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.

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Appreciate Feet

Feet flex and move, they bend and spring. Each step brings a contraction and a release. The foot is sturdy. there is a solidity in a foot, yet it is still resilient. Feet spring back after miles and miles of pounding, they arch back up into a blessed arc. Toes are the smartest part of your body, they always know which direction you are pointing. Our feet are the connecting principle to earth energy, our foundation. The footprint, is sacred. A connection with the primordial mother; we press our demanding feet against her belly and hope that she will not oust us from her temple. Put your feet up; the first step in relaxing. Honor these feet, your own feet, for they will walk far.

Here Come Clown Feet

I recently went to the Cirque du Soliel production of Ovo in Calgary. It is a truly mesmerizing performance where we are greeted with the many ways a human body can move. I am amazed at the creativity of the performance, the costumes and the brilliant live music.

More than the actual performance, there is something truly magical that happens at the circus. Business men and women, weary from a long week, ooh and aah, they laugh and gasp. They get shaken out of their every day experience and they become filled with wonder. The beauty of Cirque du Soliel is the sense of play and fun that pervades every aspect of the performance. As adults we often forget to play. We are reminded of the importance of play when we hang out with children. With kids, everything is play, every experience and object is regarded with an attitude of play. You can almost see them calculating how much fun they can have in any given situation. Us big people would do well to play more in our lives.

Play is not just important to health, it is vital. We take great care to eat our vegetables, drink water and exercise, but how often do we just play for the sake of fun. This is not necessarily the same as playing a game; where there are rules, points and winning on the line. I’m talking about goofy, pointless, rule-less, free-form fun. Things like stomping through a pile of leaves or rolling down a hill. I have the honour of watching a little master of play, my three-year old son, create new ways to have fun with leaves and sticks and rocks. He is teaching me how important stopping to have fun is for a person to be whole and complete. True health is remembering how to play like a child.

So play is something we should all take very, very seriously. 🙂 And the talented artists and athletes that work at Cirque du Soliel take their play very seriously indeed. That is why I would love to give them reflexology treatments. The whole concept of running away to join the circus is fascinating to me. I think they would have some of the most interesting feet, and interesting stories, I might ever encounter.

I imagine that they are all nomads at heart and they find their home wherever their feet land. Their feet might be rough and tough on the surface, but they are probably some of the softest, most flexible feet around. Flexible feet are a mirror of a flexible body and, more importantly, a flexible mind. Pliable feet indicate a willingness to change and the courage to become better in all aspects of life. When I feel that flexibility in a person’s foot I can tell that there is a courageous and sensitive heart connected to those feet.

The foot is the anchor of our body. Our whole skeleton is balanced over our feet every time we take a step. Our feet are the pivot that we use to see the world. Imagine, if our feet are that important to us, think of how important they would be to an acrobat. Landing, leaping, balancing… it all comes down to the foot.

I think each performer’s feet would be very different. There would be very big feet and some tiny feet. Some might not feel much at all, and just feel relaxed after a treatment. Others might have crunchy bits, hidden away under well protected callouses. The crunchy bits, as the theory goes, are uric acid crystals in the foot. They give a very distinctive crunch, crunch, crunch when they are worked and sometimes I can even hear them. The crunchies, or cornflakes as my husband calls them, are almost always associated with a reflex point for the body where energy needs to flow. Reflexology is all about reconnecting that flow of energy, or chi, so the result is vibrant health. And health would be so important to someone who uses their body as an instrument of art.

The circus performer, I imagine, has a number of challenges to keep a high level of energy for shows night after night. Besides the actual physical demands of their performance and training, they are living and working intensively with the same group of people day after day. Keeping and maintaining relationships, with co-workers and with friends and family back home, might be one of the biggest challenges of the job. I imagine after living a life in the circus, no one outside of it could really understand the joys and struggles that make it so captivating. It is a roving family of independent, intensely creative people, who have jobs that have little room for error.

Hmm, that makes me wonder if they have callouses on their pinkie toes. The baby toe is a precious little piggy. It represents independence and control. When there are callouses or stiffness in the little toe, it generally reflects someone who is seriously perfectionistic. It can also go the other way too, instead of having too much control, they don’t have any control and addiction issues can arise. Check out your own pinkie toe and see if this holds up for you. Just ask yourself, how many times have I stubbed my baby toe? Could there be a connection to control there? See! 🙂

I wonder if the performers are as brave with their hearts as they are with their bodies. Do they have courage when it comes to other aspects of their lives. I would imagine that some would be brave on every level and maybe some who would like to be. How fascinating it would be to see beneath the makeup and costumes to the person underneath. The child at heart. The person whose job it is to teach us to remember to laugh, to remember to wonder, to remember our joy. This is more than a circus act, it is magic.

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