Helen Pinnock is a clinical reflexologist who moved from Nottingham to Norwich after the pandemic. Here, she explains how reflexology has helped her manage her own health issues over the years
I trained as a reflexologist in 2001 because it helped me manage my Polycystic Ovary Syndrome when nothing else did. Reflexology was the only thing that helped me manage what at the time were debilitating symptoms. Heavy periods, constant pain, weight gain and fertility issues… PCOS, as it is commonly known, affects 1 in 10 women in the UK. Reflexology helped me regulate my cycle and provided me with natural pain relief. I also believe it was instrumental in helping me conceive my children (the two children that are now six-foot men). Because of my positive experiences with reflexology, I was inspired to share these benefits with other women. Before I discovered reflexology, I had worked a series of office and care jobs after leaving University none of which inspired me in the same way.
Reflexology works on the principle that all the organs, structures and systems of the body have corresponding reflexes in the feet which have over 7,000 nerve endings. Using specialised techniques, as a reflexologist I can detect imbalances in the body which can cause a variety of symptoms and disorders. By unblocking these reflexes on a regular basis, balance can be restored to the body and symptoms improve.
Now that I am at a different stage in my life, I am once again reaping the benefits of reflexology. It’s helping to balance my peri-menopausal hormones and heal from a chronic painful neck and back problem.
Although reflexology can help everyone, I find that women particularly respond well to the cumulative effects. So, many women struggle with unseen symptoms and illnesses, reflexology is a deeply calming and relaxing treatment that works on a physical and emotional level helping the body to restore its natural balance.
After the difficult years of the pandemic, the counselling and holistic health clinic that I had founded and run for 20 years was forced to close. My family and I were ready for a new adventure. My husband grew up in Norwich and my eldest son had attended UEA. We had fallen in love with the city.
Unfortunately, within a few months of moving to Norwich, I became very sick with pain in my neck, jaw and back that I was pretty much confined to my bedroom for nine months. It has been a slow journey back to health – in hindsight my body was responding to the continuous stress of the previous years. It took me a while to find the right people to help because I was in a new city. However, once I began healing again, I was able to take the lessons I have learned and apply them to my own reflexology practice.
Anyone who struggles with chronic pain will tell you how difficult it is to manage – often the pain they are experiencing is unseen. Many women struggle with pain be it migraines, pelvic pain, endometriosis or fibromyalgia. On the outside, they may be smiling and getting on with life the best way they can. When I am treating someone for pain, I will work on specific reflexes relevant to their condition both physical and emotional. However, for all pain conditions, I will always seek to reduce their stress, and anxiety and balance the body’s nervous system amongst other things. Reflexology helps to reduce pain naturally by releasing endorphins the body’s natural painkillers. It reduces stress and balances the body’s nervous system; reflexology reduces the body’s stress response and supports pain management.
My clinics are based in Norwich. I work from a beautiful room at the centrally based Yoga Tree the magical therapy Yurt on Plumstead Road and the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre.
My message to people experiencing similar health issues is: Don’t give up, you are not a label, you are not your illness. Feeling better can be a challenge and healing is not always linear. Surround yourself with people who really see and hear you when you tell them that you are not feeling well be they friends, practitioners and or holistic therapists.
I am very excited to be practising reflexology again in my adopted city. My reflexology practice has changed and adapted over the years largely down to my own experiences and the work I have done on myself. This means I can bring a different perspective and insight to my treatments.
Images supplied by Helen Pinnock