here are some of my pics from the conference.
What a beautiful place Madeira is! The conference was 'an education' in lots of ways. The people involved in promoting reflexology are generally lovely people, and this was no exception. But it was rather different to your usual research conference, in that there was actually very little research presented. What was presented was done well though, and gave us all an insight into what is happening around Europe.
here are some of my pics from the conference.
The RLD research was received well, as was Carol Samuel's research into pain tolerance and reflexology. I do hope that more people will become interested in research going forward, as there does seem to be a lack of understanding as to what is research and what is merely opinion. I think we all start from this point, and I have certainly been there myself. The will to learn is also required of course, and that is not necessarily there at the moment. But that's OK, not everyone wants to learn how to do research, I totally get that. Personally, I love it! and I really loved Madeira. Thank you to all of those who brought their thoughts to the conference.
A little update on progress. We have now begun our third site, which is a palliative care unit in a large hospital. The treatment room is a wonderful space and the staff and volunteers at the centre do a great job. We had a list of several keen participants, but sometimes they did not have enough of a fluid problem for us to measure a difference so we sadly had to reject them on their first measurement day.
Last week we were a little in the doldrums, as it was looking like we wouldn’t meet our target of 30 participants – so a last call went out to the lymphoedema service and suddenly the phones have been ringing off the hook with ladies in desperate need of help for their swollen arms. What is coming across from these lovely ladies is how overstretched the lymphoedema service is. Which means there is plenty of opportunity for reflexology to play a role.
The results we are getting continue to look very encouraging. We’re not at liberty to say more than that until all the data has been collected, but suffice it to say that each and every one of our participants so far has left as a satisfied customer – as indicated by the chocolate , cake, and flower mountain which they leave behind after their series of sessions has finished.
Now for the statisticians to take hold of the data and make mathematical sense out of it. There are all kinds of statistical tests to be done which tell us more than the obvious data. By the obvious data I mean – is the arm smaller afterwards than it was when we began?
Why do we need to run stats tests you might ask? Well it’s really to rule out things like pure chance, luck, and other factors. If the tests come out in our favour (and there’s a strong suggestion that they will), then people without a vested interest in our results might also sit up and take notice. This can only be good for reflexology.
I have to say that there has been lots of support for our efforts amongst reflexologists. Sadly there has been some negativity around also.
Comments made so far range from the ‘ We don’t need research’, to ‘ why on earth do we need this when we already use MLD?’ and ‘ Oh, I’ve been doing that for years’. All of these are a little wide of the mark. Firstly – we all need research, so that we can take the therapy forward. We’re doing it in a particular way, which means that people who speak the language of science might see it and try to understand that reflexology is worth another look. We’re not saying that all reflexologists need to be researchers, and we’re not saying we’re any better than any reflexologist out there making a difference. We’re trying to take ALL reflexology forward by proving once and for all that we can have an effect on the body which is not merely as a result of therapeutic touch or the placebo effect.
Secondly, MLD does a great job, and helps people with lymphoedema very competently. But we have encountered many ladies with scarring which they don’t want touched, and pain in the arms and shoulders which they don’t want massaged either. They admit that they don’t self massage as much as they should, and there are a range of reasons why. RLD seems to get over these issues because the affected area neither needs to be exposed, nor touched, and a good drainage effect is still achievable through the feet.
Finally, yes we know that reflexologists have been having good lymphatic drainage results for years through reflexology techniques, many and various. We are not trying to knock them off their perches either – they’re doing a great job. What we’re doing is trying to shout about the good reflexology can do, whilst using the language of science to shout about it.
Please, come with us on our journey towards greater understanding of reflexology’s huge potential. Don’t work against us. We’re just like you. We love reflexology, we love the good it does, and we just want to take it forward.
Sally Kay and I are off to Madeira in the morning to talk about the RLD research at the RIEN ‘ Reflexology in Europe Network’. We’re really looking forward to it. If you’re going too, please come and say hello. We’d love to know about your experiences of reflexology too.