by Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
When I initially looked at the cover of this book and read the title Mouse’s Best Day Ever I thought to myself “Why in the hell did Singing Dragon Publishing send this to me?” Then I read, in smaller print so the average child couldn’t see it, the words ‘Children’s Reflexology to Soothe Sore Teeth and Tums’. This was my first experience reading a children’s Reflexology book, I honestly had no idea that they existed but there is a huge market for parents looking for alternative and holistic ways to soothe their children’s pain and Reflexology is a perfect modality to fill that need.
I love this book! Perfect for the average do-it-yourself parent who wants to learn how to do Foot Reflexology on their children for three major reasons: 1) Increase child/parent bonding 2) Increase restful sleep in children (as Reflexology is known to produce in adults) 3) Alleviate pain from a range of child-centric dis-ease such as dental, digestive and immunity issues.
This book follows ‘Mouse’ on her best day ever as she encounters her five other animal friends: Hare, Otter, Squirrel, Mole and Snake. The cool part about this book is, in addition to being a perfect bedtime story book, each page instructs the parent on how to perform basic Foot Reflexology techniques as the story is being read – Genius!
As we follow the adventures of mouse, the story unfolds and each friend of mouse represents a key reflex area that is worked on the feet to alleviate pain in an area of the child’s body.
Mouse: The main character represents the Solar Plexus Reflex, a powerful group of nerves just below the diaphragm that help to induce overall relaxation and pain reduction according to the American Reflexology Certification Board.
Hare: Similar to the character Rabbit in our favorite childhood classic, Winnie the Pooh, there is a Hare character in Mouse’s Best Day Ever that represents the Chest/Lung Reflex areas.
Otter: Naturally a water-dwelling creature would represent a key water-based system of the body: Lymph, which is the immune-boosting fluid that fights infection when properly circulating.
Squirrel: Making multiple appearances is Squirrel because of the importance of the toes in Foot Reflexology. Learning to walk through the reflexes in the toes may seem repetitive, but in my Reflexology Certification Program we teach re-walking the toes multiple times as an important part of the routine which I was thrilled to find mirrored in this book.
Mole: The first character Mouse encounters is her friend Mole who represents the Digestive Reflexes. Unfortunately, I’m going to disagree with the lack of digestive system work suggested by the routine, but the book is so darn cute I’ll let it pass. My suggestion, throw in a couple extra ‘Caterpillar Walks’ over Mole’s section.
Snake: Right in the middle of Mouse’s adventures we meet Snake who represents the Spinal Reflexes; more important in adults who suffer from back, neck, and joint pain, but if you have an overactive child who is always bumping, falling or tackling then this is a great area to constantly re-walk for good measure.
I won’t give away the story, but I will tell you that this primer is essential for any Parent interested in Reflexology. Having this book on your shelf will eliminate the confusing and piecemeal search for videos on YouTube or the need for complicated professional-grade Reflexology books. Don’t think this routine is just for children either, you and your significant other can also practice this easy routine for fast and effective results on yourselves!
Congrats to Susan Quayle, Melissa Muldoon and Singing Dragon Publishing for producing such a wonderful book.
Buy the Book Here: http://singingdragon.com/usa/mouse-s-best-day-ever-34120.html
By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
So, this is an example of an ear that is displaying chronic digestive congestion and it is SO neat to see something like this! However, this individual came to me because they had shoulder pain – a seemingly unrelated symptom.
Even more interesting, is that there are no markers in Horizontal Zone Two (the chest/lung/shoulder reflex zone). So, this case study is to share my thoughts about what this means and how I would coach this individual based on what we see here.
Where is it?
Looking at the map to the right and comparing it to the picture above, you can clearly see that there is a marker in Horizontal Zone Three and a larger one in Horizontal Zone Four. All we are doing from a Reflexology theory perspective is applying the map of the five major ‘zones’ (or sections of the body) to the five major sections of the ear. By doing so, we can know where the congested areas of the body are based on where the markers are located according to Reflexology theory.
In this case, we are looking at a right ear. On this right ear, the markers are present on the Liver Reflex area in Horizontal Zone Three and then the Small Intestine Reflex in Horizontal Zone Four. This gives us a deeper understanding as we go to assess the meaning of the marker and formulate a coaching plan based on Reflexology theory.
By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
Starting off in Reflexology I was exposed to just the feet. Mostly feet. With a little hands. But as my curiosity began to grow I wondered about how to map the other extremities. My instructors at the time shunned the idea that Western Reflexology could be applied to the face. Needless to say, that didn’t stop me.
What really captured my attention was my most influential teacher – the body – began to show me signs and symptoms on the face that I couldn’t ignore. I would intake new clients and they would mention they had back trouble or previous neck surgeries or digestive issues and there would be markers – visual and/or textural changes on their face – that lined up exactly where I would assume those troubled reflexes to be on the feet and hands. The only difference was I happened to be staring at a face! This happened so many times that I eventually began to ask my clients before they said anything ‘Do you have a history of x, y, z discomfort?’ and they would be floored that I was right on the money simply from assessing the face in front of me.
This was the power of Reflexology that I knew from the feet and hands, but I had now accurately developed the ‘whispering’ ability for the face! I was determined to find out how the face was mapped. Searching Amazon, Google and all my other Reflexology books I found a few authors mention Face Reflexology. I watched a few DVD technique courses and started seeing the similarities and differences between each style, but what shocked me was: all of them incorporated Eastern thought and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) instead of Western Reflexology principals. So was it technically Reflexology?
This was discouraging to say the least. TCM is powerful and has a reputation throughout history, but I didn’t want to learn a different system when I was already hitting the nail on the head with my assessments as I ‘played’ with idea of Face Reflexology using my Western map. So I created my own map based on how I map the feet and hands, started practicing my own techniques and formulated my own Face Reflexology content. Along the way I found there are the key differences in my adaptation of Western Face Reflexology versus what is currently being circulated on the market (which I will refer to as Eastern Face Reflexology):
1) Mapping Body Zones vs. Acu-points
We have all seen models of the Acupuncture meridians, those lines that run up and down and all around the body with points put in seemingly random places along these lines. There is a method to the mystery of the TCM meridians and acu-point approach, but you will see Eastern Face Reflexology maps with nothing but points or scattered sections of random ‘this is the liver area’ and ‘this is the shoulder area’ diagrams in no logical order. This confuses most would-be practitioners and makes them think that they need to basically become a TCM practitioner to understand how Reflexology works when in reality the two couldn’t be more different.
With Western Face Reflexology we believe in mapping the extremities in accordance with the body’s natural order: head/neck reflexes on top in the forehead, chest/shoulders reflexes around the eyes, then the upper core/digestive reflexes at the upper cheeks, followed by the lower core/digestive reflexes at the lower cheeks and at the base we have the lower body reflexes at the jaw – occurring in the same way our body is ordered. Makes a bit more sense, doesn’t it?
2) Technique: Stimulation vs. Massage
Searching for the ‘HOW’ of Face Reflexology was even more confusing. As I was combing through the internet, books and videos I found tissue stretching, tool applications and beating techniques but they all had one thing in common: they all resembled more of a massage technique instead of the alternating pressure technique that Western Reflexology utilizes.
During a typical Western Reflexology session there is an application of thumb and finger alternating pressure over the reflex areas that we refer to as ‘walking’. This press-release-move-forward motion creates nervous system stimulation similar to turning on and off a light switch. This specific technique is what gives Reflexology its power and without it we have another key difference of just massing the face versus stimulating the body to self-heal through the reflexes.
3) Active Palpation vs. Press-Button-Fix-Issue
Many people see a Reflexology map and think to themselves ‘If I just press the reflex the map tells me to then everything will get better.’ and that is not the case. Eastern Reflexology is still stuck in that mindset. However, in Western Reflexology we are actively palpating – using our sense of touch to feel for varying levels of congestion in reflex areas throughout an extremity – for areas that we NEED to focus on instead of just assuming that we need to press a series of points, massage vigorously or just press harder to get a result.
As you study how to apply Reflexology techniques to the face you will start to feel the difference between a healthy reflex and a congested one. This sense of palpation allows a Reflexologist to give feedback in addition to acting as a guide during a session. Although we have set routines that you can learn to ensure you cover the whole face, it is the ability to feel along with understanding the map of the face that creates a true Reflexology professional.
Now that you understand some of the differences between Eastern and Western schools of Reflexology, I encourage you to do your own research. What do you find along your journey into the reflexes of the face? Can you see the various similarities and differences between the schools of thought?
Experimentation and hands-on application is the only concrete way to validate any modality and as you access resources like our Face Reflexology Technique Onlinecourse I encourage you to let the body’s wisdom naturally speak to you as it did to me. Check out the course here!
By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
My clients teach me so many things. One of these things inspired me to write a blog post today. A client who came in with aches and pains described in detail where the pain was, what it felt like, and when it was at its worst during the day. After we got that out of the way, my client relayed all of the fun things they have been doing recently. When they described the events and activities they were involved in my client was positively glowing with joy.
During a pause, I asked: “While you were doing all of those wonderful things, where was your pain?”
A pause, then a shocked look, and finally my client exclaims “It was gone!”
This happens all the time. Because pain is ruled by your nervous system (not the muscles and bones) when you are enjoying yourself, your body will literally ‘forget’ to hurt. We use this same procedure during a Reflexology session by stimulating sensitive hand and foot nerve endings, causing the body to divert its attention from the ‘ouch’ to the ‘Ooooooo, that’s nice!’
During full body massage, the nerves can become hyper-aware of painful areas because pressure is applied to them. When the nerves feel an increase in pain they immediately tell the muscles to protect the area with layers of tightness. Even if a bodyworker successfully beats a muscle into submission, by the next morning you will have a freshly guarded area filled with deeper knots and stronger tension.
So, why should you forget about your pain on a regular basis to aid recovery?
Have you ever gotten injured and realize that you are contorting your entire body to protect the injury? This is actually very helpful for immediate injuries to prevent additional damage. Unfortunately, if your body still thinks you’re injured the nerves will tell the muscles to continually contort the surrounding muscles and bones to protect. Recovery then becomes very, very slow.
When you let your nerves become distracted during a bubble bath, a great meal, a fun event, or a Reflexology session, your body gets to re-evaluate what is needed at that moment. If you are fully healed, need a little more time, or if the body needs any additional support your nerves will be able to realize that they need to stop guarding and start helping.
Today’s Lesson: “Forget about your pain.”