In these “Case History”
pages I’ll try detailing some of the cases I’ve taken on and the results I’ve
had using Reflexology
BRAIN INJURY (TBI) AND REFLEXOLOGY
I have been having very impressive success with two cases of traumatic
brain injury. TBI is a very serious problem that is getting
much more attention now because it is the "signature injury"
of returning veterans from Iraq, and it's one that mainstream medicine
has few answers for.
Case #1 is a young man who
had anorexic brain damage in 1986 from some kind of wrong medicine
they gave him in the hospital in Israel. He was in a coma for 7
months, and came out totally paralyzed, having lost the ability
to read. Various physical therapy wonder workers had gotten him
to the point that he could walk with an attendant holding his arm
so he wouldn't fall (very poor balance) and could speak, although
in a slow, difficult-to-understand drawl. I began working on him
in October, 2006, and scheduled two sessions a week. At the end
of the first session he was unable to get out of the La Fuma reflexology
chair, and I had great difficulty supporting him and getting him
up out of the chair. He was slow of speech - when he attempted any
- and seemed confused.
At the second session he seemed more aware and vocal, and at the
third session he confided that he had several small seizures each
day. By the 6th session he was able to get out of the reflexology
chair without assistance, and his seizures were becoming infrequent.
After I suggested the seizures might be related to sugar balance
he reported that he was free of seizures except when he missed a
meal. I continued to do twice-a-week Reflexology sessions, and by
the end of December he reported that he was much more secure in
his walking, only needing his attendant nearby in case he lost balance,
and I noticed that he was getting much more alert and articulate
- we had long conversations during the Reflexology sessions about
current events, etc. His speech seems to be quite normal now - although
on the phone he sometimes slips back into his labored, drawling
Case #2 is a middle-aged woman
who was severely injured in an auto accident 16 years ago. She was
pronounced dead and taken to the morgue, but recovered - sort of.
She was in a coma for months, and when she came out of it the doctors
told her that she'd lost ¾ of her brain, and that she would
never be able to "mainstream" - participate in normal
society. They emphasized that strong family support was absolutely
necessary for even partial recovery. She had no family support at
all, and has spent 15 years fighting that diagnosis. She re-learned
to read at the Rusk Institute, and took courses at the Open Center,
creating a substitute family out of her psychotherapist, her health
aid, and people at the Open Center and at Landmark Education, where
she serves as a volunteer office worker.
Except for normal health problems to be expected for a middle-aged
woman who drinks, smoked until the doctors told her she had emphysema,
and is overweight, her problems are all psychological. But they
are severe. (Drinking can be considered a TBI symptom. TBI
people may have a low tolerance for alcohol, and self-medication
by alcohol or drugs is very common.)
The doctors gave her a list of 14 symptoms common to TBI
survivors, which included anxiety, depression, poor coordination,
inability to focus, being fearful (of all sorts of things) hyper
sensitivity, rigidity (can't handle changes) low confidence and
self-esteem, "disinhibition" (speaking inappropriately)
and redundancy (saying the same thing over and over). In her case
- with no family support - there was also a complete loss of identity.
She speaks about her "other life".
I first started working on her on Jan 26, 2007. I did a very light
- mostly relaxation technique session, but noted that her brain
reflexes were quite tender. When she came for her second session
three days later she said she'd been badly discombobulated after
our first session, and forgotten how to do the computer data input
she normally does. Again, I did a light session. The next few sessions
I concentrated on other issues (she had a sore shoulder, and I concentrated
on shoulder and spinal work to clear that up) but each time did
a little on the brain reflexes too
At her 5th session she said that her memories were coming back.
She'd been able to remember some of her high school Spanish to communicate
with her cleaning lady. At her 7th session she reported a breakthrough
- she'd been able to stay home alone without having a panic attack
and stressing out - the first time in 15 years. She reports that
her friends say she seems less frazzled now, "more peaceful",
"coherently present" "happier", "more patient",
has a "peaceful aura". (Apparently this is very noticeable,
since when she's frustrated she starts banging on the table, crying,
swearing, shaking, etc.) Also, she says her sense of smell is coming
It's evident that TBI people may have a whole basketful
of psychological problems, and this person is going to need pages
and pages of more "breakthroughs" before she's done.
What's very noticeable about these two cases is the tremendous
difference in their symptoms, and the way that Reflexology is effective
in addressing both of them. In working on them both I've concentrated
on the brain, spinal and endocrine reflexes, but I do the whole
foot every time, in an effort to balance the body and its control
systems. There aren't any magic spots, or if there are I haven't
found them - just normal therapeutic Reflexology twice a week. (I'd
do three times a week if I could manage it, and would expect it
to be even more effective. There's a cumulative effect that is often
lost in once-a-week sessions.)
I'm hoping to get the attention of whoever is responsible for treating
the returning veterans and setting up some kind of program. Of course
the veterans won't have any money to pay for Reflexology, but if
we can demonstrate effectiveness we may be able to get some kind
and Bad Sugar Management
With Reflexology we
generally expect to clear up Type II diabetes if we can get the clients to come
in three times a week and keep checking their sugar and consulting their
doctor. With Type I diabetes we don’t expect to clear it up, but rather to
help with the accompanying symptoms. (Nobody’s going to be cutting your feet
off if you’re getting regular Reflexology.) But I’ve always wondered – they
don’t diagnose diabetes at birth – they pick it up when the child is four or
five years old. So what if you started working on the child then? Could you
so normalize the body that they never would be diagnosed? And how could you
I haven’t gotten to work on
a pre-diabetic child yet, but a couple of years ago they brought me an
8-year-old boy. He was a big child, bigger than his classmates, and somewhat
plump. His father was an athlete and assumed that if his son was “fat” there
must be something wrong with him – nothing to take to the doctor, but maybe
some Reflexology would help. The boy was constantly whining for sugar (“Can’t
we stop by the cookie place? Please? Can’t we stop?”) indicating a severe
problem with sugar management.
I told them that to clear up
a condition they needed at least two sessions a week (although three would be
better) so they paid for a series of 10 sessions and arranged for him to come
twice a week. I worked on him as I would for any sugar-management person, the
whole foot, but extra on the pancreas, liver, adrenal and other endocrine, and
When he came for his third
session (second week) he told me that he’d taken his secret candy stash and
thrown it down the air shaft at his apartment, where he wouldn’t be able to get
it again, because he knew that it was bad for him and he realized that he no
longer had to have candy. He said he still liked candy, but now he no
longer had to have it. (When you have to have it, you have a secret
stash whether it’s bad for you or not.) In all, he did six of the 10 sessions
his parents had paid for (kids get really fast results). His complexion
changed, his whole personality changed, and his parents said “okay, he’s fixed”
and went off to vacation in Bermuda. They never came back to finish up the sessions
they paid for, but he’s an intelligent and responsible kid, so I figure he’ll
stay off the sugar and be okay.
Unfortunately for the cause
of science (but maybe fortunately for the child) he was never diagnosed, so I
don’t know if he was hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemic
(diabetes/high blood sugar). Whatever it was, Reflexology seemed to clear up
Fertility - and Male as Well
is a very effective way to promote fertility, and I have had a remarkably
high percentage of success in helping women (and sometimes men)
resolve their fertility problems. It is a natural result of normalizing
the body and its hormonal systems, which follows from working on
the hormonal reflexes. Menstrual cycles become normal, menstrual
pain (in most cases) decreases or stops, and the body begins working
in an optimal manner.
Even the doctors
in the fertility clinic will tell you that your fertility will be
enhanced if you are relaxed, but the procedures they recommend are
often so stressful that they defeat their purpose (your body starts
thinking the world must be a very dangerous place - not a good time
to have a child) and the whole process becomes distasteful to the
patient. With Reflexology, the client is mentally and physically
relaxed, and the reproductive organs are relaxed as well. The birth
cycle is helped to proceed normally and naturally - without any
extra effort or attention from the mother-to-be.
should work on both partners in the fertility effort, but usually
I only get to work on the woman. That's often enough, though - if
you get the woman up to 90% you can usually make something happen
even if the man is only at 40%. Recently, though, I spoke to a person
who works in a fertility clinic and she told me that they are getting
a lot of low sperm counts now. This may be caused by the increased
use of agricultural Atrazine, a type of herbicide that was banned
in Europe in 2006 (but so far not in the US), and has been shown
to turn male frogs into female frogs.
I do occasionally
get male fertility clients. I had one who was the son of a chiropractor,
so he was sort of in the alternative medicine world, and he and
his wife were not being successful in their efforts to have a baby.
They got the wife into the hospital and did all sorts of tests on
her, and finally said, "There's nothing wrong with you - let's
get your husband in for a sperm count". He said, "No -
I'll get some Reflexology." So he came in for a few sessions,
and one day there was a call on my answering machine "Okay,
my wife's pregnant - I won't be in Tuesday. Thanks." A little
sleazy, perhaps, but once they'd established that everything was
with his wife's body, so no danger in a pregnancy
- does he really care if his sperm are the wrong size or shape or
color or speak the wrong language, or are insufficient in number?
No, he just wanted to normalize it. And as the son of a chiropractor,
he was reasonably sure that Reflexology would do that, which, in
fact it did.
I want to
emphasize that there are no special techniques or reflexes to be
worked for fertility - it all happens as a result of working all
the reflexes on both feet, which relaxes the whole body. For female
fertility cases I may do a little extra on the ovary, uterus and
fallopian tube reflexes, and on the other hormonal reflexes (pituitary,
adrenal and thyroid glands) and on the spinal points that provide
the nerve supply to these organs. For male fertility I may do a
little extra on the comparable areas for the male. But I have had
fertility results - sometimes unintentional and surprising results
- without doing anything extra for the reproductive organs at all.
I now routinely
caution women who I suspect think they are no longer fertile that
"If you're going to do a whole series of sessions you may want to
take some precautions - when everything is normalized it all works
I have had
a number of successes with stroke victims. A stroke is a brain circulation
problem - either a blockage or a bust-out - and improving circulation
in the brain with Reflexology is often very helpful.
(We had a
medical breakthrough in stroke treatment a couple of years ago,
so now - if you have the right kind of stroke, and you get to the
hospital in a couple of hours, and it's the right hospital and everybody
who needs to be there is there - there's something they can do about
it. Otherwise, there's no effective treatment, all they can do is
give you some blood thinners so maybe you won't get another stroke.)
But with Reflexology,
you can improve the brain circulation and actually make a difference.
My first case
of this was a number of years ago, when I got a call from the family
of a 90-year-old Orthodox rabbi in Brooklyn who'd had a stroke.
Usually with a stroke they figure that whatever doesn't come back
in six months is gone, and this had been eight months. His blood
pressure was very high, he was angry at the physical therapists
and everybody else, and his mind was disordered - he didn't recognize
people in his family. Somebody came back from Israel and recommended
Reflexology, so they called the International Institute of Reflexology
and got the numbers of several New York Reflexologists from them.
I guess I was the only one who was willing to come to their house
to work on him, although I didn't live near.
working on him twice a week, and after a week or so his blood pressure
went down and he stopped being angry. Then - a few weeks later -
his brain started working again. A friend came to see him on the
Sabbath from the other side of Brooklyn, so he had to walk several
miles to get to him, since orthodox people are not allowed to take
transportation on the Sabbath. When the rabbi saw him he asked -
'What are you doing here? How did you get here?' So he had to understand
who the person was, where he lived, that it was the Sabbath, etc.
There was much rejoicing from his family at that.
But then we
hit a plateau. I kept working on him, but he didn't seem to get
any better. He was a big man, and he'd fallen several times, so
he was afraid to get out of his wheelchair. He recognized everybody
in his family by then, and when they spoke to him he'd say 'What
do you want me to say?' in Yiddish. Apparently he was depressed.
Finally, his family told me that they thought he'd had enough Reflexology,
so I quit coming to see him. By then I was working on his grandson's
wife and daughter, so I was kept up with family news, but I didn't
hear from him again for almost a year. His other granddaughter called
me up and asked if I could come at least once a week - she thought
it had helped him before.
When I went
to see him his energy seemed very low - it looked like it might
be his last week. (He was 91 by then.) I figured once a week wasn't
going to be enough, so I started to come three times a week, and
after a couple of weeks he perked up. He'd lost his depression and
regained his zest for life. He gave a blessing to a great-great-great
grandchild, and he attended a ceremonial religious dinner and said
a few words as a patriarch should. The people in his congregation
got very excited - "He's coming back!" They told me they'd found
a wonder-working doctor and would put him entirely under his care.
Later I heard he'd had a colostomy, and eventually I heard he'd
don't want to live forever anyway, with the deterioration that happens
with age. But the case is instructive. If it were my grandfather
I'd be in there in the hospital working on him the day after he
had his stroke, and we'd never know if the Reflexology helped or
not. With this case, with the on-again, off-again treatments, we
can see that when you're getting Reflexology things may get better,
and when you're not they may not, but it doesn't make you 25 years
many different sorts of symptoms that go with strokes. Another case
I had was a man whose stroke had left him with a weak left foot
that he sometimes kind of dragged, but his big problem was speech.
Sometimes - but not always - when he'd speak what would come out
would be a garble of nonsense syllables. He'd think he was speaking
words, but it wouldn't be words. He was trying to run a business,
and this led to many upsets and frustrations.
started working on him twice a week - again house calls on a distant
client - and after a couple of months his speech came back. He still
dragged his foot a little when he was tired, but his speech seemed
to be all recovered. They decided that it was a physical therapy
problem, and went back to Europe where they could get free physical
it helps to start working on the stroke victim as soon as you can,
but I know of one case (not mine, but a friend's) where symptoms
from a stroke of 18 years before were helped by Reflexology. Even
if there has been destruction of brain tissue - they say we're not
using most of our brains, anyway, so if you can relax the brain
and get it some circulation maybe they can break out a few rooms
an furnish them. You never know what you can do, and you won't do
any harm by working on them, so you might as well work on anybody
who needs it.
Doctors use the term "Peripheral Neuropathy"
to refer to numbness - and often itching or spasming - of the periphery
(the fingers and toes, as well as the feet and hands). Often this
condition is caused by diabetes, but it can also be from liver damage,
mercury, lead, or other metals in the body, reactions to medications,
and nerve damage from accidents.
For several years I have been having success with
clients afflicted with preipheral neuropathy, but I was reluctant
to note it here until I had some idea of why Reflexology works for
these cases. The short answer seems to be that many of the possible
causes - diabetes, liver malfunction, medication reaction, and possibly
more - can be impacted by Reflexology.
A specific case that illustrates the effectiveness
of Reflexology on this problem started a few years ago at the New
Life Expo, a twice-a-year health expo where I rent a booth. I get
a couple of other Reflexologists to help, and we do 15-minute mini-sessions
on people for 15 or 20 dollars to introduce them to Reflexology.
The Expo is Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and Sunday - long
days and a lot of sessions. On Sunday evening, this man was watching
us work - sometimes getting very close to see just how we were using
our hands - but he never came in for a session. Finally, they were
blinking the lights and telling us that the show was over, we should
be packing up and leaving, and this guy suddenly decides he wants
a session. Okay, I can sqeeze in another one.
He had very tender feet - almost everything I worked
on hurt, and while I worked on him he began to interview me about
peripheral neuropathy. Would Reflexology help this? Well, I said
it probably would, but we'd have to try it to see. Then he wanted
to know what if it didn't work? Well, it won't do any harm. Yes,
but what if he paid for a series of sessions and it didn't help?
. Finally I told him that if he paid for a series of 10 sessions,
and came three times a week, I'd give him a money-back guarantee.
Not that the problem would be completely cleared up, but if his
neuropathy didn't get any better by the end of the 10 sessions I
would refund his money. That was too good to pass up, so he accepted.
It was hard to schedule the sessions within both
our schedules - he had a night job and had to be at work by four,
but we managed. About half way through the 10 sessins he confided
that he'd had AIDS, and the therapeutic drugs he'd taken had left
him with the neuropathy. In his case it wasn't just numbness - it
was itching and twitching and spasming to the point where it was
painful to wear shoes. He'd wear shoes to go into work and then
wear bedroom slippers around all night until it was time to go home.
As I worked on him it became apparent to me that
he was dwelling on the thought that all he had to do to get his
money back was to say that the Reflexology hadn't done any good.
You could see that that thought was right there behind his eyeballs.
But when we finished the 10 sessions he could not bring himself
to say that. He was so much better - he was wearing his shoes all
night, and the extremely tender reflex points on his feet were much
less tender. He didn't pay for any more sessions, but about a year
later he came back to the Expo. One of my colleagues was working
on his feet and I could see that he was working much more deeply
than I'd been able to work without causing excruciating pain. I
said, "You're a LOT better." He smiled shyly and said,
"yeah, I've been kind of working on myself."
I'm writing a book called "Self Reflexology"
about how you can keep yourself healthy by massaging a few reflex
points on your hands or feet. What this guy had done was invent
his own techniques after observing mine. Maybe he'll buy my book
when I get it published.