Reflexology News





Below, you will find an English selection of our articles, also sorted by theme under "Recommended reading" on our side-bar.

Please visit  www.barcelonareflexologia.com our Spanish website for a complete list of all our articles in English and in Spanish (translation tool provided).

Thank you.


Mind and Body: the link between stress, illness, and the immune system, scientific findings


Doctor Robert Ader linked Stress and Illness

Dr. Robert Ader, an experimental psychologist  was among the first scientists to show how mental processes influence the body’s immune system, a finding that changed modern medicine

Dr. Robert Ader was known for his research on the relationship between the mind and body...he spent his entire career as a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, conducted some of the original experiments in a field he named himself, psychoneuroimmunology. His initial research, in the 1970s, became a touchstone for studies that have since mapped the vast communications network among immune cells, hormones and neurotransmitters.
It introduced a field of research that nailed down the science behind notions once considered magical thinking: that meditation helps reduce arterial plaque; that social bonds improve cancer survival; that people under stress catch more colds; and that placebos work not only on the human mind but also on supposedly insentient cells.

As late as 1985, the idea of a connection between the brain and the immune system was dismissed in an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine as “folklore.” “Today there is not a physician in the country who does not accept the science Bob Ader set in motion,” said Dr. Bruce Rabin, founder of the Brain, Behavior and Immunity Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who considered Dr. Ader a mentor.


By PAUL VITELLO nytimes.com 2011/12/26

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By HARRIET BROWN Published: October 11, 2011 

Two brains are better than one. At least that is the rationale for the close - sometimes too close - relationship between the human body's two brains, the one at the top of the spinal cord and the hidden but powerful brain in the gut known as the enteric nervous system. 

For Dr. Michael D. Gershon, the author of "The Second Brain" and the chairman of the department of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia, the connection between the two can be unpleasantly clear. 

The connection between the brains lies at the heart of many woes, physical and psychiatric. Ailments like anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and Parkinson's disease manifest symptoms at the brain and the gut level. "The majority of patients with anxiety and depression will also have alterations of their GI function," said Dr. Emeran Mayer, professor of medicine, physiology and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles....

Understanding reflexology

Somatotopical relationships between cortical activity and reflex areas in reflexology: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.



We examined the somatotopical relationship between cortical activity and sensory stimulation of reflex areas in reflexology using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Three reflex areas on the left foot, relating to the eye, shoulder, and small intestine were stimulated during the experiment.
A statistical analysis showed that reflexological stimulation of the foot reflex areas corresponding to the eye, shoulder, and small intestine activated not only the somatosensory areas corresponding to the foot, but also the somatosensory areas corresponding to the eye, shoulder, and small intestine or neighboring body parts.

Thus, the findings showed that reflexological stimulation induced a somatosensory process corresponding to the stimulated reflex area and that a neuroimaging approach can be used to examine the basis of reflexology effects.

by Nakamaru T, Miura N, Fukushima A, Kawashima R. Source Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan. Neurosci Lett. 2008 Dec 19;448(1):6-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.10.022. Epub 2008 Oct 14
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by Flynn LL, Bush TR, Sikorskii A, Mukherjee R, Wyatt G. Source Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 

Reflexology is a common choice of women with breast cancer as supportive care during treatment. It involves stimulation of specific locations of the feet called reflexes using a specialised walking motion with the thumb of the reflexologist. 

Reflexology has shown potential for the successful management of cancer and treatment-related symptoms and improvement in physical functioning; however to date, the mechanism of action for these improvements is unknown. 
One confounder to the study of reflexology is the 'human factor'. To study the effects of the stimulation of the reflexes independent of the 'human factor', there is a need for an alternative method for the delivery of reflexology. 
The objective of this work was to design and create a robotic reflexology device that would deliver a breast cancer-specific reflexology protocol to the feet of patients. 
A prototype robotic reflexology device was developed and tested for feasibility, safety and acceptability with breast cancer survivors (n= 13), and preliminary efficacy in symptom management and enhanced functional status with a sample of women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer (n= 13). 

Safety, feasibility and acceptability were established, and significant improvements from pre- to post-device-delivered reflexology were seen in symptom severity among women on chemotherapy.

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2011 Sep;20(5):686-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2354.2011.01268.x. Epub 2011 Jul 19.
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Reflexology in cancer

Health-related quality-of-life outcomes: a reflexology trial with patients with advanced-stage breast cancer.

Reflexology may be added to existing evidence-based supportive care to improve HRQOL for patients with advanced-stage breast cancer during chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.

Reflexology can be recommended for safety and usefulness in relieving dyspnea and enhancing functional status among women with advanced-stage breast cancer

by Wyatt G, Sikorskii A, Rahbar MH, Victorson D, You M. Source College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.
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A study led by a Michigan State University researcher offers the strongest evidence yet that reflexology – a type of specialized foot massage practiced since the age of pharaohs – can help cancer patients manage their symptoms and perform daily tasks. 

Funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the latest issue of Oncology Nursing Forum, it is the first large-scale, randomized study of reflexology as a complement to standard cancer treatment, according to lead author Gwen Wyatt, a professor in the College of Nursing.

Wyatt’s co-authors include MSU statistics and probability professor Alla Sikorskii and College of Nursing research assistant Mei You, along with colleagues from Northwestern University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Nov 13 2012
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by Sharp DM, Walker MB, Chaturvedi A, Upadhyay S, Hamid A, Walker AA, Bateman JS, Braid F, Ellwood K, Hebblewhite C, Hope T, Lines M, Walker LG. 

When compared to SIS, reflexology and massage have statistically significant, and, for reflexology, clinically worthwhile, effects on QofL following surgery for early breast carcinoma. 

Source : The Institute of Rehabilitation, University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull
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by Stephenson NL, Weinrich SP, Tavakoli AS. 

Following the foot reflexology intervention, patients with breast and lung cancer experienced a significant decrease in anxiety. One of three pain measures showed that patients with breast cancer experienced a significant decrease in pain. 

The significant decrease in anxiety observed in this sample of patients with breast and lung cancer following foot reflexology suggests that this may be a self-care approach to decrease anxiety in this patient population. 

Professionals and lay people can be taught reflexology. Foot reflexology is an avenue for human touch, can be performed anywhere, requires no special equipment, is noninvasive, and does not interfere with patients' privacy.

Source School of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.
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by Nancy A. Hodgson 1 and Doreen Lafferty 

The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate and compare the effects of reflexology and Swedish massage therapy on physiologic stress, pain, and mood in older cancer survivors residing in nursing homes. 
Both Reflexology and Swedish Massage resulted in significant declines in salivary cortisol and pain and improvements in mood. 

Preliminary data suggest that studies of Swedish Massage Therapy and Reflexology are feasible in this population of cancer survivors typically excluded from trials. Both interventions were well tolerated and produced measurable improvements in outcomes. Further research is needed to explore the mechanisms underlying the potential benefits of these CAM modalities in this patient population. 

Swedish Massage and Reflexology were well tolerated and potentially beneficial in reducing distress and pain and improving mood in older cancer survivors residing in nursing homes. 
Previous research has supported the value of CAM modalities such as massage and reflexology for relieving distress in older adult patients with cancer and offer guidelines for therapists
For example, the REST study demonstrated significant benefits of massage on pain and mood in adults with advanced cancer . However, given that few clinical trials of massage or reflexology in a frail, institutionalized, older patient population have been published, few direct comparisons are available. 

Nonetheless, our results confirm earlier studies on CAM modalities in cancer survivors and extend the findings to a sample of participants typically excluded from earlier trials.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 456897. Published online 2012 July 24. doi: 10.1155/2012/456897

Efficacy of reflexology in various pathologies

Labor pain: Weigh your options for relief 


Labor pain on your mind? Understanding pain relief options can give you more control over the labor and delivery process. 

As labor progresses — and contractions become stronger and more frequent — many women add medication to their arsenal of pain relief options. Epidural and spinal blocks, for instance, temporarily block pain in the lower body. An epidural can be used continuously throughout labor, while a spinal block is typically used shortly before delivery. 

Alternatively, narcotics or other medications can be used to alter pain perception. Nontraditional options for managing labor pain might include hypnosis, acupuncture, water immersion or reflexology. These techniques won't stop the pain of contractions, but they might help you feel more relaxed and better able to handle labor pain.


The results of this study indicate that self-foot reflexology is an effective nursing intervention in reducing perceived stress and fatigue and, in improving skin temperature. Therefore, it is recommended that this be used in clinical practice as an effective nursing intervention for in female undergraduate students.

Source: Lee YM. Department of Nursing, Kangwon National University, Samcheok 2nd Campus, Samcheok, Korea.- Feb 2011 - MedLine
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by Sue Bennett  © 2007

An abridged collection of published research from Denmark, Germany, Britain, China, Switzerland and the USA
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Reflexology in Barcelona: About us

Benedicte Taillard at Barcelona Women´s Network:  Promoting the Benefits of Reflexology (April, 3rd. 2011)

When you ask Benedicte Talliard where she is from, the answer gets a little bit complicated. Born in Senegal to French parents, she grew up in both America and Australia.  With such a unique, multicultural background, she found it easy to continue her travels and live in many countries such as Vietnam, New Caledonia, France, and Germany before finally settling in Barcelona, Spain.

But while defining "home" may have been a challenge for Benedicte at times in her life, identifying her talents was not. 

Living in so many countries provided her the opportunity to understand and adapt to multiple cultures and languages, and she was able to hone her skill and develop it into a business. "My education is in cross-cultural communication and interpretation.  My language service is called Benedicte Taillard. I work with both businesses and individuals in offering language classes, translations and interpretation, recruitment, and conduct seminars on cross-cultural communication." 

However, being gifted in communication wasn't Benedicte's only talent.

From a young age, she felt a special connection to her sense of touch.  "I've always felt that my hands were especially sensitive. For example, I would play the piano and feel the cords vibrate through my finger. Or, I would collect stones and wood pieces for their soothing feel, and I would ease people´s discomforts when foot massaging them." 

But later, during a time in her life when she needed to ease her own physical ailments, Benedicte's unique abilities took on a whole new importance and meaning. She became even more interested in natural therapies, and and was shown specific reflexology techniques to alleviate her condition. This, coupled with a more natural lifestyle, diet, and exercise, was the key to her recovery and, ultimately, a new passion and career.   "I looked for the best reflexology school and found it in Florida-- The International Institute of Reflexology.  Unfortunately, I could not manage the program with both work and children. However, soon after, I found that the school also had a branch in Toulouse, France, just three hours from Barcelona.  Even more amazing, I discovered that the director was a friend of mine from back when I was 20 years old and living in New Caledonia! I took this as a definite sign. I joined the program, studied, and graduated from it." 

After graduation, Benedicte founded Barcelona Reflexologia, where she works as a foot and hand reflexologist at her downtown practice.  She also makes house visits and volunteers with various health associations (as in oncology, and with Parkinson disease). 

In her work, she uses pressure techniques on specific reflex points on both the feet and hands, which are connected to the body´s organs and tissues. This produces a neurochemical response, which stimulates all physiological functions and provides  a natural way to allow the body and mind  to find their own balance or homeostasis.    From her own personal experiences, Benedicte believes everyone can benefit from this most natural of therapies.  "

Reflexology is for anyone who seeks the benefits of a natural, non invasive, holistic therapy--whether to help treat a common ailment or a severe condition, physical or mental," she explains. "People visit me for colds, head or back aches, ear infections, as well as for chemotherapy side-effects, depression, and post-operatory recovery. 

Reflexology is also for anyone who  doesn´t seek traditional therapy  because today, no one is free from contamination effects (from what we eat, drink, breathe or touch), and everyone suffers from stress, which is a major cause of all illnesses. One of the first benefits of reflexology is that it provides immediate and total relaxation. So aside from being an excellent complementary therapy, reflexology is also preventive." 

Benedicte says that one the best part of her work is that it allows people to discover their own potential for recovery and balance "I show the people who visit me basic self-help techniques so that anyone can become his or her own health decisionner when it comes to reflexology." 

Through reflexology, Benedicte has been able to merge both her skill sets.  She finds that being able to communicate with her clients in Spanish, English, French and also somewhat in Catalan and German provides additional benefit to them.  "Reflexology is an extension of communication," she explains. "People who visit open up and free themselves from their pain. There often is a great deal of verbal communication and listening before the treatment and before the power of therapeutic touch conveys more body listening, empathy, comprehension, and vital energy." She has also been able to use join communication and reflexology skills in scholarly achievements.  "I was trusted with the translation of several reflexology best sellers to French and Spanish. I was also trusted to represent the International Institute of Reflexology  here in Spain, where we train and graduate students in the same programs as at the original Florida school." 

Another part of Benedicte´s work is to further develop awareness of Reflexology as a health tool. " One of my goals is to promote reflexology in Spain, so that everyone may know and benefit from it. This I do by proposing small information conferences, free “discovery” sessions in natural health stores and centers, offering volunteer work, translating reflexology works, being on the Internet and social media sites such as Facebook wherever possible, etc... But more particularly, by  teaming up with medical doctors and other health practitioners in health centers, associations, and hospitals: Benedicte has  recently co-founded Reflexologia Asociación, the objective of which is the development of reflexology as a complementary therapy within integrative medecine. 

In the end, when asked what she considers her greatest achievement to be, Benedicte says: “ Rather than mine, I have the renewed satisfaction of witnessing the person´s own achievement as they start enjoying their bettered condition and realise it is from their own – body and mind - doing, through reflexology.
../..

 An interview with Reflexologist Benedicte Taillard by MumAbroad - MumAbroad.com (April 2010)

Benedicte is a highly trained and experienced reflexologist for both adults and children. 

What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a natural, non-invasive, harmless complementary therapy,
where the therapist manually and digitally applies systematic pressure to
reflex points on the feet and hands impacting and helping the body's
multiple mechanisms to perform their roles and to achieve a homeostatic
balance.

What are the benefits of reflexology?
Reflexology helps to relieve from stress, and to release toxins from the
body. It improves circulation, and reduces pain. It may help many health
problems to decrease. However, every person being a world of his own,
reflexology cannot be a promise to cure an illness. In fact, reflexology
does not treat a problem in particular, but rather, it helps in achieving
an homeostatic balance: a state of health and well-being.

How does it work?
There are more than 7000 nerve terminations in our feet, connecting to all
of our body's systems, organs and tissues. By applying pressure techniques
to these reflex areas and specific points, the reflexologist actually
stimulates them to have them do their natural work towards balance, or
health.

What are its origins?
Archeological evidence in Egypt and China trace back the use of reflexology
as a natural medical tool to over 5000 years. It has since then been
rediscovered and used time and again all over the world. At the end of the
19th Century, an American physical therapist by the name of Eunice Ingham,
working with Dr. Shelby Riley, and Dr. W. H. Fitzgerald, actively studied,
and chartered reflexology making it accessible and revealing its therapeutic
values to the western world and its medical communities. Eunice Ingham
through her worldwide lectures, her books, and her International Institute
of Reflexology, today headed by her nephew Dwight Byers, contributed to today's
widespread use of reflexology in our world's modern medicine to the extent
that she is known as the "Mother" of Reflexology..

Is it true to say that reflexology does not 'treat' symptoms as such but
looks for the cause?
Absolutely. Reflexology is a holistic therapy that considers the person as a
whole: body, mind and spirit, and encourages their balance with their
environment. Unlike conventional medicine where you will be given an
aspirin to do away with a headache that may be due to stress although
aspirin will not cure stress, the basis of reflexology as with other
holistic therapies is to treat the root cause of the misbalance, or illness.
It is important however to underline that, reflexology is not, and should
not be seen as, a substitute for a medical treatment but works as a
complement to such treatment

What prompted you to become a reflexologist?
I have always believed in the soothing and often healing power of touch. And
I have also always felt my hands to be particularly sensitive, maybe even
"intuitive" so to speak. Until one day I realized that, as with everything,
there had to be a reason, and understood that I was meant to use them to
the possible benefit of others. (I was myself not well and was given reflexology, and other therapeutic touch therapies, for the first time, and remember not having been at all surprised by its very positive effects. Naturally! I altogether cured from my distresses.)
This prompted me to look into touch therapies, particularly reflexology as a professional activity. And I studied it. From then on, reflexology, more than an activity, Really became a new more natural, sounder way of life, which came together with the fulfillment of knowing that I was doing what I was meant to do.

How is the practice of reflexology regulated?
To this day, there is no regulation of the practice of reflexology, in
Spain, Catalonia or elsewhere. In 2007, the Generalitat did pass a
regulatory decree on the most commonly used natural therapies - among which
reflexology - but under the pressure of various medical and
physiotherapists´ associations interested in maintaining their privileges,
the decree was annulled. However, the European Forum for Complementary and
Alternative Medicine (EFCAM), part of the European Public Health Alliance
(EPHA), and RIEN association are currently working to promote regulated
integrated healthcare - and reflexology - in Europe, on the basis of Paul
Lannoye´s 1995 report. EDIREFLEX, nationwide reflexology association based
in Barcelona, adheres to RIEN. It is thus very important for natural therapy users to verify that their therapists are fully trained and experienced in their field.

With which type of childhood conditions is reflexology most appropriate?
The professional reflexologist adapts a specific treatment protocol to each
person, for each condition, with every visit, naturally working in harmony
with the person to help reach a general balance, and thus remove or reduce
any possible underlying condition. This makes it a suitable therapy for
almost anyone, regardless of age or condition. Again, reflexology is
harmless and non-invasive: babies and children benefit from reflexology as
much as do adults, and senior people.

Is reflexology used for both physical and emotional conditions?
Absolutely. The professional reflexologist is trained to take a full medical
history by asking relevant, but searching, questions which could reveal any
condition in the person's physical or emotional aspects.

What is the most common condition among children you see in Barcelona?
Children seem to be increasingly suffering from nose-ear and throat
ailments, and allergies. Many parents also seem to be concerned with
hyperactivity affecting their child. I also frequently show parents how to
gently do reflexology massages to their colicky babies.

Some believe that reflexology can be more effective when used on children
than adults - why is this?
I would not say that reflexology is more effective on children, but rather
that children are particularly responsive to reflexology. There are two
possible reasons: first, children have not yet experienced the difficulties
of life, so they carry less emotional baggage than grown-ups. Second, their
conditions can only be fairly new, thus less resistant to treatment.

From what age can a child benefit from reflexology?
As previously said, there is no age limit in reflexology.

Do parents often come to see you after conventional medical care has failed
to help cure a child's condition?
I often have parents visiting for help with children who seem to be
temporarily difficult, and who are seeking a natural way to help their
children with their stress or excitement.
Parents also have their children visit for preventive reasons, after
recurrent ear infections, or chronic allergies for example.
But I always stress the importance of visiting a doctor or pediatrician if
the family has not seen or is not seeing one, and that a reflexologist is
not a doctor, and can not diagnose nor prescribe. I explain that reflexology
is a complementary therapy.

Can reflexology be used in tandem with conventional medicine to cure a
condition?
Reflexology works very well with conventional medicine,
psychological treatments, as well as with other natural therapies (plants,
acupuncture, quiro, physiotherapy, etc...)

Are you concerned that treating potentially serious illnesses with
reflexology, which has no proven efficacy, could delay the seeking of
appropriate medical treatment?
The use of reflexology in our Western medicine is fairly recent: even if
still very small, there is a growing number of studies that reveal its
efficacy in various ailments, and research is constantly being developed.
However and again, I would always immediately refer a person to a doctor if
he is not seeing one, particularly in case of a potentially serious illness.

If a child is suffering from say, asthma, how do you go about assessing
his/her needs?
Although reflexology does not treat any specific problem, the professional
reflexologist sets up a holistic treatment protocol for each visit,
focusing it on addressing the specific needs , as well as any possible needs of the person
at that time. In case of asthma, the protocol would include treating asthma
as a debilitating symptom (chest, lungs and bronchi, adrenals, ileocecal valve,
diaphragm...), as well as its possible root causes, which may be nervousness or an
emotional condition. A professional reflexologist has received a holistic training, which
includes anatomy, physiology, pathology, and has learned to take full
medical histories as well as to make searching questions that may lead to
the possible causes for illness or ill-being.

Talk us through a typical reflexology session?
There is no typical reflexology session, because there is no typical person.
Childrens´sessions are usually shorter and more frequent than for adults. A
few minutes every day for babies, from 15 to 30 minutes for children, every
day or up to every 4-6 days, depending on each person and on the pathology. Grown-ups sessions may take from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. May be
every day, every week, or every month. In any case, the reflexologist takes time to meet the patient and adapt to his communication style and comfort needs. He will always take medical
history and thoroughly listen to the person for any non medical information
and will note anything he feels is relevant. Then he will draw his
protocol. He will comfortably install the person in a reclining reflexology
chair, after having asked him to take his shoes and socks off, and will
create a relaxing atmosphere (soft music, dim lights, warm blanket...). He
will "read" the feet for additional information (remember: the whole person
is reflected in the feet. Experienced reflexologists can learn a lot about
the person and his ailments through them). He will always explain
reflexology, and how he works, to any new patient. He will apply a few
relaxing techniques to the feet to put them into condition before starting
the treatment. And he will look for reactions from the patient during
treatment, and will note any relevant information on the patient's chart. He
will end the treatment with relaxing techniques..The patient by that time
may have fallen asleep...

How many sessions does a child need before he/she is 'cured'?
There is no typical response time in children or in adults, because everyone
is different. The response may be immediate, or take 3, or 5, or more sessions.

If a parent reading this is concerned about their child in any way, at what
stage would you advise them to come to see you?
The sooner a treatment starts, the better: it always takes a person more
efforts to fight a condition if it is long-existing.

Would you recommend a session of reflexology for stressed-out parents?!
I would definitely recommend a session for stressed-out parents, for their
benefit as for the family's as a whole: Stress as well as calmness easily spreads to others.

How can people find you?
Appointments can be made Mondays to Saturdays on tel : 654 53 85 06 - mail :
b.taillard@yahoo.es I hold 2 clinics in Barcelona in Calle Tuset close to Diagonal, and in Calle Diputacio close to metro Rocafort. My web pages are www.barcelonareflexologia.com  and www.reflexologybarcelona.com