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Massage of the Feet Diagram

ThailandTomThailandTom Veteran
edited December 2011 in Diet & Habits
In Thailand outside most massage establishments there is often a disgram of the foot. It points out which areas to massage for certain problems of the body. For example if you have stomach issues, there is a certain place to massage on the foot.

I know zombiegirl is a massage therapist, so she is probably the best to answer this one, but I was wondering of the valdility of this diagram. Also, what techniques to use whilst giving a foot massage for therapy use.

I appear to be quite good at foot massage as my gf often asks if I can give her one, she falls asleep most of the time within 30 or so minutes. I apply pressure using my thumbs in slow circular motions up and down the foot, then changing to squeezing the edges with one hand and sliding it up across the foot. Also I sometimes apply hard pressure to the ball of the foot and squeez/slide up over the toes. This seems to be more of a feel good massage than a theraputic one. I have read that for the diagram you simply apply pressure to certain areas. I have problems with my lungs more recently (I have for years ever since I had bronchitus at the age of 12), and my Gf has had trouble with her stomach after she eats, she gets a pain there.

Anyway, here is the diagram and I hope some people can offer some advise. Thanks, tom.


  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    i'm afraid i cannot help with this exactly. in the US, we call this "reflexology" and i actually know very little about it. my understanding is that it is somewhat similar to the acupuncture system, except instead of using the chinese meridian system, all of the points are located on the foot (or sometimes the hand or ear, actually).

    i have never had a reflexology treatment and over the years i have heard both good things and bad things... sorry if this is rather ambiguous, lol. a google search for reflexology will probably tell you all you want to know though. also, it sounds like you already give a great foot massage, but if you want to improve your technique, try searching youtube. there are TONS of massage videos on youtube and that would probably be a little easier to learn from than text on a screen.
  • I think there are a lot of massage therapists practicing reflexology who aren't really qualified. It's not just about memorizing the chart. There's a lot of specific technique that goes with it. They say the whole anatomy is represented in miniature just about everywhere on the body. The ears is another place, like the feet, where the body's systems and organs are represented.

    You can give a good foot massage that isn't reflexology. It doesn't have to include reflexology to be a good, relaxing massage. I'd say, stick with what works, Tom. Don't mess with success. : ) Unless you can pay to take a thorough course. One weekend (like some courses I've run into) is not enough instruction.
  • Cheers for the replies. Here in Thailand, it is a big tradition that is normally passed down through generations in families. Most Thai people, mainly women, will know how to heal using massage, or as it has been mentioned reflexology. It seems however it has missed my GF lol. Whenever she gives me a massage, it is not something that is too pleasant.

    I did notice on the diagram how from toe to heel it resembles head to foot if you see what I mean. I just wondered if this was some kind of mystic myth created many years ago, or if there is actual science behind it.
  • There's a science behind it if you consider things like acupuncture "science". There's Eastern science, then there's Western science.

    Thai massage is very interesting, it's not like "Swedish massage", regular Western massage. It's a lot more like yoga that the massage therapist does for you--she (or he) positions your body for you, and moves energy. Amazing stuff. But maybe your GF doesn't have a feel for it. Any kind of massage is fairly intuitive.
  • My Grandpa was very into reflexology. He kept the oddest hours - he'd be up at 3 a.m. reading in the living room, and I'd wander out to seem him. He'd tell me to give him a foot for some reflexology; then he'd pinch my big toe and ask if it hurt. I'd say "Yes!" and he'd diagnose a problem, usually liver or kidney. It was only many, many years later I realized my extremely serious Grandpa was actually making a rare joke. But I was always in awe of his foot charts, and I do feel in general that any system that extensive and long-lived likely has merit.

    I don't know how reflexology stacks up against other Eastern medical arts, but even at 80 he had a swarm of elderly women after him. If nothing else, reflexology feels great (well, unless you're a 9 year old with liver problems).

  • lol, that is a nice and funny little story Sile. My Gf's mother is meant to be very good at massage and reflexology. When I had problems with my left hand (I damaged the nerves so much that I could not use or move it), she suggested to go to the temple because there are even monks who can do apply reflexology. My hand is better now though, it randomly sorted itself out and is nearly back to 100%. I spent 3 months with no progress what so ever, just accepting the fact that it is gone for good. I would often dream that it had returned back to normal and wake with it numb and limp still. But one day I woke and it was functionable :)
  • Oy...what happened to your hand? It didn't come after a flu shot, did it?

    Nerves are so amazing, and so vexing (if that's what it is). Really glad to hear your hand "woke up." Now we all need to follow suit, lol.
  • Well, it is a story that has been told here before and it is totally my fault. It was pure ignorance and craziness on my part. It was not too long ago, but I was in the midst of a drug binge. It was around my birthday and we had come home (me and my GF) and I had been drinking. Then A friend from Norway who had broken leg gave me 2 morphine tablets. Then I ate 18 1mg xanax tablets over the course of 2 hours and throughout the day I had taken around 200mg of valium. I also took I think 8 tramadol capsules which would be 400mg of tramadol.

    Anyway, I ended up sat outside at around 2am playing online poker (winning a lot as well), I was sat in a wooden armchair in an area that was open air above the guesthouse at the time. I passed out with all my weight on the left arm and my GF woke up, came out and found me. The nerves were pretty damaged, I could not lift my hand level with my arm, or grip anything.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    my mother is a qualified reflexologist. What she does for people is incredible.
    she managed to prevent someone having an operation for carpal tunnel syndrome by massaging her feet?! strange - but true.
  • What! that is really quite amazing. There must be something to it then if that is true.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    I promise you, although I can understand the cynicism, there seems to be a neural connection, which transmits pressure to certain parts of the body.
    nerves travel up and down our system in a crazy mesh of intersecting lines, so it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that nerves in our feet can transmit stimuli up to a specific area of the body....
    I can tell you, when I had a tattoo done under my left collar-bone - my left leg ached all day the next day. so the reverse impetus must also work....
    a bit like referred pain.... pain you feel distant to the point of injury or damage....

  • Interesting. I should know a fair bit above nerves after what happened to me, but yes that is very intriguing.

    The east IMO has had many ideas ane concepts that we in the west regard as mystic or poor science, but in fact maybe they are on to something. The spiritual leaders of the times of the buddha may have been finding out many things about how the mind interacts with our body etc through pure insight and meditation. I am not certain on this as I have not checked it out, bit reflexology probably originated in the east.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited December 2011
    The way I look at it is this:
    I have studied Shiatsu, and am a teacher of passive martial arts, which involves knowing something about the energy channels in the body....
    the medical system in the oriental east has documentation dating back nearly 4000 years...
    The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine is an incredible read....


    The medical system in the West is much, much more recent. In fact, medicine as we know it, is probably less than 300 years old.

    And we have the damned infernal cheek of calling these ancient systems 'alternative'? Who are we kidding?!
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    i'm still a skeptic of reflexology. i'm hoping someday i can meet a reflexologist and do one (or several) trade sessions to see how i feel about it.

    i just always wonder... why feet/hands/ear? there are no known nerves that travel directly from these points to the areas they are supposed to correspond to. if there were, the concepts behind reflexology would be indisputable. (although i am not disagreeing with federica here, it is not beyond the realms of possibility) i always just wonder why there isn't a form of reflexology of the spine, since dermatome maps are widely available and provable. i use them in my own massage treatments not only for diagnostic purposes, but also treatment.

    Dermatomes and Cutaneous Nerves
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    Shiatsu does a 'reflexology' of the spine. Shiatsu is based on the therapy of acupuncture, but uses finger and thumb pressure.
    There are points, or 'tsubos' along either side of the spine that correspond with different organs....
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited December 2011
    I have read that in yoga the hands and feet are quite noticeable 'chakras'. In my book they had their own chapter. The seven traditional are mentioned but the hands and feet got equal billing. My book I read might be categorized as new age.
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    Shiatsu does a 'reflexology' of the spine. Shiatsu is based on the therapy of acupuncture, but uses finger and thumb pressure.
    There are points, or 'tsubos' along either side of the spine that correspond with different organs....
    fascinating. i've been watching some shiatsu videos on youtube and it has become quite clear that the progenitor of my school was well schooled in this style, since much of it is very similar to my treatment. i've also taken several classes on acupressure as well though, which is similar, but seems to be more based on the specific points.
  • I believe that if you are trained in reflexology then it can have positive affects. Thers is something to it, something more than hocus-pocus bs. The human body is a very complex lifeform, with many many functions and highways and byways, it does not always take a scientist to find out such things.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    which I guess - if you would permit me to say - it's such a shame when you take the walking, talking, breathing functioning entire miraculous mechanism that is the human body - and you throw all kinds of abuse at it with substances you really do know you shouldn't be messin' with....
    Tom, you know I think the world of you, but you do worry me sometimes.....
  • ThailandTomThailandTom Veteran
    edited December 2011
    I permit you to say lol.. this is a forum and I don't mind such comments. There is a word in thai that my girlfriend and a few other people say to me sometimes, it kind of sounds like 'dtuu' with a low tone. It means somebody who knows something is silly or bad, but who does it anyway. Recently I have been very tame and realized that I needed to leave how I use to conduct myself behind me, but it was just a lapse of jundement, a pretty major lapse at that.

    I do sometimes get told I worry people, I don't know exactly why there is that self destructive mode there, but it there and has been there for a quite a while.
  • I have some personal evidence of this foot diagram and reflexology. My gf has had something wrong with her stomache for a week or so, I have said 'please go to the doctor'' but she has yet to go.

    Everytime she eats, her stomache aches, often quite a bit. Tonight she was in a frenzy as she had this ache and her youngest son in BKK would not answer hi. s phone. She was on the verge of crying, getting hysterical etc. So, I said 'please lay down and relax.'' I remembered the areas of the feet linked with the stomach and solarplexus, after 15 or so minutes she was calm and then fell asleep.

    This of course does not resolve the problem that is on my mind, what is causing the pain in the first place. From a medical point of view there are many reasons. I can think of a few plausable ones that are, stomach ulser, some kind of bacteria infection, damage of the stomach lining or stomach itself, a tumor, and so on. I will try and keep persuading her to go to the doctor, I think it is a must if she has pain every time she eats food..

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