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Reflexology and Trauma

by Mary Martin(more info)

listed in reflexology, originally published in issue 72 - January 2002

Post-operative Care

An acoustic neuroma is a rare condition affecting about 0.1% of the population. It is a benign tumour involving the eighth cranial nerves that carry information about hearing and balance. The cause is unknown. Although the tumour is very slow growing it can press on the trigeminal nerve that supplies sensation to parts of the face and scalp, and supplies the muscles of mastication. Large tumours threaten life by causing pressure on the brainstem.

Julia was 25 years old when she consulted me, six months after having had surgery for this condition. This resulted in loss of hearing and tinnitus in her left ear, and also loss of feeling on the left side of her face and head. It caused a convergent (inward) squint, resulting in double vision. Julia had a problem with co-ordination in the form of staggering, which contributed to pain in her upper spine and neck. She was unable to work. She lacked confidence and she was low in spirits.

At the initial consultation, as I worked on the reflex points relating to the left side of her face, Julia felt a tingling in her cheek. When I applied pressure to the left eye reflex point, I observed her eye shift to its normal position, as the muscles normalized. This was startling to observe. This positive outcome greatly boosted Julia's morale, especially as the squint would no longer mar her attractive face.

A week later there was a noticeable improvement in her co-ordination. Her neck and back were less painful. Julia was also experiencing more tingling sensations in her face, where previously there was numbness. She was noticeably uplifted. Weekly treatments continued.

At her fifth visit she told me how pleased she was to be aware of a runny nose! Since her operation she had had no awareness of this. What a lot we take for granted! She felt reactions in her head, and increased feelings in her lips and tongue.

Within three months of her initial treatment her eye surgeon verified that her vision had improved. The tinnitus noise had subsided. Much more feeling had returned to her face and head. Spots appeared on the scar at the nape of her neck, indicating signs of healing.

Reflexology can heal scar tissue. Her co-ordination improved significantly and her neck and back pain had gone, due to better posture.

She told me that she felt as she did before her operation, and was socializing. Within three months of her first treatment Julia returned to work. This case demonstrates how reflexology can complement surgical intervention.

In mastectomy cases, patients tell me that their surgeons express surprise at the rate that healing has taken place. Even years after surgery reflexology can make a difference. For example, Barbara had had restricted movement of her left arm for nine years after a mastectomy and the removal of lymph nodes. Full movement was restored within five reflexology sessions. Jenny suffered pain for four-and-a-half years from the side effects of radiotherapy, until it was alleviated by this therapy. The psychological benefits derived from such physiological changes cannot be overestimated.

Uncovering Misdiagnosis

The therapy's potential to release symptoms of old, unresolved conditions invariably relates to old injuries that have healed imperfectly. Where there is more than one problem, the most recent symptoms surface first. They appear in a milder form within a treatment or two, as healing processes are activated. Emotional traumas may also be released. This highlights the importance of taking a proper case history. However, events took an unusual direction in the following case.

Chris is 26 and a keen sportsman. Eleven months prior to consulting me he was injured playing football, and was in excruciating pain.

He went to hospital for an X-ray and was told there were no broken bones. The pain continued and he subsequently received physiotherapy treatments, with no effect. No other treatment was forthcoming. Chris showed amazing resilience by carrying on as a hardworking car mechanic, to support his family.

The injury affected his left foot. His Achilles tendon was sore and there was pain across the top of the foot and around the ankle, with some swelling. He said that his leg and foot were both very stiff and painful, especially on standing, after waking up. He was unable to run or cycle or engage in sport.

After the first weekly treatment Chris experienced increased soreness in his Achilles tendon, although he had less discomfort when standing on waking up, or in standing generally. He slept better. After the second treatment he felt he was walking better, with less pain.

He received a third treatment. Subsequently he experienced a great deal of pain and was taken to hospital and X-rayed. The X-ray showed a shadow on his leg. This turned out to be a diseased bone. He had broken his leg a year before, but it was not detected, despite X-rays. He had walked about with a broken leg for a whole year!

The first two reflexology treatments brought out the peripheral stresses and strains, before uncovering the underlying problem. Chris was operated on, which involved taking a piece of bone from his hip to repair his leg. The operation went well and he has made a full recovery. Despite the trauma of it all, Chris and his family expressed their relief that, through reflexology, the problem had been identified. I can only speculate what the outcome would have been had he not come for treatment when he did!


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About Mary Martin

A qualified teacher, Mary Martin established her School of Reflexology in 1987. She founded the Association of Reflexologists in 1984 and is an Honorary Life Member. Previously she practised as a Gerson therapist. Mary belongs to a network of therapists attached to the cancer centre at Mount Vernon Hospital. She has had a busy practice in Ruislip since 1983. She may be contacted on Tel: 01895 635621;

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