Foot Reflexology and Myofascial Release
By Pamela C. Stoll, OTR/L
For a number of years I worked in a freestanding pain clinic headed by two anesthesiologists. Our staff of ten occupational and physical therapists was trained in myofascial release and other hands on modalities. To my knowledge I was the only trained foot reflexologist.
One of the staff therapists, placed on my treatment schedule, had a long-standing upper abdominal and ribcage pain sustained from an abusive spouse. This therapist was highly skilled and also open-minded. During a treatment session I was working on releasing the tight respiratory diaphragm. The region suddenly stopped responding to the local application of Myofascial Release (MFR). It was almost as though the tissue had closed and bolted a heavy door.
I suggested that stimulating the appropriate reflex in the foot might yield some results. This therapist was open to the idea so I applied quick, intense pressure to the reflex for the respiratory diaphragm. When I returned to the local region, we both recognized a remarkable difference. The upper abdominal tissue had “opened the door” for more release. We continued work in that area using specific reflex stimulation as needed to gain entry into the deeper, older, painful and tight system.
With continued work the therapist/patient was able to work through physical and emotional issues that had been causing her prolonged distress. Foot reflexology had played a significant part in the efficiency and degree of success in this case.