12 August 2011
How Reflexology helps a dancer named Oscar
How is it that people change? Isn't it true that it is one of human nature's most difficult tricks? Well, I have seen it countless times as I work on my client's feet. As the feet become open and supple, so it seems to reflect what is going on in the person. Like the peeling of an onion, layer upon layer of tension, contraction and pain start to shed. This is about such a shift in Oscar.
Oscar has been a client of mine for some time. He is an excellent Tango dancer and gifted teacher. Every day his feet take a lot of pressure. I have read that on average we normally spend 4 hours a day on our feet and take between 8,000 and 10,000 steps. Compared to the rest of our body, our feet are very small and every step puts about 50% more than our body weight on them. Therefore, in an average day, our feet support a combined force equal to several hundred tons. Holy cow! In Oscar's case imagine that force multiplied several times over as he leads his students in the complexities of tango's ochos, crusadas, boleos and caminitas. So it is no surprise Oscar has experienced an aching back. Luckily, back pain, caused by a physical imbalance like an injury or psychological imbalance like stress or anxiety, can be treated using reflexology. So I have worked on Oscar therapeutically, much like an Acupuncturist would. By stimulating points within the reflex maps I encourage his body to find a balance for itself. The entire body gets attention, while only the feet are being worked on.
Oscar usually relaxes deeply - sometimes he sleeps - in my zero gravity reflexology recliner. The chair's best kept secret is that is allows Oscar to obtain good posture even when he's relaxing. By maintaining good posture in the chair, his spine benefits and relieves pressure on his back and body. When Oscar finishes his hour - his first impression upon standing is how tall he has gotten! And in fact his posture has improved as the spine and back have released their contractions.
Over time, I have witnessed Oscar's new found dedication to self-care. This has manifested in his paying attention to diet and sleep habits, to taking time for himself to heal potential injuries and to allowing the body to be where it is - without anger or disappointment. As he has become more caring and attentive to his needs, he has also become more nurturing in his relationships. Looking at Oscar, I see a person who radiates a zest for life and a posture of pride and intention. And my hunch is - his dancing has improved as well.