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Feet are like good mothers: always there; getting us where we need to go; rarely complaining. And if you are like me, you hardly give them a second thought. Until they hurt. Even then, you might only give them a little rub, a short soak or put them up for a while and expect that they will be ready to carry on soon enough.
But what if these very same feet were intelligent communicators, maps if you will, of what might be happening throughout your body, indicators of inflammation, dysfunction, or disease. Would you pay more attention to them then?
According to practitioners of reflexology, this is exactly the case.
Each part and function of the body is represented by a corresponding reflex point on the body’s extremities, most particularly the feet, which contain clusters of ultra-sensitive nerve endings (Gillanders, 2007).
Seven thousand nerve endings to be exact.
When a trained reflexologist stimulates these points, also found in the hands and the ears, it creates an electrochemical impluse that can release tension, soothe inflammation, and help the body remedy brewing malfunctions in tissues, cells, and organs through the nerve pathways.
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Reflexology can be a stand alone treatment or it can be combined with therapeutic massage quite successfully. If you are having a stand alone reflexology session, you do not have to disrobe, but can remain comfortably reclined, only having to remove your shoes. A therapist doing reflexology will usually also add lower leg massage to the session, so if this is your choice, wear leggings or shorts that can be pulled up over the knee. I personally prefer to work both hands and both feet plus the lower legs during an hour long (an hour and a half is better) stand alone session, including aromatherapy and Healing Touch to round out the session.
Therapists can also do targeted treatments designed specifically to help heal an injury or malfunction such as plantar fasciitis, for example.
The theory and practice of reflexology is based on the notion that there are ten (five on each foot) longitudinal lines of energy running from toe to brain throughout the entire length of the body. It is assumed that when there is an imbalance in one area of a zone, all other organs, tissues and cells in that zone can also be affected.
A sensitivity in any one spot of the foot creates an imbalance throughout the entire length of that zone. For example, a sensitivity in the right kidney could be the cause of an eye condition because the kidney and the eye are in the same zone (Gillanders, 2007).
The multitude of reflexology points on the feet are as small as the head of a pin and overlapping. A quick internet search of “foot reflexology maps” will reveal a plethora of maps, each somewhat different from the next. So, you and your therapist will notice sensitivities and discuss what makes sense for you, given your history and understanding of any other symptoms that may be currently presenting.
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If you haven’t tried this ancient, effective complimentary medicine therapy, please do! Most who do are very relaxed and pleased to join the “Foot Joy Club,” returning their aching feet for more foot love time after happy time.
Gillanders, Ann (2007). The Complete Reflexology Tutor, Octopus Publishing Group, p. 11 and p. 28.