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What is Functional Reflex Therapy?

Functional Reflex Therapy class sessionFunctional Reflex Therapy is a short repetitive routine consisting of a combination of simple relaxation techniques drawn from original theories and the practice of the complementary therapy of Reflexology delivered with flowing linking moves using hand, finger and thumb movements to specific reflex points and areas on the feet and lower leg or hand and forearm.

It is the Functional Reflex Therapy framework that offers a unique approach to relaxation that works successfully within many different environments. It is being used within the education system and at home for children and adults with special educational needs, autism and learning difficulties and within residential care homes with older vulnerable clients with dementia and alzheimers.

How does it work?

The therapy supports the Reflexology principle that points in the feet, lower leg, hand and forearm relate to areas of the body and by applying positive touch techniques and holds to specifically identified areas it may encourage changes to occur within and throughout the body.

It is a scientific fact that the nervous system and endocrine system are influenced by states of long term stress, anxiety, anger and tension and that the receptiveness of individuals to learning situations and to some demands that are placed upon them may be restricted or hindered when such states manifest themselves in the body.

There is now much more research available about the positive benefits of relaxation and how it allows the body to calm and helps to relieve tension and the primary intention of Functional Reflex Therapy is relaxation.

The many benefits of Functional Reflex Therapy will depend on the individual giving the therapy, the situation or circumstances in which it is being delivered and it will depend on the person receiving the therapy and their individual needs, but the benefits may include:FRT training session

  • The use of the FRT logo and ‘tool kit’ to help with communication and preparation for both the giver and the receiver
  • Encouraging the body to relax and relieve some tension
  • Increasing the release of the many well being hormones in the brain to create calm throughout the body
  • Offering those receiving the session quite and specific calming time
  • Working towards relaxation ‘in the moment’ but this may have an ongoing effect on the individual receiving the therapy and those people around them
  • Inducing social interaction, encouraging communication and reciprocation
  • Reduction in challenging behaviour
  • Using objects of reference to help to communicate the session which may reduce an individual’s initial anxiety
  • Where appropriate that the receiver takes some responsibility for preparing the session and helps to tidy away using the ‘tool kit’
  • Learning about and using respect for themselves and for those giving the session
  • Improving concentration and focus
  • Introducing the receiver (and the giver) to developing the skill of relaxation and the possibility of making this a transferable skill
  • Opportunity to share time and share positive touch and enjoy company
  •  Helping those receiving to the therapy to prepare for ongoing activities
  •  When Functional Reflex Therapy is used as an Approach and delivered by the qualified Reflexologist where appropriate they may use specific equipment such as a Lafuma reclining chair to add to the Reflexology experience and will also address individual issues that may have been highlighted by parents and carers, these may include sleeping and digestive disorders and sessions in schools can work towards personal learning targets set by the class teacher and other professionals. Eg speech and language therapists and occupational therapist.

The techniques

The eight simple to learn techniques are named to encourage the person giving the therapy to think about the area of the body that each movement supports and the action by which each technique is delivered, for example head circles, diaphragm slide and the digestive glide. This helps with both the learning of the routine and the intention of the session.

Where recording is necessary particularly in the classroom easy to remember symbols are used to represent each technique which allows staff to record preferred and non preferred movement quickly and can be referred back to for future sessions by different members of staff and which also provides a valuable resource and record for report writing.

For more information please contact Lorraine.

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FRT child with bagFRT drawstring bagThe FRT kit bag

“The FRT kit bag gives the receiver some responsibility for the session to ask for, prepare and tidy away use it as an object of reference and to keep resources and equipment together”