Improving Mental Health to Improve Physical Health.

Frequently I receive Clinical Reflexology appointment requests from patients for help with their physical aches and pains only to find at the consultation that the real reason for their visit is that they are suffering mental or emotional distress. That is not to say that their physical pain is not real, indeed it is very real and when asked to give their pain a number from 1-5 with 1 being manageable ( with medication )  and 5 being unbearable most will rate towards 5.  If we put to one side studies that have explored the connection between recovery rates following physical trauma such as accident/surgery and mental wellbeing. Common sense would lead us to conclude that someone with a positive outlook, cared for by loved ones, well nourished and happy in their surroundings is more likely to need less professional interventions during recovery.

My reasoning as a holistic practitioner with many years experience is that there is a symbiotic relationship between physical and emotional pain. To work towards a full recovery of any health issue whether physical or psychological a holistic approach has shown to be beneficial. When we experience mental or emotional hurt the body releases chemicals that affect how our physical body functions and may be responsible for long term and/or acute symptoms such as pain. This relationship is founded in the complex workings of the Central Nervous System CNS and the Peripheral Nervous System PNS. The PNS divides into the Somatic Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System ANS. The ANS is further divided into the Sympathetic Nervous System that stimulates activity ( fight /flight response ) and Para-Sympathetic Nervous System that inhibits activity ( rest/digest response). Balancing the sympathetic and para-sympathetic functions of the autonomic nervous system through the Vagal nerve using Clinical Reflexology has long been my passion and the more I study the more there seems to learn to reach any conclusive answer as to the extent of how we feel, react,  and cope with emotional shock/ trauma or day to day stresses impacts on our physical well being.

During a Clinical Reflexology treatment, emphasis is on relaxation and providing a safe space where confidential conversations may take place. Quite simply, when the nerves in the body are balanced you will feel calmed, breathing is eased, heart rate steadied, digestion regulated. Muscles soften and tension eased resulting in pain reduction. At this point an emotional release can often take place and the feelings associated with past hurts may be put into words and spoken. 

For those that feel counselling may be beneficial contact your GP for help. Self referral “Steps to wellbeing” 03007906828. Macmillan helpline 08088080000 Samaritans 116123 NHS “Access mental health” Connections 24/7 helpline 08006520190 or NHS 111 Dorset mental health Forum Wellbeing Weymouth & Portland 01305 766237    website   Community Front Room scheme in most areas.

In the 1920’s and 30’s the British doctor and bacteriologist Edward Bach developed 38 liquid plant extracts believed to change negative emotions to positive. As with most homoeopathic and herbal remedies evidence of effectiveness is mostly anecdotal. However, Cancer Research UK studies since 2007 seem to show that essences can help people feel better and that the effects are not due to the placebo effect. These remedies are available over the counter at pharmacies and for help and advice  visit   If taking prescribed medications please consult your GP or pharmacist before taking any natural remedies.

If you would like to discuss issues raised in this article or a consultation please get in touch.