Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2019

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20 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 9 SAVVY SELF-CARE best practices Foot Fitness By Heath and Nicole Reed Can you feel your heart pulsing in your chest? How about in your fingertips? What happens when you notice your heartbeat in your feet? Consciously directing our attention on a point of intentional focus is essential to growing our intuition and expanding our sensory prowess. Likewise, reversing the polarity of our head- centric culture by "placing our brain in our feet" generates a cornucopia of whole-body healing possibilities. Reimagine new contexts for your feet and build an inner architecture for your consciousness that reliably allows you to presence yourself and feel good in your body. WHAT STORY DO YOUR FEET TELL? When you consider feet, what associations arise? Clean/dirty, tired/happy, ugly/ beautiful, and everything in between informs how we approach our clients' feet and treat our own. The grandmother of Western reflexology, Eunice Ingham, declared in her seminal publication, Stories the Feet Can Tell Thru Reflexology, all of our feet have stories to tell. Genius visionary, inventor, and early anatomical wonderer Leonardo da Vinci once said, "The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art." Indeed, Renaissance architecture—flying buttresses allowing for impossibly high domed cathedrals—extolled the functionality and beauty exemplified by the feet. Daily, we traverse the earth with three primary foot arches, flying buttresses in support of our human architecture. In harmony and resonance with earth and sky, gravity, and ground reaction force, we walk, massage, dance, run, jump, and stand. In fact, we wouldn't have modern "arch"itecture were it not for arches. FOOT NOTES Every time a step is taken, a chain of events is activated to support movement forward, backward, or in any other direction desired. Collectively, the foot and ankle structures host 26 small bones that form 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons to connect and allow the dynamic nature of the foot to meet everyday demands. The "ground reaction force," the opposing yet complementary force of gravity, rebounds from the heel strike, up the leg, to the hips, and to the opposite shoulder, neck, and down the arm. This may explain the asymmetries of pain and tension humans can experience when their relationship with gravity goes askew. HEALING MOVES FOR FOOT FITNESS Ida Rolf once said you either engage with gravity or you are compressed by it. In an effort to engage with gravity, we have put together a series of healing moves for the feet that rehab or prehab injuries, sustain a harmonious engagement with gravity, and promote multidimensionality of movement. In general, when rehabbing any area, we recommend moving in the following four-level progression of intensity. Level 1: Low or No-Load Range of motion (ROM) is within the natural movement possibilities of the joint (no forcing or hyperextending). Foot roll. A common "call for motion" repatterning popularized in the structural integration tradition, this simple and potent first-aid healing move for knee, ankle, and foot pain activates and coordinates the muscles of the lower extremity to recalibrate synergistic movement among these structures.

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