Between massage therapy sessions, practice self-massage on one of the most sensitive areas of the body—your feet. A brisk foot massage in the morning can stimulate energy for the tasks ahead. In the evening, slow massage on the feet can help soothe the day’s stress. Follow the entire sequence in order, or try each separately.
There is a growing body of research pertaining to the effects of various forms of foot massage—including reflexology—on anxiety, depression, immune system response, nausea, pain, and stress. A general review of the literature between the years 1999–2007 found that foot work is demonstrating significant outcomes within a broad spectrum of populations, from postsurgical patients to people with cancer to middle-aged women to hospitalized patients.1
Q “I worry about going into my massage session with stinky feet. What should I do?”
A. Resonance repatterner, bodyworker, and intuitive counselor Bobbie Martin lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri. She explains the focus during a bodywork session: “What we’re doing is working with your body, and everything it does is information for us. Your body is just talking to us, so smelly feet are really nothing to be concerned about.
Treatments for feet have evolved beyond the classic pedicure. My feet and legs, for instance, have been slathered in nourishing golden moor mud at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel Spa, scrubbed with oatmeal at a New Jersey Aveda spa, and coated in freshly grated coconut at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort’s Helene Spa in Tahiti. They have been scraped, squeezed, smothered, poked, and polished with salts, sand, wine, coffee, tea, fruit, and vegetables around the world. Today’s foot treatments are more than just the application of toenail polish.
Many people confuse reflexology with massage, but they are two distinct modalities — each with its own strengths. Both, like many therapies (chiropractic, osteopathy and other somatic practices), involve the use of the hands to apply specific techniques to the body, thereby enhancing the client’s well-being.