How Our Wellness Therapists Fight the Flu and Stress

girl suffering from flu and stress

It’s that time of year. The holidays are quickly approaching and if you’re like most, you’ve got a lot to do. Whether you’re preparing for travel, planning big holiday gatherings, or working overtime in order to ensure you can afford to get everything on that holiday wish list, chances are you’re already starting to feel it. Stress. It’s the one thing we all share, regardless of our family’s cultural or religious holiday traditions. It reminds us that we are short on time, short on money, and maybe even short on patience. It’s easy enough to feel the mental and emotional drain that stress causes, and that can really slow us down.

What most people don’t realize though, is that stress causes a physical drain on our bodies as well. It may not be the only reason we become more susceptible to cold and flu at this time of year, but it’s often overlooked.

A Stressed Immune System

Stress can cause a normally functioning immune system to falter, making our body’s natural immune responses suppressed and inadequate. This means that a chance encounter with a sick neighbor, an exchange of money at Starbucks, or even pushing a cart through the grocery store, becomes a potential catalyst for the misery of coming down with the dreaded flu. Where a healthy immune system might easily defeat the nasty flu virus, a stressed system is going to really struggle and leave you feeling the effects of that microscopic battle going on inside your body.

So, how can we avoid the added stress of coming down with the flu? While your doctor and local pharmacy are belting out that holiday jingle, “Get your flu shot!” there are many things you can do naturally to help prevent catching all the strains of flu that aren’t covered in that vaccine.  As Benjamin Franklin wisely advised: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

Here are just a few tips from the Foot Palace team on how we like to keep our families healthy during flu season:

Nia: “For me, I know every person’s immunity is different, so there’s not just one thing that works for everyone. My number one thing that is most important for me is sleep!  Even if everyone else gets sick, if I have enough rest, I know I will be okay.”

According to the WebMD, she’s not wrong: “A lot of studies show our T-cells go down if we are sleep deprived,” Balachandran says. “And inflammatory cytokines go up. … This could potentially lead to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.”

Maria: “Eat right.  If you eat right it will strengthen your immune system and help prevent you from getting the flu.”

WebMD offers this list of immune boosting foods.

Melly: “If I feel a little phlegm or scratchy in my throat I use a spoon full of lemon and sweet soybean sauce.  If there is a fever I make a soup with ginger, garlic, and chicken. Also, I don’t drink cold water until I feel better. It works well for my husband, but he doesn’t like the soybean sauce. If you don’t like it you can substitute with honey.”

Sweet soy sauce is an Indonesian secret remedy. Melly gets hers from an Indonesian market in Atlanta, but you can also find it on Amazon.

Kimberly: “Staying hydrated & upping your vitamin D. I also take Emergen-c everyday and eat more broths and soups.  Whenever I feel under the weather, I take oregano oil capsules. Oregano is a natural antiviral and antibiotic.”

Brett: “Diet is huge. What you put into your body is really important. Lots of water. Exercise. Walks in the park. Echinacea is supposedly a natural immune booster.”

What we put into our bodies is key.  There are many immune boosting supplements and antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial botanicals.  They can be taken in the form of supplements, herbal teas, and essential oils. Consult a local herbalist for more detailed information on safety & efficacy, as each individual has different immunity needs.

More important than any supplement though, is hydration! When your body is dehydrated, it cannot function as it should. This can leave your immune system lagging and susceptible to attack.

Using Reflexology Massage as Stress Reduction and Prevention

Of course, this list would be incomplete if we forgot to add our favorite method of melting stress and keeping our bodies in balance and harmony: reflexology!

Similar to acupressure, reflexology is a therapeutic method of massage that facilitates stress and tension relief by stimulating your internal pressure points and nervous system. The pressure is mostly applied to the hands and feet.

There are a few useful points to know if you want to give your immune system a quick and painless boost, but the benefit of a peaceful environment and soothing touch cannot be underestimated.

*Disclaimer – none of the tips from the Foot Palace team should constitute medical advice.


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Acupressure Therapy – The Basics, Benefits, and Techniques

acupressure therapy massage techniques

What is acupressure, and how is it different from massage?

Acupressure, not to be mistaken for acupuncture, is an ancient art of healing by applying pressure to key healing points on the body. A massage is where the muscles are rubbed and stretched, applying pressure all over, and not on just a specific point.

Acupressure versus Acupuncture

This healing technique was developed over 5, 000 years ago. Although acupressure and acupuncture therapy use the same pressure points and meridians, acupuncture uses needles, whereas acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure.

Health Benefits of Acupressure

Stimulation of these precise trigger points, causes the body’s natural self-curative abilities to wake up and start working. This type of therapy boosts the immune system, helping with preventive healthcare.

Acupressure also is very effective for stress relief. It increases circulation, releases tension, and reduces pain and stiffness. The great thing about acupressure is that you can do it yourself, once you learn where the pressure points are and what they do.

Tips for Maximizing Your Acupressure Therapy Session

When you’re receiving acupressure therapy, it’s best to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and try to relax. If it’s painful or uncomfortable, ask your therapist to ease off on the pressure. Some may think, “No pain, go gain”, it’s actually not true when it comes to self-healing. Pain will cause you to tense up and the therapy becomes less effective or even counterproductive. It’s best to reach a “good hurt” but not go beyond that. Remember, relaxation is key. Listen to your body and communicate with your therapist.

Here’s a list of some commonly used pressure points.

Gallbladder 20 (GB20): Feng Chi – This point is recommended for headache, migraine, eye blurriness or fatigue, low energy, and cold/flu symptoms. It is located by feeling the mastoid (ear) bone and following the groove back to where the neck muscles attach to the skull.

Gallbladder 21 (GB21): Jian Jing – This point is located by pinching the shoulder muscle with your thumb and middle finger and is commonly used for stress, facial pain, headaches, toothaches and neck pain. Use with caution in pregnant women.

Large Intestine 4 (LI4): He Gu – This point is good for stress, headaches, toothaches, facial pain and neck pain. However, as a word of precaution, it can induce labor and must never be used during pregnancy.

Liver 3 (LV3): Tai Chong – You need to take off your shoe to find this point. This is an excellent area to stimulate for stress, low back pain, high blood pressure, limb pain, insomnia and emotional upset.

Pericardium 6 (P6): Nei Guan – This point can help provide relief for nausea, anxiety, carpal tunnel syndrome, upset stomach, motion sickness and headaches and is even used for regulation of heart palpitations.

Triple Energizer 3: Zhong Zhu – This point is located in the groove formed by the tendons of the 4th and 5th finger, behind the knuckles and is commonly used in the clinic for temporal headaches, shoulder and neck tension, and upper back pain.

Spleen 6 (SP6): San Yin Jiao – This point can be very helpful for many urological and pelvic disorders as well as fatigue and insomnia. Avoid during pregnancy.

Stomach36 (ST36): Zu San Li – You can find this point useful for fatigue and depression as well as knee pain and gastrointestinal discomfort. Asians frequently stimulate this point for health promotion and longevity.

There are clear benefits of an acupressure therapy. If you have any discomfort or the aforementioned conditions, give this ancient healing technique a try.

Listening to your body and improving your overall wellness improves your quality of life. Stress and pain reduction can happen in as little as 30 minutes; visit our Athens massage spa today!

Foot Palace Massage Spa Athens


1720 Epps Bridge Pkwy Ste 106 Athens, Ga 30606

Phone: (706) 521-5290


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My Dogs Are Barking! – Translation, My Feet Hurt

my feet are hurting and painful from standing

In Athens, Georgia, when we hear the phrase, “My dogs are barking!” we usually assume one is speaking of The University of Georgia, Bulldogs! However, in the world of Reflexology massage, and other parts of the south, this phrase means, “My feet hurt!”

How did the word ‘dogs’ come to mean ‘feet’? In 1913, a journalist for the New York Evening, by the name of “T.A. Dorgan”, was well known for rhyming slang, published the word ‘dogs’ as a citation for his feet. From that point forward the word ‘dogs’, has been used as slang for feet. So now, a century later, after a long hard day on our feet we may say, “My dogs are barking!”, in reference to ‘our feet are killing us’.

How Long Periods of Standing Affect Your Feet and Legs

Whether at work or play, standing all day can do a real number on your feet and legs. Making an extra effort to take good care of your feet can go a long way towards staying healthy. The most common symptoms from standing for lengths at a time are discomfort, swelling, and fatigue. Spending too much time on your feet can affect your shins, calves, knees, thighs, hips, and lower back.

The Effect on Your Muscles, Tissues and Blood Flow

So many of your muscles work really hard to hold you upright. Without giving your muscles a rest, or at least moving around, can cause the joints to get “stuck” temporality. This happens because your muscles get tired, and can cause minor or major soft tissue injuries. Standing on your feet all day also reduces blood flow to your muscles. Blood flow that returns blood from the feet and legs back to the heart. When blood doesn’t flow properly, your feet, ankles, and legs swell, causing pain.

Supportive Shoes, Compression Socks and Rest Reduces Discomfort

Sometimes, standing all day is part of our job, so to help prevent the discomfort, wearing supportive shoes is a must. Unfortunately, no matter how good the shoes are, after many lengthy hours, you just need a rest! One of the best known ingredients for foot comfort are compression socks. Wearing compressions socks and changing feet positions frequently, can really help reduce the discomfort, as well as standing in different positions, and shifting your weight around. On those long dreadful days be sure to take a seat every chance you get to help your dogs out.

Stretching and Improved Blood Flow to the Rescue

If your dogs do start to “bark”, the best thing you can do is stretch them out, and kick them up! Stretching out the tendons and muscles in the feet will help to relieve the pain, and improve the blood flow. At home you can roll your feet over a tennis ball to massage the sole of each foot. This will loosen the starting point of the connective tissues that run all the way up the backside of your body, to the crown of your head. This home method can really do wonders for you! Try to do it a few minutes per foot, on a daily basis.

If you can’t even imagine doing anything else yourself after a long day on your feet, come and allow us to soothe your soles, with a Reflexology massage, the ultimate foot loosening treatment.

Foot Palace Massage Spa Athens


1720 Epps Bridge Pkwy Ste 106 Athens, Ga 30606

Phone: (706) 521-5290

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Detox Foot Bath – removes heavy metals from body

There has been a lot of controversy about the detox foot spa and many claims have been made. These claims range from helping with insomnia to curing serious diseases like heart disease or cancer. The naysayers claim that the foot detox spa is a fraud and has no basis in science. As I see it reality usually is somewhere in the middle and the foot detox spa is no different.

The detox foot spa is also known as the ionic cleanse, aqua chi, ion foot bath and others. In a typical session the patient places their feet in warm salt water and an electrical array is turned on creating electrolysis in the water. This electrolysis causes an electro-magnetic field in the water which pulls toxins and heavy metals into the water through the sweat glands in the feet. During the session, the water changes colour, bubbles and little chunky floaters apear.

The foot bath is usually finished by washing the feet and a relaxational foot massage is performed using a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral cream.

In general, people report feeling more energized, lighter, more mental focus, and an improved mood. Many patients also report dramatic improvements in sleep. Some report improvements in serious health concerns.

But is it a fraud? Is it another example of the placebo effect? Or are there legitimate health benefits to this therapy?

Lets begin with the colour of the water. Many distributors and marketers of these devices claim that the water colour indicates where in the body the toxins have been drawn from. If it is one color it is coming from your pancreas if it is another it is your liver.

This kind of analysis has no basis in science. There is no scientific way (that I know of) of determining where the toxins are coming from by the colour of the water. In fact, the water will change colour if no feet are present during a session. Also, I have seen youtube videos of foot spa sessions with a carrot or a piece of cellery in the water. The person making the video claimed that he had proved that the carrot has a liver based on the colour of the water!

The colour of the water is meaningless. The content of the water is what counts. And a laboratory analysis of the water is the only way to determine the content. Now the question is: What about heavy metals? If the detox foot spa draws heavy metals out of the body then there should be metal in the water. But could it be the metal array itself that is releasing the metal particles into the water? Maybe. At least two marketers or distributors of detox foot spas have run lab analysis comparing sessions with no feet to four or five different sessions with feet from different subjects. In both studies the laboratory results indicated significantly more heavy metal content in the test subjects relative to the control session. Some subjects had dramatically increased levels. So, insofar as we can trust the results of these studies, it appears that the detox foot spa does help with heavy metal detoxification.

I have had a few sessions in the foot detox spa and every time I sleep better and feel more relaxed. I have observed many people use the treatment and almost all of them have reported a positive experience with improvements in their health and well being. A few have experienced major improvements.

How one can identify your kidney in the water based on the colour is a mystery to me but one thing is sure. If you enjoy the session and feel better as a result it certainly is worth the time and money spent. So if you decide to try it, relax and enjoy the experience!

First published here: Detox Foot Bath – removes heavy metals from body