I sat in a zero gravity chair and was tilted backwards gently until I was comfortably horizontal–and ready for a nap. Thus began a deeply relaxing reflexology session, my first. Like many people, I had seen the map of the foot that reflexology is known for, and I had done the standard google search. But I wanted to know more. I haven’t experienced many professional massages, but I believe in the healing power of the one I have had. And reflexology is basically a massage just for the feet, right?
So I sat down with reflexologist and Bliss Your Sole Reflexology owner Coca Bell in Beaverton, Oregon. She explained–and then showed–how reflexology is a foot massage. But it’s also so much more than that, too.
Reflexology is the science of reflection. It’s a pressure-point therapy that’s applied to the feet in order to boost the body’s immune system and amplify circulation. Reflexology comes from an ancient tradition of healing practices. It’s a close cousin to acupuncture, which uses needles placed along the meridians of each organ; however, reflexologists’ primary tool is their hands.
Reflexologists see the whole body reflected within the feet. To get a rough idea of the map of the foot, hold your feet out in front of you. Your feet will be symmetrical. Think of the space between them as your spine. The brain is reflected in the big toes, and the rest of the toes make up other parts of the head. From there to the back of the foot, the body is mapped. The ball of the foot represents the chest, including the heart and lungs. The ribs extend over the top of the foot, and the reproductive system is represented in the indented triangles around the achilles tendon. The reflexologist’s map even includes the shoulders and knees. Each reflexologist maps the foot a little differently, but the outline is the same.
The focus in reflexology isn’t on getting you in and out of a session as quickly as possible. It’s another avenue to overall health, and it demands unhurried attention to detail. By focusing on the foot and what the foot is telling you, one can learn about the body as a whole. As we know at Good Feet, the health of the feet are an essential aspect of a person’s wellbeing. Any structure, from house to human, is only as strong as its foundation. As Coca says, “happy feet, healthy you.”
Many who receive reflexology come with a specific focus in mind: neuropathies of all varieties, back or neck pain, plantar fasciitis, and even menopause. But just as many come in with the simple desire to relax. And during my session, relax I did! I felt the foot massage throughout my entire body and even experienced a delightful tingle in my scalp.
What seemed like hours later, but still wasn’t long enough, I emerged from the session feeling refreshed, relaxed, and peaceful. Still seated comfortably (I learned it’s important to transition slowly back to your day after a reflexology session), I learned about what my feet were telling the reflexologist about my body. I was surprised by the insight.
Coca noted my neck and diaphragm needed attention and expansion (a lot of time hunched over the computer, she presumed correctly). She also noted that I was slightly dehydrated, which made me think about how I’d been applying more chapstick lately. In this introductory session, my reflexologist didn’t have any specific goal in mind. She was instead looking to get an overview of my body through the lens of my feet, and she quite literally touched on some important things for me to pay attention to.
Feet are an essential part of the body, and I was humbled by how much mine revealed. Even when we care for them properly, we still often take them for granted. By taking some time to learn about what they were saying, I felt more connected to my body overall. This is one case of trying new things that had an immediate and relaxing reward!