“Where there is vision, the people live. They are made rich in the things of the spirit; and then, as the logical next step, they are rich in human life.” - Native American saying.
The philosophy of medicine which reigns in the western world today is an empirical science based on the division of the body into microscopic parts, with the prevailing means of treatment chemical or mechanical and generally man made… But its golden era is fast drawing to a close as its own financial and constructive limitations grow so widely evident.
Proponents of a more progressive ‘Integrative Medicine’ place self care centre stage, as a primary facet in the new age of healthcare. But what is self care and how does it exceed the standard notion of fitness and nutrition? What becomes possible when self care is a priority for all?
Defining Self Care
As neuroscience and quantum physics continue to unveil the ‘oneness’ and interconnection of all Life, it is increasingly necessary that we upgrade not only our perspectives on our bodies, but that we find a more appropriate way to care for them, to prevent illness, to recover from disease and to do so unaided.
The people of the future – those who will design and build their own products with a household printer - will require and will demand autonomous healthcare. Google diagnosis and online prescriptions are already a reality… but neither a panacea. Self care bound by the mechanical assumptions of our physical bodies will not suffice because we are not mechanical beings.
The modern man, as his ancestors once did, must come to see himself as an important part of the whole – part of nature and layers of being (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical). Society will blossom when it upholds holistic and natural methods of treatment which are simple, accessible and don’t cost the Earth, when each of us takes responsibility for our own sense of wellbeing, so that we know before the scans do, that something is in need of our attention.
This requires a complete re-frame of how we view illness: rather than consider pain, discomfort and disease ‘unexplained’ or ‘random’, a result of our poor design, some 'thing' external and repulsive to be cut out or dissolved off; we can learn from our ancestors that disease is caused by a combination of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical factors, that it is the only way our body can communicate that it translates as a reuest for adjustment. Illness, is a personalised gift, a lesson, a path to wellness and a means to growth.
When we come to see our bodies as intelligent, complex beyond our comprehension and perfect parts of the whole, we look around in awe. For it is not just we that are fully integrated beings, but this planet and all that she provides is a complex macrocosm which reflects each of us.
This long-ingrained belief system of man vs. nature places little faith in the human body’s natural ability to heal despite the glaring evidence that it can. Placebo is whispered by doctors as if it were a dirty word – only because to accept that the power of the mind/emotions can heal us without drugs / surgery, just as skin scabs and repairs without intervention, would be to burn the current system to the ground.
But medicine is a service. And it must be adapted to best meet the needs of the people it serves. Therein, our most potent tools for self care needn’t be ‘original’ methods from ancient distant lands, nor technological gadgets which further disconnect us from the self.
Powerful self care addresses each individual at the physical, mental, emotional and (dare I say it) spiritual level. The tools our society yearns for are as natural as possible, they take little or nothing from the Earth, are easily shared with the masses and are relatively fast acting.
My Most Prized Tool
Perhaps the only methodology which meets all of these requirements is the therapy I practice called Dien Chan Zone (Italian Facial Reflexology). It began life in 1980s Vietnam – like many important discoveries, a result of war and necessity (and accordingly independent of resource availability). It was developed by a group of acupuncturists to put healing in the hands of the people. In order to serve the masses, they soon replaced their needles with blunt rounded tools, and over the last 20 years its use in Italy has integrated all that it offers into a unique therapeutic methodology and a gift to us all. It blends the blue and the green areas from the integrative medicine map and reduces the need for ‘professional’ care, therefore representing an ever greater scope for the place of self care.
Reflexology interacts with the nervous system so by working in proximity to the brain and sense organs, this facial technique offers much faster results than other techniques in the genre. Moreover, results are amplified by re-stimulation so at the end of every treatment, each operator provides their receiver with a personalised map and instructions for self stimulation of the relevant reflex zones on the face to work with at home.
With no counter-indications, it can now be safely and effectively applied by anyone, anywhere and any time. Furthermore, the use of tools is not obligatory meaning that sore backs, muscle tension, migraines, digestive issues and skin disorders can all be treated using nothing more than our fingertips… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! It also offers great results for overcoming allergies and intolerances, urinary system disorders, nervous dysfunction, blocked emotions, all kinds of hormone imbalance and respiratory illnesses for example. The list is endless and unlimited by terms of clinical diagnosis. Almost any symptom can be targeted – including rare and unexplained issues such as loss of smell.
It is the only natural holistic method I know which can be performed in complete autonomy (without a therapist/ doctor/ operator). Meaning that with your own hands, massaging your face for just a few minutes a day can resolve even chronic issues in your body. Moreover, the potential to prevent illness is incomparable. To those in the know it presents unparalleled changes: no more waiting for appointments / in queues / for pharmacy re-stock.
As a tool of self care, by cultivating a daily practice we come closer to ourselves and the technique becomes a part of us – on the train, at work, in bed, on holiday and even in survival situations.
Meanwhile, as a therapy, with even a basic knowledge of the method you can confidently offer advice or treatments to your friends, relatives and loved ones. Advanced practitioners learn to use emergency protocols to aid women in labour, diners chocking in restaurants as well as those in extreme states of panic or suffering with severe pain in the street.
I haven’t mentioned yet that to give is almost as relaxing as to receive this treatment. For both therapist and receiver, it becomes a session akin to meditation bringing deep rest to the nervous system and allowing for vital digest/heal mode to engage. Needless to say, this is also a practice in mindfulness for all involved as attention is brought to all senses and the reflex responses are monitored throughout.
This method becomes a meditation, a heightened awareness and a new attention carries into everyday life
Self care tools of substantial value invite people to discover the power of their own bodies. Although this can take time, the result of this experience is internal revolution, a sense of widened possibilities and empowerment beyond description. It does not ask of you a lifestyle change (although it is often a prelude to one) yet it is a direct means to ‘be the change you want to see’ with quick and easy daily actions.
Tools which shift our perspective on the wisdom of our bodies and the notion of healing are vital to us now. A doctor who with great courage, and humility, chose to study Dien Chan Zone following a lifetime of service in surgery struck me recently with his words. He told us: “I am tired of slicing and I am tired of seeing blood… I want to know another way”.
This sentiment echoes around the world, as we live in a time when our systems are exhausted. But regardless of the ecological, political and economic ‘turmoil’, our own inner ‘work’ is far from the selfish or indulgent behaviour we’re been led to consider it.
When we move ourselves from a state of illness to wellness, no matter how small the transition, our shift reverberates. Each one of us, as reflexology reflects, is a microcosm within the macrocosm of this universe. And so, as we feel better, as we feel powerful, as we feel more connected; we think more clearly, we make improved decisions… and the butterfly effect takes hold. By activating our own sense of agency, we progress in new and unexpected ways. And with us, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, the world changes.
To me, Dien Chan Zone presents an unprecedented opportunity for a mass movement of self care which, nurtured and shared with the right tone, will bring more balance to our bodies, peace to our minds, wisdom to our emotions and remembering of our soul.
When you choose to work with a Reflexologist, you place some level of trust in your ability to heal from within, you take a chance - not on some fancy diet, expensive vitamins, or exclusive ointments and certainly not on your chosen therapist - but on yourself. And when you work with Dien Chan Zone you become a participant, actively seeking answers and always progressing faster than if someone else were selecting and directing on your behalf.
But you needn’t work alone. As a therapist and teacher I am a guide walking you home to yourself. Though I must say, that this is not the path for everyone. There are no short cuts and no magic tricks. It takes courage to see yourself this way and to trust in something you can't fully comprehend. But I can promise that if you are consistent, the reward will exceed all expectations.