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(text by Raquel Dora Pinho, Coordinator of ICR in Portugal)

The 1st ICR/Luso-Brazilian Conference took place on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th April 2022.  The theme was Palliative Care in Reflexology.

In this online meeting we had participants from Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Angola and Cabo Verde. There were experiences shared by therapists, physicians, psychologists and patients that use Reflexology in palliative care. We learnt a lot!

The Conference was opened by the President of ICR, Carol Faguy, surprisingly, in Portuguese. Congratulations!

This was followed by Maria João Oliveira’s (Director of ICR) presentation on the Scope and Purpose of Palliative Care, including the stages of grief, corroborating with Rosicler Fernandes, Psychologist, that “It is necessary to live all stages of grief”. Maria João Oliveira also shared some techniques in Foot Reflexology and Auriculotherapy. Dr. Manuela Furtado told us about the importance of integrating Reflexology in hospitals with palliative care.  She has a good understanding of the benefits of Reflexology in patients with pain – results of a study that will be shared on the ICR page. In this context, patients in hospitals will only gain. “The pain is not seen”, she says.

“Health is very important. “When it is not in balance, the disease is born”, says Zilda Vieira, Professor and Therapist, who with her teaching ability and experience, emphasizes the importance of evaluating symptoms properly before defining the reflex areas and the treatment to be carried out. She shared some techniques with us on the hands and how they are beneficial in palliative care.

There were several presentations about the extraordinary work at Ibrapper Institute, Brazil and how Reflexology is such a complete tool, not only based on techniques, but also how it integrates the human part and all the various aspects, physical, mental and spiritual. It is not enough to be a “foot tightener”, “the touch of the hands must touch the heart”, says Angélica Cândido, Therapist, while she is reading the “Little Prince” and the importance of captivating.

In fact, the attitude towards the disease can influence the whole process. As Edilaine C. Nunes, Psychotherapist, says, “Are you counting the days to die, while there are days to live?” Sirlei Pedrini tells us about this and how Reflexology can be a stimulus for this internal force, also alerting us to the importance of “looking at the person as she really is and not looking just for the symptoms”. In fact, Raquel Dora Pinho (our Coordinator in Portugal) emphasized the importance of “focusing on the person and everyone around and not just on the disease”.

“Palliative care does not give days to life, but life to days” (Maria João Oliveira).

Reflexology in palliative care relieves symptoms, gives vitality and improves the quality of life, not only in patients, but also in family members and caregivers. It is also essential to take care of those who take care!

At IIbrapper Institute, directed by Cleide Machado (our coordinator in Brazil), Reflexology is one of the most used complementary and integrative therapies in palliative care. It has demonstrated its effectiveness in relieving symptoms of other conventional treatments, generating well-being and quality of life. The clinical condition of these people improve up to 80%.

It was exciting to hear success stories in the first person. An oncology patient of Aline Mendes, Therapist at Ibrapper, who with Reflexology and an incredible strength, went through the whole process with fewer symptoms and a better quality of life. She had become a Reflexology therapist.

It is a pride to hear Reflexology therapists with lots of love and dedication to their art. They use many complementary and integrative therapies, but Reflexology is the root. As Sirlei Pedrini says “my flagship is Reflexology”. Reflexology has an holistic view of the Whole; it is a very effective tool in palliative care.

“We can change the world, each one doing their part”, words of Priscila Al Tintonelli, Psychotherapist and Mentor, who was 100% involved in the organisation of this Conference. Thank you!

We finished with a full heart and with more desire to organize events all over the World, sharing experiences, knowledge, taking Reflexology to All!

Thanks to ICR Luso-Brasileiro for organizing this Conference, to ABRTA and Ibrapper for their support and to all the participants.