The main subject was the difference between how reflexology was perceived during the time I began in the late 1960s and early 70s to that of today.
This subject of 'The Dilution of reflexology' came about through a discussion I had with Dwight Byers a few years ago relating to the way that his Aunt, Eunice Ingham gave treatments.
Imagine the difficulty of being on your own and having to create ways to contact the feet without the support and references which exist today? Reflexology charts were not as compressive as they are now. These were gradually conceived over many years of constant development (In Eunice Ingham's case, going through the wards of hospitals and applying various types of pressure to areas of the feet to patients and monitoring the response.) This was compared with clinical, allopathic diagnoses.)
It was through this constant monitoring that a better understanding of reflexology was gradually built up, and through this, the basic charts were developed.
Because Eunice was a physical therapist and worked with various doctors, it meant that reflexology (a term she coined) became exclusively aligned with easing physical ailments.
My long association with the (Ingham) family, and being a guardian of some of Eunice Ingham's writings confirms that her efforts were the pivotal point in the development of reflexology which we enjoy today.
Where would reflexology be, indeed what would we be doing today without her input? She was a true pioneer. Every reflexologist, particularly in the Occident are part of a lineage going back to her in one form or another.
Getting back to the original subject of the purpose and recognition of reflexology from those days till now. You can deduce from the introduction above how reflexology was used for various physical ailments, to which when used in a focused manner had significant value. This was the way it was still viewed in my day (I am sure that others around at that time will agree)
I have related how clients expected to experience positive and authoritative treatment sessions. They would not have tolerated some of the 'interpretations' of reflexology which dominate at this time.
It is difficult to relate the status of the reflexology of 50 years ago to that of today.
An analogy can be made when trying to explain the atmosphere in London during the (swinging) 1960s. It is not possible. But then, as the saying goes 'If you remember the 1960s you were not there!'
I will conclude this subject with repeating how reflexology of today has largely (not exclusively I am pleased to say) become recognised almost totally as a gentle, contact of the feet for the purpose of relaxation. This can have value — who can deny the benefits of relaxation?
If the relaxation techniques are used to suit the perceived needs of the client and are part of the extensive reflexology, repertoire of the reflexologist all well and good. The problem is if that is the only type of application known by the practitioner? In this case, the true scope and value of reflexology is being denied to clients.
There is an infinite variety of types of feet, combined with an infinite variety of physiological/emotional needs of people. Reflexology is such a unique modality and demands a knowledge of the many types of applications to maximise its potential. Only then will the ability to provide the best, possible treatment for clients be possible.
There were a few 'zone' therapists around in London in the 1960s-70s. One was Joe Corvo with whom I had several sessions and got to know quite well when he had a practice in North London in the 1970s.
To say that his treatments were positive is something of an understatement. I can remember hanging on to the treatment couch by my teeth!
He used a type of hard rubber or wooden probe to make contact to the reflexes.
His treatments were around 20 minutes. He was very successful, people were literally queuing up for his treatments. Luminaries from the world of show business, politics and even royalty were among his clients.
He worked non stop, continually moving from one treatment room to the other, giving around 25 treatments daily. He was something of an opera singer and would give a 'performance' while treating.
I can attest to being told by a retired doctor how Joe Corvo's treatment cured him of a serious medical condition.
I am not suggesting that you start working in this way at all but related the information as a comparison of different types of approach.
One of the underpinnings of reflexology is that a painful reflex automatically indicates a problem, imbalance, whatever — something of a prophecy of an impending ailment. This is not valid and is the cause of confusion, misinformation and fear. In good health, feet should display robust reflexes. It is the texture of a reflex which reveals valuable information, giving a far more reliable indication of the 'energetic' status of a person. This is one of the mainstays of A.R.T. training.
Another is to 'Treat what you find and not what you are looking for'. This was drummed into us, physical therapy students many years ago. It applies particularly to reflexology:
Do we let the feet reveal the disturbed and valid reflexes, or does the reflexologist treat the reflexes which they feel are valid for various conditions?
This will form the subject of a future blog.
I wish you a successful return back to work, whenever this will be!