It is easy to become complacent in our work as reflexologists, and to forget that the feet are portals to virtually every function of the body.
The physiological functions of the body are dependent on blood, lymph, muscles, nerves etc. This is miraculous in itself, but this is only a limited view.
What has always interested me is the governing force which gives life to the 37–50 trillion cells (possibly far more) which make up the human body.
Every part of the body, and every cell, is communicating through a subtle electro-magnetic force, not only via the nerves, but through the body fluids. The blood is an electrically charged fluid.
The human body is 75% fluid. Our life is dependent on the ability of these inner ‘oceans’ to receive and conduct electro-magnetic energy, which is also known as chi, orgone energy, light, vital energy etc.
Without the circulation of this energy, life would not be possible. By way of an analogy, the computer I am working on would be a useless box of components until electricity is passed through it, bringing it to life. This is the same with all life forms.
It is easy to understand the importance to health of encouraging the circulation of this force, in the same way as the circulation of blood.This, after all is the principle behind natural therapeutics.
Practices such as reflexology, acupuncture, massage, yoga, tai chi, qigong, are some examples of ‘energy therapies'.
A natural consequence of my many years in reflexology and physical therapy has been the discovery of strategies which relate to the way this energy influences our work.
The first one was taught to me by my dear, late friend Arthur Pauls, founder of Ortho-Bionomy. He taught his students to begin a treatment session by releasing the neck, by manual application.
It wasn't until many years later that I fully grasped the importance of this approach.
I discovered that, if there are soft tissue tensions in the cervical spine, they will have a direct influence on the reflexes in the feet.
This means that the true reflex picture will be distorted or even absent as long as these tensions remain.
Even after all these years, I am still amazed to note that patients report a tingling in the feet when I am performing a very subtle and gentle releasing technique on the neck before giving reflexology.
There is no comparison between the tonus of the reflexes in the feet before and after releasing the soft tissues in the cervical spine.
I stress this is not a manipulation in the osteopathic sense (and this must never be attempted unless you are qualified in this therapy), but something very precise, subtle, and most importantly, safe.
Working in this manner, completely changed my understanding about the body and, I have to add, reflexology. It made me even more aware of the powerful relationship between every part of the body.
Through Arthur Paul’s legacy I have learnt that, if lesions in the neck are not released, problems in the lower spine for, instance, will not respond fully to treatment.
I decided to add another step, something which would complete the circuit so to speak. In fact it was a technique that I had been using for over forty years, but in isolation. This was abdominal massage.
In my very early therapy training years we students had to perform hundreds of abdominal massages on patients. By this means I learnt all of the abdominal reflex areas and their influences, working on all types of abdomens, from convex to concave.
The abdomen has some of the most powerful reflexes in the body. I found by combining these three areas, neck, abdomen and feet in a treatment, it completed an energetic pathway.
I have given a number of demonstrations in various European countries on this way of working but, as yet, not in the U.K. I will try and set something up in the U.K as soon as I can.
These demonstrations/seminars are under the Tony Porter Understanding® title and will be announced in due course.
My Best Wishes
Tony is a London-based reflexologist and founder of Advanced Reflexology Techniques (ART)