By Erin Kenneally – A Personal Account
When I say I get a kick out of life, I really mean it. I have had restless leg syndrome (RLS) my whole life. For anyone who has this incredibly under-rated “syndrome” you know how intrusive it can be. From the uncomfortable distraction of having the “willies” running up and down your legs, to kicking your legs for no apparent reason during dinner parties, to keeping you up all night. The worst is thinking that maybe you are sleeping only to realize that the reason you are still completely exhausted the next day is that you are not getting any deep, a.k.a. restorative, sleep (and haven’t been for countless years!)
When I say not getting any sleep, I’m not talking about the water cooler chat, “Oh, yeah, my husband snored all night and kept me up …” No, no, no. This is (and my five sleep studies in 10 years back it up … I LOVE vindication!) my brain being “stimulated out of deep sleep every 26-35 seconds all night long!” So literally, NOT getting sleep.
Deep sleep is so important. It’s when you’re body has time to rebuild itself from a hard day’s work. If you are lucky enough to dream (even if you don’t really remember them,) you dream as you are coming out of deep sleep. If you’re not dreaming, you’re not getting deep sleep. I wish I had known that years ago because maybe I would have noticed then that the quality of my sleep had really gone down hill.
I was once a “lucid” dreamer. That’s someone who can literally control their dreams. I loved going to bed at night. I could choose whom and what I was going to dream about, change the outcomes of bad dreams, and travel to places I’d been or never been, wake up and remember it all. But somewhere in my mid-twenties that all changed. I didn’t realize it in the beginning, in fact, I didn’t realize it for quite some time. I was working in advertising, traveling all over the country … I was lucky to be in bed for more than five hours each night. Then came marriage, kids, and craziness. It wasn’t until the kids had stopped waking me up at night and I wasn’t working during the day, that I couldn’t understand why I was still so incredibly tired.
I was always a very active person. A New England ranked swimmer, working 80-100 hour weeks (no joke, advertising is awful!) had 10 projects at a time … but now I didn’t even have the energy to walk to the end of the driveway to get the mail! I finally said something to my doctor and she immediately sent me for a sleep study.
Sure enough, my sleep study results were astonishing, and as I mentioned before, vindicating. I really had thought I was going nuts. Not only was my RLS “off the charts,” but now, with the weight gain, I also had severe sleep apnea! Unfortunately at the time doctors treated RLS with muscle relaxants which worked against the more serious sleep apnea. So, I was kind of between a rock and a hard place and was only able to be treated for the apnea at the time. If only I had heard of Reflexology at that time!! (Helen, where were you???)
Thankfully now, a few years later, doctors realize that RLS is a neurological syndrome and can treat it accordingly. But like most of us, do I really want to be on medication for the rest of my life? Not really. That’s where Helen and her magic fingers come in.
I’ve been going to Helen for reflexology, specifically for my RLS, for about four months. It is amazing how much it helps. At first it was hard, but totally worth it. The sessions can be exhausting. Now it’s just relaxing. The results are quite noticeable. At first the lasting effects of a session would only last a day or two before I’d start “dancing a jig” again (good thing I’m of Irish descent!) Now I go once every 10 days or so and it’s only toward the end of that time that the RLS starts kicking in again (pardon the pun.)
It’s amazing how little we really know about the human body, and how much we rely on pill popping. I for one, am so happy to have reflexology and most importantly, Helen.
Helen Chin Lui is a certified Reflexologist and certified Energy Medicine Practitioner. She is the owner and founder of the Healing Place located in Medfield, MA. She specializes in helping people with digestive disorders. If you would like to schedule a free 30 minute consultation or would like to make an appointment, call 508-359-6463. For more information about her services, visit www.healingplacemedfield.com.