Did you know there are 26 bones in the feet and over 3,000 nerve endings? it’s time to step into new territories. The feet have long been symbols in one form or another. To some cultures, such as in Asia and the Middle East, it is customary to remove shoes before entering houses and temples to show respect. The washing of feet in scriptural references shows equality and honor and analysis of the toes and foot shape has often provided one wisdom into the lineage and health of the one possessing the feet. Some say you can ‘read’ a person by their feet. Perhaps learning the simple art of foot reflexology could be a beneficial tool to acquire for self-healing purposes and general health.
What is Reflexology? Reflexology is the application of certain pressure points on the feet at specific locations meant to correlate with different parts of the body. Reflex points stimulate energy or Qi through the body energy lines or meridians (as known in Chinese Medicine). Looking at a reflexology chart, one would see the feet representing the entire body, in miniature, with the toes being the head, neck and shoulders; the ball and arch of the foot reflecting internal organs and the arch- the spine – and so forth.
As gentle to intense pressure is applied and massaged, the body is thought to experience a ‘release’ of congested energy in the tender spots – therefore leading to relief of painful conditions and body ailments.
Anyone can learn reflexology through self-education. There are plenty of books, videos and tools out there to assist one at becoming proficient at this powerful art. The great part is you always have someone to practice on – yourself! In fact, before practicing on anyone else, it’s a good idea to ‘get good’ on your own feet.
What can be helped?
Reflexology can immediately benefit a wide variety of discomforts such as headaches, bee stings, constipation, muscle and menstrual cramps, sinus congestion, pain in the body and nausea, to name a few. By learning the general areas of the feet and how they correspond with the body, even a beginner can begin to self-treat for many issues that would previously require some sort of medication or possible suffering.
The toes represent the head and neck, so when struggling with a headache, simply pinching lightly the sides of the tops of all the toes, looking for the sore spots, can help alleviate headache pain right away. In the webbing between the toes, tender areas, when gently massaged, can help drain clogged sinuses and rubbing the balls of the feet can sooth tight lungs and bronchial congestion.
Psychology of Feet
Apparently more than basic physical pains can be addressed with the feet. Some say the feet tell us what is going on in the emotions and the mind. White or colorless feet might signify exhaustion, while callouses might indicate someone who is willing to continuously feel discomfort around something. To some experts, the second toe indicates what we want out of life, and if we are getting it – that toe will be touching down. On the other hand, if we are not ‘getting what we want’ the second toe might be lifted or pulled away from the others.
Stimulation of the different toes is thought to produce varying effects on the emotional/mental bodies. The big toe would correlate to intellect, intuition and clarity of thought. The second toe can boost perception of self-worth and self-esteem, while the third toe would encourage and inspire ideas to be put into practice. Massaging the fourth toe could enhance communication and personal relationships and it is thought that if one has a ‘twitchy’ fourth toe – they are resistant to relationship or commitment. The Little toe, when stimulated, is thought to “expand and free the mind from inhibiting belief systems so that innovative ideas can then challenge and replace outdated limited thought patterns.”
A foot reflexology chart, showing the different areas of correspondence can be seen here:
Foot reflexology should be used with caution during pregnancy, as certain points are known to stimulate labor and are contraindicated during pregnancy. Those with heart conditions would be advised to practice caution using some points, as blood pressure can be affected through stimulation of certain points. Over all, the practice and application of foot reflexology is a safe, simple tool for self-healing and preventative health care and can be used by anyone young or old – as long as you can touch your feet. Tender points indicate congestion and can be gently massaged for accumulative relief. To find out more, there are great books at your local library, helpful on-line video tutorials and schools nationally which teach the art of foot reflexology for serious inquiries.
(Caution: This information is not meant to diagnosis, treat or cure and is recommended for self-application with the intent of supporting positive lifestyle choices as well as proper medical care. If you have questions, visit your intent as well as health practitioner.)
Written by: Stasia Bliss