Creating the Outside Box
Look at the foot and picture the waistline running across the center. Find the tuberosity of the fifth metatarsal, that bony bump at the outside edge, and place your thumb in from here across the center of the foot. There is the waistline guide for this foot. Look at the heel and feel that area of the foot. Grasp the heel; become familiar with the feel on all sides. Feel your own heel and feel the heels of others as well.
Use all your fingers and walk all over the heel. Extend the foot away and feel the tautness. Flex the foot in and notice how the top end of the heel relaxes somewhat. The end of the heel is at the back of the foot; feel from the back along the bottom surface to the beginning of this structure.
Let your fingers move down the heel on the plantar side, toward the back just a bit, perhaps a joint length. Here the heel is puffy and tight, yet the area does respond. This is the sciatic line region. Begin at the outside edge of the foot and thumb walk across the heel, making an imaginary line. Bring the thumb back and walk again.
Now begin to practice on a receiver. The left hand is holding the foot and the right hand is walking. Switch hands and let the left thumb walk along the sciatic line from the inside of the foot. Bring the thumb back to the inside edge and walk along the line again. Always be aware of the response from the foot, checking to feel if the foot is relaxing.
Observe the receiver as you thumb walk as well. This is an area where you may use more pressure, but always check that the pressure is within the comfort zone of the receiver. Remember to move your body, letting the movement of your body apply the pressure, not your fingers.
Thumb Walk the Transverse Reflex
Hold the left foot with the right hand as you use the left thumb to walk along the waistline. The fingers of the left hand may be tucked in a loose fist or rest on the top surface of the foot, whichever works for you. Begin at the inside edge of the waistline and, using small, slow bites, thumb walk across the transverse colon reflex.
Continue to thumb walk along this line, tilting up a bit toward the spleen reflex. As the left thumb reaches the outside edge, you will feel a slight indentation. Switch hands now; the right thumb will take over. Using the right thumb, move into the area that is slightly up from the waistline in the outside corner. This is where the indentation is.
This slight depression represents the splenic flexure in the colon. A flexure is an area of the colon that bends, creating a pocket or reservoir where waste may become stuck. This side of the body has two such flexures.
Using the right thumb, hook into this reflex. Remember to rotate on the spot, press, and hold, feeling how deeply in the foot is allowing you to go. Then hook in and pull back, as though the reflex was the fish and the thumb the fishhook.
Please make sure to check your nails before applying these techniques. Reflexologists must have short, clean, smooth nails. Some reflexologists like to receive manicures, ensuring their nails are short and their hands are well cared for. Whether you take care of your own nails or receive professional care, keep them short and clean.
Thumb Walk Down the Descending Colon Reflex
The descending colon reflex moves from the splenic flexure down the outside edge of the foot, past the bony tuberosity of the fifth metatarsal. The reflex continues to the sciatic line where the descending colon reflex ends.
You are now working with the last stages of digestion. Bacteria that live in the colon contribute to the final digestive process. The remaining chyme is fermented, which produces gases in the colon. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are broken down even further, some into feces and some into urine. Any vitamins needed for metabolism are absorbed at this time.
With the right thumb already in position, turn slightly and thumb walk down the descending colon reflex. This may seem awkward at first since you are using the tip and the inside edge of the thumb. The inside edge here means the edge farthest away from the index finger.
Take a look at what has happened so far. You have walked across the transverse colon reflex, which turns up a bit just under the spleen reflex. Under the spleen reflex is the reflex for the splenic flexure; here the techniques used were rotation, press, hook, and hold on the point. From the splenic flexure reflex, you turned the thumb to face downward and used the thumb-walking technique, this time down the descending colon, ending at the sciatic guideline.
The medial side of the thumb and great toe are actually the sides that touch each other. This means that what looks like the outside edge is really the inside edge. Let your arms hang down at the sides of your body. The inside edge of the thumbs, the medial edge, is the edge closest to the body.
The Bony Landmark
The fifth metatarsal on the left foot is used as a guide along much of the process on this foot. The descending colon reflex runs to the end of this bone, where we meet the tuberosity of this fifth long bone. Just past this bony landmark, there is a depression in the bottom surface of the foot. The small space, which feels like a tiny gap, is a reflex.
Trace your finger down the fifth metatarsal bone. Press in and feel the bone, letting your finger come to the end and feel the bumpy protrusion. Feel past the tuberosity and discover the depression just in and under that bone. The fifth metatarsal is in front of the cuboid bone. The cuboid bone is also behind the fourth metatarsal. The muscles and tendon that are connected to the cuboid and these metatarsals are interwoven like a wicker chair. The space that represents a reflex is part of this area. The crisscrossing of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments has left a slight depression that you can feel.
FIGURE 16-1 Using the right thumb, hook in and rotate on the sigmoid reflex.
The reflex is the sigmoid colon flexure. This small area reflects the final turn in the colon. Once the waste matter reaches this juncture, it has begun to solidify, moving into position to be expelled from the body. Humans have the ability from an early age to voluntarily control the removal of the undigested waste.
Thumb walk across the transverse colon with the left thumb. Switch to the right thumb and hook into the splenic flexure. Thumb walk down the descending colon. Allow the right thumb to walk into the slight depression under the bony landmark. With the right thumb, rotate on this point, press, and hold. Use the thumb to hook in and pull back, hooking into this reflex. (See FIGURE 16-1.)
Rotate on the Rectal Reflex
Thumb walk across the left foot, from the last flexure reflex, over the fleshy top part of the heel, just above the sciatic line, to the inside edge. Take small steps, using a slow, even motion with the thumb-walking technique. Feel the foot responding to the pressure. Walk completely across the foot, over the edge, into another slight depression. This small space is just past the ridge on the inside of the foot, about at the tuberosity of the navicular.
This depression is the rectal reflex. The right thumb walks into the space first, presses in, and holds. The left thumb will move into the gap and take over. Feel how the thumb dips in a bit, as this area is flexible. Use caution here; do not press too hard, as this reflex point is often sensitive. Rotate on the reflex and hold.
The Box Is Complete
Look at the bottom of the foot where you have just worked. In essence you have created another box, an odd-shaped rectangular box. Using the two imaginary guidelines along with the reflexes, you can imagine this irregular box shape:
The body and its structures are sensory receptors. The foot is part of the body and as such is a sensory receptor as well. Beyond this fact, the foot is connected to the entire body through the sensory system. How we walk, what we wear on our feet, and our overall foot care affect our whole health.
Transverse colon reflex
Splenic flexure reflex
Descending colon reflex
Sigmoid flexure reflex
Sigmoid colon reflex
This represents the first complete walk-through of the left segment reflecting the large intestine. Of course, the small intestines are also represented, which will receive attention in the next segment.