We enjoyed 500 visitors over the weekend to the Hawkwood College Mind, Body, Spirit and Healing festival in Gloucestershire. There were a great mixture of participants, some eager to have their first session, others to learn Reflexology as beginners and even potential diploma students.
The Mayor of Stroud had been wanting a session for a while, and gave me his feet just as a local newspaper appeared and captured him in the LaFuma looking very relaxed!
I gave a talk to about 25 people at lunchtime on Reflexology and the Chakric system. We had a lot of fun exploring the different concepts of energy that can be used to describe how Reflexology works and the far reaching vistas opened up by exploring Reflexology as an outcome of the Principle of Correspondence, believed to have been discovered by the Chinese some 5000 years ago. The Principle of Correspondence is very far reaching but specifically for us says that the feet, hands and head are a mirror of, or correspond to, the whole body. At the psychological level we can say that our outer lives reflect our inner state. Deeper still, and even more intriguing, that the whole body can be seen as a mirror of the universe itself.
Giving sessions at the exhibition reminded me that so much tension and stress that we experience in life is unconscious. And, many people even if you point out that their feet are holding tension, are unable to consciously do anything about it. With one client who came for her first ever session it was as if she was consciously letting go and unconsciously particularly her right ankle, was saying no way, I’m holding on tight.
We worked together through the feet and also through conversation using both modalities to explore what her body was trying to say. She was trying to change jobs and said that she felt that she couldn’t relax until after this had happened. After about twenty minutes however her feet let go and her breathing softened and deepened. A friend of hers came up to me later and said; “She feels more relaxed now than she has for ages..”
So, for me Reflexology is about communication; physically through reflexes on feet, hands and head, that are communicating an inner state through crystalline deposits of uric acid and calcium, sponginess, cold spots, hard skin etc.. But also Reflexology can be communicating through sound. For example, at one level through speaking and listening. The principle of Correspondence says that the whole person will be reflected even just in the way they speak; their tone of voice and the words they use. If we can listen and respond appropriately to these signals, as we do physically through touch, then the whole body will start to heal itself, through recognising the signals it is giving out. We could say, through the bio-feedback mechanism.
The first step in working in this way is just listening. Often I find that my body will then know how to respond, be that through touch, pressure, words, sound, or just intention. You can tell if its working because the client will sigh, twitch, gurgle, cry, or just become very still and the atmosphere can change into an almost dream-like state which is very tangible and must be a slowing down of the brain wave state of both client and practitioner. We know that this slowing down is associated with the body healing itself. So giving a session in this way can become an act of healing another, and at the same time an act of self-healing.