Have you ever wondered what life is like for a Reflexologist? Well, read on as Marie shares a few thoughts from her typical day.
7.15am My alarm goes off. I was just in the middle of a dream in which I was flying over the rooftops like a bird. I think it might have been astral travel actually as the colours were so vivid and captivating but its time to plant my feet firmly on the ground now as my day is about to begin.
7.30am I hear a soft creaking noise and open one eye to see my seven year old daughter standing in the doorway. She grins at me and jumps into my bed. She says she has aching legs – she thinks it might be growing pains – so I give her a little foot and leg massage, paying attention to the relevant reflex points and thinking how soft children’s feet are.
8.15am As I tuck into my gluten-free porridge and peppermint tea, I open Facebook on my phone and look at the new posts on the Association of Reflexologists’ practitioner group. One poster is asking how you can make sure heavily pregnant ladies are comfortable during their treatments; another is looking for advice on treating plantar fasciitis. I add a couple of comments and make a mental note to add this activity to my continuing professional development log. Every little helps, as they say.
9.15am I return from the school run and go upstairs to set up my room for my first client. It’s a new lady who is suffering from stress, insomnia and hot flushes. While I’m waiting for her to arrive I have a quick surf on the internet for conditions with these symptoms, thinking that hormones most likely are playing a part.
9.45am My client arrives. As she is a new customer, I go through a medical history consultation and let her know what to expect from the treatment. Although at first she seems to be fighting to stay awake so she can see what I am doing, she soon begins to relax and drifts into a light sleep. I work on her feet, paying close attention to the hormonal and nervous systems and taking extra time with the solar plexus reflex, the seat of emotions. Her feet seem a little pale and cold, suggesting a lack of vital qi or life force, and perhaps low iron levels. She is pleased with how relaxed she feels afterwards and I talk through the aftercare advice before we arrange another session.
11.30am It’s time to hit the road for my morning home visit. The couple i am treating are long term clients or ‘regulars’ who I have been seeing for a few years. The wife has progressive Multiple Sclerosis and is wheelchair bound; the husband cares for her but also has his own share of health issues including arthritis and type 2 diabetes. They seem in good spirits today although Anne has been having problems with her digestive system due to her posture being twisted. She is waiting for wheelchair services to visit and adapt her chair to allow for developments in her M.S. While I am performing their treatments, there are two knocks on the door; the first is the postman and the second is the physiotherapy team who were due to come three hours later! The joys of home visits!! Still, on the plus side, they enable people with mobility issues to receive treatments in their own homes. Luckily Bob and Anne have a reclining chair, so I don’t have to lug my heavy couch about.
1.00pm Time to grab a quick lunch before my next work appointment. As I munch on my tuna salad I flick through the latest journal of the Association of Reflexologists. There are some interesting articles on Reflexology and Cancer and a myth busting section. i am surprised to read that there are very few contraindications for reflexology; it is actually a really safe form of therapy, even in pregnancy and for people with quite complex medical conditions.
1.30pm I jump in my car again and drive to the local day centre for adults with learning difficulties where I work every fortnight. Today I have five customers, four of whom I have seen before. I check to make sure that a consultation and consent form has been completed for the new client and make my way into the salon and therapy room. I put on some ambient music and wait for my first customer. Jane is 45 and has down’s syndrome. She really enjoys having her feet and hands massaged and it also helps with joint pain. She chats to me about her week periodically throughout the session.
The second customer is an autistic 30 year old with some moderately challenging behaviour so has to be accompanied by a support worker. He gives me a slight look of recognition and, after a restless period of getting up and walking around the room, eventually settles down to have his hand reflexology.
I work my way through customers 3 and 4 (clients here don’t have the full 40 minutes of treatment due to short attention span) and then customer 5 is brought in. She has no verbal language ability but communicates with her eyes, and with smiles and noises. She is wheelchair bound so I work on her feet in the chair. It is not ideal for my posture but as it is a short treatment it works okay. Her feet are quite tense and curled up and I am not sure at first if she is enjoying the sensation of them being touched. The support worker says she is not sure either and will see whether she will have another try next time.
3.10pm I leave just in time for the school run and sigh as I open the front door as my working day is now over… or so I thought. I find two missed calls on my mobile from my sister. I ring her back and discover that her friend, who is heavily pregnant, would really like a treatment as she is due to give birth today and nothing has happened yet. My sister makes an offer to babysit while I do the treatment so after a few seconds of deliberation I agree as I do love working on women during pregnancy. The friend hasn’t got transport so I agree to a home visit later this evening.
7.00pm I am greeted by a slow moving but cheerful young woman with a very large bump. Zoe shows me into her lounge which has a very large and luxurious corner sofa, ideal for mobile treatments. We do the consultation and I explain that there are no guarantees that reflexology can bring on labour and a lot of it is down to nature but that she will no doubt feel very relaxed during and afterwards. As I work on Zoe’s feet I watch her bump for movement. Sure enough, the baby starts to move about as I get started and then settles for a while. As I move on to the reproductive reflexes in the feet I notice that he has stirred again which make me wonder whether he can feel the vibrations of the healing. I work on opening up the pelvic area via the reflexes, balance the hormonal and reproductive system and add in a few moves which might encourage the body to enter in to labour. Afterwards I wish Zoe well and speculate on my journey home about how long her baby might take to arrive.
8.30pm After having made a quick meal and put my daughter to bed, i feel that familiar sense of calm that comes from knowing that I now have some time to myself. I make my way into my therapy room for my evening meditation and chakra balance before settling down with a book. I feel quite achey and tired from my busy day so decide to get the wax out and give myself a bit of Reflexology. As expected my sinuses feel congested and my neck and shoulders are tense. I know my feet, and corresponding body, so well! But I love having the ability (and flexibility) to work on myself, and finding it super-relaxing; my feet are actually handy reference points or case studies for perfecting my skills and locating tricky reflexes.
As I slip a couple of crystals under my pillow, turn out the light and drift into a peaceful slumber I think to myself how glad I am that I chose Reflexology as my ‘job’ as I find it so rewarding and nourishing for the soul, or should that be ‘sole’?!
© Marie Long 2017
Although this is a fictional account, all names and details have been changed from any material which is taken from my own experiences.