Reflexology

Kim RustenInterview with Kim Rusten
websites: kimrusten.com and naturecare.com.au

Kim is a practicioner in Reflexology and Facial Reflexolgy and also lectures at Nature Care College in Sydney. Kim runs her own clinics and plays an active part on the board of the Reflexology Association of Australia.

Q. Do you think that modern footwear such as high heels, or thongs / flip-flops can affect our feet and the Reflexology points?
A. Sure, the worst problems occur when people wear restrictive footwear on a daily basis. Eg. wearing ankle boots as workplace footwear. Over time biomechanical issues can affect the reflexes and in turn affect your general health. It takes many years though.

Q. Can you diagnose and treat problems through the feet without consultation or do you react to patient feedback and adjust your technique accordingly?
A. The feet, hands and ears show indicators of problems within a system but these indicators are not specific enough to diagnose a particular condition. The Chinese believe that indicators can show in reflexology up to six months before disease manifests- so it could be said that reflexology is an excellent preventative strategy.

reflexologyAs reflexologists we never diagnose a condition or adjust medications of clients. Treatments are holistic- a certain problem is never “singled out”.

One of the most important lessons a student can learn is what a certain modality can do and what the limitations are. Reflexology is very effective in combating system dysfunction. Reflexology does not cure organic disease. However, it can be very useful in managing symptoms of disease or the symptoms of treatment of disease. It may also slow down the progression of disease.

Q. Can you apply pressure incorrectly on the foot and cause damage when performing Reflexology or even massaging feet yourself? Are there any zones of the foot that should be avoided?
A. Of course it is always advisable to seek treatment from a trained professional. As such it is highly unlikely that damage would result from a treatment.
Anyone who has a broken, fractured, bruised or sprained foot or arm cannot have reflexology applied to that limb.

Caution must be used when treating people with very fragile skin or severe osteoporosis.

The first trimester of pregnancy is generally avoided due to a couple of acupressure points that are contraindicated for pregnancy. Apart from those specific points, there is minimal risk of harm. In fact there is a thriving, specialised service in maternity reflexology.

Q. Are there any zones on the feet that are easily identifiable for self treatment of common ailments? Is self treatment a realistic option?
A. Self help is a great option for treatment. In fact I give my clients homework all the time. I would recommend consultation with a trained professional with regard to headaches as treatment is dependent on the cause of the problem.

Q. What are the most common reasons individuals visit a Reflexologist?
A. Clients generally come from one of two categories: relaxation or clinical/therapeutic. The most common disorders presenting in my practice are:
Acute stress, chronic stress, fibromyalgia, shoulder problems, neck problems, hip problems, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, grief, headaches, infertility, cancer, asthma, chronic sinusitis, vertigo.
Because there is an energetic component to reflexology, most clients find an inner peace through the treatment.

Q. Does a Reflexologist work with their hands alone or do they use any tools or oils during a treatment?
A. Tools are not accepted in Australia. The insurance companies require that tools are not used.
Lubricants are generally used. Some therapists use a balm, others prefer a cream or talc. Reflexology combines well with other modalities such as aromatherapy, so you may find that essential oils may be added to a cream.

Q. How do I know if a Reflexologist is suitably qualified? What do I look for in terms of professional qualifications and memberships?
A. A reflexologist is suitably qualified if they fulfil the requirements of the ATMS or the RAA.
These associations minimum requirement for practitioner status is Certificate IV level. Reflexology courses are also offered at the Diploma level

Cranio-Sacral Reflexology
Q. Where is Cranio-Sacral Reflexology performed on the body?
A. Cranio-Sacral Reflexology is performed on the feet using the reflexes of the cranium, sacrum, spine and all tissues associated with that system.

Q. What is the difference between Reflexology & Cranio-Sacral Reflexology and Cranio-Sacral Therapy & Cranio-Sacral Reflexology?
A. Cranio-Sacral reflexology is an area of speciality within reflexology. It is a post graduate area of study.

Cranio-Sacral reflexology uses the concepts of cranio-sacral therapy including somato- emotional release and applies these to the reflexes on the feet.

Q. What additional benefit does Cranio-Sacral Reflexology give over Reflexology on the feet? Are they separate treatments or easily combined and complimenting?
A. In my opinion, Cranio-Sacral reflexology has the greatest advantage over conventional reflexology in the area of musculoskeletal issues, any problem involving the cranial nerves and in disorders with an emotional cause. Cranio-sacral reflexology is taught as a protocol. It is usually used as a stand alone treatment due to the time it takes to complete the sequence.

Kim Rusten’s interest in Reflexology
Q. How did your interest in Reflexology start and do you practice other therapies alongside Reflexology?
A. I have to admit I “fell” into reflexology. I was going through a very “lost” time in my life and I went to college to study anatomy. I took reflexology to fill in the afternoon. When it had a profound healing effect on me emotionally, I was hooked – I had to finish the course.
Now I’m a practitioner (solely in reflexology) and lecturer at Nature Care College. My practice supports my local community and has produced a few interesting pieces of research. I’ve also set up a research project at the Adventist Hospital in Sydney as part of a world wide study on the effect of reflexology on cancer patients in hospitals.