Nerve Reflexology could help pain relief

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It has been a little while since I’ve posted on the blog.  My excuse?  I’ve been busy applying the learning from 2 courses I attended in September and October.  Given that the one in September, ‘Supporting the Client in Pain with Nerve Reflexology’, was supposed to be my very last course for 2016 (yes really), I was so taken with it, that within a couple of weeks I had signed up for Nerve Reflexology Level 1, which ran in October.

I confess, I was supposed to do this course a few years ago, but for reasons I can’t remember, I had to pull out, but boy am I glad I signed up this time around.  Oh and I was only going to do Level 1… I’ll come back to that…

What is Pain?

The International Association for the Study of Pain (iasp-pain.org) defines Pain as:

“an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with
actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”

What does this mean exactly?  Well for a start, in medical terms, pain is a symptom, akin to an alarm signal.  The brain creates a pain picture based on multiple events, which can include mental, emotional, and social aspects, as well as the physical aspects.  Not all people with the same actual or potential tissue damage will feel the same level of pain; some may not feel any pain at all.

Pain may become so extended that it can modify brain centres and have a life of its own without any tissue damage being present.  Some elements of pain management could be viewed, therefore, as mind over matter.

Supporting the Client in Pain with Nerve Reflexology

Run by Dr Carol Samuel (reflexmaster.co.uk), this was an evidence-based workshop developed to improve how we, as reflexologists, can support clients in managing their pain.  There was some pretty intense pre-reading, giving us a deeper understanding of neuro-anatomy, which was explained on the morning of the first day.  Thereafter, like all good CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses, we then did lots of practical nerve reflexology, interspersed with relevant facts and figures, and discussed some case studies.

Having been on the course, I started to experiment with the technique, and have to say I got to grips with it quite quickly – once I got myself into a comfortable working position.

This course is standalone, but for me it acted as a taster/introduction, and just left me wanting to know more.

Nerve Reflexology – Level 1

Run by Nico Pauly (mnt-nr.com), supported by Carol and Lynne Booth (boothvrt.com), again this was an evidence-based workshop, covering the body from the diaphragm downward (and that’s why I’m already booked on Levels 2 and 3 in 2017!).  Attended by those new to Nerve Reflexology, like me, there were also reflexologists there for a refresher.

Again there was some pre-reading, but not so intense (probably because I had already covered quite a lot of it for, and during, ‘Supporting the client in pain with Nerve Reflexology’).

3 days of neuro-anatomy interspersed with nerve reflexology practice by, and for, lovely reflexologists (Tara, Christine, Arty and Sarah), guided by Nico and Carol.  It was a lot to take in, and some pretty confused faces at various points through the course, but even though we were learning – we knew we were hitting the right nerve reflexes – and it felt fantastic.

As for the evidence – Nico did a number of demonstrations including a 15-degree improvement in a (ok my) straight leg raise just by working a few nerve reflexes on my spine.  At the end of the course, Nico did a whole treatment on Natalie (which Lynne and Carol filmed – thank you), and the difference in her mobility was marked.

The difference between Classic Reflexology & Nerve Reflexology?

I believe that Nerve Reflexology complements Classic Reflexology.  In Nerve Reflexology:

  • We use a static pressure (Classic: we thumb walk – a lot)
  • We’re working on the bones of the foot (Classic: we work on the soft tissue)
  • Some points are painful to the client, some not (Classic: some clients may have tender areas on the feet, but often the therapist feels the imbalance first)
  • We maintain pressure on the painful reflex until the pain eases; this will vary between points (Classic: we may move off a tender area, or move to a gentle holding technique)
  • The result is directly and immediately noticeable (Classic: it may take time for the improvement to be noticed)

Summary

The key elements of these courses for me as the reflexologist:

  • The pressure required isn’t as much as you might think from how it feels
  • Nico taught me to think, when I’m working on a nerve reflex, to where that relates in the body (sounds obvious I know)
  • Carol introduced me to the fact that not everyone will respond to this treatment, but many will
  • This is an amazingly powerful technique that, with practice, will become the basis of my treatments for my clients in pain; I will use the relevant elements of it on all my clients
  • I need to prepare the client that this could smart
  • Any pain relief will last for approximately 72 hours (depends what else the client is doing)

And as a client:

  • It can smart; but I know it’s doing me good
  • Not all nerve reflexes will be painful; and some will be painful but not respond to being worked
  • It’s the duration of the pain, not the intensity that’s important

What next?

I am practising these techniques and have already had good results:

  • “Had a nerve reflexology treatment this afternoon and suddenly find my back pain has eased – can even bend down to feed the cat without groaning!”
  • My Dad, who was “not convinced about reflexology” when I first qualified, was pain-free in his back for over four days!

Of course, next year I will be attending Levels 2 and 3.  Already looking forward to it, and seeing everyone again!

If you’re a reflexologist reading this, I would highly recommend these courses; as well as Nico, Carol and Lynne as trainers.  I can’t thank you enough.   I learnt loads, received wonderful reflexology and had fun at the same time.

If you would like more information, or to make an appointment, please call me on 07912 951763, or email me on [email protected].