Welcome to Did you Know, a bite-sized new column where we aim to make wellness more digestible. On the agenda for today: foot reflexology and massage. Specifically, massaging your feet can help with digestion, a li’l tidbit we learned from Yamuna Zake, author of The Foot Fix and founder of Yamuna Foot Wakers.
Reflexology, a traditional Chinese medicine practice similar in principle to acupuncture, can help ease digestion and constipation when used on the feet. It works by relieving tension in muscles and tendons that are connected to the rest of our body—big muscle groups in the legs, butt, and back.
Reflexology is obvs more complicated than the DIY foot rubs we give ourselves at home, but even general foot massages, or using a tool like the Wakers, can offer similar benefits.
Reflexology, massage, and tools like the Wakers are definitely all in the same wheelhouse, but while traditional reflexology works to stimulate specific points on the feet that correspond to specific organs and parts of the structure, “the Foot Wakers work more globally, and so stimulate body and foot function but not specific organs,” Zake explains.
However, any DIY stimulation can be very useful. “Very often people will describe that they are no longer constipated or retaining fluid. This absolutely happens from the stimulation,” Zeke tells us.
Reflexology and massage also help to stimulate the nervous system. This can help relieve stress and anxiety, two things that can definitely contribute to—um—digestive distress, if you know what we mean.