More than feet

What is reflexology? This is a question that I have been pondering for a while as I frequently get asked this question. As a reflexologist, I know the standard definition of what I do, applying pressure to reflex points in the hands, feet and ears for optimal health, but there is so much more that occurs within a treatment. Describing reflexology only as putting pressure on reflexes is a bit like saying a person is only a collection of organs, bone and muscle. That simplistic explanation skips over the essential definition of what it means to be human, to have a creative purposeful life, to love and laugh. Reflexology is more like the music that lifts from the violin than the mechanics of bow and strings.

There is a recognition of the individual in the treatment. The practitioner holds the intention, the image, of the person as whole and complete. The person breathes deeply, relaxes their nervous system. The physical foot is stretched and massaged and the fascia is released. Basically, it is holistic. Every aspect of the person’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual life is acknowledged during the session.

Calm, peace, balance, these are natural states of health that are restored during a session. This interweaving of multiple benefits is why I studied reflexology and why I still consider it to be one of the most powerful body work modalities that I have experienced. Powerful and simple all at the same time.

Foot crunchies

When I give a reflexology treatment I get a bunch of information about the state of the body just from the sensations in the foot. There are all sorts of lumps and bumps in the foot that are usually found right over the reflexes that are connected to health problems. One of the most common are crunchy bits, felt right under the skin of the foot. Sometimes it takes a bit of pressure to feel these areas but they are unmistakable once you find them.

What these crunchy bits are is up for a bit of a debate. Most reflexologists call them crystals and the common idea is that they are uric acid crystals that accumulate in the feet. When a client of mine, who has some pretty consistent crunchy places in his toes, started taking drugs to alleviate kidney stones (which are also uric acid crystals), the improvement in the foot was startling. The crystals in the foot disappeared while the drugs were being taken and slowly returned after the drugs were stopped. It seems to me that there could be some validity to the theory that the crunchies in the foot are indeed uric acid crystals, even though this is based on only one person it seems reasonable to me.

The placement of the lumps, bumps and crunchies in the foot are almost always connected to a health issue of some sort. Stagnant chi, or life force energy in certain parts of the body is one explanation that is fairly common in eastern medicine to explain why there is so clear a correspondence between the foot reflexes and the body. The truly amazing thing about reflexology is that it can pick up on the early stages of a dis-ease before any illness has manifested. It is a wonderful preventative therapy that balances every organ system and energy system in the body. Plus it feels great.

So if you have crunchy bits in your foot give them a good massage everyday as a lovely bit of self care. Or seek out a skilled reflexologist to help you work them through your system.

Reflexology – Neck

I was recently reminded where the reflex for the seventh cervical vertebrae is when I kicked my laundry basket in the middle of the night. 😛  Whenever seemingly random injuries happen, I always look a little deeper to discover what the meaning might be. I got a tiny cut on the side of my big toe, exactly where the reflex is for C7, the vertebrae at the base of the neck, just above the shoulders.

I find it all a little funny, since I injured myself the night after I wrote this blog post about the fear of moving forward with my writing. The neck rules communication and self-expression. C7 in particular is related to feeling safe to be yourself. The message for me was loud and clear: if I don’t move forward with writing and expanding my readership, I will kick myself. Too funny.

I just love how connected the body is to the deeper workings of the mind. I love being able to read it all in the feet. That is really a big part of what I do, I see the connections between the physical expressions of disease in the body and the events and dis-eases of the emotions and mind. It is a fascinating interconnected system, our body-minds.




Have a question about reflexology? Wondering what your body is trying to tell you? Send me an email at and I will help you sort it out. 🙂

Why Feet?

I’m a big fan of feet. As a reflexologist, maybe that is not so surprising. I really fell in love with reflexology the first time I went to get a treatment. My reflexologist was a brilliant woman, and was the most spiritually connected person I have ever met. The first session she looked at me and said “ah, another reflexologist!”. I quickly said, “No, no, that isn’t me. I’m not sure what I want, but I doubt I’m good for anything other than getting treatments.” Funny how things happen.

So this wise woman went on to teach me about the reflexes and the connection of our health to our emotions during each session I had with her. It was a wonderful immersive experience, to learn spontaneously in a very relaxed way. I went on, many years later to complete my training and get certified, but I still consider her to be my first teacher.

What really sold me on reflexology, though, was my own experience. From the first session, Denise kept asking if I ever hurt my back or hip. I kept saying “No, no never”. That is until just before my fourth session. Many months before, I had slipped on some black ice on the sidewalk. I had bags of groceries in my hands so I just crashed down on my hip. It was one of those falls where it took a long time to get up, and I was so sore I could barely walk for three weeks. I had completely forgotten it.

The realization that I had completely forgotten such a painful event made me understand just how powerful our brains are, and it drove home the need to ask clients questions and know that they most likely will not remember all of their history. Often it is the health problems that are forgotten that hold the key to unlocking the health of the body.

The next session arrived and I relayed my recovered memory with my reflexologist while she worked on my foot. She asked me questions about it and explained that all too often we don’t heal fully, we just cope. Coping is not the same as healing. At the end of the session, I reached into my purse, and that tiny twist caused something in my lower back to release with a loud pop. I discovered later that I had likely locked my L5 and my sacrum when I fell about four months earlier, and that after my reflexology treatment I finally had movement in my lower back. It felt amazing.

Up to that point, I had coped so well I didn’t even know I had injured myself and I felt no pain. After a few rounds of reflexology, I had health. But what is more I had a profound example of how this therapy works. Reflexology is holistic and shifts energy in our body as quickly as we allow it to shift. The session is just the tip of the iceberg, the truly profound changes happen when we go home and make many thousands of choices just a tiny bit differently. Those subtle shifts add up to profound, long lasting changes in our bodies. It is a beautiful process to watch, and to experience.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: