Here’s a report from one of my students on her experience with Restless Leg Syndrome and her Dad.
“My most interesting experience I’ve had as a reflexology student are sessions with an elderly client, my father, age 76. He has many health issues but is no feeble senior.
He’s built like an ox and continues to have a lot of energy. Nevertheless, he needs many medications to keep him healthy.
The health problems he faces are high blood pressure, history of 2 heart attacks, remission of prostate cancer, urinary tract infections and incontinence. [ ] He is overweight and doesn’t sleep well as he stops breathing during sleep and has restless leg syndrome.
Reflexology, being a gentle form of accessing the body’s own healing abilities, gives me a way I can help my dad to feel better and help his body create a healing response.
The sessions we’ve had together follow a pattern. I start the session using relaxation techniques and within 5-10 minutes, he is dozing off.
During the session, his legs draw toward his chest, somewhat like he is riding a bike. I keep a hold of his foot at whatever spot I am at while his foot dorsiflexes away from me.
At this point, I use deep pressure at the solar plexus reflex and gradually the foot and leg release and return to resting position. I like to think of this a reflexology dance we go through!
It’s truly amazing to see how powerful the solar plexus reflex is in this case. No other reflex points seem to help as fast to calm the foot and leg.
While this is going on, my dad also “holds” his breath and then lets it out with a “poof” when the leg and foot relax. Because of this, I always detail his diaphragm and heart reflexes as they are working so hard.
The first session with my dad, I was a bit uncomfortable with the feet pulling away, as I wondered if this meant his body didn’t like reflexology.
Using the universal relaxing reflex point of the solar plexus makes all the difference, so I know I’m just helping his body to process the tissues and fluids being moved.
I now enjoy the sessions and look forward to them, knowing my dad sleeps more soundly after these.
He usually takes a nap after, and was not aware of his leg movements during the sessions.
I hope continuous sessions will help improve his ability to breathe easier and sleep deeper.
– Elaine T.
Restless leg syndrome or RLS, is a neurological disorder that effects approximately 5 million adults and up to 1 million children in the US alone.
The hallmark of this syndrome is, as the name says, restlessness in the legs and sometimes described as a tingling sensation, or “irritability” of the legs along with an urge to move them.
These sensations usually come when the legs are at rest, so they can interrupt sleep or efforts to rest and relax.
Whether the RLS is constant or intermittent, temporary relief can come almost immediately when the legs are moved and are active.
With no specific known cause and affecting young and old, RLS often worsens with age. Some causes of RLS are thought to be symptoms related to diabetes, pregnancy and sometimes it’s also associated with anemia.
Be careful as a reflexologist that you are not diagnosing this or any other disease. If a client tells me that they have RLS, I ask them who diagnosed it. The source should be a qualified medical professional and not a neighbor or their uncle Bob!
Restless Leg Syndrome is different from Periodic Limb Movement. Although they share some similarities they are in fact separate conditions.
In addition to the reflexes that Elaine mentioned above, I would also include the following into my protocol:
– The CNS Reflexes, including the Solar Plexus and Sciatic Nerve Reflexes
– The Musculo-Skeletal System Reflexes, including the Diaphragm, Lumbar Spine, Sacrum, Pelvis and Leg, Hip & Knee Reflexes.
– The Immune System Reflexes, including the Spleen Reflex (support for anemia).
– And any other reflexes that may be contributing, i.e., if there is diabetes (and it’s controlled), I’ll also include the reflex to the pancreas, etc.
Reflexology tends to work especially well with chronic conditions so it’s always worth trying. Keep good notes and share your experiences.