By Marian Connor
I was thinking about feet. I was interested in a photograph I saw recently in The Telegraph, of a man, arrested in Paris, being taken to court. It caught my attention because of its incongruity. Two policemen wearing balaclavas and bullet proof vests escorted this man along the pavement, he was wearing an odd plasticky outfit and eye mask but what I found so jarring was that he had bare feet. I know we have been looking at feet all summer in all their various states of undress but it isn’t often you see a fully dressed man, bare foot walking along city pavements.
I began to think about feet, how important they are and how much we take them for granted. For most of the year they are bundled up in hosiery and footwear, languishing at the southern end our body usually unnoticed, frequently uncared for.
As the autumn approaches and our summer footwear edges its way into the ‘summer’ vacuum packs bound for the back of the wardrobe until next year, or perhaps if you’re lucky, for a sneaky little sunshine break. I think it’s time to be reminded of how wonderful feet are and why we should pay them the attention they deserve.
Feet with their complex arrangement of 26 bones in each foot, 33 joints, 19 muscles and a masterful engineering of tendons and ligaments, are your first connection with the earth. They ground us, carry us around all day and can reveal a great deal about us.
From the shape of fossilised human footprints scientists have been able to glean which species of hominid made them. The pressure imprint of those steps revealed the gait, their height from the size and speed from the length of stride. This illustrates the importance of feet, how they mirror our whole being in the way we walk.
Our posture and the smooth running of our joints are intrinsically linked to our feet and ankles, as is our stance and how we perambulate. Traditional forms of movement and exercise such as Qi Gong and Yoga emphasise the importance of foot placement and postural alignment.
Feet are our launch pad for action with the potential to generate power. We should be mindful of this and pay attention to the way we walk and run, not only is it a way to keep your lower limbs healthy but can be a preventative measure against back problems.
Unfortunately foot and ankle problems often lead us to avoid activity through fear of discomfort or further damage. But regular movement and massage will help maintain health and mobility for a lifetime. Although what we wear on our feet isn’t always ideal and can have a detrimental effect.
David G. Armstrong, Professor of Surgery at William M Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine believes that 75% of people are wearing the wrong shoe size. As we age our feet change shape but we rarely consider this, people stick to the size they were in adolescence and often the same styles. Surely it’s only the size of your clothes that fluctuates. Why would you change your shoe size?
This can cause many problems with feet and I’m not even going to mention the strange contorted shapes women’s feet are manipulated into for the sake of fashion.
“If you rebel against high heels, take care to do so in a very smart hat.”
George Bernard Shaw
Some of the heels we wear are almost impossible to walk in but I must say these wonderful men have mastered the art of dancing in them.
Shoes left to right by Zaha Hadid, Brigitte Niedermair and Natacha Marro
“How tall am I? Honey with hair, heels and attitude I’m through the damned roof.”
It’s a wonder we don’t suffer from climbers ‘Elvis Feet’, the involuntary foot and leg shaking due to being in uncomfortable positions.
Traditional forms of medicine locate energy meridians throughout the body corresponding with internal organs many of which begin and end in the feet. Massaging these acupressure points will greatly relieve any tension held in your feet, whilst activating these energy channels.
Taking your weight off your feet or putting our feet up is a metaphor used to describe relaxation and you can aid this by massaging those little lovelies.
I hope you are ready to show a little more love to your walking apparatus?
I’ve included this link to a film to illustrate how to massage your feet to help with any sports injuries.
Finally, from Micha Christmann, our expert Aromatherapist, a little TLC to make your feet feel loved and smell delightful.
Image Tile/Header – A powerful image of prosthetic feet donated to a clinic in Nicaragua by Stephen Petegorsky. Since 1998 Stephen Petegorsky has worked to document the work of a small human services agency as it strives to improve the lives of people with disabilities, especially in developing countries. http://poluscenter.org/
Flat Feet and Your Back Book extract – The Wharton’s Back Book by Jim & Phil Wharton, 2004, page 34
YouTube – Yanis Marshall Choreography. Music by Beyonce. Featuring Arnaul & Mehd – duration 00:02:18
Shoe image – Collage by 8 in the Universe of 3 shoes by Zaha Hadid, Brigitte Niedermair and Natacha Marro from Shoes Pleasure & Pain by Helen Persson
Foot Massage Book extract – Acupressure: how to cure common ailments the natural way by Michael Reed Gach
Hyperlink to YouTube – Foot Self Massage – duration 00:10:32
Creamy Foot Scrub Recipe – by Micha Christmann, expert Aromatherapist for 8 in the Universe
If we have whet your appetite for further discovery, keep in mind that we create interactive experiential workshops and events embracing 8 elements, exploring a myriad of ways to enhance your health and happiness. Oh yes and let’s not forget these are beautifully packaged with individually created accoutrements for your delectation. All delivered by us, business to business, people to people.
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