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Fitness for You: Reflexology

Few things are more relaxing than strolling across soft grass barefooted. The subtle contours of the ground massage your arches, and the grass tickles your toes. It is the simplest form of reflexology, a therapeutic foot massage.

Ancient Chinese and Egyptians hailed the whole-body benefits of reflexology, but only until the early 20th century did the West catch on. Reflexologists believe that by applying pressure to certain parts of the feet and hands, they can stimulate healing elsewhere.

"I can relax your whole body by rubbing points on your feet," said Jan Gregory, a licensed massage therapist in South Carolina. "After I take the tenseness away, I feel for tiny knots in your feet, about the size of a pin head."

She found some in the inner balls of my feet, the spot that relates to the neck and shoulders. Kind of funny, since that's why I came to the chiropractor in the first place.

She then moved to the tips of my toes, which correspond to the sinuses and head, pushing them slightly with a pressure bar. For the next half-hour my allergies cleared.

"Like with massage, several sessions are required before you see the effects on a chronic condition, but you feel relaxed almost immediately," Gregory said.

You can perform reflexology on yourself, but I figure a massage is like a back scratch. It's always better when someone else does it.

Better to be safe . . .
"Even though there is little health risk associated with reflexology, you should always be cautious," said massage therapist Jan Gregory. "I will not work on anyone who has had surgery in the last six weeks or is in certain stages of pregnancy."

To avoid complications, fill out the required medical information form thoroughly and honestly, she said.



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