Much has been said about foot reflexology, its history, benefits, contradictions and application. Foot reflexology like any other science is ever changing. Its fundamentally proven concepts are used consistently with the same proven results and benefits to the health of the human body.
Using the thumbs and fingers, moving them in a caterpillar way, a person practicing foot reflexology can help someone relieve stress and tension. Also, helps to unblock the nerve impulses to glands and organs allowing the body to normalize.
Pressure is applied at different levels on the specific foot reflexes to amplify the signals or intricate links of the central nervous system. This allows for a state of relaxation and well being of the recipient.
Foot reflexology is a holistic modality that when properly applied has a tremendous benefit on the body’s health. By normalizing the central nervous system and it connects the body to perfect health.
When we talk about the central nervous system and its importance in the science of foot reflexology, we must address that very important part of the body called the brain. It has been estimated that an electron type computer would have to be the size of a New York City skyscraper to contain equipment comparable to that in the 3 pounds or so of the human brain.
Every cell in the body is ruled by the brain. The actions of dreaming, speaking, thinking, walking, running and all other actions and functions of the body are directed by the brain...even changing our mind. Hippocrates, the famous founder of medicine who lived more than 2,500 years ago, after studying head wounds, concluded that the brain of a man was composed of two symmetrical hemispheres.
The left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body, while the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. This is the reason why, when someone gets hurt or paralyzed on the right side, it is the left portion of the brain that has been damaged. Foot reflexology helps the body by working the opposite foot where the damage has been established.
How Foot Reflexology Works
Foot reflexology works by sending stimulating signals to the medulla or control center of the brain. These signals are directed through the reflexes on the feet and help the cranial nerves connect the body to the brain serving the sensory and motor needs of the head, neck, chest and abdomen.
Primary Functions of the Brain:
- The regulation of body activities and controlling them. It adjusts the body’s mechanism for changes to internal or external conditions.
- As the center of consciousness, it makes you aware of time and place etc.
- It is the seat of sensations. It sends and receives impulses from the sense organs: eyes, ears, nose, skin and mouth.
- It is the source of voluntary acts.
- The seat of emotions.
- The center for thought, reasoning, memory and all the so- called higher mental processes.
Foot reflexology helps improve the connection of the brain to what is called the life line of the body: the spine.
This engineering marvel we call the spine is seriously considered in foot reflexology.
The spine, with its certain similarities to the foot, is a structure that governs the vital functions of the body. This is easy to understand when we realize that there are 31 pairs of spinal nerves that originate from this structure. The spine consists of 26 vertebrae and an adult spine has 4 curves.
The reflex areas for the spine are located on the medial edge of both feet. The medial side of the right foot corresponds with the right side of the spine and the left side of the left foot corresponds with the left side of the spine. The reason becomes evident when we realize that the spinal reflex is relatively wide.
The spinal reflex is worked each time foot reflexology is applied. It is recommended, that these reflexes be worked up and down on the foot, thus covering a slightly different portion of the spine every time.
The benefits of working the spinal reflex is that it directly relives conditions associated with neck, upper, middle and lower back pain. Always keep in mind that the spine is regarded as one organ. The spine reflex and its association to a healthy body in foot reflexology are extremely necessary. The association of the spine to the foot is quite impressive.
Curves of the Spine
The vertebrae of the spine are divided into 5 groups spread over 4 curves:
These 4 curves are also very prominently present in the foot. Abnormal tension of muscles or ligaments on any vertebrae or group of vertebrae will cause pressure on a spinal nerve which supplies a specific organ or gland. If this spinal tension is caused by stress, either mental or physical, it will act as a tourniquet upon the affected part. This area’s function will be affected to a lesser or greater degree but, in most instances, enough to affect the homeostasis of the body.
Back Pain and Other Conditions
Since most back pain is associated with tension, foot reflexology has a very valuable, non evasive healing modality, which can reduce tension and stress. A very important note on foot reflexology is that the spinal reflexes are not the only areas used for conditions associated with back pain. Foot reflexology treats the whole body! In this way we are able to reduce any tension in any and all parts of the body!
The spine reflex remains a vital area to a foot reflexologist, especially when treating the lower back. Other conditions such as migraines, headaches, constipation, prostate, and female disorders can also be treated with reflexology. Many times these are manifestations of stress or tension that have settled in the spine.
Anatomy of the Foot
Bones of the Feet
CALCANEUS - or the heel bone is the largest bone in the foot. It is situated at an angle so that one point of the bone makes contact with the ground; therefore, it is able to adapt to uneven surfaces and acts independently without affecting the ankle joint. Because of this, it is considered as a sense organ.
TALUS - articulates with the fibula and tibia proximally, which gives the movement of flexion and extension. Being distal to the calcaneus allows multidirectional movements.
NAVICULAR - is attached to the talus proximally and houses the 3 cuneiform bones. It forms the cornerstone for the medial longitudinal arch.
CUBOID - articulates with the calcaneus proximally and houses the 4th and 5th metatarsal bones distally, which each house the corresponding phalanges. The cuboid bone forms the cornerstone for the lateral longitudinal arch.
CUNIFORM BONES (5) - articulates with the navicular proximally and the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd metatarsal distally. The lateral edge of the 3rd cuneiform bone rests on the cuboid bone.
METATARSAL BONES (5) - articulate with the phalanges distally. Two sesamoid bones are situated on the distal head of the 5th metatarsal bone on the plantar aspect.
PHALANGES (14) - 3 in the small toes and 2 in the great toe. Proximally they are articulate with the metatarsal bones.
Important Joints of the Foot
ANKLE JOINT - flexion and extension of the foot.
TRANSVERSE JOINT - (consists of the calcaneus & talus bones proximally and cuboid & navicular distally) - abduction / adduction - inversion / eversion - pronation / supination.
METATARSAL PHALAGEAL JOINT - dorsi and plantar flexion. Limitation of dorsi-flexion affects the functional activity of the entire foot as it’s needed for the third stage of walking.
Arches of the Foot
MEDIAL LONGITUDINAL ARCH - consists of the talus, navicular, 3 cuneiforms, 1 - 3 metatarsal bones and corresponding phalanges. The cornerstone of this arch is the navicular bone which is supported by the spring and deltoid ligaments and is assisted by the tendons of the tibialis anterior and posterior.
LATERAL LONGITUDINAL ARCH - consists of the calcaneus, cuboid, 4 & 5 metatarsal bones and corresponding phalanges. Cornerstone of this arch is the cuboid bone which is supported by the short and long plantar ligaments and is assisted by the peroneus longus and brevis.
TRANSVERSE ARCH - consists of the calcaneus and talus proximally and the cuboid and navicular distally. Many foot disorders start here and are caused by the spreading of the arch or displacement of the individual bones.