Thumb walking is the main movement made during a reflexology treatment. Apply steady, even pressure, moving along slowly over each area. The thumb is a tiny lever, touching the fine-point reflex areas in the most effective way. The nail must be short and neat with smooth edges so there is no dragging or digging on the foot.
Don't concern yourself yet with identifying reflex areas and points. That will come later in the book. You must learn how to walk before you can journey into performance.
Learning the Technique
Place one hand, palm down, flat on a table and let your other hand gently rest on it, palm down. Let your thumb rest at the top of the hand by the first knuckle joint and your fingers loosely rest above this. (You may use either thumb to practice this move, as you will interchange thumbs and fingers during a session.)
See how the top thumb touches with the tip and outside while resting on the top surface of the bottom hand. Bend this thumb up now so it is flexed at the first joint. This will allow the tip of the thumb to be on the skin with the remainder of the thumb bent up.
Push off with this thumb on the surface below so that the pad comes in contact with the skin. When doing this, your thumb will once again lie flat while the rest of the hand lies slightly across the surface with the fingers relaxed and wrapped easily around the outer edge of the hand. Pull the thumb back up into a bent position, hold down on this spot, and then move forward again. (See FIGURE 6-1 below.)
The thumb continues to perform this creeping motion, just like the little green inchworm that announces the beginning of spring. You will notice how more of the thumb surface comes into play as you walk along. This movement continues with tiny little bites across the top of the hand. When you work across the top surface of the hand, the fingers will be resting along the top of the hand above the knuckles.
FIGURE 6-1 Thumb walking is the most important technique you will learn.
Each movement is slow and controlled. Pull up at the joint and count 1, 2, 3. Push down and creep forward on the pad of the thumb and count 1, 2, 3. Bend up again at the joint, pull back a bit with the thumb, and count 1, 2, 3. Switch hands and work the same movement across the other hand with the opposite thumb. You do not need to apply extra pressure, just concentrate on the thumb walking right now.
Lift your hands off the table and continue to practice this movement, with your hands resting on your lap or on each other. Then turn your hands over and thumb walk along the palm surface, switching back and forth. Allow the fingers of the hand working to gently cup the back of the hand being worked, while working across the palm with your thumb.
Remember the ad that told us to let our “fingers do the walking”? This is exactly what you are doing with your thumb. Let your thumb do the walking across the surfaces — the top and palm — of your hand.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Rest a hand on the counter and see how the thumb again assumes the position. Your thumb will automatically rest almost in the thumb-walking position. Once you bend and begin the process, the thumb comes up a bit more on the surface you are walking on.
Reflexology is so natural; the hand seems to be made specifically to perform this task. Don't worry if you feel you are not doing it exactly right. If you follow these simple directions, you will be fine.
The best way to master this is to practice, practice, and practice some more. Practice on the back of your hand, on the countertop, on the steering wheel (not while you are driving, of course), practice while you are waiting in line, or while you are sitting at a meeting. Practice on your friends, mate, mom, dad, children, and pets — practice on anyone and any surface available.