Sunday, January 09, 2011

Reflecting on relexology (and a golf ball)

In my late parents' flat was a stone that was often left underneath a chair in the living room.

I remember my father being given that stone (nearly six inches long) by a friend soon after we moved to the Tanglin Halt flat. He said to rub his feet on the stone for good health.

I was only very young then and I thought: was there magic in this stone? how could rubbing one's feet on this stone give one good health? Father didn't actually use it as instructed. It was just there, left there, for years and years.

At university I remember a lecturer talking about traditional medicine. He spoke disparagingly of such, referring to "a bit of dried bark". How could we place our faith on the healing powers of a bit of dried bark when we have the whole backing of science on antibiotics, etc.?

You see, where I was growing up, we revered everything that was "scientific". The west was scientific, so we revered it. Anything that was non-western and/or non-scientific was deemed superstition and backward.

And I had a really bad headache at work once. An Australian colleague suggested that I should rub the bottom of my big toe. She then gave me some literature on reflexology. That was Lana G.

The next time I had a bad headache at home I studied Lana's chart and rubbed my big toe. I could not believe how badly it hurt. From then I begin to think there is some connection between rubbing the soles of one's feet and general well-being.

It was a good few years later when I started living in the UK that I began to learn more about traditional medicine. Strange as I actually grew up with a lot of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) around me.

My father was a "quack" as we used to tease him. His housewife customers at the market where he sold pork used to come to him for advice on certain aches and pains.

Father recounted often how even the "big doctors" could not cure my sister's bad headache (migraine?). He then made her wash her hair in water (more like stock) from boiling a huge amount of ginger, and her head pain disappeared.

Periodically he made mum brew various types of horrible tasting medicines for us to drink. Because he saw that we were this, that or other, and needed to have our "qi" balanced.

Any way it was in the UK that I learned more about ayurvedic medicine, aromatherapy, etc, and slowly I moved away from my distrust in that "bit of dried bark". Seeing these "alternative therapies" in the light of TCM in a more holistic way, I decided that I must stop being so dismissive about traditions that have been tested for thousands of years.

Somewhere along the line I had my first reflexology massage in Singapore. I was taken by surprise when the man who did the massage could tell me about my frequent complaints. Just by observing the way I grimaced in pain as he massaged the soles of my feet.

My husband found relexology too painful and never went back. But he does massage my feet infrequently. We are amazed at the number of times when he would find a painful spot and we'd check it against a chart I have, and it pointed to the problem I was feeling.

Lately I came up with the idea of using a golf ball to "reflex" my feet. It rolls about. It's fairly solid. It's readily available.

I can only say I am amazed at how it pinpoints pain in the feet which corresponds to the part of the body that required attention. It hurts a lot, but if I keep rolling the ball with my foot/feet in that area I feel quite a lot better when I stop, after five minutes or so.

And I imagine that is what that stone in my parents' flat was all about.

1 comment:

Milady said...

very interesting! I love the tie-in with that stone under the chair!