Reflexology, Stroke and checking client medication

By Terri Perry ITEC Dip Reflex and TFT Dx

Following the loss of my mother to stroke in 2002 I decided to use my therapies to try to help others struck down by stroke. I went to give talks and demonstrations to stroke groups and disability clubs.

At one such evening, I gave a talk to a local stroke group and gave mini-treatments of VRT on hands and feet to the members. One lady marvelled at the sensations she felt as I gave VRT to her while she sat in her wheelchair. She told me that during the 5 min demonstration treatment “it made her feet throb for 2 nights” and, her left arm (which had been paralysed by the stroke years before) started to “jump” involuntarily and woke her up. Following this she called me to treat her at home. She wanted more of this new treatment.

This 74 year old lady had suffered a stroke in 2000 and the whole of her left side was paralysed. She had also had a triple heart bypass. Her diabetes was controlled by diet and Glipizide medication. In fact, like many elderly people, she was administered a cocktail of 12 drugs by staff throughout the day. She was relatively young compared to the other residents and resented having to live in a Nursing Home but disability and family circumstances meant she had no choice.

She always had trouble sleeping and would get up to urinate up to 6 times during the night meaning she slept only a couple of hours. She had to monitor her weight and her blood sugar fluctuated quite wildly from 12 to 20. Constipation was always a problem. She had suffered emotional trauma from suicide in the family – twice (which I treated using TFT (Thought Field Therapy).

At the time I met her in March 2004 she was able to walk with a stick but was in a wheelchair (partly because of the danger of her falling and also the staff not wanting to pick her up). She had been receiving fortnightly visits from a State physiotherapist. The physio wanted her to practice walking but she could only do so in the company of the physio as the staff would not walk with her. NHS cutbacks meant that no more physio was provided for her and she became confined to her wheelchair.

Life is not always easy for the complimentary therapist. At my first visit, the staff and matron barred me in the entrance from going to see my client, even though permission had been granted from her GP for me to treat Mrs X and her daughter wanted her to have it.
The matron was aggressive and tried to prevent me from going in saying “Don’t you dare give her any hope or it will be us who have to pick up the pieces”! However, Mrs X came around the corner in her wheelchair and angrily told them to let me pass as “it was her right to have what she wanted”. Following this, they reluctantly let me in every month thereafter and never again discussed my treatments. This behaviour was detrimental to my client and I continued to use calming techniques on her anger and frustration.

On her first VRT treatment the following reflexes were sensitive:

Right Foot                                      Left Foot
Lymphatics                                    Lymphatics
Thoracic                                         Thyroid/heart
Liver                                                Chest/lungs
Throat                                             Achilles

After this treatment she reported that she had slept better and a longer duration of 3 or 4 hours.

After about three months treatments she reported having wonderful nights sleep from 10 pm – 4 am. She was feeling good. Blood sugar had gone to near normal at 7. Other reflexes had emerged as follows:

Right Foot                                       Left Foot
Solar Plexus                                   Cerebrum
Kidney                                              Pituitary
Cerebrum                                         Cranial Nerves
Pituitary                                           Kidney
Pineal                                                 Adrenal
Sinus/neck                                      Sciatic

On 16.6.04 she reported that she now had a problem with heat, sweating and had to have a fan installed in the bedroom. Her GP told her that “one of her pills can cause trouble with the thyroid”. I continued to consistently pick up sensitivity on the thyroid reflex and urged her to have it checked.

On 18.11.04 Following this treatment she reported being “pretty well with no real problems” She had a slight cough for no real reason but after nailworking was suddenly able to move her left arm slightly! (paralysed side). This was amazing news but I could not reproduce the effect again.
I worked on finger nails and both hands but I used caution working on her cracked feet as she was diabetic. I also noted her toe nails were badly encrusted with fungus and urged her check with her doctor for Candida albicans overgrowth. They dismissed it at first but after insisting on a test she was then prescribed an antifungal medication

7.12.05 Mrs X was now happier and motivated. She joined a class at the local school to learn computer skills so that she could communicate with a relative in Australia. This time, she reported no health problems other than the constipation. I advised her to drink two glasses of water on waking and continue drinking plain water throughout the day but to stop before evening to prevent her having to get up in the night to urinate. The Nursing Home did not want her to drink lots as she needed assistance to get to the toilet more!

On 9.6.05 Mrs X reported that she “always sleeps better after my treatment and is sleeping longer” Also, the number of times she was getting up during the night to urinate had reduced from 6 to only 2 or 3. She was pleased.

Mrs X started exercise classes which had been organised by the local authority for disabled people. She was conscious of her weight gain made worse by being in a wheelchair all the time. She loved going to the classes as they got her out of the Nursing Home where she was surrounded by much older people but alas, they finished after 10 weeks because there was no further funding.

On 4.10.06 the physiotherapist had her walk down the corridor without using her wheelchair.

On 28.11.07 I did nail-working on her paralysed left hand. She can now move the thumb on that side but not the fingers. I needed to work with her more intensively to maintain the improvements.

From the very first treatment on 1.4.04 I had consistently picked up sensitivity on the thyroid reflex. This coupled with her sweating, constipation and weight gain could mean her thyroid was not functioning correctly. I checked her notes again and researched her long list of medication. One of the drugs she had been given for some time was Amiodarone. The description, as follows:

“for cardio/pulmonary resusc – supravent/ventricular arrythmia.
Contains iodine and can cause disorders of the thyroid gland (hypo or hyper).
Clinical assessment is unreliable and lab tests should be performed before treatment and
every 6 months. T3, T4 and TSH should be measured.
Most patients develop corneal microdeposits (reversible on withdrawal of treatment).
Drivers may be dazzled by headlights at night.
Possible phototoxic reactions”.

On 16.6.04 the eye reflex on both feet became sensitive too. It wasn’t until 8.1.09 that she was found to have cataracts on both eyes.

I again advised Mrs X to request a thyroid test from her doctor. In Jan 2005 Mrs X asked her diabetes specialist doctor for a thyroid function test. On receipt of the result she was prescribed Thyroxine. So reflexology had helped pin point a problem. Obviously we are taught never to diagnose but it gave information to point the client in the direction to seek medical help. It was a pity it took 9 months before a test was taken and even after her GP told her in June 2004 that her problem to do with heat and sweating was likely caused by one of her pills upsetting the thyroid (Amiodarone) a test was not done. As far as I am aware, at no time was the Amiodarone discontinued.

From the beginning of 2004 I consistently picked up kidney reflex sensitivity on the right foot. On 8.2.07 Mrs X’s specialist said he was “pleased with her progress” but said “her kidneys were getting old” and increased diuretic and cholesterol medication. On 28.9.07 her doctor arranged a blood test for one kidney.

Mrs X looked forward to my monthly visits and the treatments calmed her and helped her cope with the frustration of her situation.

She had been affected by emotional trauma both past and present which gave her a tendency to depression. I used TFT (Thought Field Therapy) to eliminate her upset of bereavement from suicide and the trauma of the original stroke etc. She then felt happier and also her Heart Rate Variability improved.

Briefly, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a scientific measurement of the difference between the beats of the heart which is affected by negative emotion and toxins such as artificial fragrance. Heart Rate Variability is used in the USA by cardiologists and other medical professionals and by some TFT practitioners. Over 40 years ago it was found that when the interval between heartbeats becomes smaller then death follows. Two people can have the same heart rate of 75 beats per minute, while one has a healthy variation in the intervals between beats while the other may be close to death due to extremely small intervals between beats. As the intervals get smaller, death approaches. The risk of death is not just due to heart problems but can be due to cancer, infections, diabetes or almost any other condition. I find it an invaluable tool when someone is feeling ill.

Her initial HRV reading on 23.11.05 was:

Heart rate (pulse) 62.5 (quite a low pulse but on medication)
SDNN 36.3 (this was of immediate concern as this was too low)
Total Power 189.1 ( this was of immediate concern as this was too low)

Another reading was taken on 26.9.07 following reflexology and TFT treatments at various times:

Heart Rate (pulse) 66.7
SDNN 52.1
Total Power 531

A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology (Bilchick et al) gives meaning to the degrees of improvement in HRV. It states that “..each increase of 10 milliseconds in HRV, gives a 20% decrease in risk of mortality”. And so, the treatments I used with Mrs X gave an improvement of an SDNN from a very low 36.3 to a more respectable 52.1 (figures below 50, being at higher risk of sudden mortality). As I knew her history of previous heart problems and stroke I treated her immediately with TFT and discovered that a particular instant coffee she had just drunk was toxic to her. I told her not to have that brand but it was all that was offered.

Mrs X went on a holiday and missed appointments becoming ill whilst away. When she returned to the nursing home she was not well but the staff would not permit me to visit her (I probably could have helped her).
Unknown to me, she was admitted to hospital in 2009 and died before I could see her (I went to the hospital to search for her – I was told she had been moved but no information).
Even though I had treated her for five years, the nursing home would not let me know what happened or cause of death.

I always take an in-depth case history including all medication and refer to it should relevant reflexes appear sensitive. Many times it has proved invaluable in alerting a client to a potential problem i.e. where medication prescribed by GP and same by another locum doctor or hospital effectively doubling the dose or being prescribed medicines that interact with others. It is important to keep informed of such things.

Unfortunately, like many others, she was sadly failed by “the system”.
She had endured a lot of stress and trauma because the Nursing Home she had settled in following her stroke suddenly closed with hardly any warning and a place had to be found for her at another where she was not as comfortable and soon its future was uncertain. She lived with the constant fear of having nowhere to go.
Her fortnightly physio sessions to get her walking were withdrawn due to NHS cuts.
Her exercise classes were closed down.
She was unable to get dentures because of her bite changed following the stroke.

But, she loved her reflexology treatments and benefited from them.

This article is the personal opinion of Terri Perry and  no claims are made regarding the efficacy of any reflexology or other therapies mentioned.