Muddy tries reflexology
Can applying pressure to your feet really help you feel better physically and emotionally? Let's find out!
I’ve always been a bit of a dabbler in complementary therapies, sometimes when conventional medicine hasn’t worked (eczema), other times as a holiday treat (Thai massage on a beach anyone?), and on the whole, my experiences have been positive if not life-changing. Until now, that is – I’d never tried reflexology before and I can honestly say that Hilary’s Reflexology has actually helped me change my life.
So, what’s reflexology?
Reflexology is a type of therapy that involves applying pressure to certain areas of the feet that are directly connected by nerves to other areas around the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, endocrine system, brain, etc, in the belief that applying pressure to these areas helps to stimulate recovery, good health and wellbeing. It can help with long-term chronic pain, hormone imbalance, difficulties around fertility, pregnancy and the menopause, depression, and tricky life transitions, such as kids leaving home, moving house, dealing with a death or the breakdown of a relationship or making a career change. It creates a space for you to connect with yourself, relax and experience a bit of meditative calm.
Hilary, who she?
Hilary was at art school when she decided to train as a reflexologist after experiencing the profound effects of the treatment on her own life. A true healer, she really pours herself into her vocation and is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. She works with many cancer patients to help support them and also treats children – she’s currently working with yoga practitioners to develop a treatment for children integrating yoga and reflexology to help them manage stress, anxiety and depression.
Hilary works from her home near Stroud and it would be hard to find a calmer setting. You’re greeted with aromatherapy scents as you walk through the door and a strong feeling that you’re in a place where it’s safe to let go. The therapy room itself is small and intimate with a massage bed (heated if you like, which I definitely do!), lots of pillows, blankets and mellow vibes aplenty.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first session and being ticklish, worried I’d be giggling and twitching throughout. In fact, Hilary has a strong touch which doesn’t tickle at all, phew! She used rose oil on my feet, which she told me is very nurturing “like unconditional love in a bottle”. All the products she uses are handmade by Ila Spa, a very special skincare company in the Cotswolds, which I shall be writing about soon.
At times during the hour and a quarter the pressure on certain areas of my feet was a bit ouch, in particular my big toes. Hilary told me afterwards that most people feel it in the big toe as this area is linked to the pituitary gland and so stimulates your whole endocrine system, and generally most people have some kind of hormone imbalance. It wasn’t unbearable pain though and Hilary let me know when it was nearly over.
Soon afterwards I drifted off into a dream-like state where bright colours were swirling around my mind. It was like a delicious half sleep, where I was aware of myself blissfully luxuriating in it. It felt incredibly nourishing and when I came back to earth at the end of the session, I felt astonishingly rejuvenated.
Hilary always gives insightful feedback and after this first session told me that she’d picked up on a bladder issue (I nearly lost the use of mine after the birth of my first child), some deep-seated grief (my mother died when I was eight) and guilt, which at first I didn’t understand. She advised me to imagine a figure of eight over my body to help me feel more connected to myself and told me to take the rest of the day gently and that if any issues arose or I felt upset to call her. And then she booked me in for another appointment in a fortnight.
This and my subsequent monthly treatments helped me along a real journey of, dare I say it, self-empowerment. It dawned on me that the guilt Hilary had picked up on was around my children – for the past five years I’ve been working in London during the week and so have only seen them at weekends. I’d been laying down plans to get myself back home, but felt foggy about the when and nervous about the how. But after the treatment things started to crystallise in my mind and I suddenly found the confidence to take the leap and resign from my job. I didn’t agonise, endlessly discuss, fret or worry, I just did it. I’ve had more difficulty deciding what to eat for dinner! And during my notice period (three long months), the reflexology treatments really helped me to make the transition calmly and without anxiety. I just had to close my eyes and conjure up Hilary’s hands holding my feet and I felt an instant sense of security. Her advice after each session helped carry me through to the next one and she’s such an open person I found myself unburdening to her, which I believe made the treatments even more powerful.
I believe regular visits to a reflexologist can definitely boost your wellbeing and health, both mental and physical. Depending on where you’re at you might need weekly or monthly sessions, or perhaps just bi-monthly or a couple of times a year to keep you balanced and on track. Like eating well and exercising, I’d recommend it as one of the building blocks to keeping you in good shape inside and out.