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Chicken Soup for the Sole

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Stressed? Sick? In need of some ‘sole’-searching? Reflexology soothes and satisfies, to the very core of one’s being – try it for yourself, at Foot Zone

It’s true, most people (myself included) do not consider their feet as things of beauty. While my lowly opinion of my feet is nowhere akin to podophobia, it is such that I am rather self-conscious about showing them off – I blame this on the aftermath of years of ballet. However, I am not averse to showering my feet with some tender loving care, every now and then. Plus, I am well-aware that the significance and importance of these bottom-most extremities are undeniable and irrefutable. From foot washing ceremonies of Middle-Eastern Biblical times, to the ancient Chinese technique of reflexology, cultures across the world have long upheld the value of keeping one’s feet in tip-top shape. As it turns out, the benefits of a little foot conditioning are far-reaching.

No one knows this better than the good folk at Foot Zone Makati, a year-old reflexology center and sanctuary for frazzled feet, located in the midst of the central business district’s hectic hubbub. I (admittedly, with a bit of trepidation) set aside my own misgivings about my not-too-pretty and far from perfect podo-pair to experience, firsthand, the joys of reflexology – and I am so glad that I did.

Matters of the sole

The 3,000-year-old method of reflexology is simply defined as the application of pressure and massage to the feet, with each section of the sole mapped out to correspond to organs and systems of the entire body. Many historians chronicle that it was first established in China, as a practice to bring about healing and balance, through the spiritual tenets of Taoism and Buddhism (these same tenets gave rise to acupuncture, as well). The four main benefits of reflexology are said to be relaxation, the reduction of stress, improved circulation, and a re-established state of homeostasis or balance within the body. While it is not a massage, per se, reflexology does incorporate aspects of massage.

A relaxing head massage

A relaxing head massage

Well-appointed understatedly cozy treatment rooms

“At Foot Zone, we preserve the authentic Xiamen-style Foot Reflexology by having Master-trained local therapists, while at the same time innovating our practice to suit the taste of different clients,” shares Elisa Tapuro, PTRP, MBA, the establishment’s operations manager. “We are proud to say that our local massage therapists, apart from being licensed by the Department of Health (DOH), are trained by a Reflexology Master from China. This is to ensure that the quality is maintained. From the chairs, tools, to the towels – all these reflect the origin of what we are offering, giving clients a great experience,” she adds.

Happy feet, happy heart

While I would have once thought it a stretch to say that happy feet could mean a happy heart, I am now convinced that there is a link between the two states. Studies point to the possibility that, among its many benefits, reflexology can lead to a more efficient heart. Not to mention, the uplifting and invigorating effect that the procedure has one one’s entire being. I walked into one of several well-appointed treatment rooms and, as my eyes adjusted to the subdued lighting, prepped myself for what was to come. I soon realized that I had nothing to worry about (unattractive feet, and all), and I quickly yielded to the expert touch of therapist Madel. Aside from momentary surprise at my lower legs being lightly paddled, I felt nothing but rejuvenation, as I enjoyed the 90-minute signature Foot Reflexology and Back Massage.

Foot soak

Foot soak

Reflexology mallets provide a variety of benefits

“Our signature treatment is Foot Reflexology and Back Massage, frequently referred to as ‘Foot and Back.’ A variation of this signature service is the Foot Reflexology and Head Massage, made for those who may not lie down for a back massage for medical reasons (hypertensive or with vertigo). We also have a twin massage for these signature services where two therapists massage the client at the same time,” shares Tapuro, in reference to a couple of Foot Zone’s best-selling services.

Customers may also choose from a roster of other treatments, including Shiatsu, Stone, and Swedish Body Massages, Foot Scrub (Chinese and local style), Ventosa (Cupping Therapy), and Ear Candling with Head Massage.

Heavy foot traffic

Since its opening in April 2016, the Makati branch of Foot Zone has already garnered a strong following of clients, from an age range as diverse as seven to 85 (with the bulk of customers coming from the 30-something group). With the center’s skilled staff, as well as its highly-competitive prices, it’s no wonder that foot traffic (pun most definitely intended) has been heavy.

“We have more women than men as clients. We have clients addicted to us; they come at least twice a week. Our regular clients, who come at least once a week, incorporate foot reflexology as part of their health maintenance. Most come as couples. Groups of four to six are seen to come more often on weekends as families and friends come to relax together and celebrate specific occasions,” Tapuro elaborates.

After my initiation into the joys of reflexology, would I come back for seconds? Most definitely. And minus the cold feet, this time around.

Foot Zone is located at the 3rd Floor Sunshine Place St, 56 Jupiter St., Makati. They are open daily from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. Last call for signature services is 11:30 p.m. Please call (02) 542-7709, for details.

 

By ANGIE DUARTE

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