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Toe Yoga (and more!)

Six of the Acupuncture Meridians circulate through the feet - it's where yin and yang come to the surface of the body and transform into one another (another six do the same thing on the hands). You may notice significant changes in your feet as the meridians open up and start more smoothly circulating what we call Qi. Amazingly this often corresponds with decreased back pain, headache relief, and improved digestion! My favorite foot-care exercise is to draw the alphabet with my big toe. Podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, says: “This is really good for the overall strengthening of all four major muscle groups in your lower leg. These muscles promote stability, prevent sprains, prevent falls, and prevent overuse injuries from exercising.” I also take inspiration from both the Yoga and Tai Chi circles to keep my feet flexible and strong. Our feet support us not just in standing, walking, running, etc, but what's happening our feet impacts the entire body including digestion and blood circulation through all the organs including the brain. Some of the most potent acupuncture points for treating headaches and neck pain are located on the feet and ankles. Keep 'em moving! Here are a few more ideas to get you started: Qi Gong Exercise to Strengthen Feet and Ankles: Toe Yoga Exercises from Yoga Journal: Weaving: Helps relieve symptoms of bunions | Weave the fingers of one hand between each of the toes of your opposite foot. With a firm grip, stretch and massage the toes and the ball of the foot, encouraging mobility and opening space between the toes. Towel Scrunches: Strengthens arches, eases plantar fasciitis | Sit with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent at 90 degrees, with a towel spread under your feet. Scrunch your toes to grab bits of the towel and pull it toward you, inch by inch, so it bunches into your arches. Palm Tree: Strengthens ankles and calves | Stand in Mountain Pose, lightly touching a wall with your hands for balance. Inhaling, lift your heels as high as possible; exhaling, bring them back to earth. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Squeeze and Flex: Good for restoring flexibility, relieving bunions and hammertoes | Sitting in a chair, rest your heels on the floor. Inhale and flex your toes so there is space between all of them. Exhaling, squeeze your toes in to form a toe fist. Repeat 5 to 10 times.


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