Just What Is Fish Reflexology?
When I first saw a photograph of fish reflexology in action, the lyrics of a new song entered my head. “Jack Frost nipping at your nose, little fish nipping at your toes”. If you can find an image (not hard to do) showing how to fish reflexology works, the lyrics will make sense.
What Fish Reflexology Is – Basically, fish reflexology involves placing your feet in a pool of shallow water, upon which a number of small fish will swarm around your feet and start nibbling away. Fear not. These are not piranhas, but Turkish spa fish, whose idea of a good meal is the dead skin on your feet. A complete fish reflexology session, as they do it at this one spa in Singapore, consists of a few minutes being visited by the Turkish fish, then an additional few minutes with your feet in another pool frequented by larger and more aggressive African fish.
About the time you’re thinking that they are going to be taking chunks of meat from your feet, you find they prefer dead skin as well. Being more aggressive simply means that it tickles more. After the second fish encounter, the session wraps up with a traditional foot massage. What it all seems to boil down to is being tickled, massaged, and having the feet exfoliated. It’s not terribly expensive, and if nothing else can make for a good conversation piece. Admittedly a good foot massage is relaxing, and clean feet and they really will be clean, always making one feel a bit better.
There’s more to this than simply walking away with great-feeling feet, which brings up the general subject of reflexology. Reflexology can best be described as a type of alternative medicine. The underlying theory is, by applying pressure to certain parts of the body, especially the hands and feet, other parts of the body are made to feel better. In the extreme, reflexology can be looked upon as a type of healing as well as a “feel-good” practice.
Qi – Practitioners of martial arts and Yoga are familiar with the term “Qi”, which is a life force, or the energy force, that flows through the body. It ties in closely with the breathing patterns we learn in these disciplines. Because of this flow of energy, what is happening in one part of your body can influence other parts of your body or various internal organs. There is no scientific proof that Qi exists, but then there are many things in our experience for which no proof exists.
In any event, the belief is if a map were to be drawn showing certain parts of your feet, the various parts would, when massaged, influence in some manner other parts of the body or organs within the body. The energy force, Qi, plays a role in this. Middle Eastern and Asian cultures put great stock in this type of healing and health-giving practice. The Japanese in particular have long practiced reflexology, with great emphasis placed on foot massage. In a sense, it could be said that acupuncture follows the same general theory, and acupuncture has more or less become accepted as a valid alternative medical approach to certain ailments.
Will It Come Here? – Whether we’re talking about reflexology in general or fish reflexology in particular, we’re talking about something of which no one really knows a great deal or how it works. It just does. Right now, one has to go to Singapore or a handful of other locations to undergo a fish reflexology treatment. Maybe the day is not far off when you’ll be able to go down the street a few blocks for the same treatment. Western culture being what it is, fish reflexology could easily become a high-priced fad, a “designer massage” of sorts, which of course would be a shame. But that’s how we do things sometimes.
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