Guest written by reflexologist and community member, Tanya Alden-Zeter
One frantic day in summer 2017, overwhelmed, exhausted and frustrated after a fruitless 2 hour work meeting, I went to see Mario. By the time I left him, I was feeling completely grounded, calm, and with a sense that I could handle anything thrown at me over the following days. Mario is a reflexologist based in central London and had worked on my feet for 60 minutes. An hour of pressing, pushing, holding and massaging. I’d had massages before, tried meditation, done the spa days, but never had any other treatment or activity made me feel so deeply relaxed in both mind and body. My first thought? I HAVE to learn how to do this.
Some of the reactions and sensations I experienced, and that people regularly report during reflexology treatments, include electrical pulses through the body, rushes of energy, a sense of emotional release, a tingling feeling through the hands and feet, involuntary twitching and - the really fun one - unborn babies enthusiastically wriggling!
So why does Reflexology encourage these reactions? Actually, what even is it?
Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary therapy which works with precise pressure points (reflexes) on the soles, sides and tops of our feet. These points correspond with our body's systems and organs. Working with pressure on these areas encourages relaxation as well as freer energy and blood flow. A reflexologist combines pressing, massaging and holding these points with general massage techniques for a revitalising yet relaxing session.
The point, ultimately, is to bring the body back into a state of homeostasis (healthy balance). Modern humans (and more than ever in 2020) are in an almost constant state of fight or flight. Reflexology is an excellent antidote to this, tapping into our body’s nervous system to activate its natural ‘rest and digest’ mode. We need this to happen in order to to sleep properly, to elevate our mood, improve focus and generally, to function better!
Fast forward to 2020. In my first 9 months as a qualified reflexologist, I resigned and then returned to my agency Director job, re-resigned, swapped a 9-year career in digital media for one as a reflexology practitioner, switched status to self-employed and am thankfully seeing a budding base of regular, happy reflexology clients! All of this during a pandemic, naturally. And no, the timing is not ideal, but fortune favours the brave after all and in any case, I'm far from alone in this quest.
Setting up your own venture - in a pandemic
With life as we know it (along with easy travel and close contact) becoming treasured privileges of the past for now, we are seeking connection wherever possible. With other humans, with information, with the rest of the globe, between our minds and our bodies - but most of all, more and more of us are nurturing our connection with our true selves and how we spend our time. Not least, our working hours. With months at home and less to distract us than usual, it’s hardly surprising that with this extra time and inevitable self-reflection, we are responding more actively to our own interests and needs. Changing jobs, pursuing new passions and starting our own ventures more than ever before. Check out the female solopreneur @sophieclydesmith on Instagram for interesting tips, tricks and stats around women starting their own thing and doing it their way!
Starting my venture has meant talking with people and hearing stories and insights I would never have encountered otherwise - and LEARNING. Learning different techniques for treatments, how to reach more people, about my own strengths and shortcomings...the list is long! And truly, amongst each of our skill sets, experiences and communities, everyone can find their ‘niche’. For me, I've always been highly "connected" with people. Sometimes, this serves me as an intuition that proves enormously helpful. At best, I’m a feeler and propagator of great vibes, at worst a sponge for apprehensive, negative or unhealthy energy. In any case, it makes sense to use this trait wisely and to mine and to others’ advantage, right?
For as long as I can remember, I have spent many enlightening hours with an Aunt who conducted readings for people and is a Reiki practitioner, fascinated by her cards, her clarity and our chats about auras and energies. So I just knew I could tap into this in my own way.
It is not surprising therefore, that here I am after years of connecting with people via teaching, language learning, mentoring, and people management. Now I get to do it through this amazing complementary therapy (and on a timetable and frequency that suits!). If you ask me, an amazing treatment is like most things in life - 50% technique, science and precision, 150% connection and feeling ... remaining open and receptive means energy can flow more freely and ensures a more meaningful treatment and experience for both client and therapist. For anyone thinking about making a change or if you’re just asking for a friend, some awesome accounts to follow are below. They cover all sorts from reflexology, wellbeing tips and products, to professional and lifestyle coaching content!
@reflex_by_tan (that’s me!)
@hagarbasis (one of the UK’s leading reflexologists and an amazing person and teacher)
Can I try reflexology then?
As this second lockdown descends upon us, maybe together we can get right back on top of it and calm the chaos a little. A couple of self-treatment tips based on powerful reflex points are below.
1. This first point is the solar plexus reflex, where many nerves and ganglia meet and cross! Measure 2.5 toes in from the big toe, and press just below the ball of the foot. Hold for around 30 seconds and take some deep breaths (anatomically the SP is located just above the stomach area).
2. Click here for a video demo of how we can massage our chest, lung and diaphragm reflexes for opening up these areas and allowing ourselves to breathe just that little bit easier.
Both of these points are possible to reach and give some TLC to ourselves, but of course if a partner/housemate/friend/sibling is willing, then all the better - after all, what else to do during #lockdown2 than to connect in new ways with those we share our homes with?
For any questions, to say hello or to book a mobile appointment with me, check out:
And take good care!