FASHION HEALTH AND BEAUTY n
Best foot forward Charlie Bond dips her toes into the fascinating world of reflexology…
I HATE my feet. I hate my feet being touched. I hate looking at pictures of feet. So, today I decided to have someone massage my feet for an hour while a photographer took pictures, all in the name of work… Reflexology is an ancient holistic therapy more than 5,000 years old which has been practised in the Western world for more than a century. Specific areas (known as the reflexes) of your feet, lower leg, hands, face and ears represent different parts of your body. Your right foot represents the right side of your body and your left, the left side. Reflexologists believe by applying pressure to each reflex, the body’s balance will be restored and maintained naturally. Reflexologist Kathryn Allen, who runs Big Toe Reflexology in Tunbridge Wells (www.thebigtoe.co.uk), specialises in foot reflexology, having found it helpful herself. “I suffered from hay fever horribly when I was a teenager and reflexology really helped to calm my symptoms and now I’m not affected at all…touch wood!” she explains. Kathryn was so impressed with the results, she enrolled on a course to train as a reflexologist, and after the birth of her daughter, set up a practice in the Holistic Health Centre on Mount Ephraim, as well as seeing clients from her home. Not knowing much about what reflexology involves (other than having someone touch my feet,) I ask Kathryn what its benefits are. “Reflexology can be used to aid relaxation, release tension, improve sleep, improve mood and increase wellbeing,” she says. “Anyone of any age can benefit from reflexology. I completed a pre-conceptual, pregnancy and post-natal reflexology course and I love helping couples conceive, overdue mothers go into labour naturally and relaxing mothers-to-be during their pregnancy.” Having asked me some health questions, such as what my sleep pattern is like and whether I have any aches or pains, Kathryn gives me a hot foot bath while she talks me through what she’ll be doing. “After the soothing foot bath and once I have your feet in front of me, I look for any dry patches, hard skin, different colouration and the health of your nails. After warming up each foot, I wrap the left one in a warm towel and work on the right. Working in a sequence I massage each reflex using my thumbs, fingers and knuckles,” she says. “For each reflex I’m checking to see if there is an imbalance. The imbalance can be felt by the area feeling crunchy, poppy, empty, full or tense as I add pressure. If I find an imbalance, I massage into the reflex to help release
KATHRYN’S TOP TIPS
Drink plenty of fluids, ideally filtered water. Water enables your blood to transport nutrients and flushes out unwanted toxins. These help your organs function at their best. � Try and eat as much organic and unprocessed food as possible so your body isn’t fighting unwanted chemicals, toxins or empty calories. � Stay positive! A happy mind has a huge impact on your health and wellbeing. � Get a good night’s sleep. When you rest, your body is able to repair and restore itself, keeping you in good health. �
the energy blockage.” Hoping my feet feel neither crunchy nor empty, I lie down and listen to the soothing music while Kathryn gets to work on my feet. She covers them with a balm and massages them, working each reflex. “Reflexology treats the body as a whole and works on both a physical and emotional level. By looking at the feet and working on each reflex in a sequence, reflexologists are able to see and feel any physical imbalances in the body. We can also tell what is happening emotionally,” she says. At first, having someone massaging my feet feels strange, but I soon get used to it and am able to relax. The hour-long session is over too quickly (maybe I fell asleep?!) but by the end, I’ve forgotten all my foot-touching fears and am totally relaxed. After drinking some water to help flush out the toxins, Kathryn talks me through what she can tell about me from my feet. “Your feet are a light pink colour, your nails are in good condition and the skin is very soft with no dry patches, indicating overall good health,” she says. “However, you do have hard patches of skin over both your shoulder reflexes. On an emotional level this can indicate you feel as though you have the world on our shoulders and it’s almost as though your body is trying to protect you from this feeling.” She then asks me whether I’ve ever had a knee injury. Although I’ve never had any significant injuries, one of my knees is weaker and can sometimes be painful when I’m exercising. “Massaging your reflexes I felt an imbalance in your right knee reflex as it felt very empty,” she says. “Also, both your adrenal reflexes were very hard and these are often indicators that you are under a lot of stress at the moment.”
CURRYING FAVOUR The jalfrezi sauce leaves a mark
VERDICT: I thought I would hate reflexology, but I actually really enjoyed it, and found it fascinating that Kathryn was able to tell so much about me from my feet. I also had the best night’s sleep I’ve had for ages after the treatment!
Wednesday 2nd September 2015
Read the September 2nd 2015 edition of the Times of Tunbridge Wells.