"Want to get a foot massage?" I was visiting a friend in New York City who has a WEEKLY foot massage routine. "What?! of course I do" (insert my images of heavenly foot rubbing with warm lotion and hot towels to sooth my barking dogs). We went to her local Chinese foot massage place in Greenwich Village where big comfy chairs are situated in a warm and inviting window store front. Please note I had no indication going into this that this foot massage experience would be anything but pure bliss (this deception was on purpose by my "friend)." "Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body. There is no convincing evidence that reflexology is effective for any medical condition." (from Wikipedia)
We both sat down and our Asian foot massage experts went to town on our feet. Let me just say my experience was much different than my friend's. She was in heaven and I was in HELL. It was labor breathing and writhing-through-the-pain type of HELL. This was not the rainbows and kittens relaxing foot massage I was expecting. It was so bad my Foot Massage Therapist excused himself to go get a heating pad for my back because he immediately knew this Midwest middle-aged lady had big issues with her feet (and body) and told me exactly where on my feet was connected to what part of my body. He could tell me where in my foot actually led to my lower back pain and every other part of my body (reflexology). Pain, but good pain. The next day I could walk pain-free. The foot massage may not have felt good at the time but it was well worth it. I learned a lot about feet/body connection.
Beth and I visited the Chinese Massage Place in a local mall. Mary (the Chinese Massage Therapist) tried to convince us of a full body massage but we wanted the 20 minute foot massage option instead. Nothing says relaxing massage experience like a mall front shower curtain separating you from staring shoppers. Beth went first and all was going well until the right foot issue. Mary found a place on Beth's right foot that was troublesome and Beth found painful. I tried to get Mary to pinpoint the location of the foot to the location on Beth's body but she wouldn't/wasn't able to tell us. It was all fun and games until it was my turn on the table. Bad arches, bad back and fake hips, etc. I win the worst feet/body award.
Will we go back? Yes, but next time we want to go and soak our feet in hot water for 20 minutes at the store prior to the food massage for maximum benefit. I have tried other ideas for self-care of the feet including pedicures, compression socks and arch support inserts. Recently while I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico I got a Japanese Foot massage (Ashi Anma) that uses a foot scrub of rice bran, green tea and adzuki bean powder followed by a warm towel cleanse (highly recommend!). Whenever we need a new pair of tennis shoes we go to a sports store that has a specialist that measures your feet, looks at your arches, how you walk/run, knees, to fit you in the right shoe for your needs.
Have you tried foot massage? Thoughts? Experience? What were your connections to your feet and body? Do you believe in Reflexology? Other ideas for feet self-care? p.s. I want to try the baby foot exfoliant foot peel next. Please share your comments!