By Deirdre Brocklebank

When I first studied Reflexology in1997, one of the most significant concepts for me was that of referral areas. I still find this to be the case.

As you may know, a referral area is an anatomically related area, which can be worked instead of, or in addition to, the affected area. For example, the right and left hands are referral areas for the right and left feet respectively. The palm of the hand is facing forward in the anatomical position, so this will make the arm bend in the opposite direction from the leg. Therefore for example, the inner forearm refers to the calf of the leg and the other parts relate accordingly. Furthermore, the wrist refers to the ankle, the elbow refers to the knee and the shoulder refers to the hip/sciatic and vice versa.

I have found that one of the great benefits of referral areas is that clients can be taught to use the referral areas on themselves between follow-up sessions. By doing that, they will of course reinforce the benefits from the reflexology sessions.

I frequently apply the concept of referral areas in my sessions but also whenever I think of it, both on myself and for others, for whatever we are dealing with.

It is so rewarding to see the relief in someone’s eyes when the effects of applying pressure to the anatomical equivalent to the source of the pain takes effect. One of the most memorable occasions when I used this was for my cousin’s daughter, whom I will call Fiona. Fiona had a cancerous eye removed on a Monday and I saw her on the Friday of the same week. She was an amazing young woman and very positive about her future. (Her teddy sported an eye patch just like hers). However, she was quite distressed because she was very sore in her right, lower leg where a drip had been inserted for the surgery and then removed a day or so beforehand. Physiotherapy had aggravated the pain and nothing the doctors prescribed or recommended seemed to relieve it. I got her permission for me to apply pressure to her right lower arm in the anatomically equivalent position to where her leg hurt. In literally minutes the pain had gone. Her smile said it all.

On another occasion I had noticed a friend was sweating and in obvious pain. He said he was in agony with his left ankle and he was unable to stand without pain. He had had his knee reconstructed several months before, but the doctors told him there was nothing they could do about his damaged ankle and he would have to learn to live with the pain. I applied pressure to his left wrist and within minutes he felt immense relief. I continued to work on the site and to do a few other techniques including: Theta healing* – to clear beliefs such as: “I’ll have to suffer as there is nothing more that can be done for my ankle.” (This is what the doctors had told him) and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)** to address the residual pain. He could not believe the speed and effectiveness of the treatment. The great thing about this was neither could a friend of mine who was watching the whole process. He is a scientist and couldn’t believe the rapid change in our friend who had gone from being in agonising pain to being able to put weight on his ankle and then to swing around on it with his full weight.

This same scientist friend that I mentioned above, is still getting over the time when I worked on him for a severely burnt, swollen hand. His fingers were like sausages. I worked on his corresponding foot and before too long his fingers were almost back to normal and he could bend them into his hand. His scientific mind obviously still can’t believe what happened, going from the following note which I received from him recently. “I always will remember the amazing result when I had the burn at Gill’s house. Reduction in pain from pressure point I can understand from the viewpoint of endorphin release, but I didn’t expect such a dramatic decrease in inflammation as we evidenced. Any ideas on how that may work?”

I have also used referral areas for many other conditions including bunion pain, stubbed toes, broken ribs and to release tension in hamstrings when doing yoga.

I love to teach people techniques which empower them to be able to help themselves. Consequently, using the referral areas for self-help is a secret I share whenever I can.

Deirdre Brocklebank BA, Diploma of Reflexology, Diploma of Facial Reflexology, Cert, IV Assessment and Workplace Training, EFT Practitioner and teacher, Theta Healing Practitioner.

31 January 2009

*Theta healing is a healing technique which enables us to transform limiting beliefs that may be holding us back from living the life we desire. This applies to all aspects of our life including our appearance, health, happiness, spiritual development, creative abilities and relationships.

**EFT is a meridian, energy therapy and it is highly effective for resolving negative emotions such as anger, grief, fear, guilt, stress, jealousy and depression and it can also reduce physical pain. It can also be applied to “feeling stuck”, energy and motivation, attracting abundance and enhancing performance in work, sports and creative pursuits.

The premise on which EFT is based is that emotional distress is due to a disruption in the meridian energy system and this can give rise to physical as well as emotional symptoms. EFT balances the disrupted meridians by tapping into the system through specific acupuncture points. This assists in releasing stress from both the body and mind (conscious and subconscious), as the meridian system communicates with every organ and physiological system in the body.