Reggie Rullan-Borromeo, Manila, Philippines

Published in the Daily Tribune Life
September 17, 2012

When I first heard of reflexology and saw the picture of the soles of the feet with the nerve points indicated, I did not know what to make of this newly introduced treatment. Skepticism was mixed with the desire for a method of treatment devoid of artificial chemical intervention. Having grown up in an environment where alternative medicine was the primary form of treatment, I leaned toward new methods of treatment, but was wary at the same time. When I met Grandmaster Doc Fai Wong of the Plum Blossom International Federation during his visit to the Philippines at a meet-up with fellow Choy Li Fut Kung Fu martial arts practitioners, I was amazed that his first order of business was to treat his fellow martial artists and their families through acupuncture. Kung Fu masters have traditionally been referred to as “medicine men,” and I was surprised to see the practice alive and well to this date.

Acupuncture and reflexology are both feet focused and their slow but sure acceptance as modes of treatment has placed a foothold among Filipino and Chinese communities over the years. To date, many acupuncture and reflexology centers have opened all over the metro. The website of the International Academy of Medical Reflexology, a Pennsylvania State Board licensed private school in the United States, has its own patented definition for medical reflexology which states that “reflexology is a complementary, biological, integrative, blended health science, through which an exercise pressure is applied to reflex areas, formed by 7,200 nerve endings in each hand and foot, encouraging improved instruction to each and every specific organ, gland, and part of the body, thus persuading the body to biologically correct, strengthen and reinforce itself, to reach balance, normalization, and homeostasis.”

Citing the term paper of student Julia Pomeroy, RN, the Web site posted that: “Thus, by working on one part of the body (foot area) there is an effect on another. The goals of reflexology are to re-educate, re-pattern and recondition the nerves through the neural/electrical system of the body. The sole purpose of the nerves is to instruct the body (simply put, to tell the body what to do), when the nerves improve, the instruction improves, the body must improve, thus, an overall health enhancement therapy program of medical reflexology.”

According to the paper, the application of a reflexology treatment causes four reactions. One, it relaxes the targeted part of the body through the application of a highly specialized relaxation technique. Two, it improves nerve, blood and lymphatic supply throughout the body. Three, it influences the body to biologically set in motion its self-healing capacities. And four, it permits the body to reach a state of equilibrium.

Thus, the medical benefit that one may receive from a reflexology treatment is no longer speculative and anecdotal, but rather based on the science of the body in relation to the nerves in one’s foot.

Reflexology at The Spa

The Spa, one of the most distinguished pioneers of professional spa treatments in the Philippines, introduces The Spa Reflexology. At The Spa Wellness, one can experience healing and relaxation in a tranquil sanctuary complete with five-star hotel-like amenities of a sauna, steam bath and a Jacuzzi.

The Spa Reflexology is a combination of three Asian techniques —Japanese shiatsu, Thai massage and Chinese reflexology — all in one treatment. When I lay down on the customized chair convertible to a bed, I was asked what kind of movie I preferred to watch on the big screen LCD TV, if any. I felt like I was in a private theatre with relaxation, healing and entertainment in tow.

The first step was a hot foot soak that immediately put me in relaxation mode as the warmth spread from my feet to my calves then my upper leg. The slow but deep massage of my lower limbs was a treat I savored as I watched my romantic comedy movie.

The next step was a healing massage focused on particular “pressure points” of the soles of my feet, and I was surprised how my sensory nerves began responding to the gentle pressure on my feet. The therapist said that these pressure points were connected to specific internal organs that respond to the treatment.

The therapist’s hands, fingers soothed my feet along with a wooden stick that touched the pressure points. After the customized chair was converted to a bed and I lay on my stomach and my back, shoulders and neck were massaged with deep relaxing strokes that took away all the aches and pains of my upper body. The over-all feeling of wellness was unexpected as I thought the reflexology massage would only focus on my feet. The complete upper body treatment completed the treatment just as my movie began winding into its ending.

The Spa Reflexology took care of the pain and stiffness in my whole body relief caused long hours on the computer chair and over-exertion of my muscles. My stress and headache melted away throughout the session as I gave in to the healing and relaxation treatment which boosted my blood circulation.

When the therapist left I felt languid and utterly relaxed as I sipped the lemongrass ginger tea in a ceramic cup. I finished the movie with a complete sense of what a spa treatment should be like.

The reflexology massage is available in The Spa Wellness branches in Acropolis, Alabang, Trinoma and Greenbelt (Alabang, Trinoma and Greenbelt soon to open). A reflexology sparty can also be organized in any of the branches. The Spa is part of The Spa Wellness group of brands. For more information, call 656-5790 local 115 or (+63) 0917-8392517.

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Dinah Sabal-Ventura

Geraldine “Reggie” Rullan-Borromeo

Malu Mora-Rullan