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Reflexology during cancer treatment - a natural mind and body booster

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We are really proud to be sharing the below article and story written by our in-house Reflexologist April Marques. This article has recently been published the Association of Reflexologists in their  ‘reflexions’ magazine (June 2022). April is a very talented therapist and a very strong and brave person who has lived through cancer and is now sharing her story with us all.

Reflexology during cancer treatment – a natural mind and body booster

With April Marques

AprilMy name is April and I am a (thankfully!) former breast cancer patient from Jersey, in the Channel Islands. This is my story of how and why I became a MAR Reflexologist – to help others, as I was helped through my journey and hopefully “give a little back” to the wonderful Channel Islands community – our friends and Charities against Breast Cancer, that gave me so much strength and unconditional support.

Growing up in Bangkok, Thailand I was surrounded by the culture of massage and holistic therapies, where Complementary therapies such as Reflexology are very popular and easily accessible.

Years passed and having moved to Jersey with my husband in 2015, I was shockingly diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I was only in my late 20s and yet felt weak from all the harshness of the treatments. Above all I felt sad, really sad – I did not want to eat healthily or do anything beneficial, I was sluggish, nauseous, and had no energy.

My health went downhill fast, to the point that I had to have a blood transfusion because my body was so weak – too weak to walk, too fragile to move so for a long period, I was in a wheelchair and my husband had to lift me up and down the stairs.

I asked my Oncologist and my psychiatrist specialising in patients undergoing Cancer treatment if receiving complementary therapy would help relieve some of the negative symptoms and they advised straight away to go for it! I picked Reflexology as I thought it would only involve a simple foot massage, and so had to be safe. However, days before the first session I started to panic as I was unsure how my body would react, as I was still having treatments and taking lots of medication. I arranged a chat with my qualified reflexologist who talked me through the entire process and made me feel much more comfortable and at ease.

I remember that during my first reflexology treatment, I felt a lot of tenderness but even with my eyes closed, saw some dim lights and my mind was calm. This general feeling of inner peace persisted during the entire treatment, right until the last touch. Once the session ended, I felt tired and dehydrated. My therapist’s advice was to drink plenty of water, change my diet, and rest for longer periods. My sleeping pattern much improved, not immediately but over the next few days. I did not wake in the middle of the night and did not experience the dreadful hot flushes I had had before. On the contrary, I woke up with a clear head and I felt great about myself.

I continued having reflexology every 2 weeks and started to notice more positive effects. In addition to helping me to cope with stress and anxiety, I was now feeling less bloated and my bowel movements started to return to normal. Some days, I felt that the session unblocked the bad energy from my body and soul, which was a wonderful feeling.

Reflexology reduced the side effects of chemotherapy and supported me in self-care. Gradually I started to walk – slowly at first but a bit longer each time; I started juicing and doing gentle exercises.

Reflexology is so much more than just a foot massage and I am beyond happy that it helped me to recover, in ways that I could have not imagined.

Chain of feet

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