MARQUETTE - We do many things on our feet, from running to walking, dancing and jumping. Many people though, may not know how much of an impact they have on our entire body.
There are 7,200 nerve endings in each foot that track back to other parts of the body, according to Cindy Engle, owner of Feet First! Reflexology in Marquette. Reflexologists are often able to tell where the spleen, lungs or kidney are, pinpoint trouble areas, or even tell whether a person hasn't had a bowel movement, all by working with the feet and hands.
"There is a whole map lined out of where everything is in correlation to your feet and reflexology is a type of acupressure massage that accesses those points and promotes circulation."
Cindy Engle, a reflexologist from Marquette, works on a client’s feet during a recent treatment session. (Journal photo by Abbey Hauswirth)
Reflexology is not a new concept. It is a popular form of alternative health and dates back more than 2,000 years, when Egyptians and the Chinese used similar techniques and ideals regarding the body map that is connected to the feet.
According to Engle, all of the muscles and textures in a person's foot feel different when the body isn't functioning correctly.
Something as simple as a headache or tension in the shoulders can be relieved through reflexology.
"One of the biggest misconceptions is that some people think it's just because their feet hurt and that this is just a foot rub," Engle explained. "It's so much more than that. Your feet are a very integral part of your whole being."
She added that being unaware or not paying attention to pain in certain parts of the body plays a large role in people's illnesses.
"Our bodies are marvelous machines that know how to take care of things, but we have to let them and sometimes we don't and we cause them more issues than not, whether it be from too tight of shoes, drinking too much or eating too much... you have to find a balance."
When a person has their first appointment typically the process and how the feet connect to the rest of the body will be explained. A reflexologist will often discuss specific pains a client might be experiencing, when the pain started and how to improve it. From there, pressure is applied to the feet or hands, while using essential oils or lotion.
Those with specific health issues are encouraged to come back anywhere from once a month, to six weeks or even just once every six months to make sure everything is on track. There is no pressure to come multiple times or keep on a schedule.
"Generally reflexology does not hurt, though you may have some tender spots. It never hurts to give something new a try though, and see if it might help you feel better," Engle said.
She added that there is no one who is too young or too old to receive reflexology. It is a technique that can be applied to anyone.
Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.