In this blog post, I will endeavour to explain a little about foot reflexology and how it leads to both balance of the physical body as well as being a catalyst for the relaxation of the mind and emotions.
I will also discuss the use of Australian Kunzea Essential Oil – a substance that brings about similar effects as it has demonstrated effectiveness in a wide range of physical problems as well as having benefits for emotional balancing.
Working as a Naturopath for the over twenty years, I have used the combination of foot reflexology and Kunzea Oil to assist in bringing balance and increased health and wellbeing to many people of all ages and with a wide range of ailments. My personal belief is that balance of mind and body is mandatory for optimum health, which ultimately leads to a positive attitude.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FEET
Did you know that the average person who lives to 80 years of age will walk a total distance of about 110,000 to 150,000 miles in their lifetime? This equates to walking around the planet earth FIVE times – a truly incredible concept. So why then do so many people neglect these important lower appendages? Is it because they are hidden away in shoes most of the time? Or, is it because they are far enough away not to post too great a concern?
The truth is most people spend thousands of dollars and many more hours looking after other bodily areas such as their face, hair, nails…. and forget about, to a large degree, their feet. Our feet carry us around every day and rarely complain about the extra weight placed on them after eating that additional slice of pie or cake. They are expected to hold us upright and support our weight, no matter how much weight we put on after Christmas lunch. Feet are also our connection to the Earth and have the ability to release a lot of energy - walking barefoot occasionally is therefore very grounding and very balancing.
Feet can also walk us in the right or sometimes the wrong direction in life and usually if your feet are happy and free of discomfort it is a good sign you are on the right path. If however, you suffer from pain or temperature imbalances in the feet it could mean you may do well to relook at where you’re going and what you’re doing. It is important to trust your intuition and walk the unique path that was designed for you. If you start feeling stuck emotionally or confused and lost with difficulties seeming to block your way forward then try and walk back on track.
WALK THE WALK
Whilst I was living in Tasmania - which is where I discovered the amazing Kunzea oil - a lady hobbled into the reception of my clinic. She was very upset and was in a lot of pain, with a throbbing big toe. She had been to the doctor down the road who had said she had gout and should lessen her alcohol consumption and change her diet. She told him she did not drink alcohol and was mortified at the thought of gout. I was particularly busy on this day and did not have time to see her in consultation. Instead, I suggested that she take a seat on the lounge and I handed her a book to read on “feet and walking in the right direction” and some examples of the wrong paths on which she may well be travelling. After leaving her to read for a few moments, she suddenly burst into tears! I asked her whether she was okay and she said,
“Yes I could not be better, as I realise that what I have read is exactly true. I have not been living the life I want to live or deserve to live…”
Needless to say, her toe pain diminished and was gone within 2 days. Not because she suddenly did an about turn and ran in the opposite direction, but because she acknowledged the circumstances and knew what had to be done. A great example of the amazing power of the mind and body balance.
Think about how much stress our feet go through every single day, with all the walking, running and even jumping (if you’re that energetic!). Our poor feet do it all! In addition to prompting us with general foot discomfort when we may be walking in the wrong direction, we can also find areas of specific imbalance or disease in the body by working the reflex points of the feet through reflexology.
The goal of reflexology is to release stress and congestion in the nervous system and to balance energy. Every point on the foot relates to a different part of the body and the right foot and left foot represent the right and left side of the body respectively. All areas of the feet are massaged so that a total balance is given to mind and body. Regardless of whether someone presents with osteoarthritis of the knee, depression, anxiety, asthma or any other ailment, all areas should be massaged so that the body is treated as a whole.
Like all the organs in the body, our body and mind are also interconnected. A 60-minute reflexology treatment will not only help balance the body in a physical sense but is extremely grounding and calming to the mind. My belief is that as we are working on the feet - the opposite end of the body to our brains - it pulls the energy down and creates a euphoric sense of peace of mind. As mentioned above this peace of mind allows the physical body to heal more effectively and lessen any discomfort or pain.
Reflexology works on the extremity of the brain where all this stress and imbalance is initiated. I truly believe it is one of the best ways to encourage calming sensations and allow openness of the mind for healing and rejuvenation.
A reflexology treatment allows the mind to quieten - even for those who never seem to have any rest from their overactive thoughts. As we go through our normal daily routines, many of us do not recognise the difference between tension and relaxation. I find that when one has experienced the deep effect of relaxation that reflexology provides, it allows a more accessible place to revisit consciously.
Reflexology is a powerful modality that has the ability to take the mind to a receptive place where true healing can begin without stressors and conscious thoughts. It is at this place where the healing properties of Kunzea oil can best work their magic. I will call more on this later in the blog post.
During a treatment, the points on each foot are massaged gently to a depth where the practitioner is able to detect any congestion that may need releasing. You can balance and relax the body as a whole, or you can treat specific ailments. In both circumstances, every point on both feet should be massaged for a complete reflexology treatment.
Often imbalances in the body can be detected well before any pathology is present. Although reflexology cannot diagnose a disease, it can help detect areas within the body that show congestion and are not functioning optimally.
POWER OF REFLEX POINTS
On another occasion in my Tasmanian clinic, I had a lady come in and visit me for the first time. A friend had given her a gift voucher and she was here to redeem her 1-hour reflexology treatment. I started the treatment in the usual way, working the big toe on her right foot. She remarked on how painful it was and asked me what area of the body it is related to. I answered her of course, explaining it was an area of the brain – specifically, the pituitary gland. She did not remark but closed her eyes to relax.
I continued massaging the right foot in the order of balance. When I reached the area of the breast I could feel congestion and she could feel sharpness as I worked across the area. Once again, she asked me where I was working and I told her. She sat upright and stared at me. Of course, I was alarmed and thought I may have hurt her, but instead, she proceeded to say,
“I cannot believe that! I had a discharge from my nipple which started around 3 years ago and after every mammogram, ultrasound, scan complete nothing was found"
The discharge worsened and the discomfort was becoming worse and after 2 years of going from doctor to doctor they have only recently diagnosed a benign tumour on my pituitary gland which has placed pressure somewhere believed to be involved with the discharge”. So, although by this stage the diagnosis had been made, she was amazed at how the feet displayed very quickly and cleverly that there was a disease in the areas of the pituitary gland and the breast.
Over the 20 years, I have run my own clinic, I have done reflexology treatments on thousands of different people. Not only is it an amazing modality to help balance the physical body through the different reflex points, but it also improves circulation and is great for diabetics and those who suffer from venous problems.
Reflexology can help fight depression and anxiety, thus showing the body-mind connection, and can also help to relieve bodily pain. As we all know well, pain, no matter how subtle, can greatly affect one’s overall quality of life.
Where possible, I have always sought to find natural solutions that people can easily use in their quest to live pain-free.
USING KUNZEA OIL
In my attempt to help people live without pain, and improve their overall wellbeing, I have found Kunzea oil to be one of the most useful solutions. If I am performing reflexology on my clients, I have come to always use Kunzea oil over and above other essential oils commonly used in massage.
Distilled from the Kunzea ambigua plant, Kunzea oil is a natural treasure when it comes to Australian essential oils and alternative pain relief treatments. Although, I had never heard of it until I moved to Tasmania!
My Tasmanian clinic was flourishing and I was massaging feet from dusk to dawn. In the early days, I used talcum powder, as I had been trained to many years beforehand. After living in Tasmania for a couple of years, an elderly gentleman walked into my clinic and asked if I sold Kunzea ambigua essential Oil. I remarked,
I had never heard of such essential oil, despite having studied aromatherapy for many years. I told him I had not heard of the oil and he looked at me in disbelief. “Kunzea is a miracle oil!” he exclaimed and walked out. I was surprised to hear of something new and I was instantly intrigued.
Having lived in Sydney and London for most of my life and having trained in these two cities, Kunzea was never mentioned once, but of course, now living in Tasmania where it grows wildly, many locals here knew of its benefits.
The discovery of this plants therapeutic benefits is quite remarkable! A Tasmanian farmer decided to do some investigating after he realised his 35-year-old fence hadn’t gone rusty like all his other fences of a similar age. He eventually determined that the wire fence had been protected by an oil from a certain type of plant which was growing near the fence and rubbing against it.
The plant was later identified as Kunzea ambigua - a Tasmanian native found in the north-east of the state. Given its rust-inhibiting properties, the farmer thought the oil could potentially have other benefits.
After years of studies and trials, Kunzea Oil was eventually listed with the Therapeutic Goods Administration for its therapeutic benefits - including the relief of arthritis, muscle pain and other inflammatory conditions.
After uncovering these findings, I immediately gave up using talcum powder and adopted Kunzea oil for all my massage and reflexology treatments. The combination of reflexology and Kunzea showed strong benefits in helping people to reduce pain, discomfort and inflammation - whilst also balancing and relaxing the body.
I generally add 5 to 6 drops of Kunzea Essential Oil to 20 mL of base oil and use this to massage the feet after which I start working on the reflex points. The inclusion of Kunzea Oil works to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation to alleviate pain, whilst also working to increase blood flow to calm painful nerve endings.
The key components in Kunzea target the source of pain, by penetrating deeply through the skin to promote the body's own healing process. It also has the added bonus of demonstrating antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal benefits. Naturally, this is great to use with any foot problems we all tend to acquire at some time in our lives.
Until recently the benefits of Kunzea oil have been kept a secret, however, studies are currently being conducted worldwide to determine the full potential of this oil. Embedded in the plants’ unique organic structure are high levels of five important sesquiterpene compounds, which is quite unusual for an essential oil produced from the Myrtaceae family. It this combination of compounds that give Kunzea is unique anti-inflammatory properties.
As we know it is inflammation that causes pain, so by using Kunzea oil, we reduce pain which in turn calms the mind. If the body is pain-free then positive energy and attitude are more likely to flow and if the mind is at peace, then the pain is significantly diminished.
As Kunzea Oil is highly concentrated, I generally do not recommend applying it directly to the skin. Instead, add it to the bath, foot spa or massage oil. In reflexology, I like to use a cream or balm with a high concentration of Kunzea Oil, as a good base gives me the ability to massage as deeply as is required to address underlying congestion in the foot reflex points.
REFLEXOLOGY + KUNZEA OIL = TOTAL BALANCE
Using both reflexology and Kunzea oil together gives a multifaceted method of targeting pain. The reflexology treatment works through the nervous system and all areas of the body which then carry the energy of the Kunzea oil to reduce pain and inflammation. Essential oils are very powerful and will be absorbed through the skin, so by using this oil in treatments, we can add to the overall therapeutic benefit. The reflexology treatment itself balances the organs, bones and muscles and the addition of the oil means that any inflammation (which incidentally leads to most disease) is treated and reduced. This coupled with the fact that reflexology is extremely relaxing for the mind gives us a total mind-body balance which leads to a good attitude and positive thoughts. Reflexology balances the physical body and relaxes the mind to help regain positive thoughts, while Kunzea oil alleviates pain and discomfort in the body. Together we end up with diminished pain physically and a relaxed positive mindset.
The combination of reflexology and Kunzea oil gives total balance.
If you can reduce pain then positive mind follows, and likewise, if you have a relaxed mind you will often experience a reduction in pain.
How often do you meet someone with excruciating pain or chronic discomfort who is miserable emotionally? Likewise, how often do you meet someone who is depressed or angry who ends up feeling pain and fatigue? What we want is a positive attitude so that our feet can walk us in a positive line forward.
The longer I have been practising and treating, the more I have come to realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than money, skills, education, life circumstances, appearances or success. If the mind is healthy, then the attitude will harmonise the physical body and mind.
We cannot change our past, nor the inevitable, and we cannot change the way people respond to us, nor our families, but we can change our own attitude.
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% our attitude to what happens to us, so work on your attitude with balance and amazing energy will flow.
In our challenging world today, we must keep our bodies as balanced as possible. Our modern world is full of many man-made chemicals and it seems we are not only what we eat, but also what we drink, breathe, touch and of course, think.
My recipe for balance in life and a healthy body:
- Exercise - our bodies are designed for regular physical exercise. Aim for 30-40 minutes 3-4 times per week.
- Avoid too much alcohol and avoid all recreational drugs.
- Drink pure, clean water which clears the mind and cleanses the body.
- Use chemical free products as much as possible as chemicals are toxic to the mind and body. An accumulation can lead to poor health and chronic disease.
- Eat fresh fruit and vegetables daily and avoid processed foods where possible.
- Relax the mind with regular reflexology treatments and mindfulness practices.
- Diminish discomfort by applying Kunzea Oil to areas of pain and inflammation.
You only have one chance to live this life well, so choose to be positive, optimistic and focused on improving your health. If you have a major stress in your life take measures to seek help so that balance can be restored. If you have lots of little stressors that are restricting your movement forward, then I suggest you try reflexology and the application or inhalation of Kunzea oil. For me, the combination of this powerful massage technique coupled with the aromatic oil of Kunzea leads to the all-important “positive attitude”.
ABOUT MICHELLE BRASS
Co-Founder and Wellness Practitioner at Zea Relief, Michelle has over 25 years experience in naturopathy, aromatherapy, massage and reflexology. She has dedicated her life to helping people embrace the therapeutic benefits of nature. Michelle originally used Tasmanian Kunzea Essential Oil as part of massage therapy in her Launceston clinic. The demonstrated effectiveness of the Kunzea oil compelled her and the Brass family to launch their own commercial range - Zea Relief - in the hope that everyday people can have easy access to the natural benefits of Australian Kunzea Oil. She is constantly trialling and testing new products with her loyal clients.