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4th June 2015

Reflexology Reduces Feelings Of Pain

Reflexology may be as effective as painkillers, according to a small study carried out by the University of Portsmouth.

Researchers have found that people felt about 40 per cent less pain, and were able to stand pain for about 45 per cent longer, when they used reflexology as a method of pain relief.

This is the first time this widely used therapy has been scientifically tested as a treatment for acute pain, meaning it may be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.

Participants attended two sessions, in which they were asked to submerge their hand in ice water. In one of the sessions they were given reflexology before they submerged their hand, and in the other session they believed they were receiving pain relief from a TENS machine, that was not actually switched on.

Dr Carol Samuel, who is a trained reflexologist and who carried out the experimental procedures at the University of Portsmouth as part of her PhD, said: “As we predicted, reflexology decreased pain sensations. It is likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals.”

The researchers found that when the participants received reflexology prior to the session they were able to keep their hand in the ice water for longer before they felt pain, and that they could also tolerate the pain for a longer period of time.

Dr Ivor Ebenezer, co-author of the study, said: “We are pleased with these results. Although this is a small study, we hope it will be the basis for future research into the use of reflexology”
Carol Samuel

Reflexology is a complementary medical approach, which works alongside orthodox medicine, in which pressure may be applied to any body area but is commonly used on either the feet or hands. In this study reflexology was applied to the feet.

Dr Ebenezer from the Department of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and Dr Samuel used a small study of 15 people to determine whether reflexology would be more effective than no pain relief at all.

Dr Ebenezer said: “Complementary and alternative therapies come in for a lot of criticism, and many have never been properly tested scientifically. One of the common criticisms by the scientific community is that these therapies are often not tested under properly controlled conditions.

“When a new drug is tested its effects are compared with a sugar pill. If the drug produces a similar response to the sugar pill, then it is likely that the drug’s effect on the medical condition is due to a placebo effect”.

“In order to avoid such criticism in this study, we compared the effects of reflexology to a sham TENS control that the participants believed produced pain relief. This is the equivalent of a sugar pill in drug trials.”

Dr Samuel added: “This is an early study, and more work will need to be done to find out about the way reflexology works.

“However it looks like it may be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions that are associated with pain, such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers“.

The study has been published in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

Click here to read more on this.

© University of Portsmouth
reflexology foot

7th May 2015

The Benefits To The Public Of CNHC Accredited Practitioners

Local CNHC Reflexology practitioner, Heather Hull, is one of 63,000 health practitioners ready to help transform the nation’s health.

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care has reported to Ministers that 63,000 health practitioners stand ready to help transform the nation’s health. Local Reflexology practitioner, Heather Hull, is one of them.

Harry Cayton, the Professional Standards Authority Chief Executive, stated that we need to look for new ways to deliver integrated care fit for the 21st century. He called for people in charge of health and care services to use a wider range of occupational groups, including complementary therapies.

Mr Cayton made the comments as the Authority published a report to Ministers on the Accredited Registers programme, the Government programme to promote safety and quality in a wide range of health and care services across the UK.

He said: “The NHS is re-examining the way it delivers services and is exploring new models of integrated care better-suited to today. That means looking beyond the traditional confines of our health and care system and the traditional health professions. The 63,000 practitioners on 17 Accredited Registers covering 25 occupations must be part of that, offering different approaches to care which commissioners can choose with the confidence that they are competent and safe.’

He continued: ’.....we no longer have to depend solely on doctors and nurses but can create broader multidisciplinary teams. We must invest in prevention and wellbeing to deliver healthcare for the 21st Century. The complementary therapists registered with CNHC are among the health practitioners who have a key role to play in this new model.”

The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is one of these Accredited Registers and Heather Hull is registered with them.

Heather commented: ‘As a CNHC registrant since 2010, I am proud to be part of the health and care workforce and agree that we do have a useful role to play in this new approach to health and wellbeing. Professional training and high standards coupled with ongoing Continued Professional Development (CPD) ensure I can deliver a high quality of service, treatment and care to my clients. The public should be aware that anyone can call themselves a Reflexologist and can practise without any training, qualifications or insurance. CNHC accreditation and registration gives a welcome, nationally recognised, mark of quality for those seeking treatment with Reflexology. The CNHC Accredited Register is a quick and easy way for the public to find a registered practitioner at the click of a mouse.'


CNHC’s Chair, John Lant commented:
‘We have over 5,000 practitioners on our Accredited Register from professions that are already used to support patients in areas such as cancer and palliative care and mental health services. The patient comments outlined in the report speak volumes about the role complementary therapies can play in enhancing patient wellbeing and we welcome wholeheartedly the Professional Standards Authority’s comments and report.”

Heather Hull can be contacted at:
T: 0114 2891342
E: enquiries@heatherhull.co.uk
W: www.heatherhull.co.uk

To find out more about CNHC visit: www.cnhc.org.uk or call 020 7653 1971


14th April 2015

The Importance Of Stretching And Movement - Fascinating Fascia!

Like me, have you noticed that you feel stiff and achy when you first get out of bed in the morning?

This is not necessarily old age creeping up on us, it is fuzz!

What Do You Mean, Fuzz?

When we are inactive during sleep fuzz builds up between the sliding surfaces of our bodies - the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia which are designed to slide and glide over each other to give ease of movement. This is why we feel stiff when we get up in the morning, the fuzz prevents gliding, which we feel as stiffness and possibly pain.

The easiest way to get rid of fuzz and thereby avoid the increasing stiffness and discomfort experienced when fuzz is allowed to build up, is to gently stretch and move when you first get out of bed. If you have a cat, you will have noticed that they always have a long stretch after a period of sleep.

Get A Move On And Get Rid Of Your Fuzz!

For me, this will mean regular morning sessions on my Chi Machine - click this link for details and get rid of your fuzz!

Click the link below to watch this fascinating short film presented by Gil Hedley, Ph.D., (Anatomy).

Gil Hedley's 'Fuzz Speech' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FtSP-tkSug

Visit www.gilhedley.com if you would like further information. He is a fascinating person and has a knack for explaining complicated stuff in delightfully simple ways, with the added benefit of short films to assist with our understanding.

Thank you, Gil!

fasciitis, stiffness, stretching, movement, pain, fuzz, chi machine, mobility,


4th March 2015

Fifteen Years Of Happy Feet!

Saturday 4th March 2000 was, and still remains, a very important date for me. It is the day on which I qualified in the Original Ingham Method of Reflexology with the International Institute of Reflexology (UK) in Sheffield; and gained my much-coveted Diploma.

My interest in Reflexology had been sparked a few years previously, whilst having a series of aromatherapy massages. The therapist used a basic form of Reflexology on my feet prior to treatment, to determine which oils to use during the massage. The fact that she always seemed to know what was wrong with me or which part of my body was struggling at a particular time really fascinated me and I always felt the benefit of her work.

A few years later, my own ill health (ME/CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) had caused me to lose my teaching job as a Secondary and 'A' Level English teacher and I was looking at ways of recovering my own health.

Having learnt Reiki 1 and 2 for self-healing to try and regain my health, I eventually reached a point where I felt well enough to pursue my interest in Reflexology, sparked by those aromatherapy massages.

I knew nothing about what would be a good course, so asked my Reiki insurer which courses he would recommend and be happy to insure graduating practitioners. I was surprised to learn that there were only three courses in the UK that he rated and the one that came top was the International Institute of Reflexology, which taught the Original Ingham Method of Reflexology. Conveniently, one of the trainers, Jennie Levick, was based in Sheffield, so I didn't have far to travel.

The course was rigorous and very detailed. Not having studied Biology at school, I found the Anatomy and Physiology very demanding and I did struggle to retain information due to being in the last stages of brain fog from my ME/CFS. I have never been a quitter, but I came close to just that when my brain seemed to rebel over learning and understanding the digestive system!

The practical side of the course was also thorough. We worked on each other as part of the course and I did fortnightly treatment swaps with other students to revise and perfect techniques. This benfitted my own health tremendously and has taught me the value of having regular treatment. Over the course of the year I went from taking one hour to treat one foot, to the complete and thorough treatment of both feet in an hour.

Another course requirement was to submit one hundred hours of documented case histories, ie, ten treatments on ten different people, all of whom had differing health issues. Each treatment had to be recorded, graded, commented upon and an overall conclusion made as to how they had responded to and benefitted from, their course of Reflexology treatments. This was a massive undertaking but, by the end of it, I knew I knew my stuff, which then stood me in good stead for the practical exam.

The much anticipated date of 4th March, 2000 eventually presented itself in the shape of a three hour theory paper on Anatomy and Physiology and then a one hour practical and viva exam with an assessor. As someone who has been through university, gained a BA Honours Degree and then gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, I am well used to exams; but the pressure of my Reflexology exams was huge and I can still recall the angst I felt on that day.

Qualifying meant so much to me. It marked the end of a very dark and scary period of illness, having lost my job through ill health and feeling like I was on the scrap heap of life having got ill at the tender age of 34. It showed I could embark upon a completely new and different subject from scratch and become a competent practitioner.

Over the subsequent fifteen years I have treated many different people from all walks of life, from children and teenagers to adults and pensioners. All have had particular health concerns they wished to address and it is a pleasure and a privilege to see how they benefit from Reflexology. I am even honourary Aunty to children who were conceived, grown and given birth to with the help of Reflexology!

I still love seeing clients' health, relaxation and happiness improve and it is what keeps me practising Reflexology.

Please try Reflexology.... I am confident you will love the benefits it brings!

Here's to your good health,


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