By Mary Berkery
My first body treatment was reflexology in the late 70s in Boston. The therapist was able to point out stress points in my body through my feet. I left that institute with the book “21st Century Survival” by Victoras Kulvinskas and proceeded to take family and friends as victims for foot massages based on the information in the book. Many years later, I had my own reflexology school in Dublin.
Did you know that…?
Your foot contains 26 perfectly proportioned bones wrapped in muscles, tendons and bands of ligaments.
Your heels are connected to your lower back, and how your heels engage with the ground effects your hips and lower back.
Your Achilles tendon, if tight, can indicate tightness in neck and shoulders.
There are pressure points on the soles of the feet that effect kidney function; and energy meridians run along the toes corresponding to the spleen, stomach, bladder, gall bladder and liver; and all that is not even looking into reflexology and how it works.
So, how do we begin to become more conscious about our feet, seeing that care for them is care for the whole being and body?
…as much as you can in the summer, on the beach or in your back garden. According to some ancient philosophies, life-force energy called Chi (or Prana) can be absorbed through the soles of the feet, and as you walk, it increases your vitality, your capacity to do more work and your ability to think more clearly.
On holiday, wear light flip-flops in public areas. When you come home from a day’s work at the office, take off your shoes and wear flat open toe sandals or cushioned cotton socks. I like to wear Birkenstocks as my indoor shoes and as outdoor sandals in summertime.
Organise an At Home Foot Treatment
Have a basin of hot water with essential oils of Tea Tree and Lemon: 3 drops of each (Tisserand or Atlantic ranges of essential oils are good. Dr Hauschka St John’s foot cream is moisturising); a towel; a pumice stone and a nail file from your pharmacy or Body Shop.
Soak your feet in the aromatic water. (Tea Tree is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and the Lemon is refreshing and invigorating. You could also use Lavender instead if going to bed afterwards, as it relaxes and calms, and it is also good for burning feet.)
Use the pumice stone on your heels and rough skin areas before and after the foot soak.
Dry feet, then bring one foot up on your lap and massage all over with cream, pressing with your thumbs and fingers into the sole of your foot, instep and ankle, stretching and opening out the foot.
Roll those Bones…
…ligaments and muscles daily when walking. A simple way is, when walking, to practice “rolling” your feet: placing your heal on the ground first and rolling along under your foot to your toes and then lifting your heel off the ground. This way it is as if one’s feet were “wheels.” You will feel how your lower back, hips, legs and even whole spine engages with this moving feast which maintains flexibility.
Another exercise, when barefoot, is to stand on the toes and ball of foot, one foot at a time, pressing your body weight into the toes. Hold for a count of 3-5. Release, and then do the other foot.
Treat Yourself to a Summer Pedicure
There are many special offers for appointments to bring a friend for free. Pedicures involve foot soaks, rough skin removal, a foot and leg massage, nail care and paint. I recently treated myself while in New York, and felt as if I was walking on cushions all evening after, as well as having brightly painted and cared for toenails for weeks afterward.
Relaxation Practice for the Whole Body and Being
When your mind is racing with worried thoughts, bring your awareness to the soles of your feet on the ground. Feel the shape and contact of the soles on the ground. Imagine that you are breathing the energy of the Earth up through your feet. See how the busy and fear-based thoughts start to loose their grip, your whole body gets calm and you come more into the present moment.
Foot care is whole body care. Love those appendages that move you through this life with total service to your beautiful time on Earth.
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