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Web Interview - Reflexology

Kin Rusten

Reflexology with Kim Rusten

Kim Rusten 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.

Kim's passion is personal transformation health & well being for the community.

Feet & Reflexology

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.

As 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.

Reflexology 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. Can you give examples when Reflexology treatments have been successful amongst your clients?
A. Too many to list however I will dwell on a couple:
1. An 18 year old girl had a car accident which resulted in brachial plexus damage. After six months her arm and shoulder muscles had atrophied, she could not even hold a mobile phone. She was looking at nerve graft surgery. By the 3rd treatment she was using her mobile phone. Full use was returned to the arm in 9 months using reflexology and an exercise program

2. A 45 year old man had a rare form of leukaemia which required chemotherapy via 14 lumbar punctures and 12 months in hospital. He was left with a dragging left leg. After 2 treatments he was able to dance. Besides the physical relief from disability, he found profound peace that he had never experienced before, and he is still coming every 6 weeks or so.

3. A 60 year old pharmacist cum skeptic had injured his arm and had been on a physiotherapy program for 6 months but had no results. He could not lift his arm at all in any plane. He was scheduled to return to an orthopaedic surgeon in 6 weeks to organise surgery. He came to reflexology twice a week for 6 weeks, and in this period he could raise his arm vertically in front of him, and three quarters of the way to the side. The surgical option was postponed. The next month he was playing golf and three months after begining treatment he was swimming freestyle.

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.

Study Reflexology & Cranio-Sacral Reflexology

Q. What is the qualification path for someone who wants to learn Reflexology? Is it a pre-requisite to have studied Anatomy & Physiology prior to further study in Reflexology?
A. The minimum qualification is Certificate IV which is comprised of modules to produce an holistic health care professional. At Nature Care College, Reflexology 1 can be studied without Anatomy & Physiology, but to proceed further, A&P is a co-requisite.

Q. Are there any workshops or taster courses available before enrolling on a full course?
A. Yes, there is an Introduction to Reflexology course available at Nature Care College.

Q. What are the study steps, do you have to qualify in traditional Reflexology first before specialising in a Cranio-Sacral Reflexology course or is this not necessary?
A. Yes, any speciality is a post graduate area of study. There are many areas and techniques to specialise in if you so choose. (Chinese, Ayuvedic, Vertical, Cranio-Sacral, Maternity, Colour, Auricular therapy to name a few)

Reflexology can be practiced on anyone, from a new born to a geriatric. Reflexology can even be performed on the terminally ill. Of course different types of reflexology techniques are used according to your client.

Q. Where can you study Cranio-Sacral Reflexology?
A. At the moment, the course is the intellectual property of the founder of the technique, Dr Martine Faure Alderson. Martine is an Osteopath, Homeopath, Herbalist and Reflexologist who has a reflexology school in Paris and a clinic in London. Martine visits Australia annually and the courses are advertised in the RAA journal “Footprints”.

Q. What organisations and associations can a qualified Reflexologist belong to in order to continue learning within the field?
A. “Reflexology only” extension courses are advertised in the RAA journal “Footprints”.

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.

Reflexology Research

Q. You are currently involved in a research project on the effect of Reflexology on cancer patients. What are your initial findings?
A. One of the reasons I do research is that there is very little information “out there” for new therapists. I also struggle with the “credibility” of natural therapies issue in the health care industry. Any practitioner who has built a practice is evidence of the benefit people derive from natural therapies. However, I feel it is important to document studies as well- to improve information sharing and move towards integration of natural therapies in treatment strategies in domains where use of natural therapies is quite foreign.

The cancer study is a part of a world wide project and is in its infancy. I’m hoping that the results will support what we as reflexologists already know:

1. That reflexology is indeed a clinical treatment positively affecting all organs in the body
2. That reflexology positively affects emotional states and as a consequence may improve the results of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
3. Reflexology offers comfort to the spirit, soothing the fear of dying and providing the energy to pass on.

The study is a bona fide clinical trial which will give credibility to the findings, and perhaps lead to paid work for reflexologists in this environment.

Q. Are there any other areas of research that you have already worked on or intend to work on in the future?
A. I’ve done some research on peripheral neuropathy and the efficacy of reflexology on this condition. I’ve been given permission to conduct the cancer research project for 3 years, so that will keep me occupied for a while.

Many Thanks for taking part in this interview Kim!

For further information visit: www.naturecare.com.au, www.craniosacralreflexologyinstitute.com & www.kimrusten.com


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"Because there is an energetic component to reflexology, most clients find an inner peace through the treatment"

Kim Rusten



"When it had a profound healing effect on me emotionally, I was hooked – I had to finish the course."

Kim Rusten

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