WHAT IS REFLEXOLOGY?
Reflexology is a form of alternative medicine where physical pressure is applied to pressure points on the body (in my case, the feet) in order to achieve balance and wellness. Different pressure points correspond to different organs or areas of the body. So one of the goals of reflexology might be to relieve stress and pain in another body part through the manipulation of the feet. Another goal includes putting the person into a very relaxed state of healing, rest and repair.
The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as:
A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body.
Some issues that reflexology can help with include:
* stress and stress-related conditions
* tension headaches
* hormonal imbalances
* sports injuries
* menstrual disorders, such as PMS
* digestive problems such as constipation
* back pain
Since I started running barefoot I’ve become more interested in the human foot – it’s functions, it’s full range of motion, and it’s characteristics. Reflexology was something I was always interested in trying and learning more about. I already knew that the human foot was highly sensitive yet surprisingly resilient and strong. I was curious of how it would feel to have the pressure points on my feet manipulated.
I contacted the Reflexology Association of Canada to find a practitioner in my city, and I chose Mary-Kay. Mary-Kay has been practicing since the 80s – she was lovely and professional and took her time with me. In total I was with her for about 90 minutes. We began with an intake form, which I filled out and she reviewed. I then lay on her table while she cleaned and examined my feet.
She proceeded to put pressure on different parts of my feet and ask me to give her feedback as far as how sensitive they were, and whether I felt any pain. After taking note, she began her session.
The actual session is a little like a foot massage. It’s wonderfully relaxing and time just flies by. Mary-Kay was very easy to talk to and encouraged questions. It dawned on me that the entire reflexology experience is probably made or broken by the skill and vibe of the practitioner. A good practitioner = a good experience.
At the end of the session, my feet felt warm and fluffy. I know that by running barefoot I demand a lot from my feet, so I felt this was a great way to give back to them and say thank you to my feet for hauling me around everywhere.
Before I went home Mary-Kay shared a cup of Nopalea with me – a surprisingly sweet and great tasting drink with amazing anti-inflammatory health benefits. You can read more about Nopalea here. And you can learn more about Mary-Kay and reflexology here.