Complementary therapists

Fitzgerald divides the body up into ten equal, vertical zones, ending in the fingers and toes. He theorised that pressure on one part of a zone would effect every other part of the body that lay within that particular zone. Consequently, reflex areas on the feet and hands were connected to other areas and organs within the body, so long as they were within the same zone. Dr Fitzgerald’s theory was a success and on the 29th of April 1934 a newspaper article entitled “Mystery of Zone Therapy Explained” was published, creating a wider general acceptance and knowledge of his work.

In the 1930’s, Dr. Joseph Shelby continued Fitzgerald’s work along with Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist who was fascinated with zone therapy. Ingham used a “trial and error” research method, of taping cotton pads over the tender spots on her client’s feet, and then asking them to pace around the room. She would then watch for any tell tale signs in a corresponding body part. 10 Ingham considered the association linking areas that she stimulated on her clients feet and problems with the client’s organs and/or glands.

She noticed that ‘congestion’ or tension in any part of the foot almost always reflected tension in a correlating part of the body. Therefore, she concluded that when you stimulate the toes there is an interrelated effect on the head, and treating the entire foot, has a soothing and healing effect on the whole person11. Ingham’s theory, which is currently accepted by most modern Reflexologist’s, is that there are ‘energy channels’ in the body that can become blocked – usually by stress and/or toxins – and if the correct area of the foot is stimulated, then the channel can be cleared, which will allow the body to regain homeostasis.

12 In 1961, physiotherapists protested against the use of the word “therapy” in “zone therapy” so the name “reflexology” was adopted, to avoid confusion. Other names which have been used for the practice of foot reflexology include ‘pressure point massage’, ‘compression massage’, ‘point pressure massage’, and ‘Vita-Flex’. In Europe and some other parts of the world, zone therapy and reflex zone therapy are still used. Comment on the following developments currently taking place today. a) Standardisation of Qualifications

With the publishing of the House of Lords Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in 2000 and with several therapies at various stages in developing regulations, there’s been lots of guesswork and misinformation in relation to reflexology and where it fits into the regulatory process. Standardisation of training, education, regulation, and registration for Reflexologists is vitally important, as it will, rightfully, identify reflexology as a profession and protect the general public who seek a professional treatment. The Reflexology Forum (www.

reflexologyforum. org) are the developing regulatory body for the UK, and they are working together with the Prince of Wales’ foundation for integrated health, to develop a voluntary self regulatory system, which will allow all member organisations13 the security of belonging to a register of standardised professionals. This quote was in relation to a study commissioned by the Prince of Wales which concluded that Complementary and Alternative Medicines (including Reflexology) could save the government vast amounts of money and benefit the wider economy.

They concluded that it could reduce the 200 million working days and i?? 11 billion of lost revenue per year that are a result of people taking time off work with back pain and other stress related illnesses. Unfortunately this report was met immediately with scepticism by scientists and doctors who claim that the report would not have been impartial, due to the Prince of Wales open acceptance of such practices.

A fierce dispute over complementary therapies on the NHS broke out last May, with thirteen of Britain’s highly revered medical experts, including Edzard Ernst, a professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, writing to hospitals to discourage staff from spending money on treatments that had not been clinically proven. The Haematology unit at University College London Hospital claim to have the only paid Spiritual Healers in the NHS.

These healers are part of a team of complementary therapists, including two reflexologists. It started out as a voluntary position, but as demand got higher, the hospital ended up offering to pay for them to come in more often. 16 A reply to an email I sent out to Daniel Spinner,17 at the NHS customer service centre, told me that the Primary Care Trust in each local area is responsible for the use of CAM, not the NHS in general, as they have their own budget for these treatments.

Also that in making these decisions, the PCT must account for the safety and success of the treatment, and the availability of properly qualified and regulated practitioners. Unfortunately reflexology in the UK is unregulated, this means that anyone can practice regardless of his or her knowledge, competency or qualifications to do so. This makes it difficult for any GP to refer someone for treatment, as he or she has little or no knowledge of whether the practitioner has even studied, or been taught by someone who has any experience of the treatment.

Whilst I have not managed to find any paid reflexologists in the Leicestershire NHS, there are other health professionals who are offering reflexology. There have been several instances that I have heard of in Leicester Royal Infirmary Maternity Wards, where midwives have offered reflexology treatments for pain relief during childbirth. Although the NHS in Leicestershire does not currently appear to include reflexology as a standard treatment, there are several private orthodox GP’s who are writing medical referrals, or even offering reflexology themselves.

Private General Practitioner Services (PGPS) in Stoneygate are the largest private GP practice in Leicestershire, and they practice what they call ‘integrated Medicine’; offering alternative treatments such as reflexology alongside their traditional evidence based medicines. I think that this is a small step in breaking down the mindsets of the traditional medical community, which will hopefully lead to further steps in recognition of it’s potential value, and eventually offering alternative treatments such as reflexology on the NHS in Leicestershire.

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Complementary therapies aim to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease. Complementary therapy is known by different terms including alternative therapy, alternative medicine, holistic therapy and traditional medicine. Therapies include acupuncture, Alexander technique, aromatherapy, chiropractic, herbal medicine, …

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are medicines that are not considered conventional medicine. Conventional Medicine is also known as Western Medicine and is often practice by medical professional like medical doctors, nurses and therapist. The boundaries between CAM and conventional …

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