new_health (2007-14)

In Hand, Underfoot

The art of reflexology

by Wendy C. Smith

Our poor feet. We walk on them, stub them and squish them into cruel shoes. So now I find out that my entire body is represented by my feet. Does that mean there could be a corn on my kidney or something like that?  

Reflexology is an ancient practice from India and China that uses pressure points on the hands and feet (representing body parts, organs and organ systems) to treat illness and injuries. Each important body part or organ has an energy termination point. Illness or injury creates crystalline deposits at these points and reflexology is designed to break up these deposits and get the energy flowing again.

Bethany Cole is a certified massage therapist whose healing abilities come naturally. Her Russian great uncle was an untrained hands-on healer so she assumes her gifts come from him. She was exposed to reflexology as a child and remembers driving with her mother and aunt to Turlock, Calif., where the two would have their feet rubbed by an ancient woman who worked with closed eyes while concentrating on the treatment. Bethany's mother believed in this practice and the trip was a regular occurrence. Bethany became a certified massage therapist, and as she got more into massage, became more interested in reflexology. It is part of whole healing/relaxation process to her, and thus it made sense for her to learn it. She was taught reflexology in 1997 by Karen Penn, a half-Cherokee woman, and received further training from Jeanette Golter in Nashville.   

My reflexology session started off like a massage. Bethany left me to get undressed and under the covers on the heated table. When she came back, she read my energy and spritzed the air with a blend of water and essential oils (balsam fir needle, pine and cloves). Then she told me my solar plexus chakra was a little sluggish and my throat chakra was a little blocked, so she laid a citrine stone on my solar plexus and a sodalite on my throat. It didn't take long for the rocks to do their thing, and a pendulum proved my charkas were now spinning fine.

She started the reflexology with an ear massage. Bethany believes in working the ears, hands and feet as a complete system during reflexology, and the acupressure points in the ears are used to start the meridian energy flowing. She said she always ends a massage with a little ear massage also. If the ears are loose, she knows she did a good job with a massage. I asked her how she could tell if the ears were loose, as mine always feel like "ears." But she said that ears do get very flexible and smooth if the body is relaxed. As she rubbed mine, she said they were pretty loose overall.

She then started to work on my hands, right hand first. She rubbed my arms down to my hands and started to manipulate my hands lightly and then with increasing pressure. She worked my whole hand from the outside of my palm to the base of my fingers. It didn't hurt, but I did feel a little discomfort in a couple of areas. She kept coming back to these and, by the time she was done, the uncomfortable feeling was gone. She worked my left hand next and the same thing happened. This time though she told me that my left hip is out of sorts, but fixable. And, yes, my left hip was stiff from belly dancing (note to self--don't try that at home anymore).

She then went to my left foot and kneaded the whole foot gently, then with increasing pressure, lingering over certain points and working them. I never told her when it felt weird because I wanted to see what she would say. Sure enough, on one point, she mentioned my hip again. On another point, she asked if I'd been sick recently because my liver needed to be stimulated. Wow, I'd spent the last six weeks trying to get rid of a bad cold. Bethany said my liver was trying to get rid of the remainders of that illness. She then did the same workout on my right foot.

Sometime during the foot work, I started dreaming and had lots of conversations in my head. She said that was probably because of the throat chakra work. Either way, by the time she got done, I was completely relaxed and semi-asleep. Then the best part, she took warm eucalyptus scented towels and wrapped my feet with them. It was wonderful. As I dressed, I realized my hip soreness was gone. I don't know whether the liver stimulation worked, but I haven't relapsed this time, so maybe.

Bethany Cole is a certified massage therapist and can be reached at (865)584-3864.