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The Feet’s Feat

Posted on May 12, 2019 | No Comments on The Feet’s Feat

The universe knows that among the oft used parts of the body are the feet. No further explanation needed. But not everyone knows the notion that the same pair may mirror and represent the different parts of the body through energy zones. Knowledge of these aids in one’s wellness, treatment and diagnosis through a type of therapy called Reflexology – foot relief that is not just a massage.

I am a massage and spa freak. In fact, I can say that I spend more time indulging in the spa bliss and basking in the richness of every massage than dozing off to dreamland. When tiredness and stress seep in, I head off to my favorite spa and have my aching body relieved of whatever tension it has using muscular manipulation and long, soothing strokes.

From the usual foreign Shiatsu, Thai, and combination massages to the local and homegrown Hilot and Dag-dagay, name it, I have tried it. All techniques are different from one another but practically give off the same calm and ease. What I haven’t managed to indulge in is Reflexology. Sure, I have skipped this service when I browsed through spa menus, but soon as I saw a foot chart online – explaining in depth the connections of the feet to the entire body – I zoomed to my fave spa and gave it a try.

The foot relief that is not a massage
Foot massage dates back to thousands of years ago and oft used by the elders for pain and stress relief. But, history has it that a different kind of foot therapy (that is not merely foot massage) came about in the 1920s by Dr. William Fitzgerald, ENT specialist in Europe, and his colleagues, and was called the Zone Theory.

Med India website explains that this kind of therapy came about when Dr. Fitzgerald “discovered that pressure, when applied to certain points on the body could provide numbness and relieve pain and improve the functions of certain organs of the body.”

This novel therapy was then developed and specifically designed by a physical therapist named Eunice Ingham to become an alternative method for diagnosis and treatment called Reflexology.

While there are various definitions and interpretations of this method, Professor Lorraine J. Telepo defines medical reflexology as “a complimentary, biological, integrative health science, through which an exercise pressure is applied to reflex areas formed by 7,200 nerve endings in each hand and foot, encouraging improved instruction to each and every single gland, organ and part of the body, thus persuading the body to biologically correct, strengthen and reinforce itself to reach balance, normalization and homeostasis.”

Achtung before action!
Gloria Cooksey in her article Reflexology, stresses that although reflexology is not exclusive to just a few conditions and ailments, those people who are suffering from chronic, long-term, and grave medical conditions are encouraged to consult a physician first prior to a therapy.

“Diabetes patients in particular are urged to approach this therapy cautiously. Likewise pregnant women are cautioned emphatically to avoid reflexology during the early phases of pregnancy altogether, as accidentally induced labor and subsequent premature delivery can result from reflexology treatment,” Cooksey explains. “A consultation with a reflexologist is recommended in order to determine the safety and appropriateness of reflexology therapy for a specific health problem or condition.”

David Whaley, a certified member of the Association of Bodyworker and Massage Practitioners in Atlanta, Georgia, firmly suggests that diabetics should seek their doctor’s advice and permission first before undergoing reflexology. Although this contraindication does not necessarily mean that the therapy could not take place, Whaley simply advices that one has to have doctor’s approval first to avoid further complications.

Harvesting beneFEETS
Through pressure application and stimulation of a certain reflex point and nerve endings, energy blockages are removed and body pain is eventually relieved.

According to Cooksey, among the many conditions where reflexology can be of great aid to is fibromyalgia. Through this, breathing difficulty due to muscle tightness in the neck and throat and other muscle pains are relieved. Dr. Shweta Choudhary and I.P. Bahl, in their dissertation entitled Diabetes and Reflexology, they recommended that reflexology be used as reinforcement or “adjunct to the conventional treatment.”

“Reflexology reduces stresses and tension, which are responsible for causing large number of problems. Tensions can aggravate diabetes. The antidote for stress and tension is relaxation,” said Dr. Choudhary and Bahl. “Reflexology treatment gives immense relaxation and thus save you from tension related complications.”

Moreover, according to an article Therapeutic Bliss From Foot Scrub, Massage, Reflexology published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, reflexology plays a big role in a diabetic’s life as it aids in the “relief of aches, pains and tension, digestion and elimination difficulties. It can also help improve sleep patterns; can increase mental and physical well-being; and can induce profound relaxation.”

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