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Are you giving your feet the space they deserve?

As it’s the holidays, I have spent time with my niece and my grandson. Childhood is a time of boundless curiosity and discovery, where each experience leaves an indelible mark on the memories we carry into adulthood.

As I think about my own youth and the long summer holidays, I can't help but ponder the remarkable parallel between those innocent adventures and the intricate development of the bones in our feet.

I was recently reminded of an x-ray (more on that in a minute) when I stumbled upon an old photograph of myself as a child, sporting a pair of well-worn trainers and a happy grin. The image brought a flood of memories rushing back, but it also sparked my curiosity about the origins of the bones that had carried me through countless escapades.

When I first saw this x-ray image, I was amazed!

When we are born, our feet contain 22 bones that aren't connected or hardened yet - making them super flexible, malleable and wide, providing the perfect base to move and stand on.

By age 13, the bones, ligaments and tendons grow larger and longer, connect via cartilage and solidify into “shape".

But what happens if we've boxed up our feet in socks and shoes during that process that may have been too tight, too restrictive and “shoe shaped” versus “foot shaped”?

Most of us still do it as an adult today.

We can end up with rigid, painful and sometimes deformed feet!

This leads to general stiffness, pain, tingling, swelling and numbness and issues like bunions, plantar fasciitis, neuromas (pinched nerves) and metatarsalgia (which typically affects the ball of the foot, causing pain, inflammation, and sometimes a burning sensation) to name a few…

So what can you do to help your feet today?

Practice walking barefoot, choosing shoes with a wide toe box and some reflexology, of course!

Reflexology helps to release muscles and tendons in the feet, rid tension from areas of callousness, and relieve pain and inflammation, allowing the feet to release and splay the way nature intended.

Reflexology offers a holistic approach to improving foot health and protecting the intricate structure of the feet. Here's how reflexology can contribute to the health of your feet and the preservation of their structure:

1. Enhanced Circulation: Reflexology involves applying pressure to reflex points, stimulating blood flow in the feet and the entire body. Improved circulation ensures oxygen and nutrients reach the cells, promoting cell regeneration, tissue repair, and optimal foot health.

2. Relaxation and Stress Relief: Reflexology induces a deep state of relaxation by activating the body's natural relaxation response. Reduced stress levels positively impact foot health by minimizing muscle tension, lowering the risk of stress-related foot conditions, and supporting the overall structure of the feet.

3. Nerve Stimulation: Reflexology directly affects nerve pathways, which can enhance nerve function and communication between the brain and the feet. This can lead to improved coordination and balance – all of which contribute to maintaining the structural integrity of the feet.

4. Pain Management: Reflexology can help alleviate pain in the feet by targeting reflex points associated with pain relief. Regular sessions may assist in managing discomfort caused by conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and other foot-related ailments.

5. Relaxing Muscles and Joints: Reflexology can relax tight muscles and improve joint mobility in the feet. This relaxation maintains flexibility, prevents injuries, and ensures that the foot's intricate structure functions optimally.

The results are not only healthier feet, but the whole body above them as activating reflexes in the feet sends nerve signals back to corresponding parts, organs and glands in the body - encouraging balance, healing and optimal functioning.

"Healthy feet are the foundation that allows us to step confidently, walk gracefully, and dance through life's journey."

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