I often do shoe and gear reviews on this blog, but thought I would write a review about something a little different today. I am interested in whole body health, not just running as a form of exercise, mostly because I am interested in ultra running longevity and not abusing my body into burnout.
Reflexology is defined as a system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body. There is no scientific data specifically relating to this, however there are numerous studies about barefoot running and how all the neurologic pathways at the bottom of our feet can send signals to the rest of our body helping to correct our running gait. It may be a leap to go from our feet telling our bodies how to move, to points on our feet curing us of illness. All I can offer is my own personal experience.
A friend of mine, Tom Griffen, reopened his practice just recently and offered a discounted session, so with my curiosity getting the better of me I signed right up. I mean I don’t have any illness, per se, but if nothing else I LOVE a good foot massage! I mean, what ultra runner doesn’t?!
The treatment began by soaking my feet in Epsom salts and lavender for 15 minutes as we chatted. After the soak I hopped up onto a massage table and he visually observed my feet. Its not only the parts of the feet that resist touch that “speak” to our health, but also things like callouses or cracks on the feet. He noted one on my pinky toe, which correlates to my sinuses (I have had sinus problems ever since I began ultra running and pushing my body, coupled with an old broken nose I am.) He also noted that my digestive meridians were blocked..yep, food allergies and bouts of poor digestion are a chronic thing for me. As I stated earlier, I went to him more for overall wellbeing, so I wasn’t expecting too much as far as acute illness healing. I went during my taper, a time when insomnia is a regular frustration for me.
He followed, what I assume was a specific plan covering my toes, and the spaces in between, the pads of my feet, the arches, and finally the heels. I can’t tell you exactly the order because it immediately relaxed me and I might have fallen asleep… ok I did fall asleep.
Afterwards I felt really relaxed, but awake. He said sometimes it brings different things up for different people. Each experience is unique to each individual. Some even have emotional responses to the treatment. For me it just brought peace to my chronically over excited being 🙂
He followed up with a personal write up. I won’t get into too much detail, but will share a little excerpt as an example;
Your body is actively involved in change. There’s a gathering in of energy in preparation for movement (both literal and figurative). Growth and transformation are poignant in this meridian and, as such, you might find yourself challenged managing the fear that comes with it. The kidney/bladder is also strongly associated with personal will/desire and overall perception. Have confidence that whatever obstacles are on your path will be seen through. The contra-indicator is to give in to this fear and experience apathy and despair. But I don’t believe this applies to you. Additionally your the pineal gland – the gland that secretes melatonin and whose regulation is necessary for deep sleep. Ultra runners are sleep-deprived more than “normal” people. Again, your feet are simply telling your story.
Growth and transformation and managing my fear and sometimes lack of confidence that arises as I try to push myself to grow is a theme in my life. I will say, I know Tom socially, but this is something he wouldn’t actually know about me, this was purely the information he gathered from feeling certain points on my feet.
I had the treatment about 3 weeks ago and I have been having really deep restful sleep ever since. Related? Maybe? Maybe not. I’d like to think so because I never sleep well post race, and this has been heavenly.
Tom can be reached here on his website. For now sessions begin at $50. Send him a note!