Wander through the streets of Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing and even Bangkok, and you’ll discover a world of reflexology literally at your feet. Considered by many as one of the best ways to sustain the long term health of internal organs, a reflexology session is a regular part of life for many Asians.
With its origins either in ancient Egypt or India, this treatment has long been practiced in Japan, India and China. Murals in tombs in Egypt dating back to 233 BC suggest a form of reflexology was practiced in Pharaonic times, but nowadays in Asia, you’ll find reflexology in shopping centers and airports – and in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) influenced spas.
Reflexology works on the principle of treating the whole body as one, with our feet (and hands) acting as a mirror or a map to our inner body. Massaging the reflex nerves in the feet encourages internal organs to detoxify and release stored stress and tension within. Stagnation is unblocked and energy or ch’I is encouraged to flow freely.
Reflexology is recommended for people with acute problems, as it is thought to prevent illness, alleviate pain and reduce tension. Whilst one is sitting in a reclining chair, hopefully with an inspirational vista or in a dim-lit sanctuary, the therapist uses thumbs and fingers to stimulate, massage and apply pressure on various points in the feet (and hands) that correspond to specific glands and organs inside the body. A session normally lasts about an hour and can be soothing, painful, blissful or uncomfortable, particularly if there is an imbalance in a corresponding part in body.
FOOT REFLEXOLOGY AT HOME
Recreating a reflexology session at home is simple and easy to do. To prepare, pour 2 tsp of base oil and 5 drops of essential oil (such as peppermint, sage rosemary and lemon) into a glass dish or warm up the oil in a vaporizer. Smooth a little of this oil into feet and ankles.
Begin by massaging the ankle area. Using kneading and circular massage movements, massage the ankle and heel of foot, stretching up the Achilles tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel. Then move to the top of the foot and use your thumb to firmly stroke from the ankle between the tendons to between each of the toes. Continue by massaging each of your toes, using pinching and twisting movements. Pull and rotate each toe clockwise and anti-clockwise. Keep the area in-between the toes well oiled. Massaging the top of toes is reported to energize and balance the sinuses.
Now, massage the sole of food with your thumb, using pressing and circular movements to massage the heel of the foot, as this stimulates the intestines and colon. Move to the ball of the foot using similar movements, balancing and energizing the lungs, shoulders, heart, liver and spleen. The center of the foot portrays the stomach, pancreas, gallbladder and kidneys.
Complete by massaging the inner arch of the foot, again using your thumb in a snake – like movement starting at the inside heel and working all the way up to the big toe. The snake – like movement is like a push on the spot with your thumb, then releasing and slowly sliding up a little, pressing again, and repeating all way up. This area represents the whole of the spine and the neck.
Try to spend about 5 to 7 minutes massaging your feet. Ideally do this when you are giving yourself a pedicure so one foot can rest in bowl of water while you massage the other. Rinse in water and apply a foot wrap. Repeat on the other foot.