References to the use of hand and foot therapy have been depicted in ancient civilizations throughout history including among early Egyptians, and Chinese.
Modern Reflexology also known as Zone Therapy believes that every part of the body is reflected in over 7000 reflexes or points on our hands and feet and that the body can be divided longitudinally and horizontally.
Early Egyptian tomb drawing found in Physicians tomb.
There are ten longitudinal zones, five on each side. Zone 1 being the section from the big toe and thumb straight up the body into the head and Zone 5 being the section from the pinky toe and finger straight up the body into the head. These zones relate to all parts of the body within each zone. If something is wrong in any part of a zone, it will affect the entire zone.
The lateral zones fix the part of the body onto the feet.
Joseph Pilates understood the importance of our feet to the overall health of our body and how our modern-day lifestyles of wearing restrictive shoes, walking on hard surfaces and excessively walking and sitting contributed to foot problems such as bunions, fallen arches, curled up toes, hammer toes and plantar fasciitis.
To improve the health of our feet, he designed two spring-loaded tools for strengthening and maintaining mobility in the ankles, feet, and toes.
“Think of your body as a building. The feet are the foundation,” Carola S. Trier.
Our feet are important! Not only do they support our entire body on a daily basis, but they are connected to our whole body.
If we look at how the reflexes on the bottom of our feet correspond to specific parts of the body, we can see how the health of our feet can affect the overall health of our organs, glands and body parts.
- The ball of the foot – lungs, heart, and stomach
- The arch of the foot – small intestine and liver
- The heel of the foot –sciatic nerve and low back
Do you see your Pilates Footwork here?
When are feet lose flexibility and mobility it inhibits us from using the full surface for strength, balance and propulsion and transcends through our body affecting how we stand, sit, move and breathe.
Recommended Tools to Use at Home:
- A small hand or dish towel
- A pen or pencil
- A strong rubber band (head of broccoli or asparagus)
- A tennis ball or rubber ball
- A wood dowel or broom handle
For the feet and ankles:
- The Towel – develops arch & increases circulation
- The Pencil – improves motor skills of the foot
- The Toe Stretcher (Rubber band) – The Bunion Fixer
- The Foot Corrector (Tennis ball or rubber ball) – improves alignment: foot, ankle, knee & hip; massages the foot, improves propulsion; fights fatigue, improves ankle stability, improves circulation
For the fingers, hands, and wrists:
- The Wrist Strengthener/Bean Bag (wood dowel or broom handle)
- Laetitia Richter, SFP Education Director