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Refresh Your Spirit: Reflexology

Wedding planning can be a stress-o-rama. Here's a foot-friendly way to really relax.

Let's face it, wedding planning can be mentally, emotionally, and physically stressful. While massage, classical music, or a hot bath are all great de-stressing options, we wanted to dig a little deeper for the best way to relax. Enter reflexology, the best darn foot rub you'll ever receive.

Okay, what is reflexology?

It's a full body massage for the feet. There are seven thousand nerve endings in each foot. And each foot has a map of the body, so when you're working the feet you're also working the whole body. Applying subtle pressure to parts of your feet gets everything moving. It doesn't cure disease, but it can definitely prevent it. And the big benefits of reflexology are that it helps to stabilize the body, improves circulation, promotes relaxation, releases blocked energy, and eliminates toxins.

How come reflexology is all about the feet and not, let's say, about the hands?

Actually, reflexology includes the hands, and, believe it or not, the ears, too. But since the feet have so many more nerve endings, they yield the best results.

Talk me through a typical reflexology session.

First the client lies down on the table, with pillows, and perhaps an eye pillow, too, (so they don't feel like they have to talk to the reflexologist, and they can just relax.) Then the reflexologist wraps the feet in a steaming towel, and leaving one foot covered in the warm towel while working on the other foot. With lotion, the reflexologist massages the foot, first pressing the solar plexus area, then what are known as the five zones to get the oxygen and energy flowing. Massaging, kneading, and thumb-walking the feet really helps the person relax.

How long do the effects usually last?

It varies, but you're usually relaxed for the whole day. A morning session should definitely get you through the ceremony -- then at the reception you can let loose and really enjoy yourself.

Is there a certain time of day you would recommend for a session?

On the day of the wedding, preferably the morning -- because after a reflexology session you are extremely relaxed. Make sure the bride sets enough time aside so that she's not stressed during the session, thinking about all the things she needs to do.

How can a bride or groom find a reflexologist in their area?

Reflexology of America has a great website www.reflexology-usa.org. To find a certified reflexologist anywhere in the United States, call the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) at (303) 933-6921.

How can a couple learn to perform reflexology at home?

Check out Feet First: A Guide to Feet Reflexology by Laura Norman. The author is the reflexology expert. Plus, it's a fun book to read. Also, look for couples' classes in your area. If you're open to working on one another's feet, massaging can be a very good bonding experience. Every night while you watch TV, you can practice reflexology on each other. It's a nice way to spend time together.

-- Julie Komorn

See More: Prewedding Pampering