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  • June Okochi

Reflexology and Sickle Cell

I first started reflexology treatments carried out successively weekly over an 8 week period. The sessions were offered to me by Denise, my lovely and very expert reflexologist. She is expert and I will tell you why shortly.

In very simple terms, reflexology is the therapy of the feet.

According to the Association of Reflexologists, Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body.

So basically one's entire anatomy can be reflected on one's feet via reflexology.

Denise was looking to see how reflexology treatments can significantly improve the lives of people living with sickle cell. There is no real evidence of these treatments having significant effects on sickle cell. So I thought it was a brilliant idea that she was exploring this.

Denise offered a number of sickle patients the free sessions and I was one of a very small few to take on the sessions..

Denise will be writing up a research report about reflexology in sickle cell and hopefully I can feature as one of her case studies.

On my last session, I was discussing with Denise about potentially accessing further treatments and how this could do a lot of good for my blood flow.

I expressed how reflexology has helped me and couldn't have expressed it enough but some experiences are difficult to express or write especially on a feed back form - of course her clients will have to do this for her service as part of her best practice standards and her evaluation framework.

So focusing on the last session, as that's the one my memory seems to be quite in tune with

I arrived at her lovely house/ studio in North London. As always she made me feel extremely comfortable on the massage bed, tweaking relaxation positions, the fragrance in the air filled with lavender and a citric mix. Subtle relaxing/ meditative music in the background, we exchanged pleasantries and I relaxed striaght into the zen mood.

Denise used oils with elements containing sage, lemon, geraniums and citrus. She used a sweet orange balm also.

These oils are meant to be great for circulation, the lymphatic system and the digestive system.

As sickle cell affects the flow of oxygen and the blood cells get stuck in the blood vessels, one can see how this therapy can benefit people like me.

So back to the oils, what this means from a zen point of view is that those flavors of oils can in turn help to lift any feelings of depression, hurting emotions and anxiety.

People don't care about these things but I do. Wellbeing is extremely important to me.

I know it definitely helped relax me over those last couple of weeks as I was starting a new job and taking on a new role in my career and believe it or not, anything that takes me away from my comfort zone creates a low level of anxiety and this is coming from someone who flirts with change.

Throughout my treatment, Denise was able to see my anatomy and assess my physiology just by looking at my feet. To be honest, at first, I thought 'what a load of crap' after reading about reflexology online but she changed everything. I have always believed in having an open mind and positive consciousness to everything one does. It makes a whole lot of a difference with injecting positivity and light into our lives.

What did Denise see?

She saw I had issues with my lungs in the past. I confirmed to her I had quite a few acute chest syndromes and bad pneumonias which nearly took my life.

She confirmed a high level of toxins in the my body from eating lots of carbs. I confirmed I ate toast most mornings, potatoes with my proteins, pudding some weekend evenings, and that I liked my mid-day snacks and the odd doughnuts. She asked me to get rid of that diet.

I did.

My partner totally agreed and I told Denise how my partner was in turn trying to get me a way from snacking unhealthy things.

Denise literally asked me to high five him. After much struggle, I have cut down on carbs, bread and stuff like doughnuts and unhealthy stuff like that.

She saw I had abnormal changes in my reproductive areas and I confirmed to her that that week I had received some results after my cervical screening about abnormal cell changes which obviously freaked me out. The changes had occurred due to my low immunity and the treatment I had being taken for my sickle.

And finally she was able to detect the issues I had with my eyes . I have been diagnosed with sickle retinopathy and that was when I thought, the woman is a freaking genius!

She is brilliant at what she does.

So yes that was by initial contact and experience with reflexology.

Did I mention that the moment Denise touches my feet, I fall asleep on the massage bed until she gives me a gentle tap to wake once she has completed the therapy. I look at my watch and I wonder where all that time went? I had been sleeping for 70 mins, deeply I must add, snoring and drooling like a moron.

That's the effect she has on me and it would be interesting to know about others. A friend of mine attends her therapy and also speaks highly of her experience with Denise's treatment.

It's always divine after she is done with me. I feel lighter, relaxed, my circulation is perfecto, I have no anxieties, I am generally just a happy girl for the next couple of weeks and that's what massage therapy and reflexology does for me.

I have since continued my therapy even after my four free sessions and it's been brilliant!

I consider treatments like this, gifts to my body and soul.

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