My first experience of reflexology, as a patient, was when I was in my early twenties. I had heard of it before then but, as with most healthy people who do not have a direct interest in health or healing matters, I really had no idea of what was involved. Certainly if I had remained healthy, I would not have made an effort to find out more about reflexology, discover its benefits, become a reflexologist, and write Reflexology for Beginners. It is funny how things work out!
Before I decided to try reflexology, I had been very ill for four years with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). During that period, I spent most of my time lying down or being pushed around in a wheelchair. The medical profession identified the condition and told me that it was the result of a serious virus compounded by stress at work, stress at home, and stress in-between. However, they were unable to offer any practical help or treatment. This in itself was a shock, as I was brought up believing that doctors are generally able to cure or at least help in some way.
After four miserable years, especially for my family, a friend gave me an article on reflexology. I thought that I should give it a try—I had nothing to lose. I found a qualified practitioner listed in a local directory. From the first treatment, I found that my symptoms began to improve, my energy returned, and I started to feel more relaxed and optimistic about life. After years of ill health, this was a wonderful experience, almost like being reborn.
Every week I looked forward to the treatment, which in itself is a lovely experience. I have sensitive feet anyway, and I remember as a young child my mother stroking my feet when I was upset. This always seemed to quiet me down, which was good for me and good for her.
Without any doubt reflexology set me on the road to good health and inner well being. Although I would not like to go through such an illness again, I do feel that I learned much from that time and the way my life has developed. As a result, it has more than compensated for the distress and discomfort I experienced. I feel that I was put back on track. Being ill gives us time to think, and it often forces us to look at ourselves and our lives in a new light. It also helps us to understand what it is like to be ill, and this gives us empathy and compassion for others who are suffering. Understanding and developing these qualities are invaluable for therapists and anyone interested in healing/helping others.
Some of the most enjoyable, moving, and fulfilling reflexology treatments I have given have been at a hospice for cancer patients. If there was any doubt in my mind that reflexology was just a physical treatment without a spiritual aspect, this was completely dispelled following these experiences. Many times I felt that the healing being received was from beyond the physical realm, especially on those patients without long to live.
I also learned that the true meaning of healing is much more than just promoting good physical health. Letting go of your own worries, trusting in a positive outlook, directing your life towards benefiting others, and improving and understanding yourself is the path to inner peace. Developing such good inner qualities are the basic ingredients of good health and a happy life. Without this, good physical health is almost meaningless. So reflexology is a healing technique for body, mind, and spirit. The effect of reflexology on the mind and spirit is often immediate or occurs at least within the first few treatments. Whether this improvement is carried over into the physical body depends upon many factors that are detailed in Reflexology for Beginners.
While I was training to become a reflexologist, my teacher told me of a Buddhist meditation center in the English Lake District called Manjushri Centre. I went to stay with a friend in order to learn a little more about meditation and simply have a weekend out of the city. This was the beginning of a fascinating journey into the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Much of what I have gained from studying Buddha's teachings and practicing meditation has helped me to gain a clearer and deeper understanding of how we can use reflexology to cure and prevent illness. I have found the Buddhist explanations on the cause and cure of disease, the nature of the mind, and the path to true freedom and happiness to be flawless. It is very practical and of great benefit to me as a reflexologist and simply as someone interested in being happy. Much of this timeless wisdom is included within Reflexology for Beginners because self-understanding is a wonderful basis on which to begin helping and healing others.
I have had so many wonderful experiences with reflexology. Reflexology for Beginners contains a whole chapter of case studies and testimonies to the healing power of this very special therapy. It makes reflexology simple to learn and perfect, and it gives the reader the opportunity to start practicing within days. If there was just one person in every family or group of friends who was capable of giving a reflexology treatment, the world would be a much happier and healthier place.