Mental Health Quacks.

I guess what you don’t know about me yet, is that I’m a certified (yes, I have a paper) wellness-coach. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what that is, I don’t know either.

In the year leading up to my burnout I was clearly out of challenges at work so I decided to follow some courses that seemed interesting to me at the time. I found a one year course and I thought I could possibly apply some of the ‘wellness knowledge’ at work. It seemed logical to me to add some wellness to people who are suffering mentally.

The courses were quite decent overall but it really depended on the teacher. It was more an introduction to different ‘alternative’ health domains: nutrition, herbs, mindfulness, reflexology and Bach ‘therapy’. It was a ‘package deal’ so there was no picking and choosing. I learned a lot interesting things and I can tell about my encounters with some shady quacks out there based on first hand experience.

What I want to clarify before we dive in, is that all of these domains are interesting if you see them for what they are. It really depends on how the knowledge is presented and if you’re allowed to question the methods used and the claims made. Some teachers were really thoughtful about what they were saying and how they went about it.

I like to start with the biggest quack. I’m sorry if this particular method has worked for you and it very well may have but I’m going to tell more about the person who shared her knowledge with the group rather than to focus on the method simply because that the method was not explained during the course. That was a dissapointment but here we go.

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After a few decent courses I was eager to learn about ‘reflexology’. What I knew about it is that some pressure points on your feet and hands would correspond with different organs and by massaging them following an ‘old Chinese technique’ it would be able to relief some symptoms or help you keeping an equilibrium in mind and body.

I wanted to learn how to massage feet ‘properly’ because that is something that I would already do at work. I organised a wellness evening and had much fun doing it. I grew up with alternative medicine, my mom applied herbs and that kind of things. She went through all the phases that I would describe going from me thinking: ‘yes, I can believe there is something to it’ to ‘don’t give your money to that batsh*t crazy quack!’ She is a nurse btw but also deeply religious. Her answer to life problems: pray for it. I guess I wanted to know what was really going on in the more alternative scene.

First time I met Patsy.

Patsy was a small lady with a tan and perfect hair because she woke up like that. She was fun and light, that was something that would come across. She was also a life coach, nutrition specialist but her heart belonged to reflexology. ‘When you do what you love, you don’t have to work a day in your life’ and ‘What’s holding you back?’ ‘My burnout’, I thought. We introduced ourselves and there was also a group hug involved. You must now that I am not comfortable with being in the private space of people, let alone to touch people that I don’t know.

Next time we learned how to start the relaxing massage. Apparently you needed to be careful with pregnant ladies and people with diabetes or other serious health issues when applying the pressure points. There goes at least 50% of my demographic.  She was not going to cover these in this course. Do not despear, between you and me and outside of the school, she was offering a follow up course at her home. We, as her ‘students,’ would get this huge discount from 1600 euro to only (!) 800. In the course ‘experienced level’ there was a mandatory retreat at the seaside (I mean the location was just lovely, it was in the Netherlands you can surf there and it’s gorgeous). Of course the retreat had an additional bill around 200 or 300 euros for a weekend without the transportation. She promised to get to the bottom of all your problems during the retreat, she wouldn’t hold back. There were breathing and writing exercises. Thank you WP free plan, you are worth it! Even Patsy knows that writing can be therapeutic.

The first thing you need to do, according to Patsy, is to ‘be’ it. She told us it doesn’t matter if you’re still a trainee, you have the knowledge and you need to be certain of your skills. And you can already charge people. She would put a white coat on. The massage we learned was actually quite ok but there was no wiggle room. We needed to execute steps 1 to 24 (something like that) exactly how she said it. I’m a free flowing girl, it was difficult for me to adapt.

After a while we would learn about the pressure points at the feet and their corresponding organs. As I did yoga for a few years I understood that we have some meridians in the body. After yoga I felt better and so I believed that there are such things. According to Patsy our ‘Chi,’ our life energy is stored in the kidneys. The more disturbing message for me was that she said that we are born with a certain amount of this Chi and when the Chi is empty, you’re dead. The Chi is also hereditary so when your mom or grandmother don’t have a lot of Chi, well you’re basically screwed. But she could cure my burnout for sure. To start I needed to ‘tap’ my kidneys every morning.

Reflexology’s claim to manipulate energy (Qi) is unsupported by science; there is no scientific evidence for the existence of life energy (Qi), ‘energy balance’, ‘crystalline structures,’ or ‘pathways’ in the body.[1]

We learned about the pressure points eventually, we used the same picture of it my mom had at home. We learned nothing about possible science behind it. I heard nothing about the meridians. I do believe that traditional chinese medicine has benefits to it. They have a different approach to ‘health’. I just wanted to learn more about that knowledge and being able to hold it to a contemporary and scientific light. I’m just curious.

Oh G-d, Patsy was so freakin happy all the time. I just hate that kind of people. She was happy and relaxed with the perfect relationship and she told you that. People who are happy don’t go around telling you that. They don’t. I like people to be real and to have good and bad days. I can’t stand those who are so overly happy that they could puke rainbows every morning. It was a difficult time between me and Patsy.

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References.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflexology

Picture 1 Woman vector created by balasoiu – www.freepik.com

Picture 2  Credits click Link

15 thoughts on “Mental Health Quacks.

  1. You are funny Kacha. She sounds like a complete con-artist. Was the course certificated by an alternative therapies ‘body2? Don’t get me wrong, I love alternative therapies and you probably know I studied Swedish massage, seated massage, shiatsu and aromatherapy. After all that I wanted to do a 4-year course in Acupuncture but it was way too expensive. Hence the reason I studied m.h. nursing instead 🙂 I never fancied Reflexology courses (lots of people don’t like having their feet touched and the thought of touching peoples scabby feet?)) – though I did enjoy having it done to me.

    Keep investing in natural therapies Kacha – I was able to use lots of these techniques with patients at work. Okay, it may be the placebo effect, but it worked 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course it is certified! By some European I don’t know what. Happy to learn you can perform a Swedish massage! The touch helps to cope with pain. I mean there a benefits but you need to keep your head working. Patsy was something else! Well as I’m not going to return to that kind of work, I’m going to prioritize myself 🙂 and I’ll keep practicing self-care, alternative or not or placebo, everything goes 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I hate it when I read about any health professional who spouts nonsense while charging huge fees, but it makes me even angrier when people use alternative remedies as their shield for such cons. I know you don’t need me to tell you most of what she said is bogus (the Chi thing is bizarre. We aren’t batteries!). However, I’ve used reflexology for most of my life and I have never heard of a reflexology massage that requires complicated steps. You locate a point and you apply pressure. That’s pretty much it. Some techniques use specific objects to create a specific kind of pressure, like a comb on the hand to ease birthing. I also thought the science side had to do with stimulating lymph nodes, but I admit I’m not an expert. Anyway, sorry for the rant, and I’m sorry the training didn’t deliver good results!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No need to apologize for ranting 🙂 I’m glad to read that I’ve gotten a wrong version or approach to reflexology. I’m not against alternatives in wellness but she took it all out of context and I got so confused. I’m happy to read people are finding benefits to it and are way smarter in their apporoach. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Is Patsy white? I mean she knew enough to mention “old Chinese techniques” but while I’m Chinese and nottttt into Traditional Chinese Medicine at all (acupuncture, and this foot stuff, though I believe in some herbal remedies that science has backed up), it supposedly takes a while to learn this stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Patsy is very white apart from her fake tan 😂 Maybe she could be green too because of her love for the money! I’ll be writing one more post on her and it will be even more clear! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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