I was just reviewing the tutorial I had this week with a student in my current Professional Reflexology Training Program. I love the laser focus that working one-on-one can give and, as always, huge improvements were achieved.
Because this particular student is also a massage therapist, the conversation included not just the specifics of thumb walking and reflex point locations but also ergonomics –meaning the best posture and angle to sit and work to minimize stress on the body.
Yes, massage therapists and reflexologists alike will have aches and pains from our work (and so will chiropractors and acupuncturists, etc.). Just because we have the knowledge and the power to effect positive change in the body doesn’t mean that we ourselves don’t suffer from the pain of overworked muscles or awkward body mechanics.
It is because we have the knowledge that we can deal with pain in our own body more efficiently and more and more effectively.
For example I have reflex points for most parts of the skeletal and muscular systems, so I can easily work on my own feet or hands (something that’s a little harder to do in massage, polarity, acupressure, etc.).
If it’s a pain that one of my reflexology clients has, I will address it via the feet or hands (face and ears are options too) and I can feel confident that the ensuing relaxation will offer great support.
But what’s the best way to stay in shape and reduce our discomfort when we’re not working on ourselves or having someone work on us?
You guessed it… exercise.
Now there’s a whole sub-culture based on exercise and the one thing that they all have in common is the range of motion action provided for the joints of the body.
In today’s article, I’m going to talk about the most basic and the simplest exercise that can be done by young and old alike. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity – it could be an Olympic event.
The Benefits of Walking as an Exercise
Walking is an exercise that isn’t too glamorous and you don’t need to join a gym because it can be done almost anywhere. In fact, they say that walking for just 30 to 60 minutes every day is practically the best thing you can do for your body, mind and spirit (and it’s also good for the sole).
It seems to get more and more difficult for people today to lead a healthy lifestyle. For example, there are new and more interesting snack and junk foods to distract us from the simple nutrients in simple food. In addition, eating disorders – too much or too little, the lack of proper regular exercise, and a myriad of other health diseases, increase our stress levels and almost seem to contribute to the decline in our contemporary world's lifestyle.
What to do? Well there are many different approaches and just from the perspective of exercise there are hundreds of popular styles of training and gyrating to keep us fit, but the one exercise that is suitable for people of all ages is a good, brisk walk.
So what are the advantages of walking over say kick boxing? Well the obvious one is that you don’t have to kick anything. Both offer joint mobilization and movement throughout the body but walking is the kinder gentler of the two. You don't need an equipment or a partner or team and it’s absolutely free! (No two year membership with penalty of leaving early costing hundreds if not thousand in equipment, training and fees.)
Benefits of walking are:
1) Did you know that people who walk tend to live longer and healthier lives? Yes, it’s been studied and found that walking just two miles a day can cut the risk of death (a serious consequence) by almost half (including a lower risk of dying of cancer).
2) Is it true that you can walk off weight by... walking? You bet. Walking is, or should be an important part of any weight loss program.
Of course, you’ve got to watch how much you eat but some weight-loss and conditioning studies have proven that walking is actually more effective than running and other more exotic activities.
Why? Because it's virtually injury-free, and in addition to that it also has the lowest dropout rate of any form of exercise. Good points.
3) Walking also can have a positive effect on your personal habits. It makes sense that if you commit to this, or any form of exercise, you’ll be taking your health maintenance more seriously and will likely develop the pattern for follow-through in other aspects of your life. It’s been noted that smokers who begin walking will more often cut down or quit the habit.
4) Did you even realize that walking helps to reduce depression? It makes sense that a walk in the park or even an unhurried stroll down the street can help reduce the symptoms of depression. The results can be peace of mind AND body. Now that’s what I call a win-win… winner.
5) Its good for the joints and that includes arthritis: Walking can actually relieve your aches and pains by keeping the joints in movement which in turn helps activate the body’s natural fluid tides. Never underestimate the value of this simple form for support to helping anything from backache to digestion.
6) And last but not least, walking can help to boost your brain power: One study showed that walking 45 minutes a day at good pace (16-minute mile pace) can increase your thinking ability. I’ll never forget that when my Mom was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I found a book written by an MD that claimed he reduced his own symptoms of Alzheimer’s by walking daily.
Here’s where the feet come in: we have 26 bones in each foot – 52 in total (not counting sesimoids). Out of just over 200 bones in the body, this represents 25% of all our joints.

Here’s how to make your walk a full-body exercise:
Although walking is a good exercise for the legs, heart, and lungs, it is still not a complete exercise program. If you limit yourself to just moving your legs, you’ll still tend to get stiff and tired, and the muscles in your back can stay short and tight as well as those in the trunk and upper body.
• Make sure that you swing your arms as you walk. This will give your neck, shoulders and back the extra movement to keep you limber.
• And remember, walk with a good posture - not too stiff (tilting backwards) and not too loose (tilting forward) but just right – relaxed, with your shoulders back, and taking some nice long strides.
Walking is simply the best and the most versatile of exercises. A great supplement to a reflexology session, I often give it as homework for my clients to practice because I know it will be good for them and my job will be easier.
© Wendy Coad

Author's Bio: 

You can as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Online health and reflexology expert Wendy Coad, a.k.a. “Reflexology Professor” is creator of www.thefootfactorprogram.com the most comprehensive reflexology training program available. She is the author of reflexology books and publishes the popular “Reflexology Secrets, Tips and Techniques” weekly email newsletter to subscribers from around the world. Get your FREE tips now at www.reflexologyprof.com and join us at the top right corner.