I am sitting in a treatment room at the Chiron Centre for Natural Health in Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol with a reflexologist called Anne Brunton. She looks at the clipboard form I’ve just filled in, noting that I’ve called my sleep “broken”. She, entirely reasonably, assumes that it’s because I have a young baby. I feel the need to say that Ophelia actually sleeps quite a lot and that I am, in fact, depriving myself of sleep. I cannot shut off. This has been going on for months.
It’s one of the many indicators of the stress I’m struggling to admit to myself; the stress that leads to too many cups of coffee, at times questionable eating choices, impatience with my children and barbs prodded at Laurence. The stress makes me question everything I do and arrive at ungenerous conclusions. It’s the stress that leads to more stress, that will not let me sleep.
I don’t go into all of this, of course. I’m just here to try reflexology. It feels like a treat. I feel a little guilty to be here because it feels undeserved and decadent. Decadent – when will I be able to use that word without giggling at The Apprentice?!
Anne explains a bit about reflexology’s long history and what it actually involves. It’s a well-established holistic therapy, using specific points in the feet or hands to treat other areas of the body. It makes sense to me that there are physical connections in the body. I look forward to beginning, not yet quite sure why I’m here.
I lie on the treatment table with my feet exposed. Anne has put on a CD of ocean sounds I’ve said “yes” to. She approaches my feet respectfully. I couldn’t say what I’d been expecting, but though she touches only my feet, it feels as if my whole body is being treated.
I am soon in a state of rest I haven’t been able to achieve for months. In fact, embarrassingly, I think I may have drifted in and out of sleep a few times. Sorry if I snored, Anne!
We talk about tensions she notices and what that might be related to. She accurately guesses that I get cramps in my legs at night and suggests zinc. Most of the time I just zone out and enjoy the experience.
I leave feeling completely blissed out. I get into my car, amazed at how much looser everything feels. She’s mentioned that I might feel a bit tired the next day. That does not happen but I take advantage of my relaxed state by getting straight to bed. For days afterward I feel calmer and better able to cope. It’s hard to say whether it’s related specifically to the reflexology session but my back (ever a problem!) feels much more comfortable.
I didn’t go with specific concerns this time (though I certainly benefited) but reflexology is believed to target stress, low mood, headaches, back pain, digestive issues – you name it, really. An hour’s treatment with Anne is £45, £25 for half an hour, which is a fair bit cheaper than some other therapies I’ve had. I’m keen to have another session some time and to try some simple techniques on my girls that she described to me. We probably could all do with a bit of reflexology.
Do you have any experience of reflexology? Would you give it a go?
I was given a reflexology session at The Chiron Centre for Natural Health by the Association of Reflexologists for the purposes of this review.