What is Limbic Reflexology?
Limbic Reflexology focuses on the reflex areas on the feet pertaining to the subcortical structures and nuclei of the brain, which are largely responsible for filtering information from our external, and internal world, and for generating our autonomic and behaviour responses, to that information. This includes our emotional responses, and our response to our experience of pain.
These structures and nuclei are commonly referred to as the limbic brain.
In 2011, I accidently discovered a reflex area, that was unfamiliar to me. I looked at various maps, but none gave me a clue as to its identity. However, when worked, there was a dramatic and significant, beneficial change for the client. For some time, it baffled me, but after reading an article in New Scientist, it dawned on me, that it may well be the reflex area for the Amygdala, a subcortical nucleus of the brain. The effect of working It, was to reduce the hyper-arousal effects of anxiety. I began to find it on other clients, with a similar beneficial effect. The Amygdala seemed to be the prime candidate.
Based on this hypothesis, and taking the pituitary as a reference point, I looked for other reflex areas in the places where I ought to find them. I did discover others, but establishing their identity, and mapping those reflex areas, presented a confusing picture. The Amygdala was in the wrong place.
The answer came after exploring the developing brain of the human embryo. By tilting the angle of the brain, the identity of the reflex areas become clearer, and they all fell into place. My 'Amygdala' turned out to be the Insula, with the amygdala reflex area close by.
The significance of Limbic Reflexology became clearer, with the discovery of a pattern of tender reflex areas, in a variety of conditions. By cross referencing, it became possible to identify each reflex area.
Since those initial findings, we now have over thirty discrete reflex areas, and I have no doubt, that in time, more will reveal themselves.
The Amygdala, Insular Cortex, Hippocampus, Hypothalamus, Thalamus, Cingulate Cortex, Locus Coeruleus, Periaqeductal Grey, Raphe Nucleus, BNST, Nucleus Accumbens and Striatum are some of the current candidates for the discrete reflex areas that make up the jigsaw.
Google each of these, and the significance of Limbic Reflexology will become clear.
Before Limbic Reflexology, our approach to anxiety and stress, was limited to such reflex areas as Diaphragm, Adrenals etc. These remain relevant, but with Limbic Reflexology, we can add the neural networks that generate the very origins of emotion.
The full significance of Limbic Reflexology becomes apparent, when you realise that those same networks, have a central role, not only in the origins of emotions, but in most physiological and psychological processes, including memory, and the experience of pain. Indeed, sensitisation of the limbic nuclei, is at the centre of chronic pain conditions. It thus becomes clear, that Limbic Reflexology has a major role to play in addressing a wide range of the problems, for which our clients seek help.
As a nurse, for me, the implications of Limbic Reflexology are immense. Tapping into the energies of the controls of the limbic brain, is powerful. For Reflexologists, there is no blood-brain barrier, and no global effects of psychotropic medication.
Until my retirement from nursing in 2017, I worked in the field of mental health for forty five years, and as a nurse, I am excited by the prospect of non-intrusive access to nuclei that underpin disabling mental health problems.
Encouragingly, there is an increasing interest in Complementary Therapies, amongst professionals in conventional medicine. However, for them to engage with Reflexology, there needs to be both a rationale, based on sound medical science, and evidence of beneficial outcomes.
Limbic Reflexology finds its rationale in the anatomy & physiology of neuroscience. Collecting evidence of its efficacy is crucial, and the gathering of this evidence, is an important part of Limbic Reflexology Training.
The Course is also the way forward for Limbic Reflexology. With more Reflexologists incorporating Limbic Reflexology into their treatments, the range of useful applications will become established, and, I believe, Limbic Reflexology will become a significant part of any Reflexology treatment.