Alison Ford - Reflexologist
Alison is a reflexologist with a clinic based at 381 Footcare in Timperley. Alison came to reflexology after a long career as a child and adolescent mental health nurse. Her own first experience of reflexology was perhaps typically during the early stages of her second pregnancy when she was looking for a way to relax and enhance her own wellbeing.
Alison found the reflexology session to be very relaxing but she was also surprised and impressed by the reflexologist’s ability to pick up symptoms that Alison hadn’t mentioned just by working on her feet. This interest eventually led to Alison to train as a qualified Clinical Reflexologist at the highest available standard (Level 5), a qualification which includes Anatomy and Physiology certification at Level 4. Alison has since attended training in Advanced Reflexology Techniques, as well as Fertility and Maternity Care, and Palliative Care.
Hopefully Alison’s credentials will have made you realise that reflexology, although the process may be relaxing, is not simply a form of foot massage – a common misconception. So, what exactly is it? The Association of Reflexologists defines the practice as; “…a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body.”
These points are arranged in such a way as to form a complete map of the body with the right foot or hand corresponding to the right side of the body and the left corresponding to the left side of the body. The method treats the whole body and specific areas or organs by means of manipulation and a specific pressure technique addressing the related area. Reflexologists usually work on the feet and an interactive map of the feet and the way that the body is represented within them can be found by clicking this link.
This method has been used for several thousands of years and is known to have been practised in a similar manner by the Chinese and the Egyptians. Reflexology was described in the form in which it is now known by Eunice Ingham, an American physiotherapist, who based her method of treatment on work called 'Zone Therapy' which had been described some years earlier in the 1920's by another American, Dr. William Fitzgerald. The main pioneer of Reflexology in Great Britain was the late Doreen Bayly who introduced the method in the early 1960's.
Reflexology is tailored to the individual as a whole person, taking into account both physical and non-physical factors that might be affecting wellbeing. A key part of the process is for the practitioner to take a detailed holistic account of any existing health issues or concerns and of the patient’s lifestyle.
Having kindly offered me a treatment, Alison took my history and it was an interesting process. How often does one consider one’s health as a whole rather than going to the GP to request treatment for a specific issue? Alison’s nursing background was very apparent as our discussion ranged widely and we discussed the interrelation between the stress of modern life, the immune system and health. I was particularly impressed by Alison’s description of the gut as a ‘second brain’ as it both responds to and influences how we intuitively feel about a situation or environment and the kind of ‘vibes’ we get from people – the ‘gut reaction’ that we have all experienced. Conversely, this underlines the importance of caring for our gut and the influence our gut health has on our overall well-being. This reminded me of a nasty bout of amoebic dysentery that I had experienced years ago. I started to wonder what the long-term effects of that had been!
Reflexologists usually work on the feet
When Alison got to work on my feet, politely ignoring my half grown out navy nail varnish and putting a plaster on the verruca that I hadn’t noticed before (the shame), she did find that my gut area was a bit ‘crunchy’. Neck and shoulder issues were also apparent and Alison described my spleen as rather ‘busy’. Well trained reflexologists do not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe so these features do not necessarily indicate serious issues, however, to the experienced practitioner they suggest an area that is out of balance. By manipulating that area, they may be able to help the body to restore balance. I found the process very pleasant with the manipulation of an area at the back of my heel really enjoyable! This area corresponded to the sciatic nerve in my right leg – something that I have had recurring problems with for many years and an area that Alison suggested could benefit from more work.
Alison always contacts her patients the day after their treatment to check that they are feeling okay. She explained that, after a treatment, a patient’s tension may be reduced and they may feel more relaxed. They may sleep better, find that their mood improves and that they have a heightened sense of wellbeing. Other aspects of their health may improve too, however, this happens on an individual basis. Occasionally patients will experience a healing crisis with symptoms that may include nausea, tiredness, headaches. Some people have an emotional reaction, either having bad dreams or being tearful and or upset. This is not a common reaction but does demonstrate that toxins are being broken down and expelled by the body
I had no such negative response and felt very refreshed and relaxed after the treatment. Reflexology may help to mitigate the stresses of modern life and is certainly worth a try if you are looking for a gentle but powerful complementary therapy. Have a look at Alison’s website here .