On the Receiving End of Reflexology
In my last article, I wrote that giving is receiving. We all know the golden rule. When we contribute something of value, we receive something in return. Even if a gift or service is offered with no expectation of return, there can be a wonderful feeling of satisfaction, regardless of whether or not there is money exchanged, compliments bestowed, or recognition adorned. Therefore, I would venture to say that even so-called charity involves a sort of healthy selfishness on the part of the benefactor, because inner fulfillment and warmth well up in one's heart. But before I get too gushy and altruistic on the topic of giving, let me switch gears into a more clinical mode and relate my experience with reflexology on the receiving end. Recently, I attended a student clinic here at the Institute, where I had the good fortune of being worked on by two budding reflexologists (not simultaneously, of course, though that might be a radical experiment worth conducting, now that I think about it). My first session consisted of one hour on the feet, as did my second session. Though both routines were very similar in technique, rhythm, and general flow, my internal response to the work was different for each one. During the first session, the sensations felt in the nervous system were a little more stimulating and wakeful. As the therapist was walking my feet with his thumbs, an array of thoughts and emotions passed through my consciousness. There was an overall feeling of catharsis and purification. During the second session, things were softer. I dropped into a deeper parasympathetic state, in which I was somewhere between waking and sleep. In meditation terms, we call this in-between state "the witness", because one's native awareness seems to remain constant (i.e., as an unperturbed witness) through the changes of mind and body. I can only speculate as to why I dropped a little deeper in the second session, but one obvious reason might be because the first session acted like a "warm up" for my nervous system, whereas the second session served more as a "cool down" for my body. The first had a little more fire, whereas the second was a little more watery. One of the key observations I've picked up from Sam and my fellow students is that the body is very consistent in revealing information-packed symptoms at exact locations within the horizontal and vertical zones. However, when it comes to the influx of afferent nerve impulses triggered by the touch of a therapist, that activity is not nearly as predictable (at least in a precise way) as the outward marks that show themselves on the extremities. The flexibility of how reflexology is received by the nervous system is very reassuring to me, because it places a deep amount of trust in the genius circuitry of the body, rather than placing an undue burden on the therapist to forcefully evoke a rigid response. The two therapists who worked on me in the clinic were systematic and intuitive. When they came across points that were calling for special attention, they slowed down their walk and adjusted accordingly. I felt fully relaxed and safe during both sessions. At the end of the clinic, I immediately noticed how my vision was sharper. The colors of the room were glowing and more well-defined. I felt lighter on my feet, and I started chuckling for no apparent reason, other than as an involuntary reaction to a swell of joy brought on by the bodywork I had just been treated to. Needless to say, I'm highly enthusiastic about receiving more reflexology—and providing it too. (Oops, there I go with that gushy altruism.) Thank you for reading. Wisdom. Strength. Abundance.