[Perspectives in Foot Reading #2] – An Example

One of the services I provide is “Foot Reading” which can be done in person, or remotely via photographs, messages and/or phone/video calls. This blog gives an outline as to what you might expect to see in a Foot Reading, what information you might receive from my observations, and what kind of suggestions you might be asked to pursue to improve your overall health based on my findings. I hope you find it interesting and useful! If you would like to use this service please get in touch or see this page for further info on price.

Markers observed on the feet are categorised into 4 elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. We all need an even balance of these elements, and when one becomes deficient or in excess, this an reveal where imbalances reside and provide a greater awareness into our own physical and mental/emotional health and well-being.

The feet are a wonderful extremity: we tend to neglect our feet, stuffing them into socks and shoes and walking on them all day, however they hold such fascinating insights into our bodies, emotions and our overall health.

As a general guide, the left foot represents the left side of the body and what is going on in the present moment, while the right foot represents the right side of the body and what is still being processed from the past. Together, they form a perfect picture of present and past experiences, as well as a map of the whole body.

Popped dorsal tendons reveal upper back tension. Popped tendons are a fire marker and tell us that there is potentially heat, over exertion, strain, tension and/or tightness. These tendons are on the top of the foot and beneath the toes, so this is the reflex point for the upper back area across the shoulders and upper thoracic. We can see clearly that the tendons presenting here are beneath the 2nd, 3rd and 4th toes. These represent vertical zones of the feet and are “influencers”. So we could say here that the torso and pelvic regions are influencing the tension held in the upper back.

In addition, these markers are apparent on the top of the foot, which tells us that these issues are exposed to the outside world. Markers on the bottom (or plantar) surface are hidden and are more about what is going on inside of ourselves and which are not as visible or “on show”.

Looking at the bottom or plantar aspect of these feet, we can see that the right foot appears fairly uniform in its position, compared to the left which turns inwards. The left foot is also presenting with more colour which is again a fire marker.

When one foot turns inwards this can reveal an imbalance in the skeletal structure of the body; more weight is likely being put through the lateral edge of the foot where the shoulder, knee and pelvic reflexes reside.

So this can tell us that there is likely to be an issue further up the body, the root cause possibly on the right side of the body causing the left side to compensate.

Lets focus on the toes. These reveal a lot about what is going on in the head, neck and shoulders. Looking at the right foot, the toes seem fairly regular until the 5th toe which is turned and sits tucked underneath the 4th toe. This lateral area of the foot underneath the 5th toe is the shoulder reflex. I often find that 5th toe irregularities are to do with the shoulder leading up into the neck. In addition, and fascinatingly, this individual also has a skin-coloured mole in the right eyebrow; another indication of congestion in the general shoulder area (according to face reading).

Any skeletal irregularities in the feet (and a skin-coloured mole) would be regarded as earth markers; a build up around a vulnerable area, congestion, restriction. Too much earth will result in less mobility and flexibility. In addition too much fire can consume a lot of air (mobility) and dry out the water (flow), leaving an excess of earth (tension, less mobility, feeling stuck).

Mentally and emotionally all of these markers reveal that this person carries a lot on their shoulders, they feel under pressure (from others, or from themselves) and potentially are doing more than they should. Fire markers indicate tendencies to over-do things without scheduling enough rest periods.

Irregularities in the 5th toes indicate emotional insecurities; topics such as finance, home, and their ability to feel confident moving forward in life can be challenging. They represent our sense of security. As this is more apparent on the right foot, it is an indicator of emotional battles from the past still being processed. On the flip side though, these toes also show me that this person has a huge sense of fun!

This person also tends to keep their head separate from their heart; the space between the 1st and 2nd toes reveals a lot about their perceived importance in doing the sensible thing and pushing their hearts desire away, and focussing on the “what I should do” rather than following the freedom of life. As this person has fairly long 2nd toes this shows that they have natural leadership qualities.

To balance out an “infection” of earth, from a physical point of view activities such as massage, stretching and breath-work can help to increase mobility and flexibility. Internally, a lot of hoarding has taken place, so a release of this mental/emotional build up can come from journalling or any form of writing, counselling, crafts and meditation. Reflexology can also be a lovely way to promote deep relaxation and balancing and easing the body and the mind.

To balance out an “infection” of fire, we want to “reduce the forest fire to the hearth”; we don’t want to put it right out, just get it under control and set some boundaries. Physically we can look at hydration, restorative and gentle activities such as yoga and walking. Internally, routines and time budgets can help, as well as venting instead of stoking up the fire with stored anger, and spending time looking at and questioning the real priorities of one’s life.

What are you shouldering?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Large Intestine channel starts at the tip of the radial side (thumb side) of the second finger and runs up along the arm to the elbow crease then up to the anterior (front) shoulder,a cross to the neck and ending at the nose. It is a primary channel to be affected when it comes to shoulder and elbow problems.

I have recently treated many clients with acupoints on the shoulder, elbow and arm. One client in particular presented with debilitating hip and sciatic pain on the left. After assessing her feet for foot-reading and reflexology based markers it was plain to see that the right shoulder was not happy. This reflex point was screaming red and presenting with a lot of heat; it was particularly eye-catching. After discussing my findings we agreed to use acupuncture moving forward. Palpating particular points around the shoulder and into the arm indicated tenderness and a desire to be “worked” and released. After two sessions the client is enjoying significant pain reduction and improved sleep patterns.

Mentally and emotionally we can “shoulder” a lot of emotion, burden and responsibility. If we don’t address this then physical pain can manifest. What I find interesting is that the Large Intestine channel runs along here, and if we consider what it does as a physical functioning organ; to process and eliminate waste, then mentally and emotionally we have to work on “letting go” of the burdens and responsibilities that we unnecessarily place on our (metaphorical) shoulders.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Large Intestine is paired with the Lung. We breathe in new life force (Qi) with the Lungs and eliminate the old (waste) through the Large Intestine. In many clients I have seen with issues affecting the shoulder and/or elbow is that there is often an imbalance in the chest too (smokers, COPD, grief). If we continue to hold on to things that do not serve us, it will start backing up and impacting on how much new energy we can let in.

As a therapist I have experienced my own health issues (and continue to) as well as observed health issues in others. I can help my clients feel better but ultimately it is down to them to go away and do the work. We cannot treat the physical without looking at the mental/emotional aspect too. I share what I learn with them in clinic and through this blog in the hope that I live a life from which others can benefit by realising or recognising aspects in themselves.

[Perspectives in Foot Reading #1] looking at the groin

Here we have a Fire marker – the popped anterior tibial tendon. This dorsal area of the foot is the general reflex for the pelvic region, including reproductive system, inguinal region and lymphatics, and the muscles and bones of the lower core.

The popped tendon indicates potential pain, inflammation, overuse and increase in muscular tension somewhere in this area.

The excess tension here has created a little cave just below the popped tendon, indicating strain, fatigue and weakness. The little cave would be regarded as an Air marker, and this would make sense that the Fire from the inflammation is leaving deficiency (burnt out).

In addition we can also see an inflamed and over-protruding lateral malleolus (ankle bone) showing that the hip is also affected.

This male client suffers with groin pain on the left side, stemming from a childhood injury (a tear), and continues to have problems while playing sports.

To balance Fire we want to reduce the forest fire to a gentle hearth-side glow, so activities like restorative yoga and gentle swimming would be recommended. Other activities such as Tai Chi might also benefit. In addition, ensuring hydration and diet are optimal.

From a mental/emotional perspective, this would indicate fiery and inflamed relationships with family and those whom we are close; sparks could well be flying and as a practitioner I tread very carefully. Venting and letting off steam about these issues would help, either with a neutral party or by journaling. Routine and boundary setting within the relationship is also needed, as a raging fire can easily get out of control.

Once the Fire has gotten under control, it is then time to gently nourish and strengthen the remaining deficient terrain.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, clinical acupuncturist, and foot reading practitioner, working from Elder Cottage Clinic, Warton, nr. Preston.

Foot readings are offered in clinic and remotely.