The power of the therapeutic touch should never be underestimated. As a reflexologist in a residential nursing home, I have worked with many older people who are dying. A few years a go a lady, in her late 80’s, had been in the last stages of life for 36 hours and was sleeping deeply. She had been held and stroked by her family and made comfortable by the medical staff. I had treated her with reflexology for the previous 3 years and she obviously knew my touch well as I sat and held her hand. To my surprise she murmured three times, “Touch my feet”. The nurse was equally as surprised but allowed me to give her some very gentle reflexology. She became less restless and the next morning woke and asked for something to eat. At first the family thought I had performed some sort of miracle and that she would now recover. It was, of course, not to be but it did give the family the opportunity to talk to her and say their good byes before she drifted back into her final sleep. I had spoken to her that next morning and she told me she could vaguely remember feeling a strong desire for her feet to be firmly touched “for comfort”.
Role Reversal where the Client gives the Therapist Reflexology
Recently I had a another moving and unique experience while working on an 80 year old lady, Miss Y, as she, very surprisingly, gave me a hand reflexology ‘treatment’. This example is taken from my Dementia and Reflexology article, published in Positive Health journal. Miss Y has grown frail over the past 2 years and her speech and cognitive abilities have become increasingly impaired. She can, on occasions, be very aware of her surrounding and always enjoys being smartly dressed. By using some of the hand reflexology nail-working techniques, see my VRT book “Vertical Reflexology for Hands”, plus pressing on precise reflex points on the hands, Miss Y often begins to focus more and concentrates on her words making understandable comments or remarks. Occasionally she will suddenly say, “I am very lucky” , “Thank you very, very much” or “Come again” or tries to impart complicated sentences.
On this particular day Miss Y was not particularly communicative but I worked gently on reflex points to help support her digestive system and to relax and calm her generally. At one point she had been staring into space when suddenly, but gently, she took my hand, palm down, in her two hands and stroked and squeezed it. She gave a little smile, then held my hand in hers while she precisely pinched and worked each of my fingers individually. She took my thumb and tapped on the nails, and then turned my hand while she worked up and the down the palm which is part of a relaxation treatment for the organs and trunk. She was in deep concentration but a couple of times looked up at me and I thanked her for giving me such a lovely treatment. After she had been working on my hands for at least 6-7 minutes, I told her it was time for me to continue with her own reflexology session. To conclude she stroked up and down my hands in the appropriate manner. She has not, so far, attempted to give me more reflexology.
See Lynne Booth’s acclaimed VRT DVD for Hands and Feet and buy on-line. 60 minutes of ICNM awarding-winning techniques to help relax the body and bring about well-being for health issues. Read more about learning the Vertical Reflexology (VRT) and classical reflexology techniques and the step-by-step instructions which are suitable for beginners as well as therapists on this easy to use training DVD.