Karen Ball is a reflexologist who incorporates essential oils into her sessions and her teaching. In this guest post she expresses her appreciation for essential oils, and how aromatherapy and reflexology work together to enhance her sessions.
Twenty-seven years of practicing reflexology–and 24 years of teaching this amazing modality–have taught me there are three primary reasons that a person seeks out reflexology.
In no particular order, they are: pain in the hands or feet, overwhelming stress, and improper functioning of organs and glands.
My own clinical experience has convinced me that aromatherapy and reflexology are perfect partners in combating the stress and discomfort most of the population lives with.
Reflexology’s efficacy is exponentially increased when essential oils are carefully matched to the presenting symptoms. As part of a treatment protocol for the over 50 pathological and non-pathological imbalances studied in my Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification, I always recommend my students add essential oils to their work.
I’d like to share a few examples of the ways I have easily incorporated aromatherapy into my reflexology practice:
A young mother hobbled into my office on a cane, one week out of a lower leg cast. She had been in a frightening car accident that had, to that point, kept her in recovery for six months already. She was experiencing a lot of pain in her foot and knee, as well as a lot of tissue damage in the lower leg from the trauma and resulting surgeries.
Using shea butter blended with anti-inflammatory and analgesic essential oils, I set about doing Thai reflexology to reduce pain, and restore circulation and range-of-motion to her lower extremity. Unresponsiveness to months of allopathic treatment propelled her to ask for help with her painful, inflamed tissue. I added a blend of cicatrisant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial essential oils to a carrier of red palm and tamanu oils that I carefully applied to her leg, and that she religiously continued at home three times per day. It was so gratifying to both of us to see her steady recovery in all areas over the two months we worked together, especially because her condition had not improved at all since her release from hospital.
Another person who comes to mind is a woman with a stubborn fungal infection on one of her toes. A number of over-the-counter remedies had failed; she asked me to intervene. I added a 3% dilution of anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory essential oils to a coconut oil base and instructed her to apply at least three times a day. When I saw her the next week, she excitedly reported that the fungal infection had cleared up after only two days of essential oil use! Even I was impressed by this exceptionally quick recovery!
For people experiencing respiratory challenges, I like to prepare a hot foot soak infused with respiratory supporting essential oils. Depending on the symptoms, I choose decongestant, mucolytic, expectorant, immune-enhancing, or antibacterial oils to add to the water. In addition to the essential oil molecules being absorbed into the body through the feet, the client receives the double benefit of inhaling them as they evaporate into the air.
For those clients who report a dangerously high level of stress in their lives, I like to rub a sedating, relaxing, calming oil such as Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) or Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) directly into the specific reflexes that affect the body’s ability to adapt to stressful stimuli (brain, spine, adrenal, solar plexus points).
I firmly believe that adding carefully considered chemistry-based essential oil formulas to my reflexology practice has set my business apart from others, simply because my clients reach their goals faster.
I therefore make it a habit to recommend that my students add essential oils to their practice–and personal life, of course! A short, weekend workshop quickly reveals the depth of their interest in learning all that nature’s pharmacology has to offer.
In two short days, a qualified instructor (like Andrea!) can communicate safety considerations, offer a solid foundation in the science of essential oil therapy, and instruct on blending guidelines. After a concise introduction of this kind, folks can determine whether or not they wish to pursue certification and take their reflexology practice to the next level.