Self-care for Reflexologists

Medice, cura te ipsum – Physician, heal thyself. A quote from Luke 4.23 – and it’s no surprise that Luke quoted Jesus saying this, as Luke was a physician himself!

What we take from this saying is twofold:

1. Not only are we to take care of ourselves, so we can thereby take care of others, but the real meaning in this saying is that;

2. We should be living a healthy life ourselves, so we set a good example to our clients and they are then enthused to follow our example.

So let’s break this down into the two points:

1) Taking care of our hands: Our hands are our toolkit. If we injure our hands, we can’t work, it as simple as that! Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is the easiest injury to pick up, as the nature of thumb and finger walking when treating a client is SO repetitive.

If you are also pressing on hard you will make yourself even more susceptible. When I train my students, I have two mantras: “Positive pressure not pull away pain” i.e. press on enough so the client can feel what’s happening in the treatment, but not so hard that the client needs to pull their feet away.

And in conjunction the other mantra: “Train, don’t strain” i.e. don’t press on so hard that it hurts your hands. Let your hands build up their strength, rather than injuring yourself.

So how can we avoid RSI? The easiest way is to vary the styles and techniques you use to deliver treatments. There are two ideal variations – Finger Free® Reflexology, which teaches you to use non-articulating joints to apply pressure. Also Gentle Touch™ Reflexology, where very light pressure is used. Both of these approaches will minimise the risk of RSI for reflexologists.

Another self-help for our hands is to ‘warm up’ before we treat our clients. An athlete would never run a race without warming up and stretching. Neither should we go straight into a treatment without warming up and stretching our hands. There are loads of really good hand exercises on YouTube that are very helpful for this.

2) Taking care of our bodies: Eating healthily, not smoking or vaping, taking exercise, not drinking to excess. Perhaps also taking supplements. If we don’t ‘walk the walk’, how can we ‘talk the talk’ when giving aftercare advice to our clients?

We need to live by example, or risk that our clients will see us as hypocritical. We need to show that choosing to live healthily has so many benefits that our clients will want to follow our example.

So if we look after our hands and look after our bodies, we can have a long and prosperous career ahead of us.

Sounds good, doesn’t it!

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