was so effective that I took 4 more weeks with him over the next 2 years, and learned to teach the work. I then studied Reflexology and found them to be very similar. After studying massage and energy based therapies in California and completing my work with Stanley, I was ready to begin working with others.
I have had a private practice for 40 years, teaching and helping people to have happy bodies and minds by creating lives that allow them to help others and have fun. I incorporate massage, life style review, reflexology, and energy based therapies in my practice.
Reflexology in Practice
In reflexology, we apply pressure to points on the feet and hands using a specific technique that creates greater balance in corresponding points in the body. This can allow greater movement in the body of the blood, lymph, breath, and nerves to help relieve discomfort and increase relaxation. In this class you will learn where the points are, the technique for applying pressure to the points, and which point to use for specific situations. You will practice in pairs with my supervision and feedback.Reflexology has many benefits. You can do reflexology on yourself as well as others. Very often when I am driving and my back hurts, I can work on the points on my hands for the spine, and the pain disappears instantly. I taught a friend to do it on herself and she experiences the same thing, and says she is telling everyone. By working on myself, I have experienced pain relief of toothaches, joint pain in my knee, pain in my eye, headaches, pain in my intestines, slowing down a racing heart, and relief of constipation.
In working with other people, I have watched each vertebrae in the spine become red with increased circulation as someone is pressing on the reflex points for the spine on the foot. Just last week, my husband had back pain and by working on the reflexes for the spine in his feet, his pain went away completely. When I worked on the points for the intestines, he pointed to the spot in his abdomen that corresponded to where I was pressing in the foot, and said he was feeling a sensation in that spot.
After all these years, I continue to be amazed!
You can affect areas you can’t massage like the internal organs, eyes, ears, bones, and extremely sensitive areas. I have seen many headaches relieved by working on points for the eyes, ears, and brain. One time I worked on a woman who had a broken leg in a hard cast by working on the reflex points on her foot. The doctor was amazed at how fast she healed. You can work with burns, rashes, and wounds because you are not working on the affected area but on a reflex point that corresponds to the area.
All bodies and minds are different. As with all therapies, people experience different levels of relief with reflexology. Some people experience instant relief, some it takes several sessions. Some people feel more relaxed, even if their pain is not gone. And as we know, when we become relaxed, we experience less stress, which improves all systems of the body and mind.
I incorporate reflexology into every massage I give. Some people only want reflexology. You will be able to help people wherever you go, and you only need your two hands.
For more information about Marsha’s Reflexology Workshop and how to register, visit our updated massage continuing education calendar.