This is my 43rd year in reflexology. My education as a reflexologist has continued throughout these 43 years, and is an ongoing process.
I have travelled far and wide during this time and have had the pleasure of meeting and teaching thousands of students from London to New Zealand Mongolia and everwhere in between.
From trekking in Africa and the Andes to visiting some of the most beautiful countries on the planet, I regard that tapestry of events as being dominated by my obsession to get to grips with the intriguing therapy of reflexology.
I had had my sights on becoming an osteopath. However I did not have the requisite academic qualifications and I decided to take a three year physical therapy course at an accredited school, after which I could sit an entrance examination to an osteopathic college. I completed two years, the third year was not completed as I was ‘press ganged’ into reflexology. However the physical therapy study proved to be an excellent foundation for my career in reflexology, as became apparent much later.
In 1972 the reflexology world was very different from today. The profession was less well known and there were only about two schools in the UK. There were few practising reflexologists. They pursued their profession in a quietly sedate manner, with an atmosphere similar in tone to a convivial invitation to tea on a summer’s afternoon.
In spite of the lack of energy or charisma, something about reflexology drew me in. Looking back, I suppose it was early evidence of a kind of obsession. Whereas physical therapy seemed more straightforward and easier to understand, reflexology had a beguiling 'will-o’-the-wisp' quality to it. When you think you are getting closer to understanding it, something thwarts you and gets in the way. It was this intriguing challenge that firmly put paid to my osteopathy career.
My obsession eventually resulted in traveling and in building up a large international reflexology practice, with patients around the world.
Later, I was in demand to teach internationally, something I still do and enjoy. My travels enabled me to see how reflexology was practised in other countries. This influenced the techniques I used in my own practice.
When I was invited to take part in a clinical pilot trial to establish the effects of reflexology on certain conditions, my understanding of the therapy broadened. The task of demonstrating the therapeutic efficacy of reflexology to diehard medical consultants was a considerable challenge. I soon realised that reflexology did not always do what it said on the box.
For instance if I pressed reflex A to ‘cure’ ailment B, as I had been led to believe in my early training, the patient rarely received the desired therapeutic benefit. It was at this point that my second obsession began: I wanted to find out if there were any hidden depths to reflexology. The therapy had stood the test of time, and there had to be more to it than I was experiencing.
The next year or so presented challenges. Every time I thought I had made a breakthrough, something happened to dash my hopes. The resulting despair made me conclude that I should have stuck to my aim of becoming an osteopath.
In practical terms, my main conclusion was that the default ‘walking’ technique does not work for all patients. When used correctly the walking approach is very effective, but, it is rarely used properly. I therefore decided to adapt some of the techniques I had observed (and experienced) on my travels and I used these on those patients who did not respond to the ‘default’ setting techniques. The response was instantly positive and was very heartening.
This proved to be a significant step forward in my education. No longer would I used the same uninspiring techniques on every patient while expecting something to change, other than the patient (and me at times) falling asleep.
I still see therapists working in this way and it makes me want to shake them out of their stupor.
This is why reflexology is primarily regarded as a relaxation therapy. The effect is to diminish the profession in a most unfortunate way.
Eventually my techniques demonstrated that reflexology had some important therapeutic attributes. The pilot study went on to prove it.
This was when ART was conceived. As the techniques I used in the trial were so effective, I was in demand to teach them as post-graduate training to reflexologists. ART has been taught internationally since 1992.
Since then my vision of ART has evolved. Eunice Ingham believed that stagnation is death and circulation is life. Unfortunately this “circulation” has been largely missing in reflexology and in some areas it has stagnated as a profession. Its message has been, and continues to be, diluted.
My mission is to demonstrate that there are better approaches to reflexology which can be utilised into existing protocols. Thankfully there are other established reflexologists with the same aim.
Focused reflexology evolved from the foundations of ART. Many of the techniques of ART are used, but various refinements have been added to treatments, such as the use of different types of contacts on the disturbed reflexes. Another very interesting addition is the inclusion of passive, manual application to the neck before working the feet.
It is a little known fact that even areas of soft tissue tension in the neck can have a powerful influence on the reflexes of the feet.
The same applies to the abdominal region, particularly to the area on and around the umbilicus. This is a highly reflexed, innervated area which influences the abdominal brain. Many of today’s degenerative diseases are being shown to have their origins in the human gut.
Although these manual techniques on the neck and abdomen are more appropriate for use by those who are qualified in manual therapies such as massage and osteopathy, they will be of general interest to those who are only qualified in reflexology, as they can use the techniques on themselves and colleagues and as a very beneficial form of self help. It is important for therapists to receive treatment. In fact the types of contact used in reflexology are closely related to these manual techniques.
Effective reflexology relies on a few factors, the dominant one being touch, the other is to come out of the box of mediocrity. There is positive life and practice-changing potential for therapists if these two factors are taken into account.
More details will be posted on this website about Tony Porter Focused Reflexology©️ seminars.
My Best Wishes
December 1st 2016
TONY PORTER FOCUSED REFLEXOLOGY
Incorporating ART techniques
The techniques which form the concepts of ART (Advanced Reflexology Training) were first introduced as part of a post graduate seminar format in 1989.
Since then they have been taught and continue to do so not only on the UK but Internationally.
The ART protocol has helped many reflexologists to become more effective in their work.
My reflexology journey began 43 years ago. In those times the world of reflexology was far different than it is now. One of the main differences being that there were only a relatively small number of reflexologists.
Since those days, reflexology has become one of the most popular therapies, and has become a profession in its own right.
Because of this there are many opportunities to build a financially rewarding and fulfilling career, while at the same time providing a therapeutically beneficial service to patients.
However there is a caveat to this, these opportunities will only apply to those who ‘come out of the box’ of mediocrity and use the most effective and ‘cutting edge’ techniques.
This is why it is essential to stay up to date with the latest evolutions in reflexology.
Since its inception ART has naturally evolved, and various refinements have been and are continuously being made.
It is because of this that many former students of ART have requested seminars which will reflect these refinements and updates.
It is for this reason that I decided to provide special training seminars under
Tony Porter Focused Reflexology©
These seminars are based on the original ART concepts, but also include ‘Evolvements of the original concept’.
The exciting thing about these evolvements is that they are not just focusing on the feet, but areas such as the neck and abdomen.
Apart from teaching the latest evolvements there will also be an opportunity to learn about:
THE INFLUENCE OF THE NECK ON THE REFLEXES OF THE FEET
This influence is little understood by reflexologists. The structural integrity of the neck plays a major role in the structural balance of the entire body. This same influence is reflected in the reflex status of the feet.
Tensions in the soft tissues of the neck, even relatively minor will impact on the foot reflexes.
It is because of this that I begin many reflexology sessions by passively relaxing tensions in the neck before staring working on the feet.
It is important to realise that this procedure is passive and without force, and is not any sort of manipulation.
Beginning a reflexology session in this way, brings an extra dimension to reflexology, something which patients experience with gratitude.
The techniques are taught by me at seminars. Although they are more applicable to those who have a qualification in massage or another form of manual, physical therapy, they can be used on colleagues or for self help by those who are not qualified.
Apart from the neck, the abdomen, particular the reflex, rich zone around the umbilicus is another area which has great therapeutic significance. In fact, to me it is a most important area of contact to bring about physiological benefit.
There is continuously ongoing clinical evidence which shows the importance of the human gut in the causation of various neurological diseases such as Alzheimers and Dementia.
Neuroscience meeting New Orleans LA, October 2012
The Vagus nerve and its influence to and from the gut is a major player in these diseases and other functions of the body such as immunity, serotonin production, autoimmune disease, infertility and hormone conversion amongst other factors. Working on the neck and the abdomen in conjunction with the reflexes of the feet influences the function of this nerve.
My Best Wishes
Booking for seminars is now open on the seminars page
Tony is a London-based reflexologist and founder of Advanced Reflexology Techniques (ART)