Fri Sep 3, 2010

Feet are meant to be flexed

Robin Vorauer of Langley Plantar Fasciitis and Reflexology Centre advises people to walk barefoot for healthy feet but uses reflexology to condition the feet and the whole body.

John Gordon/Langley Times

If your “dogs” are killing you, maybe it’s time to walk barefoot on the beach.

Or you might see Robin Vorauer, who practices reflexology in Langley, and has been treating Plantar Fasciitis for the past six years. She takes sore feet very seriously, and says Plantar Fasciitis, a painful condition in the feet, predominantly the heel, is epidemic in North America.

Plantar (from Greek/Latin, foot) Fasciitis (from Latin “fascia,” the connective body tissue that encases all organs, muscles, ligaments and tendons) results from the American lifestyle of spending a lifetime on flat, hard surfaces, with feet encased in supportive shoes.

The pain or stiffness may be first noticed in the morning, in the first few steps out of bed, and later, after you have been on your feet for some time.

“There is no education about exercising or strengthening the feet, so that we can maintain strength, stamina, support the structure. Instead, we ‘crutch’ it,” she says, referring to supportive shoes, and arch supports.

“If we sat in a chair for a year, would we get up and walk? I don’t think so,” she says... “So crutching our arches will have the same weakening effect on our feet, if not coupled with exercising and strengthening the feet until we are no longer dependant on the supports. The alternative is to remain dependent on them for the rest of your lives.”

“I’ve said to people for six years, go walk on the beach (barefoot) . . . and walk on the rocky part, which strengthens the bottom of your feet.”

 “I’m very passionate about it,” says Vorauer, who says that up to 50 per cent of the population have some degree of Plantar Fasciitis, even those who diligently exercise the rest of their bodies, and including runners and joggers.

The most common symptoms are pain in front of the heel, but the pain can range through to the back and sides of the heel, even into the ankles.

Vorauer explains that lack of exercise leads to inflammation of tendons and muscles, and causes a pulling away, and tearing, from the tendon’s anchor points to bones. The body responds with scar tissue, and a shortening or contraction, (of the limb or foot) as a protective mechanism. “This is where we come in! We have developed a technique which is added into the Reflexology Treatment that releases Plantar Fasciitis! We work hands-on with the tendons and fascia and remove scar tissue and adhesions progressively bringing the feet back to their healthy state of being.” she says.

If you can’t walk barefoot on the beach, Vorauer imports from Oregon a device called the Foot Chi, “like a cobblestone mat” you roll out on your floor.

“So, it is like a beach, in your living room. I wish I had invented it.”

As a certified advanced Reflexologist, she established a clinic in her home, and began treating a variety of ailments with a style she calls “sliding” or deep tissue work, like Rolfing as opposed to the “thumb walking” style of massage on pressure points.

In a demonstration of “sliding” Vorauer’s thumb covers every portion of the foot, allowing her to determine the scar tissue and adhesions.

She says that her techniques have been extremely effective.

“Through my practice, lives were changing dramatically.”

Reflexology is an age-old method of treating a wide variety of ailments, by stimulating and working with reflex points on the feet.

This works on the premise of releasing blockages and increasing circulation to tissues, organs, glands, says Vorauer, to improve health throughout the body. The treatments can improve conditions ranging from constipation to body pain, headaches, migraines, blood pressure fibromyalgia and neuropathy.

Vorauer couldn’t keep up with the work in her home clinic, and opened a spacious new clinic at No. 4, 8880 202 St. in Walnut Grove in April, 2009, after recruiting four other women Reflexologists.

Vorauer says she looked, in her interviews, for people with an “intuitive” sense.

“You either have a gift of intuitive in your healing, or you don’t,” she said.

The new clinic, which held its grand opening on Saturday, June 20, 2009, features four treatment rooms, with a “warm and welcoming” reception area.

“It is extremely homey, warm, uplifting. We serve tea,” said Vorauer.

Since the April opening, her client base has grown from 100 to over 500, she said. See www.plantar-fasciitis.ca

Irwin, Al. "Feet are meant to be flexed"
Business, June 20, 2009: Black Press Group Ltd.
Langley Times. 23 June 2009
http://www.bclocalnews.com/business/48632912.html