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10. Introduction: How to Foot Read

How To Foot Read

“The Feet Do Not Lie” Eunice Ingham

“And That Includes Their Appearance” as she could have added.

This chapter introduces the practical chapters explaining how to foot read. They cover a great deal of information, and you are not expected to remember everything. Like any reflexology book, it is to read through and then refer back to for guidance as and when you need to. But primarily, the chapters are intended to instil a general idea of how to foot read, to learn the universal rules of how the body shows imbalances in the feet overall and at the reflexes specifically, and how to address them. This way, you can develop your skills and, with time, find your own unique way of reading the unique pattern of health written on the feet of each of your clients.

We are aware that when we palpate the feet, we often feel things we don’t expect to and can’t feel things we do. And it is important to remember it is the same when foot reading; things will not always show up as we expect them to, and sometimes we don’t expect to see something, and we do. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t reading them correctly, just that they have their own way of talking to us that is particular to each individual’s physical and emotional history. And always remember that if you are searching for further visual clues, it is good to take photos of the feet as things will often be visible on them which can’t be seen in the light you give your treatment in. 

Note on photos

Throughout the book, you may notice evidence in photos of other health issues on the feet beside the ones I mention in the associated text. This is because I will only explain the ones relevant to the subject matter of that chapter. Any other visual manifestations will be covered in the chapter most relevant to them. 

For example, besides foot shape, structure, and alignment, the appearance of lines and hard skin also tells us a lot about the musculoskeletal system. But because both of these get their own chapter later in the book, I won’t cover them in detail in the chapters on the musculoskeletal system. 

By the end of the book, by using foot reading examples at the end of each chapter, I will have explained how to combine everything you have learned and how to bring it all together to read the unique picture of each client’s health. 


The Reflexes

While teaching and studying reflexology, one of the most significant challenges we face as individuals and as a profession is that we are taught from a wide variety of charts. This book aims not to produce a new chart or promote an existing one. It is, in fact, the opposite, to show us that we can all read the feet in the same way regardless of what we have learned. 

I work on the feet using what I feel and, most notably for this book, what I see, to balance the health of my clients. I do not have a strong affinity for working the reflexes as they are mapped on any chart in particular. But it is impossible to write about reflexes without giving them at least an approximate placement, and I have used what I believe to be the most commonly given sites for them throughout the book. 

If a reflex placement differs from what you have been taught (or believe because of your own experience), please remember that, as – explained previously in the book – the charts are not necessarily of prime importance when foot reading. The methods shown in the book will try to demonstrate this as much as possible, and I hope you will still be able to learn as much as you would have done if I had referred to a reflex as being in the same place as you consider it to be.

Dorsal/Plantar Aspects

It is not only the charting of individual reflexes that causes conflict. Some schools teach the plantar aspect of the foot relating to the front and internal body, and the dorsal as the rear. And others teach that the dorsal shows the front of the body and the plantar as the rear and inner body. I was taught the latter way and tend to refer to the aspects of the feet as reflecting this throughout the book. 

However, as mentioned in the previous chapters, I see the feet as a microcosmic 3D representation of the entire body rather than a flat 2D map of the organs. And I am sure that – just as in the body – energy flows not only up and down the feet but also through them, i.e. between plantar and dorsal. 

So it doesn’t matter which aspect of the foot you were taught or believe relates to the front or back body. Whichever one is worked on, the effects of your treatment will pass through to the organs, glands, etc., found in that part of the body. (For this reason, during my treatments, I like to work the plantar and dorsal reflexes simultaneously much of the time.)

As with differing reflex placements, you can still use the information given in the book regarding reading the plantar/dorsal aspects. And apply what you learn about how to read them to the benefit of the client, whichever way around you see the front/internal/rear body as represented.

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