Everything that happens in our lives, from falling in (and out) of love, having children, divorce, loss, illness, death, and everything else, including growing the biggest pumpkin in the world, are all packaged up as life education or experience.
Reflexology has it own world of education; it is an enigma and, if you are serious about it, the learning process will cause all the 'endless head banging' frustrations I have mentioned. Sometimes it will seduce you into believing that you have cracked the Enigma Code of therapeutic success, while at other times it will lead you down the path of despair, urging you to 'throw in the towel', move to the country and learn how to plough.
You will only experience these things (and I can assure you that you will) if you are serious about becoming a true seeker of the truth which lies behind the façade of reflexology.
The only way to 'enlightenment' is to work feet - as many as possible, day in and day out! If you don't have enough patients to practice on (this is what a practitioner is after all), find friends or family to 'donate' their feet. Give free treatments, anything to attain dexterity and your familiarisation with feet. Through this you will develop the sensitivity of touch needed to attune you to what the feet are telling you.
There is no other way. You can walk barefoot in the grass at sunrise, surround yourself with crystals and burning incense, and spend weeks in silent meditation, and even perhaps confront your inner child in the process. All this may be liberating, but it will not make you a better reflexologist. Practice and more practice is the only way. How does a musician master their instrument? Only through constant practice.
You will know when you have arrived; when you no longer work the feet, but when they 'work' you - Realisation!
This path to reflexology 'enlightenment' is not easy, although reflexology on one level is straightforward, particularly to those who choose to stay on the periphery; to the true seeker the frustrations are part of the journey.
The interesting thing is that you do not need to set aims; merely doing the work will automatically lead you to the realisation.
For me, following this path made every treatment a form of meditation.
My Best Wishes
Excerpt from The Education of a Reflexologist (subtitle) by Tony Porter to be published 2015 copyright material May 2014
Looking back over my 43 years in reflexology practice and teaching, I am glad to know that many things have changed for the better, but I find it frustrating that some prejudices and misinformation persist.
In the early days, reflexology had something of a 'summer afternoon with tea and cakes' image about it, at least this is how it was recognised by the majority of people. The practice of reflexology was something one did when the children left home and one had time on one's hands - all very nice and genteel!
But there was another more worrying side of reflexology as a profession, particularly in the U.K. I remember being told by a tutor, that reflexology, if used incorrectly, could have dire consequences for the recipient if certain rules were not strictly adhered to.
Amongst these gems of misinformation was the danger of spending too much time on a reflex, and never to give more than two treatments weekly.
We were even told to use a stop-watch to time to the second the time we spent on each reflex. If a miscalculation was made with this, and the treatment was thirty seconds too long, the wrath of the heavens would fall on the poor patient!
I can recall, as a young reflexology acolyte, being haunted by the fear of the effect my reflex, timing miscalculation would have on that day's patient. A night filled with anxiety!
As for giving three treatments in the space of a week-that was heresy! How would the patient's body be able to handle the bucket loads of toxins which would be gushing into the blood stream?
Added to this were the pages of contra-indications we had to learn by heart, which meant that nearly every new patient had to be referred to their GP to confirm they were well enough to receive a treatment!
Thankfully, sanity now dictates that these beliefs are less predominant, but it is still surprising to me that there remain many reflexologists who are still fearful of the damage they could cause to a patient.
Even today it is believed by some that reflexology must never be given during pregnancy, or at least not until after the first trimester, for fear of causing miscarriage. Where did this come from? As if nature forgot that a pregnant lady may safely walk on a stony or pebbly surface.
Perhaps there should be should be warning notices on all pebbly beaches making people aware of the fact that walking on them may cause miscarriage or cardiac complications!
I have treated thousands of women throughout pregnancy; it is a time when both mother-to-be and the foetus can benefit from a treatment. I am not suggesting a 'gung-ho' approach, far from it, but an appropriate treatment for each particular patient.
Other pearls of advice included never to treat a person with implants, such as hip, knees etc. as this could cause rejection! I ask you, where does this stuff come from? Add to this heart conditions, cancer, diabetes and others.
I was once told by an eminent tutor while I was demonstrating working on the heart reflexes, that it was dangerous and could damage or even stop the heart! What a way to commit the perfect murder! Another reprimanded me about the dangers of working too hard on the spinal reflexes as it could crush the spine! A therapist told me that she watched a piece of shrapnel (which was embedded in WW2) migrate through the skin of a patient while she was giving a treatment! Not to mention the supposed anti-poison reflex on the feet which was all the rage a few years ago!
Reflexology, applied in the proper manner, is a wonderfully energising, relaxing therapy, capable of being beneficial to the recipient. It is not destructive, but constructive - it does no harm. Certainly patients can experience a variety of responses after a treatment; sometimes a feeling of wellbeing, and sometimes, slightly unpleasant sensations. The body will do what it has to do following a treatment. We as reflexologists cannot put our fingers in the spokes of the wheel of nature's healing response. It will do what it has to do in its own sweet way, as it has done since the first amoeba rejoiced at being alive.
Do your great work with this knowledge and respect in mind, and without trepidation.
My Best Wishes
I like this subject very much, and found its message to be very true. I have experienced many times that as soon as we make a dedicated commitment to create something (for instance writing a three thousand page novel, or composing a massive orchestral symphony or becoming the best and most successful reflexologist in the world, nothing too big!) a kind of magnetised web of attraction is created around us, bringing us the very things we need to achieve our goals. We must be totally committed at the expense of everything , except perhaps those dear to you:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, BEGIN IT! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it, Begin it now.
Every Living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe.
Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.
The history of science shows that theories are perishable. With every new truth that is revealed we get a better understanding of nature, and our conceptions and views are modified.
I came across this quote a few years ago which impressed me very much. The message is true for the majority of us. I feel that somehow, as strange as it may seem, the allure of failure gets imbedded in us from infancy.
I think it explains this 'block' perfectly. It is such an important subject, I suggest you read it many times and pass the message on.
The Fear of Success
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Tony is a London-based reflexologist and founder of Advanced Reflexology Techniques (ART)