My friend and colleague Christine Freeland knows feet. After receiving a reflexology treatment from her, I felt a profound change in not only my feet, but my whole body. My shoulders relaxed, my headache dissipated, and I felt sublime.
If you’ve never tried reflexology before, here’s your chance! Christine is sensitive, intuitive, skilled, and makes you feel right at home in your own body.
I was able to interview Christine about reflexology in general and her practice more specifically. Here is our correspondence below. Isn’t Christine delightful?
How does reflexology work?
Reflexology is a system where the whole of the body is represented as an image on the soles of our feet, hands, and ears. By working specific points with a special thumb and finger technique on the feet, I can remotely stimulate the connected areas of the body.
The scientific community has yet to prove exactly how reflexology works, but it is believed that it is a combination of many factors. First and foremost, reflexologists believe in the power of relaxation. When you reach a state of calm, a powerful change in body chemistry takes place so that your body turns its energy to rest, digestion and cell repair. Also, this directed pressure on specific points stimulates the nerve pathways and energy lines of the body. There is lots of proof that reflexology lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow to the legs and feet.
How does reflexology differ from a regular foot massage?
On the most basic level, the strokes and techniques of massage are different than reflexology methods. In reflexology we primarily use a “thumb walking” motion of alternating pressure to move across very small areas of the feet, one little step at a time. In reflexology, although I only touch the feet (or hands), my focus is always on the body as a whole system, thinking of the remote body parts I stimulate through the reflex points as well as the tiny muscles, tendons and joints of the feet. When a massage practitioner works on feet, he or she is focused only on the anatomy of the foot.
What do you love most about your work as a reflexologist?
I love helping people achieve a state of calm and rest. I have clients who come into my office talking loudly and quickly about how stressed they are or how difficult it is for them to relax or sleep. There is no greater feeling than seeing that same client quiet down, close their eyes, breathe more slowly and maybe even fall asleep after just a few minutes of reflexology.
What interesting results have you seen with clients?
One client came to me with an ache in her shoulder that had lasted three weeks and pain medicine had not helped her. About half way through our session, the client said that she felt tingling in her shoulder and could feel the muscles “unwinding” and at the end of session she said she felt like she was holding her shoulder differently and it was moving easier. At our next session, she told me that she felt the shoulder “unwinding” for almost 3 hours after the session, then the pain was gone and the tension did not return. I hear results like this all the time.
Another client has multiple sclerosis, which sometimes gives her tremors in her hands and neck. These tremors can last for days and can be painful and cause difficulty sleeping. Almost immediately after I start working on her feet, her whole body becomes still. Tremors typically stop for 4-5 hours after a session.
Why are the feet so important to our health?
I think this a great question. Your feet are what moves you through the world, and carries your weight. There are more bones and joints in the feet than in any other body part. Did you know that the foot and ankle can move in over 150 different ways? When a foot is injured or stiff, you might find yourself limping or walking out of a natural rhythm which can shift the way knees, hips and low back function. That’s how a foot problem turns into a whole body problem. Keeping our feet strong, limber, and pain free helps us maintain balance.
What can I expect to experience in a session with you?
You would lie down on my massage table and tuck up under a warm blanket and place your feet at the end of the table for me to work on. I touch only the feet and around the ankle bones. As I work on each specific point on your feet, you might feel warmth or a tingling sensation or a release of muscle tension in various parts of your body as each organ or muscle group is reflexively activated. You may feel areas of tenderness on specific points, which give me a clue about what your body is saying through the reflex points on your feet. Most people experience a deep sense of relaxation and about half of my clients actually dream or fall asleep while I work. Most of my sessions are one hour in length. A lot of clients express that they feel relaxed, revitalized, or euphoric after a session, and almost all report that they sleep deeper and longer that night. Your feet will feel amazing too.
What issues do people often have when they come to you for reflexology?
Since reflexology is a whole body system, I see clients with every kind of issue imaginable. Most common complains of my clients are tension (neck, shoulders, low back pain), foot pain (plantar fasciitis, bunions), fertility issues, digestive issues, and stress.
If I want to make an appointment with you, how can I do so? How best do I reach you and learn about you?
My website is a one stop shop: www.littlebirdreflexology.com
At the site, you can book a session, sign up for my newsletter, and learn more about reflexology and my qualifications. You will also find my phone number, and how to connect with me on social media.
Why the name “Little Bird Reflexology”?
Because Rising Bird Healing Arts was my inspiration to begin a body work practice of my own. Thank you.