I’ve asked my Woking based colleague Astrid Lowe to write a blog about healthy feet (see below) due to their importance for lower limb and postural health. Enjoy reading!
Would you spend a whole hour having your feet massaged?
Does this sound self-indulgent? In our western world, we get treatment when we’re not well – in an attempt to restore our health. According to Eastern philosophy, we should have treatment while healthy, to remain healthy.
But why feet?
My initial interest in foot massage was superficial. I simply wanted to learn a few more massage techniques for the feet. Most people I treated loved having their feet worked on. I thought “surely feet deserve looking after”. They’re quite small compared to the size of the person they support and carry through the world. Also, did you know that a quarter of the bones of the human body are in the feet? Plus numerous joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, soft tissues and skin. Such important and intricate things!
Once I started practicing Thai foot massage I learned how powerful foot treatments could be. As expected, they improved circulation and flexibility in the feet. For those with old foot injuries the benefits reached beyond the feet. Muscle tension or postural adaptation in order to protect the injured foot manifested as far as shoulder tension. I began to add some ‘foot work’ to back and shoulder sessions.
But there was more to discover. I had accepted the two concepts which Thai Foot Massage are based on – primarily reflex points in the feet (as in Reflexology), and energy lines in the body (as in Traditional Thai Massage). It was still fascinating to learn that after treatment some people claimed to be sleeping better, or be experiencing reduced fluid retention, sinus problems or constipation. As with reflexology, I suspect that internal organs might be stimulated through the feet.
What if treating our feet feels great for a reason? We often instinctively seek out what’s good for us. We can’t claim that looking after our feet cures disease or illness, but it might just stop it from occurring. Apparently in ancient China doctors were only paid when their patients were healthy. In the West, we have preventative health.
So look after your feet…
- Keep them warm, moisturized and clean, toe nails trimmed
- Choose good shoes, and buy them in the afternoon, when your feet might be swollen
- Put your feet up after a long day
- Massage them – roll a tennis ball under your foot, invest in a foot massager, persuade your partner or book a treatment
- Stretch your calves
- Draw the alphabet with your big toe
- Enjoy some barefoot time, connect with the earth (some say that rubber soles just isolate you from it). Just make sure it’s safe and warm enough.
Astrid is a holistic therapist based in Woking. For more information, go to www.akana.co.uk.