Are Your Feet The Key To Health?
By Kristi Kates | April 1, 2017
Do your feet hold the key to good health? Some think so, including Chinese dating back to 4,000 BC, William Fitzgerald, an ear/nose/throat specialist who pioneered reflexology in the U.S. in 1913…and Linda Franklin of Traverse City.
Franklin and others believe that through “zone therapy,” precise areas on the foot correspond to specific organs and systems of the body, and that applying pressure to these areas will affect the related organs and systems, thereby benefitting the patient’s health.
Some individual studies suggest that these therapies may help reduce some symptoms and increase relaxation, but scientific evidence is inconclusive. But Franklin points to patient success stories, and is always eager to discuss her life’s work. The Express caught up with her to hear more.
Express: I understand you have a traditional medical background in addition to your foot zone therapy experience?
Linda Franklin: I have a four-year degree in health education from Grand Valley State University. When I first moved to Traverse City, I went to Munson to apply to work in health education. But I was discouraged to find out that I also needed to have a nursing degree. So I said, “well, I’m going to keep looking until I can find a way to help people with the degree that I already earned and paid for.”
Express: How did you find out about foot zone therapy?
Franklin: I had a friend who said they’d come across something they really thought I’d be interested in, and it was foot zone therapy. So I looked into it and had a treatment done on my own feet, and I was really, really impressed.
Express: What impressed you?
Franklin: Well, I’m a pretty healthy person, and being a health educator I take responsibility for my health. but I was impressed by how much the foot zone practitioner found out about my body just from the one foot treatment. She told me, “The body doesn’t lie. You just have to learn how to read it.” I also just felt so relaxed when the foot treatment was over. So I started looking into becoming a foot zone therapist.
Express: What kind of schooling did you go through to achieve that?
Franklin: I went to school over a five-year period in Utah, at the Academy of Foot Zone Therapy. My existing degree helped a lot, because you have to really learn the digestive, muscular, and skeletal systems. And to be certified, you take a 22-page test. I now consider myself a health educator specializing in energy work.
Express: So tell us a little about how foot zone therapy works. For starters, how, as a foot zone practitioner, do you diagnose your clients?
Franklin: The places on your feet correspond to places elsewhere on and in your body. For instance, if you had a stiff shoulder or sciatica, it would reflect in your foot. When I work on people’s feet now, I can feel what’s going on with the rest of their body in their feet. For instance, it might be stiff in an area of the foot that should be pliant, or you might feel a bump. That’s “stuck energy.” But I don’t actually diagnose in any way – I’m a health educator. I can only work with what your body is telling me. The only thing I’m doing is assisting your body to do its own job.
Express: Can you explain that a little more?
Franklin: Let’s say there’s a blockage, for instance. I can feel that, and I intuitively know what it probably is, so I’d ask if you’ve been having some back pain. Yes, you say, you have. So then I’ll work with that part of the foot. Sometimes just by giving attention to that particular area of the foot, applying pressure or using essential oils, it may help get rid of the pain. The feet are like a signal system; in that example, the signal would go from the foot to the brain and then to the lower back. So I’d work with that specific area of the foot to help that specific problem in the back.
Express: Tell us about a few clients you might consider “success stories.”
Franklin: Well, one person had huge gut problems; let’s just say digestive issues. Because we worked on her to help bring circulation to the whole area, it helped calm everything down, and calmed down her stress and emotional issues that were in turn affecting her digestive issues, which in turn fixed all of it.
I have another client right now with rheumatoid arthritis, and I could hardly work on her feet at all at first because the process was so painful for her. Now she can’t believe the difference; her feet hardly hurt at all. I helped restore the balance in her body.
Then there was a client who had very low energy in her endocrine system, and because of the work I did on her feet, she lost about 18 pounds, because we got her endocrine system rebooted. It was a gradual process, though; it took about a half-dozen sessions. Now people might think, “Oh, I should go to Linda to lose weight,” but I have to emphasize that that was one person. Not everyone works the same way.
All bodies are different. What I do is a custom-designed program for everyone. There’s no specific foot zone procedure that will work for everyone. You’re not only a different person from everyone else, you’re different every time you come in, so you have to let your body help you.
Express: What are some of the conditions people bring in to you?
Franklin: Everything. Everything! Low back pain, headaches, gut issues, depression, joint pain -- any kind of imbalance in the body. I encourage people to pay attention to what their bodies are telling them. You’re actually the healer. I’m just assisting your body in healing itself. And because I also do esoteric healing, which is an off-body energy treatment, and craniosacral therapy, I think I do foot zone therapy on a different level, if I might say so.
Express: And how do you feel foot zone therapy compares to traditional Western medicine?
Franklin: I mean, I’m glad there’s Western medicine. I’m not opposed to it. But I feel that our bodies are designed to heal themselves, and for me, that doesn’t mean taking pills. I want to get to the root of a health issue instead of just putting a band-aid on it. You have to take responsibility for yourself so your body can heal itself.
The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. For more information, visit lindafranklinfootzone.com.