May 29, 2009

Here’s an email from my friend Amy Goetz-foot reflexologist extraordinaire, AKA The Barefoot Phoenix. She’s the best “foot worker” I’ve ever found and you will see from her email that she is really dedicated to helping her clients maintain pain-free, healthy feet. Trust your feet to Amy for a relaxing foot massage.  She’s based in Seattle and does occasional workshops where she teaches the art of foot massage.

Amy wrote:

Hi Alice:  “I thought of you as I was doing my foot exercises the other day in the hot tub. Here are some simple ways to remain pain free on your feet, or help combat any pain you are currently experiencing.

The 4 Most important ways to move each foot are:
1. Ankle circles. Slowly rotate the ankle in both directions 10-15 times. Ankle circles stretch and strengthen all the major muscles that move your foot and will release tension from over use, standing, exercise, and lack of use (sitting).
2. Point and flex. Slowly point your foot as much as you can, gently hold this extreme for 2 seconds, release and flex your foot as much as you can, again hold at this point for 2 second and repeat 10-15 times per foot. If you find yourself starting to cramp gently ease off and reverse movement and the next round do not go to such an extreme.
3. Inversion and eversion. Slowly rotate the arch of the foot towards your head hold this movement for 2 seconds and reverse so the arch faces away. I like to call this one “conducting the orchestra” as the movement in the foot resembles arm movements used in conducting. Again repeat this exercise 10-15 times and if your foot is starting to cramp gently ease off and reverse the movement.
4. Calf Stretching. The easiest calf stretch leaning against the wall put one leg back until you have a nice stretch in your calf muscles. Another option could be holding on to the railing of the stairs drop the back half of the foot off the stair and allow calf muscles to stretch hold for 10 second then raise up on to your tippy toes to reset the muscles and slowly drop down again into a stretch. Repeat this process slowly moving in and out of active stretch 5-10 times. An easy way to integrate this into your daily life is to stretch while brushing teeth or cooking or when walking do a couple of stretches on the stairs or at the curb while waiting for the light.
If you experience cramping in any or all of these stretches this is an indication that the muscles in your feet are weak and need exercise. Please reduce the number of repetitions you do of each exercise and instead cut out 2 minutes 4-6 times a day to do spend 30 seconds doing each one 3-5 times each.
If you are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis, please do the first three exercises in bed before stepping on the foot, this will wake up the plantar fascia and make your first steps less painful. Please also do the calf stretches as many times a day as you can remember.
Bonus exercises: massage your foot with the hot tub jet, especially the arch of the foot. YUMMY!”


The Barefoot Phoenix : walking a mystical path with practical feet.

SANUM PER AQUA. Latin for Health Through Water.