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Posted Apr 25 2010 2:19PM

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what are the contra-indications to reflexology treatment
Dawn Spragg
Apr 28 2010 12:49PM
Contraindications to reflexology requiring written medical permission or client signing an informed consent form
A medical contraindication to reflexology means there is a reason not to treat unless permission has been gained.
Cardiovascular conditions such as thrombosis, phlebitis, hypertension, hypotension, heart conditions.
Any condition already being treated by a GP or other complimentary therapist.
Nervous/Psychotic conditions
Acute rheumatism
Recent operations
Medical odema
Spastic conditions
Kidney infections
Trapped/pinched nerve (sciatica) inflamed nerve
Any dysfunction of the nervous system, eg multiple sclerosis, parkinsons disease, motor neurone disease
Contraindications to reflexology that restrict treatment
Under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs
Fever, contagious or infectious diseases
Diarrhoea and vomiting
Pregnancy, first trimester
Varicose veins
Cuts, bruises, abrasions
Dawn Spragg
Apr 28 2010 1:01PM
Any fully qualified Reflexologist will take a full medical history during your first appointment , should any contras be highlighted then He/she will not continue with the treatment , hence why you should always go to a fully qualified therapist for any treatments see the register on the CThA site.
Oh and always ask three questions before booking;
1. What is there qualification in Reflexology and where and how long ago did they qualify
2. How long have they been in practice( Has there been in break in their practice) There is no point in visiting a therapist who qualified 20 years ago and has started their practice a year ago with no updated training.
3. Who are they insured by. ( They should be happy for you to check) If someone calls me for any therapy I will happily give information and a telephone number for them to check in fact I am really happy when someone does check)
It’s a real eye opener. If they are not happy to answer your question then do not go to visit them. There are many very qualified therapist out there don’t go for 2nd best.

Dawn Spragg
Irene Williams
Apr 28 2010 2:25PM
Dawn - sorry, but I think you ought to review your list of contra-indications - looking at that I wouldn't be treating any of my clients! Pregnancy is not a contra-indication - reflexology is extremely helpful in fact. MS is not a contra-indication - reflexology is actually recommended - I know I treat several MS clients.
Gill Bright
Apr 28 2010 3:12PM
I would also add, that reflexology can also be used very successfully for cancer patients to help relax and calm them, give pain relief and reduce the side effects of their medication. I did my training in the Cancer Self Help Centre in Wales, which would not have been the case had it been contrainidicated. The nursing sister carried out research on the patients receiving the reflexology treatment and the therapist, and in both cases their blood pressure reduced to a calmer level.

I have also treated a patient with severe arthritis which affected one of her ankles causing excessive swelling, resulting in the foot being turned inward. Over a period of 15 - 18 months, with weekly treatments, being gentle so as not to cause pain, the foot gradually returned to it's correct position and the client was able to walk without pain on the foot.

As stated, it is essential to take a full case history and to discuss the treatment with the client. It is not advised in the 1st trimester of pregnancy, but can be highly effective in easing discomfort and speeding a difficult birth, if undertaken thereafter.

We have to be clear why the condition is contraindicated. A true inderstanding of how reflexology works and any necessary care taken will ensure we provide good quality, healing treatments. Gill Bright, CThA
Dawn Spragg
Apr 28 2010 10:08PM
Dear Irene and Gill
I’m sorry you have taken exception to my posting. I was stating this as I teach the facts, and the question was quite specific and requested these facts.
With reference to contras; The contras I have listed are as taught by ITEC and Other professional reflexology training bodies . Please read the thred again and note that I state: requiring written medical permission or client signing an informed consent form. i.e they are not total contraindications. This does not mean they can not be treated.
As stated in the second statement:
if you go to a fully qualified therapist they will advise you.
I am fully aware that Reflexology can be utilised and is of great benefit for arthritis and in pregnancy and also for cancer and many other conditions on this list, but as you are aware as Reflexology professionals it is with full permission and input from your clients medical practitioner in the case of Cancer and MS and with full medical knowledge and consent from the client in the case of Arthritis and Pregnancy, which I’m sure as professionals and as part of CThA you get should you be treating such cases. Finally without your Medical professional’s written permission for more acute conditions you may not be covered by your insurance.
All the best
Dawn Spragg
Angela Gollop
Apr 29 2010 12:32PM
Hi ladies,
I have been reading your postings about the contra-indications. I feel that most contras are given as a guidline to therapists. Each client is individual, with individual circumstances, and should be treated on an individual basis. As contras are generic, they don't always allow for this. The issues surrounding pregnancy/reflexology is quite confusing. Most say not to treat in the first trimester, but then you have Reflexologists that specialise in Maternity Reflexology, and you can attend courses to obtain this specialized knowledge. So not sure who's right! For other contras, such as diabetes, gout & arthritis in the feet, Hand Reflexology is used as an alternative. Hand Reflexology can also be useful for heart conditions, as the hands do not have a Heart Reflex. I also feel that with illness like MS, reflexology is useful for treating the symptoms, giving clients relief. As I believe in intergrated medicine, and from my experience, therapists and GP's are usually happy to consult and work together, to give the best possible healthcare to clients/patients. So consent is usually fairly easy to obtain, as long as the GP is informed of the pro and cons, of a particular therapy. However I know that this is not always the case, but it should be remembered that most therapies are complementary, and works exceptionally well along side conventional medicine in treating clients/patients. All good therapists will assess the clients 'contra' situation, and take advice on how, or not to proceed. I think as a basic rule of thumb, with most experienced therapists is, if it doesn't feel right to treat any client, with or without contras, then don't treat them.
Janet Clarke
Jan 9 2011 8:52PM
Hello Dawn,
I qualified in May 2009 - A & P, Holistic Massage, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage. All my qualifications are with ITEC and I attained a Distinction in all four. I have since qualified in Hopi Ear candling, Indian Face Massage, seated Acupressure, and I have progressed to Reiki Master (over 3 years).
I consider myself to be dedicated and knowledgeable (although not experienced as many others - yet!) and that my clients should receive the best possible treatment. If for any reason I felt I could not deliver this I would refer them to someone who was more appropriately experienced.
I was therefore disappointed to read in your advice on this subject that potential clients should ask, before booking, how long the therapist has been practising? This seemed to imply that newly qualified therapists are inferior to someone who has been qualified longer. I personally have over 10 years experience of caring for people with chronic health problems, also being "mature" I have substantial life experience which I feel gives me an empathy with many of my older clients. I know that experience is very important and I have already learned a lot since qualifying, but how are we to gain experience if clients are cautioned against using newly qualified therapists?
Warm wishes,
Jan Clarke
Dawn Spragg
Jan 10 2011 1:36PM
Dear Janet
I see where you are coming from but please read the blog again and with a more relaxed and open mind , what did I actually say.
I hold by my suggestion to all looking for a therapist. There is no substitute for experience in your chosen field. The question I feel is very relevant for any client. There are still too many therapists out there who have done a weekend course in therapy and think they can practice or that trained 5-6 years ago and then have not used their training and are going back in to the field with no refresher training because they have the qualifications for life ( use it or lose it) .
If you did not hold by my statement why state your experience of 10 year and back ground, you have stated this as you know it gives you knowledge and as you stated empathy and when clients call I’m sure you give this information readily to instil trust and confident in your practice.
Do you feel that a newly trained therapist of little life experience who has been in practice for 6 months has the same knowledge as you?. I encourage people to ask questions of all therapists before booking to enable them to make an informed choice and not just go to the first one they come across. As a therapist would you not ask the question?
All the best in your practice

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