Modalities of Healing
The predominant mode of healing in our western culture for the last century has been disease management. Led by allopathic medicine utilizing surgery and pharmaceutical drugs there has been a strong focus on removal and alleviation of symptoms. This may be perceived as a crisis intervention model of healing. When symptoms are identified, the doctor will diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment to manage and eliminate these symptoms. In this disease management mode of healing treatment is focussed on specific conditions. When the symptoms are eliminated, or, managed the treatment is considered complete.
Reflexology could be applied in this manner. When symptoms of stress are presented, the reflexologist would work only the specific corresponding parts of the feet, hands, or ears to alleviate the symptoms. When the symptom is alleviated reflexology would be discontinued.
This might be considered a "First Aid" application of reflexology, and, is appropriate in some circumstances where a more long-term approach is not feasible or appropriate. Possible examples are: providing immediate short-term benefit for someone suffering from a headache, or, in an emergency such as assisting a person to recover from a faint.
However, for the most part, our approach in the use of reflexology is different. Along with other natural therapies, our orientation in the use of reflexology is to support the body in it's own healing process, to strengthen the body, so that it is able to draw upon it's own recuperative resources to heal itself. This orientation of most reflexologists has, in part, evolved out of political necessity. It is currently illegal for a reflexologist to diagnose, prescribe, or, treat for specific conditions. These activities are restricted to licensed health care practitioners: medical doctors, naturopathic physicians, etc.. Consequently, we find ourselves, along with chiropractors and other natural therapists, with the orientation of supporting the body in its process of healing itself.
The reflexologist works to strengthen each and every part of the body, including all those parts in which symptoms are not manifesting. Often it is the healthy parts of the body that provide the resources for healing those which are ailing.
One advantage of this approach is that it does not require us to develop a vast knowledge of the complexities of human anatomy and physiology in order to be effective. The systems, glands, organs and parts of the body are all so intricately intertwined in their functioning that even our most advanced students of medicine are far from comprehending it all.
The reflexologist, by providing thorough stimulation of all the reflex areas of the feet/hands/ears, reduces stress and tension and creates a space in the recipient's body for healing to take place.
Of course, if a reflex area seems to need more attention than others then it is appropriate for the reflexologist to provide additional attention for that reflex area. This would be appropriate in cases of marked sensitivity, or, the reflexologists suspicion that the corresponding part of the body might be related to the recipient's loss of health.
Another advantage of this approach is that when the body uses it's own recuperative resources they become strengthened.
When medicine intervenes in the healing process and takes over by chemically manipulating the body, the body's resources are often superseded, and as a result, over time these resources will atrophy.
Clearly, a healing process that strengthens the body is preferred over one that weakens it.