Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reflexology vs Romberg's Syndrome

My sister and I had appointments in Turlock yesterday with Miguel Gallegos, a Certified Reflexologist. We go about once every five weeks.
This picture of Miguel working on my foot was taken by Marci Stenberg and appeared in the Merced Sun-Star on January 4, 2005, along with an article written by Krista Bjorn.
I started going to Miguel for treatments in November of 2004; first because my knee was so swollen with arthritis that I could barely walk. I even quit going to the Mall. Someone told my husband about Gallegos and thought I should really give it a try.
With the very first treatment, the swelling went down almost an inch in each knee and I was again able to shop at the Mall.
On my second visit, I asked Miguel if he could do something about the loss of fatty tissue in my face. I was just kidding him, as I really expected him to say no.
It was in the early 1980s that I began having double vision. My local ophthalmologist noticed that my right eye had sunk in. I was prescribed glasses with a plus 3 prism in each lens to make my eyes focus together.
I went to the Stanford Eye Clinic to find out what caused my eye to sink in. I was really quite concerned about it and wondered what was going on in my head. I was invited to participate in the "Grand Rounds" where 14 doctors at Stanford examined my eye and head; one doctor said I had a funny shaped head, another said I looked like someone hit me over my right eye with a machete. Then the doctors had a meeting to discuss my case. They determined that I had Perry Romberg's Syndrome and that a nerve on the right side of my head had died that was supplying blood and nutrients to the affected area. So, that was why the decrease of fatty tissue above and behind my right eye, causing it to sink in.
I was told there was no cure for it, but it was not life-threatening. The doctors said they could reposition my eye (it was up too high and slightly turned) and inject silicon to make my face symmetrical again. I seriously considered having that done, but it was a bit scary. So, I continued getting stronger and stronger prisms until in 1997 I needed a plus 5 prism in each lens, which made it a plus ten. My (negative) progress was monitored at Stanford for several years, taking pictures of my face at different angles to document the changes. I was shocked at how bad I looked at these different angles and hoped I would be able to retire from work before I looked too grotesque.
Soon I started having problems with my right jaw locking. My dentist thought I had TMJ and sent me to UCSF. After an MRI of my head, the doctors said it was not TMJ, but that the right side of my face had shrunk, my muscles were shortened and that's why my jaw locked. Many times my jaw would close so hard and quickly that I would bite my tongue or the inside of my mouth. It was so painful and frustrating. Sometimes it would cause bleeding. A few times I could barely open my mouth wide enough to take a bite of a thin sandwich. My right temple protruded and was always sore. I was told to relax and was given blue dots to stick everywhere at home and work to remind me to do that.
By my fifth visit in February of 2005 to Mr. Gallagos, the Certified Reflexologist, I began seeing double with my glasses on. My ophthalmologist was surprised that my glasses were now twice as strong as I needed. He cut the prisms in half, to 2 1/2 in each lens. Six months later, after 6 more treatments, my prisms were cut in half again. A year later, I was able to wear glasses without prisms for the first time in more than 25 years.
Not all, but most of the fatty tissue has been restored, my eye lashes and right eyebrow have grown back, my jaw doesn't lock and my right temple is no longer sore. My eye is still sunk in, but not as bad as before. On the right is a recent picture, showing how my eyes look today, not nearly as bad as they used to, but I still don't like having my picture taken.
I don't know if it can go back to being completely normal. Maybe this is as good as it gets. Remember I've had this condition for more than 20 years. But I really believe it is still improving, just not as quickly or dramatic as it did at first. Each time I have a treatment, I can feel the twinges in my head while Miguel is working on my feet. My face gets warm while the blood circulation is improving. I always feel good after a treatment.
To me, all this is nothing short of a miracle. After years of fighting with the prisms, bobbing my head around while reading, so as not to see double! If my eyes were tired, it was even more difficult to focus. I was afraid to drive to Fresno (60 miles away) because my eyes would get tired and then hard to focus on the traffic and the traffic signs. Also the job I retired from required a lot of reading,and that made the job much more difficult. It is such a relief to be without the prisms. I have driven to Pasadena and back in one day. A 4 1/2 hour drive one way. I would never have considered it before.
I believe this big improvement was because Mr. Gallegos was able to restore the blood circulation throughout my body. He works on the feet, he never touched my knee. He has on occasion worked on my elbow (for my knee), the tips of my fingers and a few times on my ears. Like my sister says, she likes going to Miguel because she only has to take her shoes off!
While waiting for my treatment in Miguel's office, I hear many stories from other patients of how he has helped others; a woman whose finger would not straighten out and her MD wanted to operate, had it corrected by reflexology. Another one was cured of her Migraine headaches, a two year old who couldn't walk, had been to the Children's Hospital near Fresno where doctors told her mother she would eventually be in a wheelchair, was walking after one session with Miguel. She had a total of three treatments.
There are many other stories, too many to relate here. Miguel will be the first one to tell you to see your medical doctor. He does not promise to cure people, but is there to help those who need it.
When I told him about my eye, his first question was, have you been to your doctor? The answer of course was yes and when I said I'd had this for over 20 years, he just shook his head and went to work on my feet.
To learn more about reflexology click on this link.
Click here for interactive charts.
I have several books on reflexology, but am not trained to give myself treatments, I rely on the professionals, i.e. Miguel Gallegos.
(I didn't tell him I was going to post this.)

I just found where Kevin Kunz mentioned this post on his blog. He has written about 10 books on Reflexology along with his wife, Barbara Kunz. The interactive charts are from their website. I love those. I have a couple of his books. Here is his blog address: To read what he says about my post, click here.

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