Case Study - Reflexology & Depression

Mary came to me, feeling low, in need of something that was just for her. Even though Mary was a high achiever, with a very successful career and loving family, she was hard on herself at almost every opportunity. (At first) she couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t feel this way. She had lost her confidence in decision making and questioned every decision she made, wondering if she had done the right thing. She wasn’t looking forward to future events and felt her overriding emotions were of anger, sadness, weakness and a loss of self. 

We had eight reflexology sessions together over a period of four months. During our time together, Mary noticed a dramatic improvement in her emotional wellbeing. Noting in our last session that she ‘felt really balanced, the most relaxed she had felt in years with a feeling of lightness’

Mary had booked her first session, feeling the need for some time for herself, knowing that she was feeling lost but unsure how to move forward. She had tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (which hadn’t had any impact for her) and 121 Yoga Therapy Sessions which had been beneficial, but the impact had not lasted so she was looking to try something new. We talked about when she had first noticed feeling this way and how reflexology might be able to help her. 

I’ve found through my practice that reflexology is fantastic at creating space for you to listen to yourself. The world has become so fast and so full of comparison it can be easy to lose your voice, to know how you are feeling and what is important to you. The opportunity to have some guided reflection on how you are feeling and then have a calming balancing treatment can create a dramatic difference in how you feel about yourself and how you treat yourself. 

After our first session Mary noticed an immediate release in the tightness and tension she had been holding around her shoulders and lungs. This benefit lasted with her noting that she felt more present and less overwhelmed in the three weeks since our first session.  

We worked together to enable Mary to feel more grounded and connected to herself. By our fourth session together, Mary felt noticeably different “reflexology makes me feel like I can breathe again”. She was much more willing to look after herself, channelling calm and feeling able to “slow down emotions” and have more understanding with herself.  

She remembered how light, funny and cheeky she used to feel and found the determination to feel that way again. She wanted to feel energetic, funny, light, to be able to take compliments and feel a bit mischievous. 

 Clients often know how they don’t want to feel but struggle to articulate how they do want to feel. Having a few sessions to quiet down external influence and focus on what you want can be really helpful. Focusing on something positive (how you want to feel) is so much better than focusing on what you don’t want!

 “I am really enjoying the process, I feel totally accepted here. Through reflexology I am finding acceptance of the situation and being at peace with who I am.”

By our last session together Mary noticed how good she felt overall. She had confidence that she was doing the right things for her and her family. She placed her wellbeing at 9/10 and noticing that she holds so much power over how she feels. She left our last session together “feeling really balanced, the most relaxed I have been in a very long time” and described a feeling of lightness. 

NOTE: This is posted with full permission from the client and names have been changed for privacy.

MY TOP FIVE WELLBEING PODCASTS

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I love podcasts.

I listen to them in the car. I find them relaxing, informative and they provide wonderful company on long journeys. 

 If you come to see me for reflexology treatments, I will share articles and lifestyle information that will be helpful for you. I’m recommending podcasts to clients more and more and getting feedback that they are really useful. 

I’ve shared some of my favourites below. I hope you enjoy them too. 

1.    Courage & Spice: the podcast for humans with self doubt with Sas Petherick

These conversations are designed to inspire you to both understand your own experience of self-doubt and try out some resources designed to help you do your thing in the world. 

Sas is friendly, down to earth and extremely knowledgable on the subject of self-doubt. She has helped me to see that self-doubt is a universal human experience. That I am not mad, cursed or unworthy of my dreams. 

While growing my practice as a reflexologist, she has provided so much support. I hope you find it useful too. 

The episodes I have enjoyed the most are; 

How to Talk About Money with Bari Tessler 

How to Live, Love & Work with Anxiety with Hannah Bullivant 

Self-Belief and Seasonal Rhythms with Gemma David 

2.    The Doctor’s Kitchen Podcast 

Rupy is a medical doctor who specialises in General Practice who is a firm believer in the power of food and lifestyle change as medicine. 

I’ve found myself recommending episodes of the podcast to lots of different clients. The general lifestyle and wellbeing advice is well researched and easy to apply. 

Episodes that I have recommended to clients the most include; 

Episode 12: Eat for PCOS 

Dr Anita Mitra is a Gynaecologist. In this episode the subject of eating for PCOS and Women’s Health is discussed. The tips on women’s health more generally are worth a listen even if you don’t have PCOS. 

Episode 16: Exercise & Activity 

This episode looks at how movement and exercise can benefit, inflammation balance, support mitochondria, weight loss, cardio respiratory fitness and cancer prevention. 

Episode 21: Eat for Endometriosis 

This episode is also with Dr Anita Mitra. In this episode there is some really interesting information on hormones, a discussion on the importance on oestrogen in your body and what oestrogen dominance is.

3.    The On Being Project 

The On Being Project is a media and public life initiative. They make a public radio show, podcasts and tools for the art of living.  

The podcast is hosted by Krista Tippett and asks what does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other? 

This podcast is a new find for me, I have only listened to Mahzarin Banaji ‘The Mind Is a Difference-Seeking Machine’ so far. It was fascinating. I’ve been recommending it to friends and family ever since! 

4.    Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee 

This podcast has over two million downloads. It is practical, useful advice for a healthy and happier life. I have subscribed to this podcast for a while and find useful information in every episode. 

The episode that spoke to me most was a conversation with Johann Hari – Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression. This discussion focuses on how our isolated lives mean that our basic needs are not being met and how this is impacting suicide rates, particularly for white males. They delve into how dramatic change in societal ideals is leading to more unhappiness. Also, how people are turning to screens, social media and other addictions to fulfil their unmet needs. Johann shares some truly inspirational top tips for addressing these issues. 

I made changes after listening to this podcast. It made me realise that I was socialising more and more online and less and less in person. So, I decided to change. I organised more cuppas and dinners with friends and family, started to do more work in the local community and spend more time interacting in person. I’ve started monitoring my screen time on my phone, working to reduce this to a minimum each day. I feel better. It seems so obvious now, but somehow I had let it slip. 

A brilliant listen. 

5.    Body Cons with Molly Forbes and Lottie Storey 

Body Cons is a podcast taking a curious look at one of modern life’s most pressing subjects: body image. At the time of writing this blog, only three episodes have been released and I would recommend them all. I found Episode 3: Does my bump look big in this? Body image in pregnancy with Siobhan Miller really helpful and had tears of frustration about how I felt during pregnancy and after the birth of my daughter. 

Finally, my wonderful friend Kat Horrocks also has a great podcast. I was interviewed by her earlier this year you can listen here