Foot Health and Massage Therapy

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Foot Health and Massage Therapy – It’s Not Just About Reflexology

Our feet are what connect us to the earth on which we stand. They give us a sense of stability and provide us with mobility, helping to propel us forward and backward in space. Being able to walk is a major sign of growing as an individual. Once children begin to walk they no longer need to be carried by a parent and can begin to explore the world around them on their own. Getting a regular foot massage can help in maintaining good health and give attention to an often neglected part of the body.

As important as they are to our well-being, our feet are also woefully neglected when it comes to taking care of our bodies as a whole. We wear socks or stockings and shoes much of the day. We ignore them and abuse them, and yet when our feet ache, it seems that our whole body suffers.


The Anatomy of Feet

Foot Health
Image courtesy of zirconicusso /

The human foot consists of 26 bones, 33 joints, 36 muscles and 56 ligaments, and more than 7,000 nerve endings. The average person will walk between 79,000 and 100,000 miles in a lifetime, more than enough steps to circle the earth three times. Each day our feet withstand the pressure of our full body weight for hours on end.


What We Do To Our Feet

It may seem that the worst torture women have had applied to their feet is Chinese foot binding. Starting in the 16th century, women subjected themselves to this disabling custom and only stopped when it was officially outlawed by the government in 1949. Despite the many physical problems caused by this custom, women continued to have the bones in their feet broken and bound in order to achieve what was called a Lotus Foot. In the 19th century it is estimated that 40-50 percent of Chinese women had bound feet. In the upper classes, the numbers were close to 100 percent. Bound feet were a sign of wealth and prosperity as well as a symbol indicating that one had reached a high enough social status so as to not have to perform manual labor. Women who had bound feet walked with what was referred to as a Lotus Gait, thought to be erotic and sensual, even though it caused great discomfort. Those who did not have bound feet tried to emulate this walk by creating a type of shoe that caused them to walk in a similar way. In addition to pain, bound feet caused many other problems including severe ingrown toenails, fungal infections, gangrene, infected toes (which might have to be removed) and even septic shock, resulting in death. Poor balance caused women to fall and break bones as well as cause problems with the spine.


Regular reflexology sessions can support women health at all stages of their life.