Aged Care and the Healing Touch of Reflexology

Lyn Fava

  • General Interest

Introduction

When I first began reflexology, I had no idea how effective it would be in life transition. The simplicity of touch is such a powerful tool and essential for the wellbeing of the soul.

Definition of Reflexology:

Reflexology is based on the principal that there are reflexes in the hands and feet and head that correspond to all physical mental emotional and spiritual aspects of the human being.

Reflexology is a unique method using finger, thumb and hand techniques on these reflex points which actively engage with the whole being, bringing about a profound sense of balance and relaxation

How does it work: .

Reflexologist work these reflex points, and bring balance to the mind, body, soul and spirit.by:

 Relieve dis-ease at root level
 Soothes nervous anxiety and fear
 Eases aches pain and discomfort
 Alleviates dis-stress
 Reduces tension by relaxing the musculature
 Assisting circulation process
 Cleanses the whole of threatening substances and impurities of spirit.
 Clams hyperactive /over productive parts

The beauty of reflexology is that it may be used in conjunction with other medical treatments. Reflexology is non-invasive and portable (can be done anywhere), as you only need expose your hands, feet or head.

Most importantly for the individual, it provides a wonderful opportunity for connection on a physical, spiritual and emotional level.

I have worked in the aged care sector for 15 years as a nurse. I began studying reflexology whilst working at a nursing home. I practiced the art and skill of reflexology, on willing residents, nursing staff, and family members.

Once fully qualified, I then offered private 30min reflexology sessions to the residents and volunteered one hour a month for a group session.

The results were very heartening.

After group reflexology sessions, the physiotherapist was amazed by the increase in range of physical movement for the residents after just receiving 10 min of relaxation reflexology.

These group sessions worked well with residents not living with Dementia.

Whilst on night duty, one night, one of the residents was very unsettled (which was quite common for her), after having taken care of her physical needs, we put her back to bed and I performed a 5-min reflexology treatment on her feet.

She went back to sleep until morning without her usual PRN order of a sleeping tablet.

I found in my experience, hand reflexology to be far more beneficial to residents who were living with Alzheimer’s disease. It provided the opportunity to help relieve aches and pains and improve bowel movements. However, just as importantly, it brought about an opportunity to talk, most times incorporating validation, which helped calm their anxiety and confusion.

The nurses reported that instead of exhibiting the usual anxiety, the residents who received a reflexology session in the morning were calmer around the late afternoon (anxiety associated with Sundowning syndrome).

If a nurse or carer complained of an ache or pain, I would simply work the related reflex point. This helped them and “put a smile on their dial”, so the whole place seemed a bit cheerier.

One of the plaguing thoughts, which come to many people’s minds, is that they will be lonely and a burden in their old age.

What a comfort to know that reflexology can be implemented by families, friends and volunteers, and together we can have a real impact in the quality of life for the elderly. Easing those feelings of loneliness and improving connectedness.

I have learnt so much from the elderly residents. They have some amazing stories, nostalgia and antics to share.

Sharing time and touch is such a wonderful gift.

My mother lived with Alzheimer’s for 10 years. Progressively, over the years we could not communicate as we once had. I was blessed, as I was given the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with her on a soul level. We communicated not through words in the end, but through just a knowing and gentle touch. All of the barriers and masks had been removed, and I got to see her true light.

It is my dream to bring professional and volunteer reflexology to every nursing home, so as to unite our communities.

The elderly to share their gift of knowledge and total acceptance, and the youth to;
• Learn new skills,
• Reconnect with their elders,
• Contribute to society,
• Provide companionship and
• Feel they can make a difference to someone’s life…..

A healing experience for everyone.

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