Keywords : Plantar massage, Plantar reflexology, Postural balance, Plantar sole,Foot, Plantar sensitivity, Static balance, Neuropathic pain, Systemic approach, Integrality, Physiological, Chinese energetic.
Translation in English : Christelle HUSSON - February 15, 2021
Collegial article, under the managing of :
Réflexologue RNCP - Relaxologue
Praticienne en Education Thérapeutique du Patient,
Podo-Réflexologue (Certifié) - Podo-Orthésiste (D.E)
Reflexology has its roots in the tradition of foot and hand massage.
Pedicure or Reflexology?
According to a widespread theory, reflexology is said to have originated in ancient Egypt. A pictogram found in a tomb in Saqqarah dating from 2500 to 2330 BC, illustrated the foot/palmar reflexology gestures of the deceased, named Ankamahor, an Egyptian doctor (the highest dignitary after the king).
This fresco, recovered from the tomb, would perhaps represent one of the oldest traces of this practice (known as the "Doctors' Tomb"). Among the representations of foot and palm reflexology, we can read inscribed in hieroglyphics :
However, the Egyptian civilisation is not the only one to have used reflexology. We can find traces
or allusions to it in many ancient civilizations, between 10000 and 14000 BC.
Podo-reflexology" has been practiced since the 16th century. The Italian sculptor Cellini used it
successfully for his own ills and those of his entourage.
The Italian Doctors ADAMUS and ATATIS published a work on reflexology in 1582.
It was probably imported into the West by the Franciscan missionaries or by Marco Polo during
commercial transits between Asia and Europe, linking the Chinese city of Chang'an (now Xi'an)
with the city of Antioch in medieval Syria (now Turkey) - known as the Silk Road.
Since the end of the 19th century, neurologists, otorhinolaryngologists and physiotherapists from all continents, using reflexology, have been researching and writing specialised books on the neurological bases of reflex techniques and on Reflexology.
Since the 1980s, in France, scientific work has been carried out by multidisciplinary teams of
professors, sports doctors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropodists and reflexologists.
Nowadays, reflexology is constantly, rapidly and professionally evolving, as is touch in general.
It would therefore be difficult to describe a reflexological approach as just one of many wellness massage techniques.
A reflexologist is a professional in the helping relationship and stress management.
Reflexology is practised by a reflexologist
The reflexologist uses different approaches and techniques to help dissipate tension through specific
touch and pressure maneuvers.
It promotes relaxation, prevents stress and stimulates self-regulating functions by reflex touching areas, zones, points on different parts of the body.
The reflexologist can have a neurophysiological and/or Chinese energetic approach by performing cutaneous or subcutaneous pressure with the projection of organs, glands, parts of the body or physiological function that corresponds to a specific point or area/area called reflex zone. This projection can be located on the feet, hands, face or ears, as well as on the vertebral and peripheral areas. Each of the reflex zones represents an organ and its function, and refers to a specific area of the body.
The different reflex zones make it possible to detect changes in the functioning of organs or parts of the body and to stimulate them in order to restore balance.
In recent years, some Reflexology training organisations have obtained professional certification of the title of Reflexologist in the Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles (RNCP).
These trainings are therefore certifying and recognised by the State.
On the other hand, the profession is still not regulated, which means that it is still free to practice.
A recognized profession
Reflexology and the helping relationship are by definition very other-oriented disciplines. It is not a question here of occasionally massaging one's entourage, one's family, one's spouse on the couch in
front of a good film or a friendly exchange with one's friends.
With this intention, it is not a question of reflexology, but of a massage, a relaxation, a relaxation, a reassuring affectionate touch, tenderness, a conversation through touch.
To commit oneself with responsibility: within the framework of a follow-up of Relation d'Aide aimed at accompanying the person, the reflexologist represents his profession and embodies an ethic. Implementing daily well-being practices in contact with the public represents a professional and confidential commitment.
The reflexologist will rely on different skills and abilities, use reflexological representations*, cartographies, body readings, as well as cognitive-behavioural approaches, communication techniques of psychological help relationship, and many other practices, according to the initial and/or continuous path of the professional.
Numerous articles can be found on the web and in the written press, as well as documentary reports
explaining the benefits of this practice and the techniques. For professionals, there are pilot, empirical and randomised studies (clinical studies).
*Article 3/01/2020 " Basis of a consensual methodology in foot reflexology " - David Loisy Reflexologist https://www.monreflexologue.com/post/methodologie-reflexologie-plantair
In concrete terms, how does the Practitioner work with the person he receives in his practice?
Do we go for a reflexology session by choosing a precise technique (plantar, palmar, auricular ...?)? Or do you go to see your reflexologist for a problem, a need?
Whatever the reason for the visit, the professional* observes a systemic approach, with a "global reading" of the person he receives.
After making an appointment with the practitioner of his choice, the session begins with a verbal contact. These exchanges are important in order to better select approaches and techniques.
The reflexologist collects the complaints relating to the person's history. Thus, they will bring the necessary elements to build a follow-up or not.
"The microbe is nothing, it is the field that is everything". Dr Antoine Béchamp
*(Person having followed a training course meeting the criteria of the French Reflexology Trade Union and Federal Organisations).
Facts and figures
Let's get closer to this follow-up case. The reflexological approaches and methods applied are : neurophysiological, Chinese and Vietnamese energetic, podological, cognitive ...
This follow-up was carried out by Laure Gueilhers at the clinic in Saintes (17).
"Mireille's neuropathic pains"
Mireille* has been suffering for several years from numerous functional disorders and neuropathic
pain. Her podiatrist and physiotherapist refer her to a Reflexologist in order to find a
complementary solution to their care.
(For reasons of confidentiality, some information has been modified such as the first name).
When Mireille tells her "little story", her request is to relieve "all pain".
Mireille* has been suffering for several years from numerous functional disorders and neuropathic pain. Her podiatrist and physiotherapist refer her to a Reflexologist in order to find a
complementary solution to their care.
An alliance is made from the beginning of the interview between the person and the practitioner.
Mireille is 73 years old at the time of her first visit in October 2017.
We will relate the informations she agreed to give.
The complaints collected here include: sleep dysfunctions; hypertension; bladder problems (antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infections); anxiety; peripheral and central neuropathic pain (plantar pain, particularly with great difficulty walking and support - physiotherapy follow-up);
Mireille also reports: ingrown toenails (treatment underway at her chiropodist-pediatrician); eye tension for 28 years following facial neuralgia.
Her doctor prescribed her an antiepileptic.
Mireille indicates previous operations and hospitalizations :
- (1988) hysterectomy following bleeding fibroids; adenocarcinoma of the rectum with its aftermath and follow-up;
- (2013) femoral neck;
- (2014) broken rotator cuff tendon;
- (2016) Hip prosthesis operation; carpal tunnel operation (both hands).
Additional examinations were carried out: colonoscopy in July 2017; urologist in January 2018;
IREM in February 2018.
Mireille reports pain of 9/10. This is measured by the EVA evaluation (visual analogue scale). This scale allows the pain to be quantified and indicates the intensity on a scale from 0 to 10.
A palpatory assessment, with a podal reading, is set up during the course of the sessions.
Visits take place from October 2017 to March 2018 at a rate of once every 3 weeks, then once every month, with regular follow-up between 2 to 4 sessions per year in 2019 and 2020.
(Personalised foot protocols and application of the Dien Chan method for pain)
The foot is the distal part of the human lower limb. It is connected to the leg by the ankle joint. It supports the weight of the body in the standing position and allows locomotion. It is the first element in contact with the ground - in an anatomical position - and plays an essential role in balance, damping and propulsion. The reflex touch acts on the different layers of the skin (cutaneous and subcutaneous), muscles, ligaments and skeleton.
The body's compensations have led to anatomical (de)formations of the sole of the foot, with an influence on the plantar mechanoreceptors located in the musculo-tendinous or articular complex,
thus completing the means of stabilisation. Which by repercussion acts as much on the physical/postural: a compensatory plantar deformity, as by emotional imbalances.
After 5 sessions : Mireille feels her legs and the support of her feet again, whereas her walking was
almost impossible. She "re-practices her long walks along the coast".
The pain has gone down to 6/10; with less "cardboard" sensations in the feet, blood circulation is more active; the sole of the foot is more relaxed, a slackening of the body, better transit.
Dented by life, this person moves quietly along his or her life's path ...
The chiropodist and the physiotherapist note a positive evolution.
The "osteo-articular plantar sole massage", carried out as part of the reflexology sessions, has brought about a better maintenance of the body's balance.
When talking with the person who comes to see us, it is important to be vigilant by not projecting information that they are not telling us.
These remain suppositions and interpretations that we can note for a better accompaniment.
Only a complete medical and complementary care could shed medical and posturological light on shady areas.
Before/during/after pictures of the before/after
evolution established by a medicaptor
The vision of the Expert ! Or the interest of a multidisciplinary co-vision?
Clarification by the orthopaedist* Thierry GOUAULT,
reinforced by Laure GUEILHERS :
*specialist of the foot and human posture in its wandering, its statics and its physiology
The 2016 prints, by Mireille: shows signs of hollow feet, with the erasure of the outer band of the support and a lack of toe support.
This is very common in the after-effects of so-called "neurological" hollow feet.
Rehabilitation work is necessary, coupled with plantar orthoses or the wearing of orthopaedic shoes in the case of steppage walking (weakness of the muscles of the anterolateral compartment of the leg, leading to a deficit in the dorsal flexion of the foot).
This difference may also be due to hip surgery, hence the importance of collecting information (what the person wants to tell us):
*precision of the operated side?
*fear of pressing on the operated side? Which by chain effect translates a certain tension in the feet during the support in static.
*a certain fear of falling? Vis-à-vis the hip fractured in 2013, and the opposite hip which presents arthrosic pain.
We could also ask ourselves the question(s):
Has this subject had a TIA/Stroke followed by hemiplegia, even partial or mild, without any relationship? This may lead to facial paralysis and could partly explain the stress state, the fairly depressed state, the neurological and urinary disorders, and the lower limb involvement?
Or is there neuropathic pain following hysterectomy and removal of rectal adenocarcinoma? This can lead to neuropathies on the sciatic nerve path and urinary problems.
Conclusions of the orthopaedist: A postural study of the person can be completed on a set, noting more or less pronounced rockings of the shoulders, arms, pelvis, flexums or recurvatum, knees etc...
The analysis of the static footprints shows a rebalancing of the load transfers between the right and left sides with a better support of the foot surfaces towards normality in the step sequence, from November 2016 to April 2018.
In September 2018, a more complete and normal support of the feet is observed, as well as a better assurance of its movements. This evolution is due to reflexological work, coupled with walking reeducation.
Reflexology treatment :
- Seems particularly indicated to help fight against emotional fragility. (Latent depressive state
- Helps to regain neurological sensitivity in the lower limbs and lower body.
- Regulates the water and urinary system.
- Relaxes upper muscle contractions (neck - shoulders - hands...).
- Strengthens the lymphatic system with an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Regulates the female hormonal system.
Please note : what is valid here does not necessarily apply in another case.
The right attitude to observe is to accompany the person with ALL RESPECT, by providing leads. However, this is not always the case. It seems possible, for the practitioner, when he can bring
and/or submit a possibility, without ever being directive, by approaching the problems through open and very soft questions, while having the assurance that the person is able to receive this information.
The first reading of the imprints shows that the elements are out of balance: WOOD and WATER .
Let's first look at the Symbolism  of the body:
The hip: it is our ability to move forward in relation to what supports us. Concerns the skeleton: WATER Element
The femur: Relationship with the choice of its position, its power of action. When there is a problem with the femur, we find a conflict of opposition, when we are unable to assert ourselves or claim our rights. Concerns the bones: WATER Element
Ingrown nails : Nails are considered as bones. A "Yang" disorder of the water generates fungus and/or ingrown nails: WATER Element
Chinese Energetic and Emotional Appreciation,by Christelle HUSSON
reinforced by Laure GUEILHERS
 Acupunctur Abstract - AGMAR (Association Romande des Médecins Acupuncteurs) - foundation collection
[ 2 ] The symbolism of the human body Annick de Souzenelle - The Key to Self-Liberation - Psychological origins of 1000 diseases Christiane Beerlandt - The body point by point Gérard ATHIAS
Bladder problems : Problem of territory, finding one's place, feeling invaded in relation to one's personal space, notion of anger. If cystitis and in this case, it will be the WOOD Element (identified in relation to the other symptoms that we will deal with later).
Fibroids, cysts, adenomas, sciatica: Imbalance of the "YIN" of the WATER Element. These are certainly genetic predispositions, also caused by stress and when the person is under permanent emotional tension.
The carpal tunnel: could be the symptom that stands out, namely that it is the expression of an disbalance in the FIRE Element. The relationship of the hands is related to giving and receiving. There could, however, be feelings of powerlessness, or difficulties in carrying out the work, in helping the person. The messages/information to be used are different. It is nevertheless a fear linked to the fact of having to give or receive, to help. Or it may be guilt about the suffering of others, feeling helpless and not knowing how to help. In any case, this fear, dread or guilt resides in the WATER Element (fear is the feeling harboured by the WATER Element).
Which questions can we ask ourselves?
- Are there too many mysteries, fears and risks? Does Mireille need to overcome her fears and to allow herself uncertainties in order to satisfy her needs, her desires, her dreams?
- What do her bones have to say? - Is she flexible or rigid depending on the necessity of events?
- What does she have to hide "in the wardrobe"? Is there a secret she doesn't talk about?
- Is she sufficiently hydrated, lubricated? Literally and figuratively speaking?
It would be wise to check also at the muscular level:
- the anterior peroneal, we wonder if :
- Does Mireille walk on only one leg (cf. as a metaphor to the imbalances discussed above)?
- Does she need to look where she is putting her feet or stop procrastinating?
- The sacro-spinals, we wonder if :
- What is preventing her from moving forward?
- Does she stop at little things, details?
- The anterior tibialis, we wonder if :
- Is it painful for her to give up a toxic part of her life?
- The posterior tibialis, we wonder if :
- How does she lose her balance?
- Does she kick or receive kicks literally and figuratively?
- Does she have to run away (fears...) or does she have to fight?
- In general: Does she live or survive?
These different fractures, symptoms and pathologies, lead us to the assumption that the person has lost her bases. The skeleton is our edifice. It encounters problems in locating herself in her vital space. What is her place in life?
Because of this, the bases are fragile, the person lacks support and is therefore constantly in a state of perfect imbalance, hemmed in by fears and permanent instability Not knowing how to give or receive: she no longer knows what her position is, how to do things right…Because of this permanent questioning, the body causes constant stress and creates blockages, a constant and important destabilization.
Now let's take a look at the tendons and eye tensions:
- The eyes are the gateway to Liver in TCM, so we arrive in the WOOD Element.
- Facial neuralgia: relates problems of identity. Our image as it is perceived on the outside, which allows us to recognise and be recognised. The face represents the screen of reaction from our inner world to the outer world. It is through it that we try to assert ourselves in front of those around us.
- The face is the reflection of our expressions and emotions. It is the means of communication, it is our capacity to attract or repel the world but also to close ourselves in on ourselves. Perhaps check the trigeminal nerve and the lower jaw.
- Hypertension: it is a disorder of the WOOD Element (fire of the liver). Imbalances such as these in the WOOD Element suggest the following questions :
- Does Mireille have enough roots, structure, or food for growth?
- Does she need more freedom?
We could also check :
- Tendons : Is this disorder related to the depletion of reserves or secondary systems?
- Would she have needed a fresh start at some point of her life, a reset?
- The meridian of the Liver, we wonder if :
- How does she deal with her multiple responsibilities?
- Was she totally overwhelmed or intoxicated?
- The Rhomboid muscles, we wonder if :
- What made her hold a defensive position?
- Is she clinging to toxic emotions?
Globally, an imbalance in the WOOD Element is quite plausible, insofar as Mireille nourished anger, feelings of injustice, impatience...
To conclude : The depressive state of this person is obvious. Her life certainly changed at some point. Fear and feelings of injustice have occupied her entire daily life. All her landmarks have collapsed.
During the first visit, we could take plantar photographs, as well as for the following ones, and thus provide further information.
The analysis could be even more detailed, especially on KO and SHENG cycles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Whatever the Reflexological Approach, it is carried out by a GLOBAL approach.
The Practitioner considers that the person he receives is part of a system, or even several systems.
The "All in the Whole".
The professional takes into account the different interactions that influence the person's way of being. Interactions with oneself, with others and with one's environment.
This is why the Reflexologist is considered to be a companion in the management of stress and emotions, and in the helping relationship.
His main "tool" is the practice of reflexology, with the help of his hands, his knowledge, his knowhow and his interpersonal skills, which he associates together.
This systemic approach involves circular and non-linear thinking.
Reflexology cannot be considered as a simple World Massage. That is to say that to be able to carry out a session of this style, it is necessary to be interconnected with physiological, psychological and behavioural notions in order to approach the person and his problems in the best possible way.
This skill and result cannot be achieved without a minimum of training and practice.
It is the same for the support of the person: which requires a certain number of sessions and verifications .
We have seen here that reflexology and its approach have considerably relieved Mireille's ailments and she has regained a certain mobility as well as a certain "joie de vivre".
This, even if the practitioner cannot approach everything verbally according to his own personal knowledge and that of the person he welcomes.
Reflexology is an assistance which allows to find help, "crutches". Mireille felt "supported", surrounded and therefore relieved. The (unconscious) rebalancing of all the systems was consolidated in parallel towards her well-being.
We will not describe here the protocols applied, it was not the aim of this "contribution to reflection".
This collegial analysis has allowed us to corroborate and CONFORT the reflexological assessment. And was able to show that the concomitant intervention of three practitioners : orthopaedist and reflexologists, proved to be COMPLEMENTARY.
Editorial staff in French: Laure Gueilhers
In collaboration with : Thierry Gouault et Christelle Husson
Check reading by : Valérie Daviet REDactions PLUS – Saintes - France
- January 30, 2021 -
Translation in English : Christelle HUSSON
- February 15, 2021
La réflexologie ne se substitue pas à la médecine conventionnelle. Cette pratique procure une profonde détente nerveuse et physique. Elle constitue une pratique complémentaire intéressante.
Ces prestations peuvent être adaptées dans le cadre d’un accompagnement personnalisé de prévention ou protocolaire de gestion de stress. Cela ne vous dispense pas de consulter votre médecin.
Le réflexologue ne fait aucun diagnostic, ne propose aucun traitement médical. Il peut intégrer une équipe pluridisciplinaire.
Conformément à la loi, la pratique de la réflexologie ne peut être en aucun cas assimilée à des soins médicaux ou de kinésithérapie, mais à une technique de bien être par la relaxation physique et la détente libératrice de stress. (Loi du 30.04.1946, décret 60669 de l’article l.489 et de l’arrêté du 8.10.1996.)