According to Chinese philosopher Laozi, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And according to numerous yoga and dance instructors, massage therapists and health professionals, the journey to your overall health begins with a single pair of feet.
When we think about what our feet go through on a daily basis, it’s common to find that we might not be holding up our side of the deal as far as restoration and repair go. Some of us have even fallen into the habit of routinely mistreating an essential part of our daily lives while doing very little to thank or heal them. Think about it: where would you be – literally or figuratively – without your feet? But more importantly, what have you done lately to thank them?
Well, the good news is you don’t have to go to a pedicurist or foot doctor to start taking care of your feet. To get started, you just have to put a little love into them with a little foot reflexology. Foot reflexology refers to stimulating the reflex points on your feet to effectively calm and soothe the nearly 15,000 nerve endings found there. These nerve endings become a map, allowing reflexologists (and you!) to know which organs, glands, or other corresponding parts of the body are affected by the massage:
Your toes represent your head,
A natural shoulder/neckline can be found along the ridge beneath your toes,
The ball of the foot represents the chest,
Each foot’s arch represents the digestive organs,
The heel and ankles connect to the reproductive system, and
A spinal reflex is found inside the curve of each foot, which corresponds to the actual curves of the spine.
By stimulating these various reflex points, you can do just about anything, from improving circulation (helping lower blood pressure) to preventing foot and ankle injuries, to falling asleep more easily.
Another way to take care of your feet is to tone them up. While your feet are known more for their bones than their muscles, it’s important to your balance and stability to make an effort to work out your feet and ankles. Sustaining an ankle injury is incredibly easy to do at any age, but the older you are and/or the more often it happens, the less likely you’ll be able to bounce back from and build up your muscles to prevent it from happening again. Seated stretches can help strengthen your leg and foot muscles, as can reps of pointing and flexing your feet and circling the ankles in both directions from a comfortable seated position.
We invite you to start taking better care of your feet if you haven’t already incorporated a routine for it into your daily life. Before bed, or while you’re relaxing after work, take 10-15 minutes to focus on your feet. Start with some ankle stretches, then reward them with a little TLC, massaging and stimulating the various reflex points. After just one session, you should notice a significant difference in how your feet look and feel. And don’t be surprised if before long you find an extra little “thank you” skip in your daily step!
Kat Wiseman is a content writer for Span Enterprises in Rock Hill, SC. She has a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Winthrop University and her RYT 200 from Yoga Alliance. When she's not writing or doing yoga, she enjoys Netflix marathons, mystery novels, and being at the beach.