Dive into the fascinating world of Visual Reflexology and Foot Reading as we interview Angela Telford, a reflexologist and the author of the Visual Reflexology & Foot Reading eBook. She shares details about the eBook and the healing potential hidden within the feet. MysticMag has the pleasure.
Can you tell us what Visual Reflexology and Foot Reading are?
It has been known for thousands of years that what we feel on the feet can tell us about the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of a person. But recently reflexologists have come to realise that this is also reflected in the appearance of the feet, and looking for evidence of it is known as foot reading. The term Visual Reflexology is how I describe using foot reading in the context of a reflexology treatment and within a reflexology practice generally.
Reading the feet has also taught us that we can not only find reflexes to the physical organs on them but that in fact, they represent a three-dimensional microcosm of the entire body. This means that how energy appears on the feet reflects in miniature how it is flowing around the body itself, and where and how blockages, deficiencies, or surfeits are occurring.
Furthermore, each of the specific energies encompassed by the different physiological systems of the body has its own unique way of manifesting visually on the feet. Imbalances are shown in the appearance of the underlying colours, dips and swellings, lines, skin textures, broken capillaries, and distended veins as well as the placing of freckles, moles and marks, and areas of tension in the feet. And it is fascinating that we can use these markers to work holistically because indications of problems with physical, mental, and emotional energy all replicate visually in a similar fashion.
To give a couple of examples, on a physical level, redness at a reflex represents inflammation in those cells and therefore at the corresponding area of the body. However, it also means that inflamed emotions such as irritation or anger are held there. Or, hard skin builds up as a protective layer against friction at a reflex, but it also shows the person has built up an emotional shield against friction in a relationship that is impacting the part of the body the reflex relates to.
This happens because the cells of the skin on the feet like all cells of the body, store energetic memories. So, how a person’s feet appear is the result of everything they have passed through in their lives culminating in a snapshot of their energy at that precise moment. This means that reading their feet can provide us with a greater insight into our clients’ health and help engage with them on a much deeper level. That may be by guiding us to the most relevant questions to ask them, or the most suitable reflexology techniques to use in the treatment. Or even using their feet as a meditational focus while working on them, which creates a very powerful connection and space for the transference of healing energy.
There is another type of foot reading sometimes called Solestry which also incorporates other modalities such as the chakras, meridians, yin/yang, and the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. It is used to give coaching and advice to the person on how they should use the reading of their feet to get past blockages, improve their lives and move forward.
However, as reflexologists, we are bodywork therapists, so Visual Reflexology is about using foot reading to assist clients in their healing process through the medium of physical reflexes. But naturally, we still use the information provided by it as a back drop to facilitate emotional healing. This can mean assisting with making the client feel safe and comfortable to open up and tell us how they are feeling. But ultimately it is to help them reach a state of profound relaxation where they can connect to their own inner wisdom and innate ability for self-healing.
What made you interested in the field?
The appearance of multiple verrucas on my son’s feet over his left lung reflex area when he was a teenager made me very curious as to why they had suddenly appeared and what they could be telling me about the health of the area. It transpired he had recently started smoking, and it reminded me that he had suffered from bronchitis as a child and was also prone to abscesses in his left armpit when stressed. So, there was an underlying weakness in the immune system in that area of the body that had been impacted by the smoking and the verrucas were reflecting this in some way. When he stopped smoking the verrucas disappeared just as quickly as they appeared.
From that point on, I started to take notice of everything that appeared on the feet and realised that nothing is random, and every foot condition is telling us something about the reflexes on which it is found. And I started to understand how all health issues manifest visually in a holistic way and how to use this knowledge in my treatments.
Can you share a few details about the Foot Reading eBook itself?
The first section of my book ‘Visual Reflexology and Foot Reading’ explains the subject, what the benefits of it are, and how we can incorporate it into our treatments, our practice, and our profession as a whole. The second part covers how to foot read and which reflexology techniques to use based on this. As it is in digital form, I have been able to include hundreds of annotated colour photos of feet, videos, a Q&A section, and multiple links to other related sources including teachers whose work is relevant to foot reading, especially those based more in ‘Solestry’ type foot reading. It is currently only available as an eBook but will be printed in physical form in the future.
You also organize groups and online workshops. What can people learn through them?
The group workshops teach why and how to foot read and students learn through a combination of theory and practical work. In the morning they study multiple examples of foot reading slides, and spend the afternoon reading each other’s feet and studying photos of their own.
The workshops are suitable for anyone with a basic knowledge of reflexology and I have taught everyone from reflexology students to very experienced reflexologists who have never encountered foot reading before. And like reflexology itself, it is not necessary to have a qualification to use it to benefit the health of friends and family in a non-professional capacity. So, anyone with a good understanding of reflexes, anatomy, and physiology is welcome to come along.
I work with anywhere between 6-14 students and if there is a group of you interested it may be possible to arrange one in your local area. Please get in touch.
Online tuition is available on a 1-1 basis and is adapted to each student’s existing knowledge of foot reading. I am currently developing an online course which will be available through my website in the near future.
How do you see the field evolving in the future?
There is currently an enormous growth of interest in foot reading and it is slowly evolving into an integral part of healing through the feet and a fundamental part of reflexology training. My book is being used by many tutors in reflexology schools in the UK and I have also had enquiries from schools in the US and Australia about using it for classwork.
There will also be an increase in scientific studies into ways in which the lines of the feet and the shape and length of the toes can show hereditary predispositions to various physical and mental health conditions. There will be some overlap between this and Visual Reflexology as reflexologists use the results of these studies in their treatments.
Is there anything about your work that you’d like to add that we haven’t covered?
I run a Visual Reflexology Facebook group where members can post photos of their own feet, or (anonymous) ones of clients, and ask others what they can see on them. As foot reading relies on us developing our sense of sight, using Facebook this way is a great resource and a fantastic way to practice our visual skills and connect with other foot readers. All reflexologists and reflexology students can request to join the group, even though it’s not open to members of the general public. You can find it at www.facebook.com/groups/reflexobservationskills. I will also soon be starting a free-to-access ‘Feet of the Month’ blog in which I will do an in-depth foot reading through photos of all four aspects of a client’s feet. To subscribe to the blog, visit my website at www.visualreflexology.com.