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Tag Archives: reflexologists

  • Fingernails are Windows to Health

    Nails
    Our fingernails are clear signs of what is happening inside your body. As massage therapists, or reflexologists know the warning signs to help your clients.

    Take a good long look at your massage client's finger and toe nails. Look at each individual nail for curves, dips, ridges, and grooves. Check out how thick or thin they are and if the nails are chipped or broken. Make a note of the color of the nail itself, the skin under it, and the skin around the nail.

    Changes to fingernails and disease onset are linked, so note any new developments. With this fresh view, compare what you see with this list of eight potential fingernail health warnings.

    Discolored nails

    A healthy fingernail should be pink with a touch of pinkish white (moons) near the base. Nails are a dull color or streaked with other colors may indicate a serious hidden health problem. Green nails are a sign of bacterial infection. Red streaks in the nail bed are a warning of a heart valve infection. Blueish nails signal low oxygen levels in the blood. Dull nails mean a vitamin deficiency. White nails may signal liver disease, such as hepatitis. Dark stripes at the top (Terry’s nails) are associated with aging and congestive heart failure. We, as massage therapists and reflexologists are not trying to diagnose our clients but it is our job to know when to refer them to a medical professional.

    Thick nails

    Thick nails are not natural. Nails need to be strong, but if they resemble talons or claws more than traditional nails watch out! Thickened nails that are otherwise normal can signal lung disease. Thick and rough-textured nails can signal a fungal infection. Thick and separated nails may mean thyroid disease or psoriasis. Unusual thickness may also be a symptom of a circulation problem. Thickening nails are a change that should tune you in to other health symptoms. Also watch out for allergic reactions to new medications which can show up as suddenly thick nails.

    Split nails

    Split nails aren’t just occasionally chipped or shut in doors. Instead, these nails seem to flake away in layers. Don’t blame frequent handwashing or nail polish for everything, especially since: Split nails result from folic acid, Vitamin C, and protein deficiencies. Split nails combined with a pitted nail bed (base) can signal psoriasis, which begins in nails 10% of the time according to WebMD. Split nails may result from chronic malnutrition. Diet is also a strong indication of nail health. We are what we eat.

    Concave (Spoon) nails

    Spoon fingernails signal a number of internal issues. To be considered full spoons, nails will be soft and curve up, forming a dip that is often big enough to hold water. Spoon nails signal:
    Iron deficiency (usually from anemia). Hemachromatosis, a liver disorder where your body absorbs too much iron. These type of nails may be an indication of Heart disease and Hypothyroidism. Fingernail and health challenges go hand in hand – for many people, clearing up their health issue results in their spoon nails returning back to normal.

    Pitted nails

    Small dips or holes in the fingernails can be a result of injuring the hands – or could be a sign of more serious health issues. Nail pitting can signal: Psoriasis, Connective tissue disorder, Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. Or a Zinc deficiency (when the pit seems to form a line across the middle of  the nail). The first will clear up quickly, but pits linked to disease linger.

    Ridges

    Nails should have smooth surfaces with almost imperceptible lines. Obvious ridge lines are a signal that something is up with the body. Some of the most common conditions associated with heavy ridge lines are: , Iron deficiency, Inflammatory arthritis, Lupus (for red lines at the base of the nails)

    Dry, brittle nails

    If your nails are dry and brittle, could indicate hormone changes and bacterial health.
    Thyroid disease leads to brittle, dry fingernails that crack and split easily. Fungus can make nails dry or even crumbly, affecting 12% of all Americans according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Both thyroid and fungal issues take time to treat, so you won’t see a difference in the look of your fingernails for a full growth cycle.

    Clubbed nails

    Plump skin that seems to swell around the nail, or if your nails seem to have puffed around your fingers, they are said to be “clubbed”. Clubbed nails can mean: Lung disease, especially if there is a history of respiratory issues. Also may be a indication of Inflammatory bowel disease, Liver disease. Fingernails won’t be the only signs of these diseases, but they can provide confirmation or motivation to seek medical care. Be aware of your client's hands or the health warnings they send. Fingernails and disease are closely related. Massage therapists and reflexologists need to observe our clients for their better health.

    Massage Specialties CEUS reflexology courses include information about nail health.

    Article Sources
    Trimarchi, M. Top 5 Things Your Nails Say About Your Health. Discovery Health.
    Mayo Clinic. Slide Show: 7 Fingernail Problems Not to Ignore. 2011 Dec 8.
    Rauh, S. Healthy Fingernails: Clues About Your Health. WebMD.
    Danoff, R. Can Fingernails Indicate a Health Problem? MSN Health.
    Wikipedia. Nail Disease.
    Article Source - losethebackpain.com

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  • Reflexologists Notice the Feet Signs of Health

    Happy Feet

    Usually  we do not pay much attention to our feet unless they hurt and when feet are already painful from that first step of the day, our feet get our attention which we cannot ignore. Our feet are often covered with socks or shoes and, as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” However, when our feet need attention, feet can quickly become hard to ignore. In some cases, this can be a good thing, as symptoms of more serious conditions may initially manifest themselves in your lower extremities. Here are some common symptoms to look out for, as well as possible explanations for what those symptoms might mean for your health.Cold feet
    For many people, having cold feet is more than a figure of speech. While it is possible to simply have cold sensations without any serious underlying cause, chronically cold toes could be a sign of poor blood circulation. Smoking and smoking-related conditions like COPD can reduce the lungs’ ability to fully absorb oxygen, leading to lower oxygen levels in the blood. Additionally, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and several other forms of heart disease can cause your arteries to narrow, which can impede the flow of blood throughout the body. Extremities like hands and feet are particularly susceptible to poor circulation, which may manifest itself through cold sensations. If you notice that your feet are almost always cold or numb, consult your doctor to figure out whether there are any underlying medical problems.

    Itchy feet
    As unpleasant and distracting as they may be, itchy feet aren’t normally a sign of a serious medical condition. The most common culprit of itchy, scaly skin on the feet is a fungal infection like athlete’s foot. These infections thrive in damp environments, usually begin between the toes and occur most commonly in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined to tight-fitting shoes. While athlete’s foot is contagious, it can be treated easily with over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications. In some cases, itchy feet may result from an allergic reaction to skin creams or from an immune condition like psoriasis. Talk with your doctor if your itchy feet persist or worsen with OTC treatments.

    Skin discoloration
    A rash or fungal infection like athlete’s foot commonly leads to scaly, reddish skin, but many other conditions may also result in discoloration of the feet. One condition, known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, is characterized by a sequence of color changes in the skin as a response to cold or stress. During an instance of Raynaud’s, the affected area turns white as the arteries begin to narrow and blood flow is reduced. The affected area may start to feel cold or numb and eventually turn blue as blood flow is further restricted. Sometimes, as circulation improves, your skin may turn red before finally returning to normal. Raynaud’s occurs most commonly without an underlying disease. In some cases, however, Raynaud’s may be an early sign of a more serious condition like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

    Clubbed toes

    Clubbing involves changes in the area surrounding and supporting the finger or toenail. Common symptoms of nail clubbing include softening of the nail bed, bulging of the tip of the toe and curving of the nails to form a sharper angle with the toe (often described as resembling the head of an upside-down spoon). A significant majority of clubbing cases stem from heart and lung diseases that reduce oxygen levels in the blood. Talk with your doctor if you notice changes in your finger or toenails that resemble clubbing, as this could be a sign of a serious condition like lung cancer, heart disease and Crohn’s disease.

    Swollen feet
    Most people experience swelling in their feet at one point in their lives. Often, the cause of the swelling boils down to something as simple as standing for an extended period of time, wearing restrictive footwear, going on a long flight or sustaining a minor injury like a sprained ankle. However, if the swelling lasts for more than a couple of days, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Fluids like blood may build up in your legs and cause swelling as a result of congestive heart failure, kidney disease or even as a side effect of prescription medications for diabetes and high blood pressure. Swelling may also result from inflammation stemming from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. It is important to seek emergency medical attention if swelling is accompanied by symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing or dizziness, as these could indicate a blood clot or another serious heart condition.

    Burning sensation
    The sensation of burning feet can vary from mild (numbness and tingling) to severe (distracting pain that can even interfere with sleep). Something as simple as tired feet or a common infection like athlete’s foot can cause short-term symptoms like burning or tingling. In more severe cases, burning in the feet could be a sign of nerve damage from diabetes or a circulatory condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Seek medical attention if the burning sensation lasts for several weeks, if symptoms become more intense and painful or if you start losing feeling in your toes or feet. In the meantime, the Mayo Clinic suggests resting and elevating your feet to ease symptoms. Additionally, bathing your feet in cold water can also reduce pain and burning.

    Pain in the big toe
    Generalized foot pain is one thing, but sometimes specific pain points to a more specific condition. If the pain is focused around the tip and corner of your nail, it could be a sign that you are developing an ingrown toenail. Sudden, severe bouts of pain localized in the joint of a big toe could suggest a complex form of arthritis known as gout. Symptoms of gout include intense joint pain followed by lingering discomfort and often occur at night without any warning. Rheumatoid arthritis could be another explanation, as early symptoms tend to affect toe and finger joints before moving to the hands and feet. If you experience persistent discomfort or sudden localized pain with no apparent explanation, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

    Yellow toenails
    As with other parts of your body, discoloration in your nails may be a sign that something is wrong. An infection of nail fungus often begins as a yellow spot under the tip of your nail. Unfortunately, as you may have learned in high school biology, fungi tends to thrive in dark, warm and moist environments, making the underside of a toenail the perfect home. If left unnoticed or untreated, this discoloration can spread deeper into the nail and to other surrounding toes. Outside of some minor pain and cosmetic damage, nail infections don’t normally present a major health hazard. However, if you have diabetes, an unchecked fungal infection could impair blood circulation to your feet and lead to more serious health complications.

    White nails
    White discoloration of the nails doesn’t necessarily point to a health issue. Leukonychia (sometimes called a “milk spot”) is a medical term for common white blotches that start around the base of the nail and move as the nail grows. Contrary to popular belief, these marks are not a sign of a vitamin deficiency and are generally considered harmless. A white mark at the tip of your nail, however, may be more serious. An injury may cause part of the toenail to separate from the nail bed, which can make the tip of the nail appear whiter. Additionally, some fungal infections first manifest themselves as white marks on the tip of the nail. If unchecked, these infections could spread throughout the rest of the nail, leading to further discoloration and potentially causing the nail to separate from the nail bed.

    Sources:

    Keep Your Feet
    Happy Feet with Diabetes

    MORE: Foot Health Feet Health Feet Health Conditions Foot Health Conditions

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