The dolphin tattoo

During my reflexology study lots of interesting things happened. One of the episodes were about this dolphin. It is located above the right ankle of one of my reflexology colleagues.

My teacher, Karl Axel Lind, some times used an electronic point finder. That was an instrument that made sounds according to the electric resistance on the skin. It can be used to scan an area, moving it back and forth in lines. Then a pen can make a mark on the skin whenever there is a sound signal. This can make very interesting patterns. But it can also result in completely indecipherable patterns.

One day Karl Axel was scanning an area on the upper arm, near the shoulder, of one student. I can not remember the context, I think it was back in year 2000. Suddenly we could see the similarity between the pattern revealing on the shoulder and the tattoo on my colleague’s leg.

It is possible to look at this as a curiosity, and just pass on. But not for me. This tells me that even thous small ink pigments under the skin is enough to disturb the balance of the body. I’m convinced that it is possible to stimulate the body to repel the ink out of the body. At least in theory. The two big questions are:

  • How much effort is needed to locate the projection(s) that is activated by the ink? The scanning with the point finder demands very much work.
  • How much treatment will be needed to repel the ink?

For the level of knowledge we have about reflexology now, it is unrealistic to do such work. Regardless, this should remind us reflexologists to take care of our body. Even small things affects us. In this context I also wish to mention something else. This happened while I was teaching reflexology in my hometown.

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During a treatment of external clients, there was found an active reflex just below the umbilicus. We had to ponder a lot before we could see the connection to the projection above. The person on the bench had a piercing in the tongue. Do you think it is exciting with a piercing or that you look nice with earrings? Everything comes with a price.

Be a good example to your clients.

Protocols

Protocols are the burden from bad reflexology teachers. Over and over again I see people ask for protocols for diseases. Do you believe in “one protocol fits (fixes) all” for reflexology?

Diseases are named and classified by conventional medicine. Some times conventional medicine do good things, or at least, not so bad. Let’s use the recurring sinusitis as an example. In the ICD 10 classification there are 14 different variants of sinusitis. By asking how to treat sinusitis, the question is in reality; “what is the protocol for treating all of these 14 issues”. In a homeopathic view, the number of  angles to attack sinusitis is innumerable, but can be common is round 10.  The key to select how to do the treatment is the constitution of the client, constitution in a much wider understanding than what is directly related to the sinusitis. It is about the whole life. Here reflexology have much to learn from homeopathy.

So what do a poor newly graduated reflexologist do when confronted with an until now unfamiliar disease? First, if your education did not teach you how to look at the constitution of people, and how to use that information to guide your treatment; change teacher!

During the first treatment use the following protocol: Ask question about life, observe the body, ask question about the body, treat areas that most obvious asks for a bit massage, repeat until the end of treatment. Whatever areas you have treated, it made good for your client. It is impossible to do anything wrong. After the treatment it is time for you to figure out how to help the client in the best way, and a strategy for the next treatments.

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This ear might give important information in several contexts.

It is a natural thing for newbies to have questions in such situation. But before asking a question it is essential to give information about what observations that has been done and what information the client has given about its life. It will also be good to present your thoughts about a strategy. There are good questions and there are other questions. Among the good:

  • what other questions is relevant for this client?
  • what kind of changes in the live should i recommend?
  • do you have any opinion on my treatment strategy?
  • are there something specific that I should look for?

Don’t treat diseases, treat people! People have a life and live in a context. Diseases don’t appear out of nothing, they appears in the clients meeting with the life. The only thing a person can do is to change its way of handling this meeting. That can be painful. Your role as a therapist is to facilitate this change. If your client don’t wish to make changes in the life, don’t bother spending your time on this client. To be a reflexologist is much more than manipulate reflexes on a body.

Do I have a bad day today? Yes. Hope I have not stepped on too many sore toes.

Lemniscate Microcosmic Orbit

I have made an animation to visualize the orbit. The microcosmic orbit is important in many chi kung practices. Unknown to most is its connection to reflexology trough the torus. I will not describe the practice in details here, but in brief:
When the focus is following the digestive channel, it is inside of the hole of the torus. When the focus is on the frontside or the backside of the body, it is outside of the torus.

The torus is the fundamental shape in reflexology, and biology. More on that later.

The differences between the Lemniscate version and other versions of the microcosmic orbit is that it follows both the Ren and the Du meridians upwards.  According to most prominent sources on TCM, upwards is the fundamental direction of the flow in these meridians. Since other versions of the microcosmic orbit have not followed these directions they have had some side effects, they have made some health issues.

This is one of the issues that I spend time on now a days, both as a therapist and as a karate practitioner.

 

Some advises about reflexological needle work.

Be aware that this text is only relevant in a reflexology context, and not in a traditional Chinese acupuncture context.

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Most people identifying them selves as reflexologists don’t use needles. There are however lots of reflexologists working with needles. There are even persons doing reflexological needling without know it. Sujok, ECIWO acupunctureAcuNova, YNSA and ear-acupuncture are among needle based therapies that belongs to the reflexology category.

Since I got my first needles back in 1997 I have gained some experience. After between 20 000 and 25 000 needles, there has been both good and bad experiences. Luckily the bad experiences have only been on my self.

Time

Before I started using needles my self, I had received quite a few ear-acupuncture treatments. The therapist usually set the needles, and let me alone for 30 minutes, then the needles was taken away. Some times the needles were manipulated or slightly moved half way trough the treatment.

One of the first things I noticed when I started needling my self, was that the amount of release a needle gave was more or less independent of how long time it was inserted. After some timed I formulated a rule of thumb:
When a needle is inserted, after 90 seconds 90% of the tension in that point is released in 90% of the cases.
Of course there are exceptions, that is the other 10%. More on that later. There are even situations where the needles are inserted for only one second, and still g
iving good effect.

Why will many therapists still let the needles be untouched for much longer periods? One simple answer is money. It is easier to charge the client a huge amount if they are on the bench for 30 minutes than if they are there for only 5 minutes. But the therapeutic outcome will be much the same. I know a therapist with approximately 45 benches in use simultaneously. All he do is inserting and manipulating needles. He had an assistant answering the phone and removing needles. That gave him €50 000 each week. Time is money.

The stuck

Some times needle gets stuck. The body will not let the needle release, or even suck it in. As I see this, a point with extra need for care behaves this way, and the body will not release the needle until the point has gotten this care or stimulus. Specially if the treatment time has ended this can be a dreary situation. The solution is to treat the location of the needle. No, not where the needle is inserted, but a kind of projection of where it is inserted. There are different ways to think about this, and is best explained by help of an example.

Say a needle is stuck in one of the knee projections in a ear. Option 1 is to treat the knee in another projection, for example the proximal interphalangeal joints (see second picture here). Option 2 is to treat an ear projection, for example on the little toe according to most foot reflexology maps. Option 3, probably the best if it is available, on the same knee reflex on the opposite ear. That is a two in one option. The obvious, another projection of the knee, the less obvious, the second ear is a full projection of the first ear. The same for option 4, an ear projection on the knee. This might be difficult to locate.

If it is available??? Yes, if a limb is amputated it is not available. Another situation can be overload.

Overload

I can be quite eager in my treatments, some times too much. Luckily for my clients, this is only in my self treatments. In these situations I have worked too much on a small area, and got an inflammation. Then I just have to find a new area to work on. As a teacher I have to say:

Do as I say, not as I do!

The axioms of reflexology

Published in the ICR newsletter, June 2017.

Many people refer to reflexology as a science. Mostly, the same people don’t relate to reflexology as a science. The term “science” is difficult to define precisely, but there are still guidelines for how it should be done. One of the essential things in science is to have a common baseline upon where further knowledge can be built. In this context, “common” refers to the community in which the field of interest is examined. Here the axioms have their role. From Wikipedia we find that an axiom is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments.

The reflexology community have no common baseline to build science upon. It is even a mistake to say something as “reflexology community”, as splayed as we are in our opinions and practice of reflexology. After meeting reflexologists from around the world, reading books, follow discussions on the net and participate in organisations – for 20 years, I can see that some of us have not very much in common, except from the word “reflexology” and references to history. In addition comes those who practice reflexology, but use another name on their practice, and don’t know about the connection. (For example Sujok, Eciwo, ear-acupuncture, AcuNova.)

Writers, teachers and researchers more or less have their own baseline. They spread their views to their audience. For each new generation the diversion will increase. Everyone sits on their own heap and behaves as next to God. (Yes, I know, this is also valid for me.) This is not a good thing for those of us that wish to have a scientific based practice.

To contribute to the future of reflexology I hereby lay my head on the block and present a set of suggestions to axioms that can serve as a base for discussion.

The Axiom list revision 1.

Here follows a list with some short comments. I have more up my sleeves, but this is a manageable start.

  1. Projections exists all over the body. Not only on the surfaces, but also on all organs and inner structures. Even if they are not accessible to diagnosis and therapy.
  2. Projections are multilayered. They are multilayered in the sense that several projections exists on all places on the body, but not in the way that one projection is above or below other projections.
  3. Projections are bi-lateral. If you stimulate a hand reflex, both right and left hand will be affected.
  4. Projections are bi-directional. If you stimulate a hand reflex, the hand will be affected. If you do something to a hand, all hand reflexes will be affected.
  5. Stimulation on a reflex in soft tissue gives less permanent results then stimulation on a reflex in hard tissue.

You can find more information about 1 and 2 in this post.

The future

My hope is that prominent teachers and thinkers in the reflexology community take this list as a challenge. This can be done by supporting it, arguing against it, or contributing to expansions and modifications of it. Maybe in the future even organisations can embrace the list.

If we manage to establish this kind of list in our community, research based upon it will be more valuable and easier to conduct. Specially meta-studies will gain by this.

The person, a limited resource for it self.

Published in the ICR newsletter, March 2017.

When we run for the bus, we experience that our body have some performance limits. The speed and the endurance limits are likely to become proven for us when we are too late for the bus. Other performance limits are less obvious.

  • How much refined sugar can I eat before my pancreas is exhausted and give up the production of insulin?
  • How many times can I be insulted before I get depressed?
  • How many times can I bend my knee when it is positioned sub-optimal before it becomes painful?
  • How many flue viruses must be exposed to my body before I get infected?

Probably no one can give the answers, but for sure there are limits.

The picture is also more complex than one answer for each question. You might have noticed that a person in the middle of a psychic crisis in many cases also is more vulnerable towards infections, back pain or other problems, just as an example. One accidents come seldom alone, we sometime says.

Allergies

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Reaction caused by contact allergy.

Allergy means that the immune system responds to a basically harmless substances when it is unnecessary. The immune system can be said to be overactive. Even if the substances one is exposed to is harmless, the body’s reaction can be deadly, anaphylaxis. It is claimed by many that the immune system make mistakes when when it reacts in this way.

As I see it, the body (and hereby the immune system) never makes mistakes. It can do things that is counterproductive with respect to a specific measurement parameter, but that is not the same as a mistake. It does exactly what it is biologically hardwired to do, formed by our evolution as humans. There is a historical reason for the immune system do (re)act as it does, also in the case of allergies where it might be difficult for us and the physicians to see the reason.

Lets make a big jump. If you have a car driving license, I’m sure your skill is above average, just as for everybody else. What happens to this skill if you are driving with three screaming kids in the back seat, a person sitting by your side telling you how drive and a radio playing German accordion hits from the 70s, in an unfamiliar car? Actually the skills will remain the same, but the performance will be very bad compared to if you were alone in your quiet car. In such stressful situation you will not have available the supporting resource, silence, in order to perform optimally. You would probably be able to perform close to optimally if there were only one disturbing source, or two. But at one point a threshold is reached and you have to stop the car before an accident happen.

In a similar way the immune system know how to handle peanuts, dust, cat hair, spores and wasp sting. The problem is that in a sub-optimal situation it has not the surplus to do full dept analysis of every task it needs to perform to keep you in a state where you feel good. For the body to be on the safe side, it activates the alarm system, an allergic reaction, based on a superficial analysis. Better to activate the alarm once (or thousand times) too much than once too little.

The way I treat allergies is in line with this. There will obviously be different approaches depending on what kind of allergy that are being treated and the overall constitution, but some things are common independent of this. I focus on draining the lymphatic system and balancing the hormonal system. I assume the lymphatic draining is understood by all reflexologists. The work on the hormonal system is intended to have an overall effect, reducing the stress level, balancing the whole body. In this way the body will free substantial resources to handle the allergen. To get this effect, much focused work on the hormonal system is needed. In addition to this general effect there is a more kurios one. This is related to the fact that allergies can be manipulated by hypnosis. I will not discuss this now.

An interesting question in this context is whether this also can be used towards auto immune diseases since they are also described as mistakes or malfunction by the immune system. I have yet to gain experience with this. Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes type 1 and multiple sclerosis is among this kind of deceases. We have much to explore.

Anyway, by freeing up any resources for the body, its handling of health issues will improve. The consequence is that even if we miss all reflexes for the issue our clients wish help with, the chance is good that we will improve the condition as long as we hit any active reflexes. Releasing tension in any active reflexes will lighten the burden on the system, to give the body more resources to handle the “main” problem. Nice to know.

The term ‘full-body reflexology’

In Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland mainly terms like soneterapi, zoneterapi, fotsoneterapi is used for reflexology applied on the feet. As in the rest of the world; many of these practitioners also do hand reflexology and ear acupuncture.
When Karl Axel Lind started to investigate the reflex system on the calf, and eventually all over the body, he felt he needed to differentiate it from the traditional foot treatment, fotzoneterapi. He chose the term reflexologi. Even if it was very similar to the British term reflexology, it was mainly accepted among therapists. His teaching spread from Sweden to Norway, and adapted to Norwegian language, the name became refleksologi.

In 2005 I started to participate in RiEN for my organization, NNH. Here I was confronted with the problem of explaining the naming convention and the difference between the two modalities refleksologi and fotsoneterapi. NNH has a separate group for each of the two. This was an uncomfortable and confusing situation. The British name for our colleagues working mainly on the feet was indistinguishable from the Norwegian name attributed to those of us who work all over the body. I felt a need for a good British name for my modality.

‘Body reflexology’ was probably the first attempt. All variants of reflexology is applied on the body, so this felt wrong. Adding the word ‘body’ does not add any useful information.

‘Full body reflexology’ was also considered,  but the mathematician in me refused. In mathematics precedence of operators are essential when evaluating an expression. If the expression is evaluated as ‘full (body reflexology)’, the word ‘body’ becomes excess. What I wanted was more like ‘(full body) reflexology’, reflexology applied all over the body. To express this in a linguistic decent way, I ended up with ‘full-body reflexology’.

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Tongue reflexology education.

I hope this make sense to people with English as native language.

To me the term ‘reflexology’ is kind of unspecified, and is spanning ear reflexology, foot reflexology, full-body reflexology and other variants. Specially foot reflexologists are ignorant to this, and use ‘reflexology’ as if there are no other kinds of reflexology than foot reflexology.

 

Life, illness and death.

The life starts at conception. When do the process of dying start? Exactly at the same time. The name of this process is life. As soon as a life starts, it approaches death. Every thing that happens in a life affect the speed of this approach.

When death is reached, there is a chain that break. Which link in the chain breaks? The weakest. The pathologist has often a difficult task when trying to identify this link after death. The physician might have an even more difficult task to identify weak links and repair these links during life.

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Two of my students back in 2008.

We have individual thresholds for when we start to label this link as an illness.

Luckily I’m not a pathologist or a physician, but a full-body reflexologist. And I have a companion, my clients body, alive. The client can express many kind of wishes, but the core is simple and always the same: Ease my approach towards the death, and make the process slow.

My task is then to locate and facilitate the healing of the weakest links, by listening with my hands and eyes to my companion.

I release tension. For me, all within reflexology is about releasing tension. Some might prefer to express it as facilitate a flow, or something similar. Wherever on the body I find tension, I release it. The most prominent tension first.

Link healed. Process slowed. Life prolonged.

Just an observation

Some times I walk barefooted. In my flat and on the grass outside I do it all the time. But some times I also walk barefooted in the mountains. Last time was a month ago. Approximately 5 km, on stones, in heather, a bit on snow, in marshes and on stones. This time it was nearby Langfossen, one of the worlds greatest waterfalls.
During my walk I become aware of my hands. It is feeling I get every time I walk barefooted in the nature. The feeling is strength and a good tightening. Not that I usually feel weak. After all I’m practicing karate several times each week. This is something else, and it feels good. Strength and youth.
To me as a full-body reflexologist this makes sense. For muscular problems in the feet, treatment of the full projection on the hands gives good results. And of course, also the other way around. It is nice to observe how fast this effect appears.
I assume people who are used to walking barefoot have similar experiences.