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Spring 2009

Reflexology and Champissage by Barada
Located at 359 East 50th Street (near First Avenue)
Make an appointment today.  Call 212-741-5541 or

Hello there.  I hope wherever you are, whatever you are doing - you are feeling peaceful and at ease.  Rather than sending a monthly newsletter, I decided to prepare a quarterly edition at the start of each season.  This then - is the premier Spring issue.  Do enjoy.  And thank you for your positive comments on the previous e-newsletter.  I can't believe you read the whole thing!  So please continue to read all, or part - and if at anytime you want to stop receiving it - let me know that too. 
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Although it is still quite chilly and damp - spring is here in New York City (for my readers around the USA, Chile, Iceland, Geneva, South Africa and Sweden).  The light is strong and beautiful - very fresh and pure.  As I cycle uptown, I see blossoms and leaves on trees, grass turning green, colorful flowers and tons of people already inhabiting the outdoor cafes.  Riding through Tompkins Park, I see the city's animals (mostly dogs and pigeons and squirrels) gathering in a different - more vocal way.  Nature in its beautiful spring clothing telling us that all life has value and deserves to be nurtured. 

I have been visited by terrific people this last month.  Some have come to try Reflexology and Champissage for the first time.  Others were returning for their twice weekly, once a week or once a month sessions.  As a culture, so many of us wait until we are suffering to seek help.  But I am inspired to see many of you coming in because you want to take preventative measures - whether to strengthen your immune system, to relieve your allergies, or to lessen stress before it turns to illness. Basically, to heed any early warning signals that your body is out of balance.

Our body is a delicately balanced machine.  When everything is working in harmony to make the machine work at optimum capability - we call this balanced activity homeostatis.  Reflexology's greatest treasure is its capacity to return our bodies to a state of equilibrium or balance which becomes evident almost the moment the Reflexology session starts. I found it interesting to learn that in the Navajo language, the word for "balance" and the word for "beauty" are the same.  That is why I have tried to bring beauty to our sessions - through the decor and of the room, the photographs, candles and peaceful music. And mostly - when someone finishes their Reflexology or Champissage session - it is easy to notice their face is suddenly softer, younger and more beautiful.  Balanced certainly!  


One. What's New at the Salon (special offers, gifts and reflexology tools)

Two. Special focus on the Adrenal glands in relieving stress and allergies  

Three. When did Reflexology actually start?  A brief history of Reflexology


**Save $10 per session when you buy a "Package" of 10 Reflexology or Champissage sessions (the 2 cannot be mixed);
**Buy someone you care about a wonderful gift certificate for a one hour Champissage or Reflexology Session.  Only $50 and available for all occasions including birthdays and Mother's Day;
** Now you can purchase a "Relax-a-Roller" (foot roller) for only $16.  Made in Canada, its unique design has pyramidal designed points which break up the tension of the feet being pressed flat by the weight of the body.  Within seconds of use, you can feel the feet relax.  I use it everyday and can't live without it so I purchased them for you to experience.

The adrenal glands.  If you've ever doubted what those two little glands known as the Adrenal Glands can do, just watch the news. Anytime you hear of some heroic headline - "Firemen Rush into Burning Building", or "Mother Lifts Car off Trapped Child"... the adrenal glands are implicated. The adrenal glands are one of 8 main endocrine glands that, along with the nervous system, are responsible for most of the activities of the body.  You can compare them to the thermostat in our homes - they are like those remote control devices which keep our houses at just the right temperature.  These endocrine glands help the body to adapt to our environment; some of them are even essential to life itself as well as for the smooth operation of all the body's parts.  The glands produce internal secretions called hormones - from the Greek - "I stimulate" which produce profound effects on tissues and organs.  The adrenal glands secrete hormones such as cortisone and adrenaline. Yes, those familiar chemicals!  The importance of adrenaline in checking attacks of asthma is known by anyone who has had a severe attack - the emergency procedure to restore normal breathing is a shot of adrenaline.  Relief comes almost immediately.  And since all glands are interdependent, if one gland, i.e. the adrenal glands are out of balance - all the other glands are affected.  

How do the adrenal glands get out of balance and what happens to our bodies as a result?   Stressful situations such as life in New York City, worry, anger or fear increase the flow of adrenaline.  This in turn initiates the "fight or flight" response which causes an immediate rise in blood pressure; stepped up respiration rate; stimulation of the skeletal muscles; increase in rate of oxygen consumption and increase in blood sugar.  Another big adrenal gland stimulator is caffeine. It'll increase the release of our stress related hormones keeping the body in a continuous, and unnecessary, state of stress - which can negatively affect the adrenals along with other organs and glands. If this goes on for too long, you'll probably notice symptoms like fatigue, irritability, sleeplessness, inability to cope with stress and eventually respiratory disfunctions leading to asthma, sinus problems and asthma.  So too much adrenaline over time can affect the entire nervous system.  Too little can render us fatigued and apathetic.  What can Reflexology do?

Working the adrenal gland reflexes of the footIf you are someone who's stressed, anxious, overworked, overtired or who just lives in New York City - there may be a sensitivity and/or "change in tissue texture" around the adrenal gland reflex on the foot (it'll likely be sensitive on the hand reflex area as well).   Stress is a big enough factor in itself but when there's stress on top of that due to emotional issues, daily life issues and health issues (such as allergies, asthma, emphysema, acute infections, etc.), ...the adrenal reflex area can be very, very tender.  Now, don't think you're dying if you find it to be sore on your foot. Remember it's a "call for a balance of energy" and not a verifiable illness. But it is in your best interest to have the reflexologist spend a little extra time on that reflex point. To roll into it or hold it with steady pressure.  This point is located on the bottom upper half of the medial sides of both feet.  On the hand, this area is found on the palms of both hands, halfway down the long first metacarpal bone of the hand below the thumb.  Ask me to help you locate both areas so you can continue working them at home.  The key to achieving results with reflexology is to ask yourself, whether you are willing to spend some time doing this?  Think of it as you would any exercise.  Just as a certain number of sit-ups is needed to influence your waistline, a certain amount of reflexology technique application is needed to get results in preventing and/or relieving stress-related ailments.  

Let's talk about another stress-related ailment - allergies Imagine a car alarm that’s a tad too sensitive, letting out a piercing shriek at the slightest provocation. If you’re one of the 50 million Americans with respiratory allergies, you have a similar problem with your immune system: It treats harmless dust, pollen and pet hair as if they were the enemy.  If you’re allergic, it takes just a tiny particle of the right allergen to put your panicky immune system on the defensive. Your body strikes back by releasing a rush of histamine, the chemical that causes that familiar swelling and running in your nose, eyes and sinuses. 

From a Western medical point of view, an allergy is an over-reaction by the immune system.  Based on Oriental Medical principles, an allergy is a condition of a person's unusual sensitivity to one or more substances which may be harmless to the majority of other individuals. In the allergic person, the allergic substance, known as an allergen, is viewed by the brain as a threat to the body's well-being. Therefore, in the Oriental approach, an allergy is defined in terms of what a substance does to the energy flow in the body. When contact is made with an allergen, it causes blockages in the energy pathways called meridians, or, we can say it disrupts the normal flow of energy through the body's electrical circuits. The energy blockage causes interference between the brain and the body via the nervous system. This blocked energy flow is the first step in a chain of events which can develop into an allergic response. Allergies are the result of energy imbalances in the body, leading to a diminished state of health in one or more organ systems.
So once again, by working the entire foot - specifically the adrenal reflex area - the energy becomes unblocked thereby relieving stress and tension, improving the blood supply, promoting the unblocking of nerve impulses and helping nature achieve homeostasis.  Other than reflexology, one of the safest and most effective ways to combat stress that comes to mind is meditation.  


Ancient links to Reflexology
China. The most common theory is that the earliest form of reflexology originated in China some 5000 years ago. The Chinese concept of meridians is an important part in the foundation of reflexology.  In 475-221 BC., the Yellow Emperors of Internal Medicine identified 14 channels (meridians) within the human body, six of which travel to the foot. Meridians are energy pathways all over the body that link our internal organs with the other parts of our body. These energy channels are the pathways for the circulation of the vital life force, which the Chinese call chi. Chi is also referred to as “life force,” “vital force,” and “vital energy.”
Japan. Traditional Asian foot reflexology is called Zoku Shin Do. This is the foot portion of the Japanese massage technique. The roots of Zoku Shin Do go back to ancient China.
North America. The Cherokee tribes of North America to this day practice a form of reflexology that they continue to pass from generation to generation.
Egypt. A pictograph dating between 2500 - 2330 BC taken from the physician’s tomb, the tomb of Ankhmahor in Saqqara indicates Egyptian roots of Reflexology. In the pictograph one can see the practitioner working on the feet of the king or high official. Underneath the picture it is written, “Don't hurt me".  The practitioner's reply, "I shall act so you praise me".  Even today ancient footwork practice can be found in some remote Egyptian villages which is very similar to a reflexology treatment session.
Birth of Modern Reflexology
Dr. William Fitzgerald (b.1872 – d.1942) is known as the “Father of Zone Therapy.” He was a medical man, who became a natural healer through the art of using pressure therapy to benefit and heal the human body.  Dr. Fitzgerald is responsible for what we call reflex zone therapy today. He devised the system of mapping the body into five zones on each side of a median line. These zones run the length of the body from the head to the feet.  It is by using this map of the body on the feet that we are now able to find the reflex points that mirror our entire body. He demonstrated the correlation between the reflex points on the feet and areas in distant parts of the body showing how a pressure of between 2 and 10 pounds on a given finger or toe could alleviate pain anywhere in a corresponding zone in the body.
In the 1930's Eunice Ingham (1889-1974) further developed foot reflexology through her research. A physical therapist by occupation, she was a colleague of Dr. Shelby Riley, who along with Dr. W. H. Fitzgerald actively developed zone therapy. For the first time correlationship was looked at between the anatomical structure of the body and the energy zones located on the foot. She discovered that pressure applied to specific reflex points on the feet could help to relieve pain.  Ingham traveled and lectured widely about reflexology, initially to audiences of extremely desperate or aging patients who had lost hope in finding relief. Because of their sometimes astonishing improvement, reflexology became better known and respected among the medical community and gained credibility for its therapeutic value. Ingham described her theories of reflexology in her 1938 book, entitled Stories the Feet Can Tell, which included a map of the reflex points on the feet and the organs that they parallel. She went on to publish Stories the Feet Have Told " in 1963. Her theories are still studied today and form much of the basis of reflexology.
P.S.  I have read many times over Laura Ingham's books and it is her theories that I have studied, been certified in and come to see as most effective in my everyday practice.