Zigzag Thumb Walk
Think about the spine for a moment. The cord is covered and protected by the bones of the vertebrae, connective tissue, and fluid. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves emerge from the spinal cord. These nerves are the pathways of communication between the body, the spinal cord, and the brain.
The reflexology technique that deals with the reflection of these nerves is a zigzag type of thumb walking. This technique resembles the pattern made by pinking shears when cutting out a hem. Think about the nerves emanating out of the spine; picture the flow as the nerves move into the body.
Begin at the base of the heel using the right thumb and slowly thumb walk diagonally across all three lines of the reflex, turn, and thumb walk back. Continue with this motion up the foot along the entire edge, stopping at the base of the great toe. The movement of the thumb is slow, steady, and even, taking small bites back and forth. At the top, either switch hands and walk down or bring the thumb back to the heel and work up again.
This movement stimulates the nerves, sending messages for the muscles around the spinal column to relax and balancing the nerve function. Working in this manner also helps the fascia of the plantar surface, since part of the area is connecting in to the fascia.
Each time you walk across the lines of the reflex, you are working on the reflection of the nerves coming out of the spine. Imagine the thumb moving across the nerves, and across the bony vertebrae, connective tissue, and cerebrospinal fluid. Let the thumb walk gently, effectively applying a steady, easy pressure.
Walk the zigzag motion three times, allowing for the reflex to relax. With the last walk up the reflex, use your fingers to gently stroke off the edge of the foot.
Walking the Zones
Bring both thumbs to the center of the foot on the bottom surface. The fingers of both hands will support the foot. Begin at the centerline and thumb walk up from the heel to the tops of the second and third toes. Bring the thumbs back, place them on the outside of these two lines, and thumb walk up again, this time to the tops of the big toe and the fourth toe. Again let the thumbs start at the heel, at the edge of the surface, and thumb walk up to the tops of the little toe and the great toe.
Start at the center of the edge of the heel at the back of the foot and thumb walk along the edge of the entire foot, including the edges of the toes. From the top of the foot now, bring the thumbs to the shoulder line and walk in horizontally, using the butterfly technique. Butterfly down the entire bottom of the foot, bringing the thumbs to the edge each time as you move the lines down. This brings it all together, every zone, every meridian, every chakra; you have covered all the bases. Repeat these on the left foot, after you have worked the entire right foot.
The Lymph of the Leg
A reflexology session isn't complete without working the lymph reflexes on the legs. The feet have no lymph nodes, but the lymph vessels of the feet empty into the nodes of the legs.
Begin with both thumbs placed on either side of the foot, in front of the malleolus. Thumb walk up to the top surface; the thumbs will meet. You have worked this reflex before — it is the secondary access to the fallopian tubes. This is also a lymphatic reflex. Gently slide the thumbs back to the heel; this time thumb walk up around the back side of the malleolus, again meeting at the top of the foot, just at the ankle joint. Turn both hands to face the leg and place all the fingers on the top of the leg. Using all the fingers (the thumbs stay quiet), walk up the leg to just under the knee, and gently glide the fingers back and repeat.
Bring both hands to the back of the heel and cup the heel with the palms. Finger walk slowly up the back of the leg, all fingers moving together, again stopping just below the knee. Gently glide back and walk up the back of the leg again.