Acupuncture and Your Feet

Perhaps the hardest working and most neglected parts of your body are your feet. There are numerous problems that can afflict them.

The feet

For a start, nearly everyone has underdeveloped muscles in their feet. The muscles that are mainly used when walking over uneven and slanted surfaces, in most of us, grow lazy because of the level flat surfaces that we normally walk on. This is a problem when suddenly attempting to walk on uneven or slippery surfaces that we are not accustomed to because weak muscles that should help 'steer' the feet, are inefficient.

We don't notice it but we all have some quite sophisticated biological mechanisms in our feet and ankles that are collectively called proprioception. Proprioception is the body's awareness of its position in space. This allows us to walk as we do (walking itself is a wonder of physics that is only possible through proprioception). If muscle tone and development in your feet is good, proprioception is good and life is much safer and easier.

Feet need exercise, walking on dry sand or using a wobble board are excellent ways of doing this. If the exercise is too hard to do, your feet probably need some corrective work to prime them for exercise, acupuncture, massage, osteopathy, podiatry are all useful for this. Good foot muscle tone and flexibility can reduce the risk of problems such as collapsed arches, bone spurs and plantar fasciitis, that can be very debilitating. Some other effective preventative measures for pedal fitness include bush walking, walking and running on soft surfaces as much as possible (rather than hard pavement), exercising and massaging the muscles of the lower leg, sensible footwear and using stairs rather than lifts or escalators.

Tai Chi is useful for your feet too, because Tai Chi teaches us to "grasp the ground with our feet". Tai Chi teaches us to feel our weight evenly over our entire soles, rather than mainly through our heels with our knees locked straight, which in turn is bad for our spines.

Sometimes our feet feel things that are going wrong in other parts of our body. People are often fascinated how a foot reflexologist can detect problems in your internal organs for instance. Podiatrists can likewise judge structural abnormalities in your body through observation of your feet and the pattern of wear on your shoes.

If we were just as attentive to our feet as we are to the tyres on our cars we would be much healthier.