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stressEustress vs distress

In our lives we come across two different kinds of stress. Eustress is often seen as ‘good’ stress which enables us to experience excitement and gives us the ability to enjoy our lives. Distress is the opposite and is very damaging to our health.

Our bodies were originally designed to deal with stress in one or two ways – fight or flight. So when our ancestors came across a stressful situation (e.g meeting a sabre toothed tiger) stress allowed her to respond quickly to the threat. The hormones of our body created an environment for us to act.

These days our stress levels are likely to be affected by work, money issues, children and family in general. And instead of the immediate response of a flood of adrenaline which then quickly dissipates allowing our bodies to return to a calmer place we are likely to experience a long term level of stress with the stress hormones swilling around indefinitely and causing havoc to our well being.

Psychologically stress can affect our mood, our relationships, our view on life and our ability to function at our optimum performance – whether at home or at work.

Physically the effects of stress can be frightening:
• Heart problems
• High blood pressure
• Dizziness
• Panic attacks
• Hyperventilation
• Menstrual problems

Even the ‘lower level’ effects can have a significantly negative effect on our day to day lives:

• Increase in aches and pains
• More likely to have coughs and colds
• More likely to be affected by allergies
• Indigestion, heart burn and stomach ulcers
• Constipation, diarrhoea or IBS
• Weight issues
• Nausea

Reflexology and Thai Foot Massage can be used in a whole arsenal of tools to combat this stress.

As I mentioned last week – if we don’t look after ourselves then how can we look after others?

The benefits of these therapies – and others are:

• helps relaxation
• improves mood
• aids sleep
• helps relieve tension


And finally it can bring about an improvement in our sense of well-being.

What’s not to like?stress2

Information from International Stress Management Association UK –

I often find myself at ‘pamper parties’ and ‘pamper evenings’ and it took me to musing how we see ourselves when we have treatments such as reflexology.

What is it with this word ‘pamper’?

stress-391654_1280Seems a little self indulgent and a little naughty. Perhaps even something we do not entirely deserve.

I would argue having a reflexology treatment is not about ‘pampering’ – it is deeper and more fundamental than that. It is about well being.

It is about making sure we are operating at the optimum level for ourselves and others.

Whatever way we look – women are still the majority primary carers for children and others. We carry out most of the housework as well as often holding down a job. Men have their own responsibilities and expectations.

All of this is draining and tiring. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. It is impossible for us to keep this level of activity up without it having some kind of detrimental effect on our bodies, our minds and our souls. This could be physical symptoms of stress and tension, mental health issues or even the day to day mild panic which stops us from enjoying our lives.

So any time we give over to re charging our batteries and making sure we take care of ourselves is time well spent. We are not ‘pampering’ ourselves. We are looking after our own well being so we can continue to work as hard as we do looking after others. This counts for men as well as women.

Because if we don’t look after ourselves then how can we look after others effectively?
So the next time you consider a complementary therapy treatment as a pamper consider thinking of it differently.



Think of it as essential self maintenance.


Posted by Lorinda in Articles - (0 Comments)


Does reflexology impact on cancer patients’ quality of life?

 Clinical Team Leader. Surgery, Gynaecology and Urology, Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow

Double blind peer review

Aim The objective of this study was to determine whether reflexology has an impact on the quality of life of patients in the palliative stage of cancer.

Method Twelve patients in the palliative stage of cancer with various tumour types were randomised into two groups. They were randomly assigned to receive either reflexology or placebo reflexology. All participants completed a linear analogue self-assessment scale relating to quality of life. All participants then received three sessions of either reflexology or placebo reflexology. The same person, a qualified reflexologist, provided the interventions for both groups. The participants were not aware of which intervention they were receiving. All participants then completed a second linear analogue self-assessment scale relating to quality of life.

Results All participants felt that their quality of life had improved, even those who had received the placebo treatment. The reflexology group, however, reported more benefit than the placebo group. There was a significant difference (p=0.004) between the reflexology group and the placebo group.

Conclusion This study showed that reflexology does have an impact on the quality of life of patients in the palliative stage of cancer.

Cancer, Alternative therapies

Author notes

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

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Williamson et al (2002) found that both reflexology and foot massage reduced anxiety and depression in menopausal women

76 women aged between 45 and 60 having menopausal symptoms for at least three months took part in the study. One group received reflexology and the other received foot massage.  

Both groups received treatment approximately weekly (intervals of between five and nine days were permitted) for six weeks, followed by one treatment monthly for three months, making a total of nine treatments.

Improvements in scores for anxiety, depression, hot flushes and night sweats were apparent for both groups.

Welcome to ReflexologyNews

As an Associate Professor in Philosophy, I approached reflexology twelve years ago with some wariness. I have a PhD in Ancient Philosophy from the University of Cambridge and I am not, I think, at all ‘suggestible’. I am trained in rational scepticism; I like to see a strong argument based on evidence.

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Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have found that people felt about 40% less pain, and were able to stand pain for about 45% longer, when they used reflexology as a method of pain relief.

Dr Carol Samuel, who is a trained reflexologist and who carried out the experimental procedures as part of her PhD studies, said it was the first time this therapy had been scientifically tested as a treatment for acute pain.

She said the results suggested that reflexology could be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.

Participants attended two sessions, in which they were asked to submerge their hand in ice water.

In one of the sessions they were given reflexology before they submerged their hand, and in the other session they believed they were receiving pain relief from a Tens machine, which was not actually switched on.

The researchers found that when the participants received reflexology prior to the session they were able to keep their hand in the ice water for longer before they felt pain, and that they could also tolerate the pain for a longer period of time.

Dr Samuel said: “As we predicted, reflexology decreased pain sensations.

“It is likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals.”

Dr Ivor Ebenezer, co-author of the study, said: “We are pleased with these results. Although this is a small study, we hope it will be the basis for future research into the use of reflexology.”

Reflexology is a complementary medical approach, which works alongside orthodox medicine, in which pressure may be applied to any body area but is commonly used on either the feet or hands.

In this study reflexology was applied to the feet.

Dr Ebenezer, from the Department of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and Dr Samuel used a small study of 15 people to determine whether reflexology would be more effective than no pain relief at all.

Dr Ebenezer said: “Complementary and alternative therapies come in for a lot of criticism, and many have never been properly tested scientifically.

“One of the common criticisms by the scientific community is that these therapies are often not tested under properly controlled conditions.

“When a new drug is tested its effects are compared with a sugar pill.

“If the drug produces a similar response to the sugar pill, then it is likely that the drug’s effect on the medical condition is due to a placebo effect.

“In order to avoid such criticism in this study, we compared the effects of reflexology to a sham Tens control that the participants believed produced pain relief.

“This is the equivalent of a sugar pill in drug trials.

Dr Samuel added: “This is an early study, and more work will need to be done to find out about the way reflexology works.

“However, it looks like it may be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions that are associated with pain, such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.”

The study has been published in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.


“Quackish” degree courses, such as aromatherapy, reflexology and acupuncture, are being scrapped at many universities. Homoeopathy has been dropped altogether, due to declining student applications and campaigns by scientists against non-evidence based forms of medicine.

While many taxpayers will be pleased their money is no longer being spent teaching students the benefits of yin energy or any other subject for which there is no clinical evidence, the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) insists the course closures are “very disappointing”.

“A significant number of people find complementary health therapies to be very helpful; it would be a shame if there were no trained practitioners to treat them,” says Maggy Wallace, chair of the CNHC.

“It’s arrogant not to accept an individual’s opinion as evidence that a certain treatment has benefited them.”

In many respects I agree with her. Like almost all complementary health patients, I found my way to alternative therapies when prescription drugs had failed to work; in my case, several courses of antibiotics for a kidney infection.

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STAFF at a fire control centre have been chilling out with reflexology treatments.

As part of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service’s well@work programme, off duty workers at Hestercombe House have enjoyed stress busting sessions.

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By Kelly Hamiltonon Sun, 06/26/2011 – 1:35pm

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Summertime may be the epoch of relaxation during a long year, but let’s face it—the nice weather does not come without its fair share of hassles and drags. The longer days bring more activity, more gatherings, and plenty more opportunities to reach the extent of ones courtesies.

Getting ready to have that family get-together? Making those last minute arrangements for the wedding? Moving?

Before we start on that downward spiral into a ball of tension filled goop, grasping for the nearest pharmacopeia to ease our displeasures, let’s first take a minute to breathe…ah. And pull ourselves together.

According to reports from the American Medical Association, stress was found to be a factor in approximately 75 percent of diseases. Yikes. With risks like that to our health—and to our sanity—it is a good idea to be selfish and look out for our own best interests. Self-indulgence at its best.

And who doesn’t love a little bit of that?

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