A “Step” in the Right Direction: Where East Meets West in Podiatric Medicine
One quarter of the body’s bones are contained in the feet and ankles—the most foundational parts of the body. And yet we spend the majority of our day squeezing our feet into shoes, walking, pounding, and practically abusing our feet without pausing to give adequate care to this critically important cornerstone of our physical structure. So why is it that our feet, more often than not, become the most neglected part of our body?
Not many people think about exercising their feet when they go to the gym, but recent cases of patients receiving natural podiatric treatments have been showing a marked change in the patient’s entire body health as they regularly do the feet exercises with specific stretches prescribed by their podiatrist.
Katy Bowman, biomechanist, author, founder and director of the Restorative Exercise Institute in Seattle, Washington, asserts: “The feet are perhaps the most neglected complex structure in the body. When feet are strengthened, it decreases whole body imbalance or instability.”
In 1915, William H. Fitzgerald, the founder of zone therapy, a treatment used to alleviate pain by applying pressure to certain points on the hands and feet, discovered that certain parts of the body correspond with other parts of the body. Building upon this theory, modern reflexology, as we know it today, was born. Reflexologists believe that all parts of the body can be stimulated through pressure points on the feet, which breaks up the energy blockages around corresponding parts of the body. This creates relaxation, increased circulation and energy, allowing the body to function with better balance and stability.
Foot massage has been a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. In the 1970s, Thomas Wing, DC, ND, LAc, a fifth generation Chinese doctor, pioneered the microcurrent movement by introducing the first Acu-O-Matic microcurrent instrument to the United States. Originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a muscle stimulator, Wing’s electrotherapy machine has been used effectively by chiropractors in treating sports injuries and neuromyofascial dysfunction and pain. Microcurrent has been proven to help reduce inflammation and is considered by many to be a form of “needleless acupuncture.”
Increasingly, numerous doctors and therapists are using this technology to address other ways of treating health issues, such as hair loss, tissue regeneration, scoliosis and eyesight. One of Wing’s mentees, Physiotherapist Milly Ng, founder of the Microcurrent Research Institute in Hong Kong, uses Chinese massage techniques combined with microcurrent needleless acupuncture to expand Wing’s technology to create an innovative treatment for bunions without surgery. Ng firmly believes the body is designed with an innate ability to heal itself and that finding the root cause of the problem, and then making the correction, can allow for that natural healing without corrective surgery. By changing the shape of the whole foot, this treatment improves circulation, increases muscle bulk, and realigns the ligaments and bone structure, thus eliminating the painful bunion. It also removes other ailments, such as painful headaches and hip issues. Patients have found that having their foot treated for bunions has had a positive effect on their entire body, not just their feet.
Today, it is mainstream for chiropractors and physiotherapists to use the microcurrent treatment to address transdermal issues and chronic pain. There are a few podiatrists who are incorporating microcurrent treatments into their practice. If you have a need for foot care, take the first step and contact your local podiatrist to see if they offer microcurrent treatments. Your body will love you.
R. Max Levingston, DC, FIAMA (left), and Thomas Chambers, DPM (right), have combined their podiatric and chiropractic services to provide nonsurgical bunion treatment as well as traditional podiatry. Foot & Ankle Wellness is located at 5520 E. Main St., Ste. 2, in Mesa. For more information or to make an appointment, call 480-985-3730 or visit FootAndAnkleAZ.com.