You Can’t Boat the Feet
We squeeze them into socks, shove them into shoes, We stand, turn, run and jump on them for hours at a time. No wonder our feet are begging for a gentle touch at the end of the day.
So why not indulge them a little? Nothing is more gloriously relaxing than a foot rub. And if Vou take time to learn a few special techniques, experts say you might even be able to help Your health with a process called reflexology. “Working with, feet can be quite powerful,’” says Dwight Byers, a St. “Everyone knows how great a foot massage feels. Step further than that.
“I think that it can actually help the body cure itself.”
Reflexologists believe that certain spots on your feet are directly linked to other body parts, including muscles, bones, organs and more. Working these spots helps the body relax, returning its natural balance and giving it a chance to heal.
Idea is that pressure applied to the feet (and hands) promotes a beneficial response throughout the body, providing a break from, stress, Barbara Kunz, reflexology researchers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and authors of Hand and Foot Reflexology.
It’s tough to match a one-on-one session with a reputable reflexologist. But experts say you can do lots of things by Yourself, or with a partner, that may help relieve conditions ranging from insomnia to indigestion.
Were still trying to figure out all of the hows and whys of reflexology’ 0yers says. “Yet the results are obvious. Reflexology can be a great contributor to overall health.”
Human beings have been stroking sore feet from the day we first stood learned to walk. Egyptian tomb paintings from 2300 B.C. Show peopLe massaging each other’s toes. Similar artifacts have been uncovered in China* India. Russia and other places around the globe. But it wasn’t until the early twentieth century that modern reflexology began to develop. An American doctor, William Fitzgerald, M.p., discovered that applying gentle pressure to one part of the body could relieve pain in other areas.
Eunice Ingham, an American massage therapist, took Fitzgerald’s work further. She developed special massage techniques and created “maps” of the feet that showed which spots to touch to aid healing elsewhere on the body. How does all of this work? Reflexologists say that relaxation is the key. Stress and tension are responsible for about 75 percent of ail health problems, j^yers says. And since each foot contains more than 7 OOO nerves, experts believe it’s a great spot to start the soothing. Says New York City-based reflexologist Laura Norman, author of feet first: A Guide to foot “Reflexology really reduces stress, which helps everything function better. Reducing stress allows the body to return to its natural state of balance, called homeostasis, according to the Kunzes. And when your body is in balance, they say, its better able to deal with diseases and other problems. Reflexologists believe that your body is divided into ten “energy zones run from your head to your toes. To picture the zones, imagine a gingerbread man sliced lengthwise into ten pieces. Every tendon, ligament, organ, muscle, bone and brain cell is included in one of these zones-and every zone ends at the soles of your feet.
Your feet, then, are like mirrors that reflect the entire body. Spots on Your feet, called reflex points or reflex areas, correspond to specific body parts. And reflexologists say that working these reflex areas with your thumbs or fingers can help relax those matching spots on the body.
You also have reflex points on your hands. You can use these if you have injuries to your feet or if want to do reflexology in your office or in a public place such as on a train or bus, where taking ofi your shoes and socks may be impractical, for Norman, however, feet are the most receptive to reflexology, because “they need more help than the hands. Feet because of gravity and points out that feet are constricted in shoes all day. “Hands work out a lot of stress on their own.
Just how your feet deliver their comforting messages remains a mysteryMany reflexologists believe that messages from the foot reflexes are somehow relayed to other parts of the body, if Vou touch the kidney reflex on Your foot, for example, your body immediately sends a relaxing message to Your kidney.
Others, like the Kunzes, believe that the nervous system plays a role. Touching spots on the feet may stimulate nerve impulses that travel to the brain, tney say. The brain then relays the message to a body part.
Reflexologists say they can often tell from Vour feet when something’s out of whack in the rest of your body. Tender spots on the feet indicate that you may have a problem in the corresponding part of the body, ^hile they don’t diagnose illnesses or treat specific diseases, reflexologists say they can help paying special attention to the sore spots. “We’re just giving the body a better chance of helping itself, says Kevin Kunz.
Prevention: The Sole of Reflexology
whatever is behind reflexology, evidence is mounting that it does indeed work. Scientific research remains limited, but one study shows a possible link between reflexology and relief of premenstrual syndrome (pMS) in women. The study, involving 35 California women who complained of PMS symptoms, showed that those women receiving true reflexology reported feeling significantly better than those who didn’t. To make the study as realistic as possible, half of the women received placebo reflexology sessions, where someone worked on parts of their ears, hands and feet that are not supposed to have any effect on PMS.
One of the study s co-authors calls the results “very promising. Says Terry Oleson, ph-D.> chairman of the Department of psychology and the Division of Behavioral Medicine at California Graduate Institute in Los Angeles.
Experts say reflexology works best when it’s used for prevention. It helps your body running smoothly by improving blood circulation, clearing impurities, balancing your system and giving you more energy, jSorman says. A holistic approach,” Norman says. Don’t have to deal with stress so much, your immune system will be better able to deal with whatever comes its way.’
That’s why it’s a good idea to make reflexology part of your routine instead of waiting until a problem flares up. “You can do some work on your own feet every day,” Norman says. She suggests spending 20 to 3o minutes per day on Your feet and toes, making sure you hit all of the major spots .
Experts also recommend finding a trained reflexologist to give you a up session’ about once a week. To locate a reputable reflexologist, you’ll have to be a smart consumer, Kevin Kunz says, there’s no central board that tests and certifies all reflexologists. But experts agree that a practitioner certified bY any of the following groups has enough training to give Vou valuable service: the International Institute of Reflexology, the North American Association of Reflexology and Laura Norman and Associates, Reflexology Center.
You shouldn’t automatically overlook other practitioners, however, says Kevin Kunz. “Try them out a couple of times. If you feel like you’re getting some benefit, by all means stay with them. Some people have years of experience and do great work but have never received formal training or certification.
There are now more than 25,000 certified reflexologists around the world and thousands more with practical experience. The number continues to grow, fiyers says, as more and more people look for natural health remedies. “Reflexology is the number one form of alternative care in Denmark, it’s very popular across Europe,” he says. And if it’s good enough for cornmoners, it’s good enough for kings: Britain’s royal family reportedly uses reflexology to help work the Windsor knots out of their stress-filled bodies.
Please Phone Tanya at Port douglas Mobile Massage on 0408 054 538 for a really amazing reflexology session.