FOCUS: Love Your Feet

Systems Thinking, Mental Models, Personal Mastery

Feet are the most neglected citizens in the human body.
Francis, yoga teacher


Sitting in a coffee shop recently, I saw two women greet each other warmly. Both had obviously been shopping. One wore fairly high heels. Their dialogue went like this:

Woman in heels:“My feet are killing me. Why do cute shoes hurt so much?”

Her friend: “I know. I actually hate my feet!”

I’ve heard two yoga teachers talk about feet in the last month – how we ignore them at our peril, especially as we age. A little research unearthed the following about why feet deserve more attention and how we could give it to them.


Ill fitting shoes and heels can damage our feet permanently. Feet support our entire body – so they’re doing the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping us upright and moving. But partly because we take them for granted, feet tend to stiffen as we age.  We are accustomed to using the foot as though it is just one big, undifferentiated block, but in fact the foot is much like the hand in structure, with a similar number and arrangement of joints and bones. It is capable of great sensitivity, agility and flexibility, as some people with disabled hands have proven. It turns out that keeping our feet and toes flexible is very important for our balance. Feet are further from the heart than any other part of our body. For that reason, feet suffer most from poor circulation.

People who are born without hands are often just like athletes who train their bodies to perform. Using visualization and practice, they gain incredible muscle control so that their feet and toes move easily and gracefully while holding a pen and writing, painting or typing on a computer. While most of us do not need to develop that level of control, with visualization and practice, we can create more mobility, stability and circulation in our feet.


Here are some things Meir Schneider, in his book, The Handbook of Self-Healing, suggests we can do to assure our feet stay healthy and keep holding us upright for many years to come.

  1. Wear shoes that fit and are comfortable (no pointy toes or high heels.)
  2. Massage your feet, or get someone else to massage them. Here’s how:
  • Sit in a comfortable chair and take hold of one foot.
  • With the lower part of one leg, just above the ankle, resting on the other thigh (knee bent), hold your ankle with one hand, your toes with the other hand, and slowly rotate the foot. Let your leg muscles relax, as all the work is done by your hands.
  • Stretch the foot as far in each direction as you can comfortably, pulling slightly on the toes.
  • Then let go of the ankle and rotate the foot by itself. (Whenever you make a rotating motion, be sure to circle in both directions an equal number of turns.)
  • Tap with your fingertips around the ankle and up the shin, and feel how this brings circulation into the foot.
  1. Give your toes a lot of attention. Here’s how:
  • Take hold of all of the toes and move them together up and down
  • Then move each one individually. First hold the toe and move it passively, then let go and see if you can get it to move up and down on its own. (At first you may find that only the big toe can move by itself, but if you are patient you may get each toe to perform.)
  • Taking each toe separately, press down on the toe with one finger while simultaneously pressing upward with the toe against the finger, so that the toe resists the finger’s pressure.
  • Reverse this by placing the finger underneath the toe and pressing up while the toe resists by pressing down.
  • Do this sideways as well.
  • Now try to move your toe again without the help of your hands. Does it move any better than before?
  • Stop and imagine you are moving the toe, and then move it again.
  1.  Massage every part of the foot, top and bottom. Be slow and methodical about it, maybe while you’re listening to music or watching TV.

In just two weeks of daily practice, I can now wiggle several toes independently! And, if your experience is like mine, you’ll be amazed at how good your whole body feels when your feet have been thoroughly massaged. Love your feet! It could change your life.


1)      When, in the next week, can you give yourself a foot massage using the above guidelines?

2)      What friend or family member would enjoy exchanging foot massages?

3)      Challenge yourself to getting at least one toe moving independently. Visualize it and practice!

4)      For the holidays, consider gifting a friend with some quality foot cream, this Musing, and a coupon for a foot massage. (Mary Kay sells a delightful one called Mint Bliss Energizing Lotion for Feet & Legs.)*


*I have no connection to Mary Kay, nor do I even seek credit for having invented an outlining system that repeatedly returns to 1.


There will not be a telegathering this month.

I hope your holidays are full of love and laughter and fellowship! And massaging of your own and other people's feet!



Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone. Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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