Each foot has 26 bones and 14 phalanges, which are the bones of the toes. Each toe has three bones with joints except the big toe, which has only two. Going from the toes to the heel we have five bones called Metatarsal - one connected to each toe. The remaining bones are called Tarsal bones (seven bones).
They come in all shapes, sizes and forms – long, short, broad, narrow, bony, flat. We all have perfect feet at birth. But as we live our life, our feet adjust with us to different situations. The feet are remarkable. There have 26 bones (one-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet), there are 19 muscles and 30 ligaments.
Our feet bring us from place to place and they follow our mindset. If we are calm our feet reflect it, if we are worried it shows up in our feet (especially in the chest area with tightness and hard skin).
It is our thinking that distorts our feet.
The feet are often taken for granted and are perceived as an asset or a hindrance depending on our feeling about ourselves and the quality of life that we have.
Not only do they support Mind, Body and Spirit through life’s demanding adventures, but they constantly alter in appearance to reflect any small fluctuations of our mind, body and soul. They are in tune with our most inner self and adapt to any changes.
The only thing that interferes with the state of our feet is the state of harmony or disharmony in our mind. The feet sympathetically tune into thoughts and respond accordingly. The ever- changing characteristics of the feet provide valuable clues as to our inner needs.
The marks of life’s experiences impress the SOUL and the SOLES and are reflected on the feet long before they are mirrored in the physical body. Understanding these Reflections allow for early detection of disease and prevents inner turmoil. Interestingly enough ill-fitting shoes do not always cause feet disorders, but more often it is our thinking that does that. Distortions of the feet often mirror some distortions and misconceptions of the mind. Conformity and conditioning bring out various emotions from passive submission to resentment, anger, confusion, frustration and despair.
The feet demonstrate the harmful influence of this social conditioning often because of unreasonable value and outdated beliefs and principles that limit and inhibit mind, body and soul.
We say a person or something is Soul Destroying. That could also spell SOLE!!
Instead of running to the doctor all the time, people should be more aware of what they are thinking. A naturally healthy body has beautifully formed feet. If we look at children’s feet, they are perfect. Free from callouses and blemishes. Children are balanced in their view of life and so their feet are flexible. They have a definite stride and they are able to adapt spontaneously to every situation.
A question to ask would be:
What are my feet telling me about the way I am treating them?
Guidelines and Contra-indications
It is very important to understand when Reflexology can be given, when caution is required or when to abstain completely from giving a treatment.
- Contagious/Infectious Diseases: avoid cross infection
- Gangrene of legs and feet: hand reflexology can be given
- Internal Bleeding: treatment must not be given until medical diagnosis/treatment has been given
- Heart Transplant
- Hip Knee Replacement: only if you feel comfortable
- Acute inflammation of Venous and Lymphatic System/ Deep Vein Thrombosis/Phlebitis: ask the GP and take great care
- Pregnancy/ Unstable Pregnancy: do not treat until the 14th week. Light treatments thereafter are beneficial
- Heavy medication/Alcohol or drug abuse: may not respond, danger of expelling important medication
- Damaged Areas/Scars/Bruises/Cuts: treatment can be given but not over painful areas or recent scar tissue. Beware of open cuts, which may cross infect
- Conditions were surgery is indicated/After recent surgery: with care, it can prepare a patient for surgery and strengthen after
- Swollen areas/Oedema: reflexology will successfully treat these conditions but care should be taken over inflamed or painful areas
- Osteoporosis/Decalcification/ Fractures: great care MUST be taken. Avoid direct contact with injury or fragile bones. Always work lightly. You can always use cross reflex technique or the hands
- Psychosis/Manic Depression/Paranoia: reflexology can be helpful but the therapist should have professional counselling skills and experience to deal with these conditions or work in conjunction with GP
- Extensive Infections in the feet: use gloves or hand reflexology
- Diabetes: great care should be taken. Patients usually respond well but GPs should be alerted to treatments as medication may need to be adjusted
- Undiagnosed pain: refer to the GP as there may be an underlying condition
- After meals: treatment can be given after a light meal but care must be taken in the case of diabetic patients. Avoid giving treatment after a big meal
- Heart attack/Chronic heart condition: can revive attack victim. But be always very careful and work with GP
- Children/Elderly: light pressure should be used. In children, treatments should be shorter (15-20 mins max)
- Cancer: reflexology is helpful for pain control and to improve the quality of life. It can help with nausea and tiredness
- Unstable blood pressure: reflexology can be helpful but regular monitoring by a GP is advisable
- AIDS/HIV: use gloves
Reactions During and After the treatment
People differ; so do the reactions. Usually, reactions immediately after the treatment are largely pleasant. You will feel calm, relaxed, energised, and rejuvenated. Reflexology activates the body’s healing power, so some form of reaction is inevitable as the body rids itself of toxins. The severity of the reaction depends on the sensitivity of the person and on the degree of the imbalance. Some patients are more receptive to Reflexology and react quicker. For others, it will take longer to feel or notice any difference.
Most common reactions are:
- Cleansing reactions which manifest in the eliminating systems of the body, which include kidneys and urinary system, the bowel, skin, lungs, and sinus.
- The kidneys and urinary system are stimulated and the need to pass urine is more frequent. It may also appear darker and with a strong smell.
- If the digestive system is at fault, the person may feel slightly nauseous or may find an increased activity of the bowel.
- ‘Digestive’ noises may also increase during and after the treatment.
- If someone suffers from cataract or sinus congestion, then the symptoms similar to those of a cold may appear. Eyes and nose running as the congestion are cleared.
- Where the respiratory system is at fault, the patient may cough during or after the treatment with the clearing of the mucus.
- With skin problems, there may be a flare-up of a rash
Other reactions to the treatment may include:
- Different sleeping pattern (can be deeper or more disturbed and sometimes with dreams)
- During the treatment, the patient may start to cry and release emotional burdens
- Arthritic conditions: an increase in pain after the treatment
- Patient may feel cold or hot after the treatment due to the improvement of energy and blood flow
- General increase in pain felt before the treatment or relief of the pain