*By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not a licensed mental health professional, I am just wonderfully observant and would like to share what I have seen and compared. With that out of the way….
Stubbed toes, we’ve all done it and it hurts like a four-letter-word. What if I told you that stubbing your toe correlates with having to hold back your thoughts about a particular area of your life? Would you be interested?
I have noticed this many times when clients, friends, and family do crazy stuff to their toes. Dropping things on them, ramming them into things, these poor toes really take a beating. At the same time their banging the goodness out of their tootsies they relay that they have been biting their tongues, holding back their words, or really putting their foot in their mouth when they interact with the people in their lives.
Here’s the breakdown:
Big Toe: Always your opinions clashing with someone else’s. If the nail rips, you clearly lost the battle and your opinions were blown out of the water.
2nd Toe: Emotions. Your feelings and how you convey them are under attack, if the nail goes black it has created a serious black cloud hanging over your head.
3rd Toe: Work/School stuff. Really anything to do with your work load. If the tip of the toe proceeds to turn down and look like it’s glued to the floor you’ve learned to just keep your mouth shut!
4th Toe: Relationships. Family, friends, spouses, etc. If the toe proceeds to curl in towards the 3rd toe you’ve learned to be very protective of your relationships from this point on.
5th Toe: Sense of Security and How You’re Moving Forward. Seems like if this toe gets hurt you’ve had it out while trying to talk about your plans for the future. If the nail looks chipped but not totally gone you’ve successful given that person a piece of your mind, unfortunately you’ll forget what you were arguing about exactly…
So there you have it. In Reflexology we read into everything because the body, mind, and spirit always find a way to poke through and show how interconnected they really are. The next time you stub your toe, instead of blaming the table, drawer, etc., try taking a seat and reflecting on what your body is trying to say about how you really feel.
Today’s Lesson: “Stubbed toes can be quite the mirror.”
*By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
With the media, doctors, and nature-lovers always bashing high heels for being the ‘wrong shoe’ to wear, let me explain the physical and mental/emotional benefits of this type of shoe:
1. Strengthening the Arch and Ankle
Ever think of heels at toning? Wonder why your calves look so great in them? The arch of the foot is controlled by muscles which can actually get lazy, sluggish, and collapse over time. One of the un-intended benefits of heels is that they throw your weight intentionally off-balance just enough so they act as a major toner for the muscles of the feet when worn in short bursts. Think of it as an exercise for your feet. A problem occurs when you over-exercise and then you fatigue these muscles and they collapse even more than when you started. If you spend all day at the gym you’re going to be pretty sore the next day, but that doesn’t mean you avoid the gym all together like the plague.
2. Keeping you ‘On Your Toes’
Literally, that’s what heels do. They shift your weight from your center of security (heels) and put it all towards your emotional foot center (ball of the foot) and mental foot center (toes). Mentally and emotionally, heels keep you alert and focused. To experience this first hand, take a pair of flat shoes and a pair of heels; try them both on and walk around for a few seconds in each pair. Monitor the change in your thoughts and feelings while in each shoe. Do the heels make you want to go tackle a project or get things done while the flats make you want to go for a stroll and just lay around? How does each pair affect your current mental/emotional state? Observe the changes in your thoughts and feelings throughout the week based on the shoes you’re wearing.
Heels are not for everyone, just like flats are not for everyone. If you gravitate towards heels you are more of a go-getter, people-pleaser, and do-it-yourself-er (based on how high the heel actually is). The flatter the shoe, the more laid back you are. Ideally, a good mix and balance needs to happen.
The purpose of this post is to hopefully shed some light on how heels are useful under the right circumstances. Too much of a good thing will always leave you feeling bad, but strive to understand how to really walk a mile in your own shoes instead of wearing what just looks good or feels good.
Today’s Lesson: “High heels aren’t all that bad.”
*By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
Sometimes the urge to tell someone what I see in their feet is totally overwhelming. This weekend was one of those times. Poor guy didn’t even know what hit him…
I didn’t actually hit him, but what the feet have to say is sometimes a little too creepily accurate for people to handle well. But after this guy walked by for the second time I just had to say SOMETHING!
Now, he already passed by once and I held back because it’s not always appropriate to stop random people and tell them all about themselves, let alone to site my source for knowing their deepest parts of themselves as their feet! So, trying to soften the blow I flagged him down and said…
“Would you like some un-solicited advice?...”
“Sure.” He responded.
I didn’t even get a chance to exhale, after I got the green light it was foot reading time!
This individual threw all of his weight into the big toe mound with all of the weight in his feet swirling around the heart reflex as a focal point. This lets me know that he takes EVERYTHING personally, whether he shows it or not. Everything that happens goes straight to his heart and if he doesn’t recognize this pattern it has the potential to really mess with his character. His best bet is to admit to himself and others that he does take things a little bit too seriously and sometimes he has trouble slowing down and backing off. But other than that he is a very driven, focused, and compassionate individual.
After he got over the initial shock, he laughed and said “That’s so crazy. That’s totally me.”
We talked a little bit about how I knew all that from watching his walk and he really appreciated the advice. As we finished talking he said he would definitely ‘take it to heart’.
Sometimes you’ve got to go out on a limb to deliver a message.
Today’s Lesson: (Dos Equis parody) “I don’t always read people, but when I do, I read their feet.”
*By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
So, Richard and I love to go boating on the weekends. Nothing fancy, but just gliding around the bay to relax with our wonderful Florida weather. Regardless of the kind of boat, boats require hard work paired with that wonderful relaxation. This weekend was no different.
After ‘the big move’ into our new space we took this next weekend to relax. Afterwards, because of the work a boat requires, Richard’s neck was giving him some trouble.
We’re in the kitchen, he’s making dinner and I say “Here, let me work on your hands.” It was quite the scene as he’s preparing food with one hand and I’m doing Reflexology on the other by pulling fingers and such.
I find my first active reflex point and apply perfect pressure, “Feel better?” I say.
“Sam,” Richard says (even after all this time) “it’s not like you press a magic button and the pain goes away.”
To this day I’m not sure why he under-estimates the power of Reflexology. Something about Reflexology does make it somewhat unbelievable, but still. I know it never gets old for me and I’m sure it’s just as shocking each time it helps someone in chronic pain, but he of all people should know better than to doubt the power of the hands and feet.
So, back to the story: I brush off his comment and continue to work the fingers when I find the second really juicy reflex point and apply pressure. With about 4 out of 10 on the pressure scale he says “Ow!” and shoots me a dirty look: I got the right point.
I close my eyes; focus on applying the perfect pressure to sooth the point…. And the point releases. As I open my eyes I say “Feel better?”
…. Silence …..
A coy smile breaks through from Richard’s face indicating that he just had to eat his words.
THRILLED with winning amidst his doubt I erupt with a “BOO YAHHH! Magic Button Baby!!!! Reflexology: 1 and Neck Pain: 0!!!!” I throw in some air punches and fake boxing moves to make the win more dramatic while Richard continues to eat his words, still not even willing to admit that the pain was gone.
There you have it folks, Reflexology wins again in the battle for wellness. Just another one of the many experiences I’ve had along the way in proving how the mind, body, and spirit are connected. I hope this story serves you as another reason to keep hoping and learning about how to bring wellness and wholeness into your life.
Today’s Lesson: “The Magic Button does exist, and I found it this weekend.”
*By: Jeff Bello
When you ask someone to think about running they might picture an intensive cardiovascular workout and nothing more. In reality, running affects the body as a whole including (but not limited to) the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, muscular, integumentary, and lymphatic systems. Involving so many different systems, you can see how running has a huge impact on the body inside and out. Although the entire body is technically moving while you are running, the main impact is still on the feet.
In fact, reports show that the force exerted on the feet as we run is a total equivalent of ten times our body weight! That’s over a thousand pounds of force that the feet are absorbing with every stride taken. Throughout the years of wear and tear your feet start to build tension, lactic acid, stiffness, and joint pain which can lead to plantar fasciitis, neuroma, or tendonitis. These conditions can be treated with surgery and other medical procedures, but what we are starting to see today is a turn towards a more holistic hands-on approach such as Reflexology.
Reflexology is the art and science of applying thumb and finger pressure to points (reflexes) on the hands and feet which produce referral sensations that in turn help to relax and balance the body’s systems. With Reflexology producing such a deep relaxation and healing brainwave state many athletes turn to it to help ease nervousness and achieve better sleep just before a big event. Distance runners will often take advantage of the deep brainwave patterns during a Reflexology session to visualize the successful outcome of their event which maximizes their mind-body connection on race day. Other benefits are a reduction of inflammation in the body by improving circulation and removing toxins.
One of these toxins happens to be lactic acid, and a buildup of lactic acid is what causes muscle soreness which can throw off any athletes’ performance. Research provided by Bonash University, Australia, shows that Reflexology can actually remove lactic acid from the legs four times faster than a regular massage. This greatly benefits all my marathon runners when they start to get into those last five miles. With that increase in circulation the body receives greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
This in turn produces better endurance, stamina, improves the immune system, and the body’s ability to heal and recover faster. Now this is the most fascinating part to me: For runners and athletes who have foot injuries Reflexology still works! If an athlete has an injury where the foot cannot be touched, a Reflexologist can work on the hands instead. The hand is the “referral area” for the foot and vice versa, so it is possible to help an injury even when a foot or hand should not be worked on directly. Reflexology can be extremely helpful in a fast and natural recovery from event injuries that could otherwise be debilitating to the serious athlete. In the long run, even if you’re not in it to win it, the benefits of Reflexology can be incredible for your overall health and can give you that competitive edge as well as a swift recovery that every runner is looking for.
The holidays can be a very stressful time for people of all ages. Everyone seems to be running around and no one has enough time to take care of themselves. You may be aware of the benefits of Reflexology but may not be able to set aside enough time to come in for a session. What would it be like if you could have access to health and holiday stress-reduction at your fingertips? Hand and foot Reflexology for self-care can be the quick ‘pick me up’ that you need to make it through this Holiday Season.
Here are the 3 best points to get you through the holidays:
Solar Plexus Reflex:
The solar plexus reflex point is one of the most powerful points in foot and hand reflexology. In the physical body, the solar plexus is found where the rib cage meets the stomach at the level of the diaphragm. On the feet, it can be found by drawing an imaginary line from the third toe down to just below the ball of the foot. The hand point is located in line with the 3rd finger, just below the knuckles on the palm side. The solar plexus is a clustered network of nerves that sits directly behind the stomach. It goes out to all parts of the abdominal cavity and has also been referred as the “abdominal brain”. The solar plexus is highly affected by stress so releasing this reflex point has been known to decrease stress levels as well as increase the body’s tolerance for stress.
The adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys. If you suffer from chronic stress, your adrenals are working overtime and pressing this Reflexology point can help you relax. Your adrenal gland releases stress hormones called adrenaline and noradrenaline which trigger the “fight or flight” response. The adrenal reflex point is located just above the half way mark of the foot in line with the big toe. In the hand this reflex is located half way between the tip of your thumb and your wrist. With the adrenal reflex and solar plexus reflex having similar effects on the body what is the point in working both of them? The solar plexus is a group of nerves that once stimulated can almost immediately trigger relaxation while the adrenal gland requires time for those hormones to run through your system and flush out of your body. Shortly after you realize your situation may not be so life threatening as you initially thought, it would be very beneficial to press both the adrenal and solar plexus reflex points. Together they create a short-term and long-lasting effect on your overall level of stress.
The pituitary gland, also known as the “master gland”, is considered the most important gland in the body because it regulates the functions of all other endocrine glands. The pituitary reflex point is located in the middle of each big toe and each thumb. Because the pituitary gland harmonizes any imbalances within the body, this reflex point will effectively relax and or energize the body based on what is needed at that moment. It helps to hold this point before bedtime as it will help to calm and relax the body, producing a better night’s sleep. Holding this point first thing in the morning will have the opposite effect of energizing the body.
By The Foot Whisperer Reflexology Institute
Sciatica is very prominent in the American society today. With most sitting behind desks and working on computers or sitting at home watching tablets and TV’s, the amount of time we spend putting pressure on the sciatic nerve is increasing with technology.
The problem with that constant pressure is that over time it will result in low back pain, discomfort in sitting, radiating pain down the legs, or even immobilization of your legs. All of these problems can effect are everyday lives and stop us from doing what we need to do.
The sciatic nerve originates in the low back from the lumbar spine, passes underneath the glute muscles, runs down the leg, and ends in the heel of your foot. This nerve is the longest in the body and relays an extraordinary amount of information about your lower half to your brain. With the importance and size of this nerve you can see why it can be so debilitating.
There are two main reasons why your sciatic nerve starts to give you problems: First, being a herniation or misalignment of the vertebra in the lumbar spine and the second, more common reason, is the muscles that surround the sciatic nerve are not properly balanced with the right amount of tension. Some people in the health care field will say that sciatica is caused by too much tension in the muscles but the opposite can also be true. A lack of muscle tension can allow for bones and other muscles to misalign in attempt to compensate for the muscles that are not functioning properly. It all comes back to finding a healthy balance of proper muscle tension.
The sciatic reflex on the feet is a band that that runs horizontally across the middle of the heel. This also happens to be where the actually sciatic nerve connects and receives information from the 75,000 free nerve endings we have in our feet. Working the full surface of the heel as well as the surrounding areas is very important in trying to bring the sciatica into balance, but working the reflexes for the sciatic nerve and lower body can be difficult for someone to do on themselves. I recommend having someone, such as a Reflexologist, help you by gently massaging the heel and holding any areas with extra congestion with a constant appropriate pressure.
Another key area to work for relief would be the ankles. When there is an issue with sciatic nerve the ankles tend to build up excess fluid and lose mobility. Gentle ankle rotations in both directions can flush the built-up fluid and provide a great amount of relief.
In some instances, the heel and the surrounding areas can be too sensitive to the touch; you can then lie down flat on your back with your partner standing by your side. Have them grab the leg that is giving you the problems and slowly raise the leg up until you feel the discomfort from the nerve. Once the pain is felt your partner should lower your leg and proceed to raise the leg again until you feel the discomfort again. Continue this routine for about 10-15 times and you should start to feel the pain move up your leg towards your lower back. This will help to increase the circulation and allow the proper tension in the muscles to form. When you are doing this exercise make sure that your partner is lifting your leg and you are not helping them to do so.
Each body and person is different. Try multiple approaches and find the one or two that help to balance your body the most. When in doubt seek a medical professional’s opinion and always remember to listen to your body’s signs and signals.
By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
Here’s the difference: The part of the body that is pressed. Otherwise they are the same.
The premise of Reflexology is ability to access the entire body via the extremities, regardless of what extremity is chosen. Certain Reflexology programs or teachers will only teach one or two of the four schools; however they all are valid and have been practiced for a long time in cultures across the globe.
Zone Therapy is the Western equivalent to the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Instead of needles we use pressure with the hands to stimulate reflex points and instruct clients on self-care. If you cannot bend over to touch your feet, then hands, face, and ears can be worked in their place. The goal is wellness through touch.
On all four major extremities the reflex points are the same. Right matches right, left matches left. All surfaces of the Feet, Hands, Face, and Ears are used (not just top and/or bottom). Everything is observed from skin to nails, shape and previous injury, even color, piercings, and painful areas. All based on the theory of a part reflecting the whole.
So which should you choose?
Foot Reflexology: When experiencing foot and/or lower body joint pain, lower digestive discomfort, and trouble releasing deep stress
Hand Reflexology: When experiencing hand and/or upper body joint pain, upper digestive discomfort, and headaches
Face Reflexology: When experiencing facial tics, sinus pressure, jaw discomfort, and/or would like a non-surgical toning of the facial muscles
Ear Reflexology: When experiencing any chronic ear or inner ear discomfort, deep spinal issues, the need for a rush of endorphins, or want to learn an easy form of self-care throughout the day
There are many benefits to self-Reflexology and receiving the work from a professional Reflexologist. Ideally all treatments should make you feel comforted and relaxed. Be sure to ask your Reflexologist questions about the four schools of Reflexology to better understand which type suits your needs.
By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
“Sam, I have to tell you what happened after our last session!”
Music to my ears, honestly. My clients have learned that Reflexology can do amazing things, but it never gets old when seemingly unrelated symptoms disappear after a session.
“It was so weird. For the last two weeks I’ve been craving those little peanut butter crackers. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get enough. I knew that my body needed something, but I wasn’t sure what.
Then, after our last session, the craving just stopped. I even tried to eat some and they just didn’t taste the same. My body was over it and I just didn’t want them anymore. Is that normal?”
Amazing. So how does Reflexology affect food cravings and cravings in general?
Cravings and addictions arise from a perceived ‘lack’ of something by the body. Often this is a subtle thing like ‘me time’ or the need to feel included (like drinking or smoking because all your friends do). An aversion occurs in the opposite way, from a negative stimulus associated with the same experience like a parent passing from oral cancer or a friend being hit by a drunk driver.
Cravings are red flags held in the body and are triggered during times of stress as a message to reach for something comforting. However, if the body is ignored and a need is suppressed then the craving will often get louder and change form. The gentle ‘I feel like some time away’ turns into a nagging ‘I want ice cream’ (which can only be found ‘away’ from everyone else), and then evolves into a deep low back pain that screams ‘Get me to the doctor!’ Ultimately, this leads to time away from work, being taken care of, and a chance to replenish even if it’s not consciously perceived that way.
By decompressing the nerves and fulfilling the need to rest and re-group, we release the body’s distress signals and the symptoms they produce.
If you think that nagging neck pain is because of tight muscles, you could argue that your nerves are trying to send you a message to slow down and take some time for yourself. Even if they are not always pleasant, any form of pain, discomfort, craving, aching, or health response is just a message from your body.
Learn to listen to your cravings as a sign that it’s time to start focusing on you again.
By Sam Belyea a.k.a. The Foot Whisperer
"Often, the question comes up “Do you work on friends and family?” and my response is always the same “If they are in pain and I feel my skills can help, of course I will.” But normally I don’t. It can be tedious at gatherings when a line starts to form behind the friend who asks me to ‘do something for this headache’. On occasion, I will use my reading skills of the extremities to direct a conversation or give warning to friends and family that their stress is starting to take over their life.
Occasionally there will be moments when I slip up and my work gets the best of me, which is fascinating to most people and downright scary for others. This weekend was one of those moments.
A friend was so excited about a new connection they had made with a boy that seemed to have all the bells and whistles. Skeptical is my go-to response, but I decided to hear my friend out because there was a genuine passion for this budding relationship. Everything was going great as my friend described their get together at the beach this past week and you could tell that someone was getting quite smitten.
Until I was offered to see a picture of the boyfriend….
Mistake number one: If you don’t want me to analyze who you, as a close friend of mine, have in your life (I tend to be a smidge over-protective) then you should under NO CIRCUMSTANCES show me a picture of any extremity of this person.
It was a cute photo of them on their blankets at the beach and the sky was clear with the water in the background, their cooler sitting off to the left….. Wait…. Hold on…. “I can see his face perfectly in this picture!” which slipped out of my mouth just loud enough for my friend to hear. From there I promptly stole the phone, zoomed in slightly (it was actually a really clear picture) and began to read.
Similar to how a computer processes code, I start my internal measurements of the boyfriend’s face dimensions. Applying each reflex zone and the organs associated along with the mental/emotional characteristics of each zone, I have the boyfriend’s basic profile. Then for the fun part: piecing the story together. I cross-check my mental memory bank for similar face shapes of client’s I’ve seen that have had distinct physical symptoms, stress patterns and personality traits. Viola! Profile complete.
My friend had stepped back in a semi-state of amazement/horror. “You’re reading him aren’t you?” came shyly out of their lips.
I handed the phone back and gave the following assessment:
“He has a broad forehead with a low hairline so he knows a little bit of everything is always has quick facts in his pocket to impress you. His eyes were set in slightly and on the smaller side indicating less capacity for strong emotions so he keeps his cool 99.9% of the time and even bursts of emotion won’t last for more than a few seconds. His cheek bones were by far the most prominent feature indicating a work horse personality, someone who must always be busy busy busy or they feel unaccomplished (I bet he insisted to carry the blankets AND the cooler, not the show off but because he genuinely enjoys doing it). Then the upper mouth thins greatly along with a narrow chin, but a super strong law line which I see in people who have a few close friends and don’t like to be in crowded places (the beach was empty) and despite gathering a large amount of wealth (strong law line) he is a simple person and doesn’t need much to survive (narrow chin).”
I ended with: “You know, these people are really good at math and make super accountants and CPAs. You should encourage him to pursue that.”
My friend, whose jaw was on the floor had the following to say in response:
“He loves math and is currently going to school for medicine and hates it. He doesn’t open up as much and he’s always moving around – like me. He is super smart for someone his age and I’m impressed by the things that come out of his mouth. AND when we went out to dinner after the beach, he insisted to pay for dinner because he does do well with money. That’s amazing!”
Thankfully this moment conveyed in graphic detail what my friend already knew about said boyfriend. Our bond deepened that moment as my friend realized the power of reading the extremities. This time, both parties were lucky. In the future, be warry what you show to the Reflexologist in your life, you never know what your extremities are going to reveal."