Archive for Therapeutic Reflexology & Meridian articles

Letting Go with Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a sensitive subject. It brings up memories, emotions and desire in many of us. The journey to forgiveness is a sacred one and the most powerful medicine I’ve found to heal the human heart and make sense of our human condition.

Many of us go through really hard times, often tragic ones. My hardest time was when my son, Conrad, was murdered in Hout Bay. He was 23 at the time. Contact with God (The Universe) was the only thing to keep me sane, despite the devastating effects his death had on me and so many around us.

It has taken a couple of years to make sense of his death. It’s been hard work and I still miss his gentle presence in my life. I often wake thinking of him, wondering what he’d be doing now if he were alive today?

Through forgiveness I have learnt the power of grace and even now I cannot claim to have completely forgiven. I learnt my son’s love was perfect as it is, and even though he is dead I can still feel his love in my life. It echoes from the day Conrad was born.

So what is forgiveness? How do we get to that quiet place. I sometimes think of forgiveness as a jump into the River of Love. On this river we can float to a deeper place of serenity, and release all sadness and hurt. In this river we find joy and freedom, knowing we are never alone. Many others have had to face death, hurt, tragedy. By committing to the search for this inner River, we relax into the safety of the Divine.

In the traditional view of forgiveness, a common theme is that a crime occurred. If there was no crime, there is nothing to forgive. If you feel that forgiveness is what’s next for you, you’ll need to find the crimes in your life story. By crime, I mean, any transgression that seemed to cause you pain, sadness, anger, fear or any other emotion you did not want to feel at the time.

I say, “seemed to have cause you pain,” because it’s never events that cause suffering, but rather how we understand a situation. It’s possible for one person to feel great anguish, while another doesn’t mind at all. We have a choice about how we interpret our surroundings and the intentions of others. We can choose to feel fear or love.

Forgiveness is the inner work we do to experience greater freedom. It brings us into the World of Divine Truth.

There are many benefits to forgiveness.

Lower blood pressure; stress reduction; less hostility; better anger management skills; lower heart rate; lower risk of substance abuse; fewer symptoms of depression; reduction in chronic pain; more friendships and healthier relationships.

As you start your journey to forgiveness consider these questions:

How do you currently view forgiveness?

What is your commitment to learning to forgive?

What do you want from forgiveness?

Are you waiting to be forgiven? From whom?

What emotions come up for you as you meditate on forgiveness?







massage picYou pay good money to receive an excellent massage. However, sometimes you may feel cheated and never return for another treatment. It’s your money, people. If you don’t like something or don’t understand something, you are fully entitled to ask the therapist.

Here’s a secret. We love feedback, good or bad. It helps us do our job  better.

Here’s some tips to get the most from you treatments. (taken from American Massage Therapy Association)

1. Before the start of your session, give your massage therapist accurate health information and share what you’d like from the treatment.

2. Music is often played. Let your therapist know your preferences. The same goes for talking during the session.

3. Report any discomfort you experience during the massage session, whether it’s physical or has to do with the environment.s

4. Provide the therapist with feedback during the massage concerning pressure, speed of hand movements and anything that bothers you.

5. Discuss any concerns you may have about massage therapy with your therapist.

6. Remember, the therapeutic benefits of massage are cumulative, so the more often you go for a massage, the better you will feel and the faster your body will respond.massage pic


Stress and Therapeutic reflexology



It’s a Monday morning. You’re  late for work and you can’t find your car keys. Finally, when they are found you jump into your car and find yourself stuck behind a truck. You can’t seem to find a parking this is the all too familiar voice of stress playing out in their lives.

In this articlereflexology and feet I plan to look at stress and what happens to the body when its bombarded with ongoing stress. This topic will be discussed in relation to the principles of meridians, which forms part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM.)

According to Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, “stress is our response to any demand on the body or mind to respond, adapt or alter. It is a state of readiness to survive, requiring hypervigilance form the body and mind.”

Often it’s not the stressor itself that’s the problem, but how we understand and interpret the stressors. If we don’t develop good coping mechanisms for stress the body and the effects of stress affects our bodies negatively, and in the long-run can lead to a range of diseases.

“When stressed, the body produces adrenalin, cortisol, and other strong chemicals in response, whether the perceived or experienced stress is psychological or physical. The body is well prepared to utilize these powerful chemicals by focusing on attention, dampening perceptions to distractions, limiting the ability to feel pain, or providing powerful boosts to available energy.

When a person is stressed over a long period, though, these substances have a serious negative impact on his or her health, including: sleep disruption, chronic headaches, hormone disruption, gastrointestinal distress, weight gain, immune system impairment, cardiovascular impacts, and psychological disturbances.

In the short term, stress challenges the immune system, adjusts blood pressure, increases heart rate, shifts neurotransmitters, and regulates the central nervous system. In the long term, stress damages the body’s systems, reduces its ability to cope with disease, and impairs brain function and mental health.” (Ref:

According to Inge Dougans, “it is believed that up to 80% of modern diseases have stress-related backgrounds. These include hypertension, high blood pressure, coronary thrombosis, heart attack, migraine, hay fever and allergies, asthma, peptic ulcers, constipation, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual difficulties, nervous dyspepsia, flatulence and indgestion, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, skin disorders, tuberculosis and depression.” (Reflexology, the 5 elements & their 12 meridians.)

Julie Marie Wood in her book “4 Week Energy Diet,” does point out that, we all need some stress to function well and that recent studies indicate that some stress can encourage brain development, however too much stress can be detrimental to our health.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) 12 meridians have been identified. In brief, meridians are a network of energetic pathways which pass through the organs and tissues of our bodies. These meridians have specific points and a definite flow through the body. The source of these energetic pathways if Qi, or life-force. When we become stressed, blockages occur along these pathways, disrupting the free flow of vital life force through the body. Over time, these blockages can cause chronic symptoms and even disease.

According to Inge Dougans, “massaging the meridian pathways in the feet helps clear blockages along the meridians and encourages the vitally body energy to flow.” (Reference: Complete Illustrated Guide  to Reflexology) She points out that the reason reflexology works well in relation to to the meridians, is because, “six larger meridians – those that actually penetrate major organs, the stomach, spleen/pancreas, liver, gall bladder, kidney and bladder meridians – all begin or end in the toes.” (pg. 57 Inge Dougans, ‘Reflexology the 5 elements & the 12 Meridians.’)

The meridians interact with one another and a blockage in one meridian can have an affect on other meridians as well.

“According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), stress stagnates the energy of your liver. Once the liver’s energy is stagnated, this affects nearly every other organ and speeds up ageing in the rest of the body.”  (http://www.universaltcm)

As you can see, the liver meridian is responsible for the “smooth movement of bodily substances and for the regularity of body activies.” (Inge Dougans) If the liver meridian becomes congested it can cause eczema along the meridian line, shinbone sores, problems with the big toe, digestive problems, knee pain (medial side), liver problems and thigh pains. (Inge Dougans) If this meridian is strengthened it can assist the body in its healing process.

In some cases ongoing , chronic stress leads us to eat sugary, sweet foods, drink alcohol and smoke, which can lead to further congestions in the body. Applying the knowledge of the meridians and how they interact through the body can help the therapist pin-point where a blockage may occur. It must be emphasised that the meridians do not operate in isolation to one another but each one interacts with each other and is in constant flux and flow.

Using the principles of meridian therapy and reflexology, when combined, can assist in alleviating and reducing high levels of stress in the body and balancing out any blockages.



Inge Dougans “Reflexology the 5 Elements & Their Meridians”

Inge Dougans “Complete Illustrated Guide to Reflexology”

Julie Maree Wood “4 Week Energy Diet”

Sandy Fritz “Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage”






I have just read an article by Eric Stephenson, a massage therapist who discusses the pain factor in massage. I’d like to dispel a few myths regarding pain and massage.

Many clients who come to me for massage, believe that if the massage is ‘hard’ and they feel pain, then it must be good. NO, NO. Not the case. Think about it. The reason for your muscle aches and pains is because your body is under stress and shouting for help. Now you come along and ask for a ‘hard’ massage and you put the body under even more stress.

Stephens points out one of the fundamental ideas of the Hippocratic Oath, which is “do no harm.” Yet clients think more pain will surely improve the problem. Actually it could make the problem worse in the long run.

As a matter of routine I look to use a penetrating deep tissue with the aim of relaxing and stretching muscle tissue, not by throwing it back into a contracted state by inflicting further pain. I am reminded of words my Alexander teacher once told me. The body has an innate wisdom, as a therapist if we can help a person’s body to recover by 70%, then the body will do the rest.

Next time you want a good massage, look for a therapist who has the knowledge and sensitivity in their touch to work skilfully.




How you start the day is vital to how well you flow through it. I wake up early and do a half-hour meditation to centre and put my intent forward for the day. It’s the silence and the breath that inspire to quietly reflect on the goodness and abundance I wish to attract. When I can do this, my entire day becomes a flow of activity from one event to the other.

I invite you to greet your day and imbue it with positivity and good vibrations. During the day, I do one random act of kindness. Whether it’s a smile, or giving way in the traffic to an aggressive driver. Never, you might utter. Just try it. Remember there is always someone out there having a harder time than you.

When I give coaching, massage, or reflexology I am 100% present to the person who has come to me. I am grateful for their presence and I learn from each person I meet. Giving to other sustains me on a level I cannot begin to put into words. What sustains you? What makes you feel vital and important in the world?

Coaching is about presence and really hearing the other. Often this  simple act of truly listening for the nuances and the words unspoken lead to a profound shift in consciousness for the other person.

This is my way of living each day with meaning  – what is yours?

Opening a Space for Meditation

Coming to a quiet space, where you won’t be disturbed, take a few deep breaths and invite your mind to a space of quiet. Take an observer’s view of your life, as if you are seeing it from a distance and consider these ideas:

1. Non-judgement:   Become aware of and stand back from the constant stream of judging and reacting to inner and outer experiences which trap us.

2. Patience: Patience is a form of wisdom that shows us to accept how events unfold in their own time. Why rush through this moment in order to get to ‘better ones?’ Being patient means being open to each moment, accepting its fullness, knowing that, like the butterfly, things can only unfold in their own time.

3. Beginner’s Mind: This is a willingness to see everything as if for the first time. It allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and stops us from getting stuck in the rut of our own experience.

4. Trust: Develop a basic trust in yourself and your feelings. In practicing mindfulness, you are learning to take responsibility for being yourself and trusting your own being. The more you cultivate trust, the more other people will trust you.

5. Acceptance: This means seeing things exactly as they are in this moment. You need to accept yourself as you really are before you can change.

6. Letting Go: In India they have a clever way of catching monkeys. If the monkey could unclasp its hand from the nuts laid for it in a trap, then it would be free. Letting go is non-attachment.

7. Commitment: A strong commitment to working on yourself and having the self-discipline to persevere in the process are essential to developing a strong meditation practise and a high degree of mindfulness. Like an athlete you can train your mind with discipline and determination.


There you have it. It’s bums on seats each day if you want to grow in mindfulness practise.


The colour of relationships

00422685I’ve been astounded this week by how many stages of relationships my clients are in. One, who has had a partner for 18 years, finally broke it of because they discovered their partner is a classic narcissist who falls into a rage if they are not adored all the time. This man is hurt and broken yet strong enough to realise the only way forward is to forgive.

Another is about to get married and yet finds their partner ‘a little sensitive’ if confronted. My answer, is ‘communicate, communicate.’ I say this in hindsight after a failed marriage of 19 years. Whenever my ex and I fought we would invariably ‘sweep it under the carpet’ until the next argument and guess what the same tired issue would emerge worse than ever. It was never dealt with because we never had the courage to talk about it, resolve the issue and move on.

Yet someone else I spoke to this week is getting the ‘cold shoulder’ from their boyfriend because one wants to walk on the beach at 11am on Sunday and the lady hates the midday sun. Both are sulking. Count your lucky stars you have a partner who has some ambition and willingness to get out there and explore the world.

I am reminded yet again by my wise therapist that few relationships are made in heaven and mostly it’s the medias fault that we are taught there is a perfect relationship. I can’t think of one perfect couple who lives in relationship nirvanna. If you know of one please let me know how it’s perfect.

Just remember to cherish the man or woman in your life, warts and all. Nobody’s perfect….