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14 | International Therapist Issue 83 | July/August 2008 International Therapist | 15Issue 83 | July/August 2008
Holistic | Reflexology Reflexology | Holistic
Briefly working the top of a clients feet while they are standing is very different to the traditional image of a reflexologist working the soles of a
clients feet as they recline in a couch. Vertical Reflex Therapy (VRT) or vertical
reflexology works the same reflexes as a classical reflexology treatment, only the reflexes are accessed via the dorsum (top) of the feet while the client is standing or resting the feet on a hard, flat surface.
As with classical reflexology, the principles of VRT can be applied to the hands as well as the feet.
Although a complete VRT treatment is significantly shorter than a reflexology treatment (20 minutes versus 60), research suggests that the body is more responsive to certain techniques used on the top of the feet in a weight-bearing position. This is probably because the anatomical nerves in the feet become sensitised when weight bearing and therefore the energetic response from the reflexes to specific parts of the body is increased.
However, one of the reasons VRT is
Lynne Booth explains how her Vertical Reflex Therapy technique differs from classical reflexology
A new stance with VRTbecoming extremely popular in the UK and abroad is because as well as being relatively easy to learn it is extremely compatible with classical reflexology. Many therapists have witnessed excellent results when combining the two therapies and I recommend a 45 to 60 minute session that comprises reflexology and VRT as a preferred treatment option.
Masseurs, aromatherapists, osteopaths and Indian head practitioners have also found that incorporating a few minutes of basic VRT techniques into their routine can greatly enhance their treatments. And, of course, the other benefit of working the top of the feet or hands is that clients can be given some simple self-help techniques to practise at home in between treatments or to use on a first aid basis.
The VRT routineVRT can be applied to the weight-bearing or semi-weight-bearing hands or feet of the client. If the client is sitting or even lying down, they can press their feet or hands onto a flat surface, such as a foot rest or a small tray. This is obviously useful when
the client is disabled or confined to a bed.To stand for VRT or press the arm
downwards is obviously not very relaxing for the client or practitioner, but it is compensated for by the fact that VRT is applied in this position for a maximum of five minutes only, and often two or three minutes is sufficient.
The formula for complete VRT refers to a comprehensive treatment that is very therapeutic. However, the same formula is applied whether the treatment lasts for a total of 20 or up to 60 minutes. 1 Greet the standing feet by giving the
pituitary pinch to the big toes and brushing your hands for a few seconds over the top of the feet.
2 Immediately apply the five minute (or less) basic VRT sequence, beginning in the ankle/pelvic area and alternating the feet after each move. Continue until the entire dorsum has been treated.
3 The client then lies down for classical reflexology (this could be as short as 10 minutes or as long as 50 minutes-plus it is the reflexologists choice).
4 Half way through the reclining treatment,
the profoundly relaxing diaphragm rocking technique is applied for a few minutes to the feet (this is particularly useful for improving sleep patterns).
5 At the end of the classical reflexology session, the client stands again for a few minutes of advanced VRT techniques on the weight-bearing feet including three priority reflexes, which are worked synergistically and include the powerful zonal triggers.
6 The treatment is concluded with a harmonising technique.
As with classical reflexology, VRT uses caterpillar walking and other standard techniques, and the knuckles are also incorporated during treatment. Therapists are encouraged to use other skills they have learned as part of their classical reflexology training.
The same level of pressure used in classical reflexology is generally applied during VRT, though lighter work is preferable where sensitive reflexes are concerned as the feet and hands are more responsive in the weight-bearing position. The dorsal aspect of the feet and hands are also bonier and so a more gentle approach is desirable if clients are old or have thin skin.
Weekly VRT/reflexology treatments produce
good results, with a maximum of two sessions per week recommended in chronic cases, as the clients body needs time to adjust. Acute cases respond well to shorter daily sessions where possible, and self-help, weight-bearing techniques on the hands and feet can be used several times daily on demand.
Synergistic treatment and developments in VRTSoon after I had mapped out how the reflexes could be worked via the top of the foot, I went on to develop other techniques, including synergistic reflexology (SR), whereby the dorsal aspect of the hands and feet can be worked simultaneously to increase the stimulation of the reflexes. I then identified zonal trigger reflexes, situated on the ankles, which are particularly relevant for long-standing and stubborn problems.
Many documented examples illustrating the immediate benefits of VRT have come after the therapist has selected a priority reflex to stimulate on the foot, for example,
1 Zonal triggers 2 Fallopian tubes/
seminal vesicles/groin/lymphatic/ vas deferens/ helper diaphragm/heart
3 Sigmoid 4 Colon 5 Small intestine 6 Bladder 7 Ureter tube 8 Appendix/ileocecal
valve 9 Knee 10 Elbow 11 Kidney 12 Helper lateral digestive 13 Liver 14 Gall bladder
15 Spleen 16 Pancreas 17 Stomach 18 Adrenals 19 Duodenum 20 Diaphragm 21 Solar Plexus 22 Thymus 23 Heart 24 Shoulder 25 Chest/lung/breast 26 Trachea/oesophagus/
bronchial tubes 27 Helper thyroid 28 Thyroid/parathyroid 29 Neck 30 Lymphatics 31 Eyes 32 Ears/Eustachian tube
a shoulder point, and, at the same time, located a tender reflex on the ankle in the same zone and worked them together with the corresponding reflex on the hand for 30 seconds per foot. (see diagram left).
VRT nail working is a precise technique where the toe and finger nails are worked in conjunction with the dorsal reflexes. It is a very effective technique that taps into the inherent pressure on all the reflexes situated under the nails, especially the thumb and big toe nails.
Who will benefit from VRT?The accelerated response of VRT offers therapists an extremely useful tool to treat more people in a shorter space of time. In my experience, it enhances every reflexology treatment, but is especially suitable for the elderly, chronically ill and young children.
Mobility and muscular/skeletal conditions tend to respond the quickest and an immediate decrease in pain and an increase in mobility have often been reported by clients.
There is also a wide application for the use of VRT in sport, music, theatre and dance, and commerce, as well as in
VRT nail chart
34 Neck side 35 Brain/skull 36 Face/teeth/jaws/
tongue/throat 37 Helper sinuses/teeth 38 Sinuses/brain/skull 40 Helper ovary/testes 49 Spine 50 Larynx/vocal cords 52 Armpit 56 Sciatic nerve 57 Cerbellum/brain stem/
cranial nerve 58 Skull 59 Pelvic/buttock area
Copyright 2001 Lynne Booth.
It is expressly prohibited to
teach from, copy or reproduce
this chart without written
permission. Vertical Reflex
Therapy, VRT and the Booth
Method are registered
trademarks of Booth VRT Ltd
Vertical Reflexology by Lynne
Booth, is published by Piatkus
Books, ISBN 0-7499-2132-3
For more information, contact
Booth VRT Ltd, Suite 205, 60
Westbury Hill, Bristol, BS9 3UJ.
Tel: 0117 962 6746,
Synergistic VRT demonstrated
Vertical Reflex Therapy chart
16 | International Therapist Issue 83 | July/August 2008
Holistic | Reflexology
Lynne Booth has been practising reflexology for 17 years and trained at the International Institute of Reflexology (Orginal Ingham Method). She has a private practice, runs accredited one-day VRT courses and frequently gives talks and demonstrations at international conferences. For more information on VRT, training, and Lynnes books and new DVD, email: email@example.com or visit www.boothvrt.com
professions such as the police and fire and rescue services. Some hospitals and hospices are also realising the benefits of reflexology for their staff as well as patients.
As part of my own practice I regularly treat elderly residents at the St Monica Trust, Bristol, and hold a weekly reflexology clinic for professional athletes. It is rewarding to help accelerate a recovery from sports injuries such as groin strain, tight hamstrings or muscle spasm using the VRT techniques.
Case study 1: professional
footballer, age 24Mr M had been unable to train due to problems with an old knee injury that was aggravated when he sustained a blow in a game several weeks before. His knee was considerably swollen and he was concerned that even mild surgery to drain the swelling would delay his return to the first team.
The first time I gave him VRT on the standing feet, his knee swelled up more in the evening, but by the morning it appeared to have drained and he had more movement