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Case Study Issue 69: Reflexology for ME/Chronic Fatigue

by Kath Morrell(more info)

listed in case studies, originally published in issue 69 - October 2001

This case follows a 7 year old boy suffering from ME/chronic fatigue/post-viral syndrome. As soon as he started school at the age of 4, this boy succumbed to many childhood illnesses especially throat/tonsillitis type problems and frequent ear infections, for which he was treated with antibiotics. He had had the usual vaccinations.

About 2 years ago he went down with flu and was just too ill to return to school for long – 2 days on 2 days off. He loved school but couldn't cope with the noise of some situations, apart from lacking energy and feeling miserable.

GPs were unable to suggest any remedies, although glandular fever was mentioned. Finally a GP/herbalist recommended Echinacea and liquorice to help his immune system. There was no follow up.

When reflexology treatment first began, he was suffering from sound and light sensitivity, aching joints, lethargy, stomach aches, swollen glands and depression. He would be very tired and hobbling around after any kind of exertion the previous day. His sleep was poor and interrupted. He had not been to school for 6 months.

A 5 minute Vertical Reflex Therapy (VRT) treatment was given to him twice a week for a period of 3 months. The dorsal aspect of his feet were unusually puffy ­ this area covers the lymphatic reflexes – indicating a poor immune system.

At first the results were dramatic – severe tiredness, lethargy, aching limbs the following day, so much so that his mother made no arrangements for him the day after a treatment. Once he was so exhausted that he stayed in bed for 2 days.

Together with the reflexology, I showed him some yoga breathing techniques to oxygenate his cells and urged his mother to make sure he drank plenty of water especially after a treatment. His diet was healthy.

When I inspected the plantar aspect of his feet, the reflexes most sensitive were the liver, eyes, ears and limbs, but most significantly the spleen. The liver and spleen were also indicated on the corresponding spinal reflexes, thus emphasizing the chronic nature of this problem.

Now his stamina is much improved, his sleep pattern is normal, his appetite better (he has put on weight), he rarely suffers eye/ear sensitivity, is more positive and has got his cheekiness back! On waking now, he is usually immediately bright and cheerful – a complete turnaround.

Now after a VRT treatment he is just a bit groggy for a short while or has no side effects at all. All the sore reflex points are better even though the spleen is still indicated. All this progress has happened in 4 months.

Considering the main areas showing up in the feet are the liver and spleen leads me to consider that his body was working on toxic overload. Could ME therefore be linked to previous medications and/or vaccinations, as the boy had suffered mainly bacterial infections, not viral.

He has started back at school 3 afternoons a week to be extended as soon as possible. So far he has not been exhausted. Obviously the boy and family are overjoyed by this outcome.

If anyone is considering having reflexology treatment for this condition, they must make sure they can accommodate any possible side effects when the body is detoxifying. After the first few sessions any negative side effects should lessen, but at some stage there may be a healing crisis when you can experience a worsening of a particular symptom(s). ( The boy being too tired to get up for 2 days was in my opinion the healing crisis.) This is, in fact, the treatment being very effective and often a turning point.

Children will respond much more quickly than adults as there has been less time for toxins to build up congestion. Usually, the longer the length of the illness, the longer the course of treatment.

I hope any doctors reading this will be convinced of the healing powers of reflexology and start recommending this therapy especially for a condition that is difficult to treat with allopathic medicine.

With acknowledgement to Lynne Booth, Bristol, pioneer of VRT.


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About Kath Morrell

Kath Morrell, who lives and works in rural mid-Wales, comes from a background of teaching. She has been a reflexologist for eight years, originally training with the British Reflexology Association, and has since become an associate member of the Association of Reflexologists. Her practice is based in a struggling rural community serving the areas of Llanfyllin and Welshpool; about 15% of her work is home visits. She frequently attends specialist courses on reflexology and has trained to do VRT. She can be reached at Tel: 01938 500459;

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