Playing Footsie

Reflexology

Who doesn’t love a great foot massage?  While it’s delightful to receive one from a professional massage therapist, it’s also one of the few massage techniques that you can effectively give to yourself.  I think in general many people tend to skip over self-care of their feet since
they are kind of far away from our field of vision most of the time.  Or they are so used to paying other people to give them pedicures that they stay disconnected from their feet even though they may look perfect all the time.  Some people tend to think feet and toes are just plain weird looking and they actively avoid any relationship to them.  I’ve looked at and handled many pairs of feet during the 12 years i taught yoga.  One thing I always noticed was that the condition of someone’s feet were an accurate measure of their overall body awareness and vitality.

Becoming a stronger self-nurturer of yourself takes practice.  Aside from developing your own style of foot grooming habits, how do you regard your feet?  Do you only consider your feet as display devices for shoes you want to show off?  There are 7000 nerves and 26 bones in the feet, so they are incredibly sensitive and intricately designed by nature.  It’s not coincidental that one of the most iconic and sacred images of feet is that of the ritual cleansing Mary Magdalene offered to Jesus.  Perhaps learning a little more about reflexology will re-bond you to a newly dedicated relationship with your feet.
Reflexology is a specific type of massage technique for the feet that focuses on working to stimulate reflex points of the feet.  It’s an ancient holistic therapy practiced by the Egyptians and Chinese as early as 2300 BC.   Each reflex point is said to act as a mirror which corresponds to a particular organ or system in the body.  Stimulating these  points in the feet help release blockages to re-balance the energy flow in the body.

DID YOU KNOW?

Reflexology was depicted on a 5000 year old Egyptian tomb.  Found in Saqqara, the tomb belonged to a medical doctor that was second instature only to the king.  In the tomb are six pictographs which include circumcision, child birth, pharmacology, embalming, dentistry and reflexology. The translation of the hieroglyphics are as follows: “Don’t hurt me.” The practitioner’s reply:- ” I shall act so you praise me. “

Eunice Ingham (1889-1974), a nurse and physical therapist, extended and codified the work of some of the early Western reflexologists who had revived the practice at the start of the 20th century.   Ingham mapped out the feet to the corresponding organs and glands in the body and
wrote extensively about this system of healing and wellness; for these reasons she is known as the pioneer of reflexology in modern form“

I’ve included a chart that you can refer to while you are enjoying your massage time.  The layout of the feet in reflexology is meant to reflect the various areas and zones of the body, more or less. The lower body and its systems are in the heels, while the head and its aspects are in the toes.

Technique: Try pressing on the areas with your thumbs or the knuckle of your index finger while you breathe deeply.  Press for 20 – 20 seconds, and follow that by making small circles all over these points.  Use a little lotion or massage oil if your fingers need some glide.   Sometimes just a little loving attention on these very sensitive and often mistreated parts of the body can make a huge impact on your outlook and give you a renewed sense of vitality.

And of course, for a more authentic experience of reflexology, consult with a trained professional.

 

Playing Footsie

 

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