Poets deem the eyes the windows of the soul. Reflexologists find this claim bunk. ‘It’s the feet, they’re the windows’, confirms Joanna Macdonald, founder of Keen Heal, the Keenfit Center for Holistic Health. Macdonald is a Jumeirah-based reflexologist cum-Reiki master, psychic and angel therapist. As she examines my toes, straight and upright, she sees that I’m independently minded, with a stubborn streak.
‘You like to have your way’, she notes as she presses the firm bed of skin just underneath my toes. A fleshy knob at the side of my feet tips her off to the fact I’m dehydrated.
‘But your kidneys are in good order’, she assures me.
The basis of reflexology is that the entire body – the glands, organs and cells – is mapped on the feet, and that by rubbing one zone of the foot, you can affect the corresponding part of the body. According to Chris Stormer, Macdonald’s mentor, and a South African-based reflexologist, our body and mind are inexorably linked –when a part of one isn’t working right, the other feels the brunt. The goal of reflexology, she tells me, is to ‘rid the mind, body and soul of anything that is getting the way of your health, be it a toxic thought, a noxious emotion or a terrifying memory, all of which are responsible for making one sick’.
I wonder what toxins Macdonald will find via my feet. I wonder if she’ll pick up on my sore wisdom teeth, my perpetually stiff neck, or my diet, which, as a food critic, consists mainly of heavy three-course meals out. If Macdonald senses any of these things, she doesn’t say anything about them. Actually, it seems that I’m primarily ailment-free, and am, as a whole, a healthy, well-grounded individual. What she does tell me is less scientific than what I was expecting and more spiritual.
‘Your feet are soft, and free of lines’, she notes. ‘You’re a young soul. You haven’t been around that long’. My feet and my aura both tell her I’m a very positive, open-minded person. I wonder if this is perhaps because I enjoy walking around the office barefoot. Stormer would probably think so.
‘Shoes have removed a lot of impact that our feet would normally receive, but to the point that parts of the body have become increasingly senseless, and life has become meaningless for many’, says Stormer. She maintains that kicking off our socks and shoes sometimes is healthier for our feet. ‘When we’re barefoot, all our organs and glands are being gently caressed and coaxed into wellbeing.’
Ultimately, I do find my reflexology session surprising, not so much because of Macdonald’s findings, but because its more intuition-based than I expected. Before Macdonald rubs my feet, she does an angel reading (which involves drawing cards), administers reiki and taps into some of her alleged psychic powers. The combination of the three is more impressive than the reflexology session by itself. As she feels the air above my chakras, she pauses above my stomach, which she says is giving off a lot of heat.
‘Do you get indigestion?’ she asks. I admit that I do. I am, after all, a food critic. Her angel reading uncovers that I aspire to a deeper life purpose.
‘Do you want to write a book?’ she asks.
‘Um, yeah’, I stammer.
‘You’ve already written part of it’, she states. Again, I admit this is true. Granted, I am a journalist, and it’s no great reach to assume I might have higher literary aspirations down the line, but as it’s been on my mind almost daily of late, I can’t help but find her assessment a bit spooky. She ends the session with some reflexology. While I work not to fall asleep, I must admit that between the low lighting, wafts of incense and her gentle rubbing, I am very near drifting off. Whether you take any stock in reflexology or not, its relaxing properties are undeniable.
Chris Stormer will host a two-day reflexology workshop at Keen Heal, the Keenfit Center for Holistic Health on February 20 and 21. Call Joanna Macdonald at 050 559 7137 for details