One of the most effective techniques I have adopted lately is the practice of self-massage and especially of the feet, although the hands are also extremely effective. The art of reflexology knows all about this, of course, and there are many useful books and technique guides out there (below is one that I found helpful). Important, though, to know that you don’t have to be any kind of an expert on this to benefit from it or to give it a whirl because you can’t do it “wrong”. Pretty much any massage you can give to these areas is the equivalent to having a whole-body massage that includes all of your internal organs and you can literally FEEL the benefit, which is an exponential thing dependent on how often you do it.
Basically, I massage my feet and hands (also those parts of my back that I can reach, my neck, temples, jaw bone and ears, head, face, arms, legs…) in the sauna every couple of days but anywhere warm will do, even in the bath.
Starting with my toes, I gently tug and pull them, massaging along the fleshy parts and then, likewise, with all areas of the base of the foot: stroke-massaging using a reasonable amount of pressure towards the ankle and kneading deep into the whole foot. The same with the top of the foot and then I massage around the ankles and Achilles heel, pinching the tendon between finger and thumb and walking the pressure gently up into the leg , also rotating the foot in gentle circles with toes splayed out.
Once I’ve done both feet, I move onto the hands, following the same techniques and also spreading fingers out as far as they will separate and, at the same time, stretching hands backwards towards my forearms as far as they will go, gently tugging my thumbs and then fingers backwards using pressure from the other hand. Do this until the palms of your hands turn white then release and repeat as often as you like; you can do this one at any time of day or (my favourite) when out walking, rolling your fingers like you are playing air-piano.
If you have fibromyalgia, the chronic burning pain of the feet is probably a very familiar symptom and typical sign that a flare is underway; at times, it can feel constant for many weeks – all a clue that fibromyalgia is such a whole-body, whole-system issue affecting pretty much everything that is going on in the body. Conversely, by looking after the feet in this way, you can address all of these problem areas and tender points all in one go; I am convinced all of my organs, my entire endocrine system, have been functioning so much better since I started doing this and my feet feel amazing, so much better; I’m really noticing the difference. Another benefit is that regular practice of this can ease-out any ankle and wrist pain or stiffness you might be experiencing, including electric-stabbing neuropathy symptoms to hands and feet.
Just as we are the universe in a body, the feet are the body in miniature and I love the way Nature designed us with our own healing system and reset button, one which is so easily accessible – an opportunity to take time out for ourselves and for the kind of self-healing we can easily gift ourselves while curled up in a favourite chair. The bonus is that the more often you demonstrate self-love in these ways, the quicker the body releases its tangled knots starts and to heal. How great is that!
This is the short guide I downloaded when I first became curious about this – Reflexology: The Ultimate Guide to Reflexology to Relieve Tension, Treat Illness and Reduce Pain – Paula Thayer