Foot pain from Lyme arthritis? Follow along with this three minute video
Three exercises for healthy joints and strong arches (try them in the bath!)
Back in my twenties when I was a modern dancer, I discovered something. I could show up an hour before a performance and spend that time stretching, stretching, stretching and warming up - or I could show up 15 minutes before a performance and roll out the bottoms of my feet with a small ball. Either way I was ready to dance, but the second way felt like a magic trick.
There IS magic in your feet! Acupuncturists say the entire body is reflexed in the foot - meaning points on the sole of the foot affect the rest of the body. There is a stomach point (inner arch), sinus points (pads of the four smaller toes) and a point for the pituitary gland (center of the big toe). If you press these points, you bring healing to the reflexed areas. As I rolled the bottoms of my feet in darkened theaters, my entire body responded - loosening and filling with energy, becoming more tuned to my environment.
Evolution created amazing human feet
Beyond energetics, there are 26 bones and 33 joints in each foot! This creates an incredible amount of mobility - and evolution did this for a reason. (My mantra - evolution is smarter than people.) Our feet are our contact points with the ground, and a mobile foot is incredibly responsive. Mobility is stability - if you can move, you can respond. The micro mobility in the 33 joints of the feet is one of the primary things that determine our balance. It is sad that we spend so much time wearing inflexible shoes, destroying that sensitivity, and stiffening our feet over time through lack of use.
Immobile feet become painful and arthritic
Lack of mobility in the foot joints can lead to weakness, inflammation and arthritic pain. Of course, this is complicated by Lyme disease or any inflammatory condition, which attack our weak points. But no matter your situation, you can rebuild strength, mobility and sensitivity in your feet, and this will support and energize the rest of you as well.
The best way to strengthen and mobilize your feet is to take barefoot walks on uneven terrain. Dry sand at the beach. Smooth rocks by the side of a river (ow!). Tune in to the feeling of touching the ground. This is what nature made our feet for - bending around and sensing contours as we walk.
Three foot exercises to heal arthritic foot pain
In addition to barefoot walks, there are exercises you can do for your feet. The following video shows three of my favorite. I filmed my feet from the comfort of an epsom salt bath. You don’t have to be in a bath to do the exercises, but hey, it is extra anti inflammatory, helps with detoxification, and sometimes I find it hard to entertain myself for 20 minutes while I soak.
Follow along with the video, either seated with your feet on the floor, or in the bath with your feet up on the wall.
You can do these exercises once a day, or as often as you like. As you play, you will see your mobility and control increase. Your arches or your toes might cramp - this is a sign of muscle weakness. Just shake it out and try again. The cramps will decrease over time as you get stronger and more flexible.
When you are done with the exercises (and the bath), take a little walk around. Notice the feelings in the bottoms of your feet. Feel the textures of the floor. Just tuning in to your own sensations builds a stronger brain to foot connection, improving strength and balance, and lessening arthritic inflammation and pain.
Epsom salt baths lessen arthritic pain whether or not you do the exercises, so if you are too tired to move your feet, just soak and rest. The salts pull toxicity out of your system so your body’s own healing mojo can get to work. If you like, listen to this Detoxification meditation while you soak. It will enliven your liver and kidneys, lower inflammation, and help your body reclaim the calm and radiant wellness that is YOU.
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Your body is beautiful, right now and always.