Each day, millions of children are born on Earth. In many countries, once the umbilical cord is cut, the delivering physician slaps the bottom of the baby's feet, the child opens his mouth with a wail, the babe gasps for air and a child is born.
Why slap the baby's feet? What is so important about our feet? We can take a scientific accounting and note that our feet contain:
- 7,000 nerve endings
- 19 muscles
- 107 ligaments
- 26 bones
In Chinese Medicine the feet contain:
- Six Meridians that penetrate major internal organs
- Four 'extraordinary' meridians
- All have branches into the feet
Inspiration is defined in the Webster's Dictionary as "taking a breath" and has its Latin origin in the root inspiritus- or to "breathe in spirit." Why do doctors slap the bottoms of the baby's feet? If you've ever had your feet slapped, you know that it is not a gesture to make one sleep but to alert the body to wake up! In Chinese Medicine, the only official acupuncture point found on the sole of the foot is that of the Kidney Meridian, known as Kidney-1, Yong Quan or the Gushing Spring Point. Today, in the language of modern medicine, the Kidney Channel corresponds to the functions of the genitourinary and adrenal system organs, all of which are heavily influenced by both genetic and environmental information.
THEORY OF REFLEXOLOGY
Feet are understood to serve as mini-maps of the human body. The neurological theory behind reflexology states that reflex areas in the hands/feet correspond to all the glands, organs and musculoskeletal systems in the human body.
Wearing shoes all day combined with stress, illness, lack of hydration and inactivity can cause muscle tissue to weaken, and blood flow to stagnate. This blood stagnation culminates in waste matter collecting in the feet. This waste matter forms crystalline deposits formed by urate crystals and calcium deposits at key nerve endings located in the feet. Reflexology practitioners call these deposits grainy or sandy structures.
What do the presence of urate crystals and calcium deposits indicate? Just as a river that is clogged with sand and silt fails to flow and feed its many tributaries, the health and balance of your body and its organs are dependent on the nourishment provided by healthy circulation. Lack of the smooth flow of energy due to poor lifestyle habits, trauma, or genetics can result in urate crystals and calcium deposits accumulating at the neurological endings found in the foot. Thus, soreness in the reflex zones of the feet is understood to reflect imbalance in the corresponding organ, gland or structure of the body.
GOAL OF REFLEXOLOGY
Foot reflexology works to dredge your energetic river. By applying pressure to specific neurological reflex zones of the foot using your hands (or preferably someone elses!) or walking a foot reflexology path (go to www.pathsofhealth.com
), we can flush away the calcium deposits or urate crystals that collect around the foot's nerve endings and cause pain. This pain is not diagnostic of disease; rather, the symptoms of pain are our allies to signal well-being imbalances and the potential for disease development .
Author: Elizabeth Marazita, LAc, Professor of Foot Reflexology & Qi Gong, The University of Washington, Nursing School & Bastyr University, CAM program
Foot Reflexology Chart reprinted with permission from The Dao of Reflexology Paths
, E.F. Marazita and M.R. Spano. © 2006-2007 All rights reserved.