So many clients come to me with pain or issue originating in their feet that I always say, “Thank God He gave us two of them!” Our feet have a huge impact on our whole body, but most people don’t give them a second thought until a problem arises.
Anatomically, the fascia in the foot is connected to the calf, the hamstring, the glutes, the low back, the thoracic spine, the neck and all the way up over the head to the eyebrows. If you drew a line connecting all of these spots you would be connecting what Dr. Thom Meyers, the author of Anatomy Trains, calls the Superficial Back Line.
The Back Line Fascia Test
One way to experience this connection is to perform a self-scan with a Back-Line Fascia Test. Start by bending over and touching your toes. You might not reach them, bu t that’s okay. When you’re down there, do a body scan. Ask yourself a few questions: Where you are you tight or restricted? Where are you loose? Do your hands drape over evenly? Are you feeling any discomfort? Now, come up from this position and move to the Foot Release Work described below.
For the Fascia Test purposes, you only want to release one foot at a time. After you’ve completed the release work on the first foot, then you redo the Back-Line Fascia Test. Upon redoing your body scan, you might notice your tightness, discomforts and/or restrictions on the side you did the release work is gone or drastically decreased.
What might be more noticeable is the drape of your hands. The side you did the release work on will be much closer to the floor than the side that you have not released yet. This little experiment proves the existence of Thom Meyers Superficial Back Line. After completing the whole process of the scan and release work on one side of the body, move to the other foot.
Foot Release Work
Draw three imaginary lines down your foot, with all three starting at the heel and moving towards the toes. One is traveling down the middle of the foot, one goes along the inside of the foot, and one goes along the outer edge of the f. Grab a small ball. I like to use a foot rubz ball, but a small golf ball or a tennis ball will work. The foot rubz ball and golf ball will be more accurate, but also a little more tender to the fascia in the foot versus using a tennis ball.
Start by placing the ball at the heel on the middle line. Gently unweight the standing leg (this is the leg that does not have a ball under it) and put at least 75% of your weight into the ball. Repeat this unweighting 3 times. Then move the ball slightly forward towards the toes, staying on the middle line. Repeat the unweighting movement 3 times in this spot.
Continue to move the ball up the middle line, unweighting 3 times in each spot, hitting at least 4 spots along the line. After you have completed this with the middle line then begin doing it down the inside line and the outside line. Upon completing all three lines, then redo your Back-Line Fascia Test.
Upon retesting you might notice the arm on the same side you released the foot hangs much longer than the side you have not released. You might also feel a little looser in the low back or hamstrings. What might be most obvious is how different the foot itself feels.
Now it’s time to repeat all of this on the second foot!
I know this little foot release program is very time consuming. Therefore, it’s hard to get people to do this too often. I would recommend this routine once a week in the beginning if you are trying to get rid of plantar fasciitis or even low back pain.
But on a daily basis, I recommend something that is a little quicker and simpler. As soon as I get out of the shower, I put lotion or oil on my feet with the intention on giving them a little love. You can massage the sole then split each toe forward and back. Then interlace your fingers between each toe to laterally spread the web of the toes. This little extra attention to your feet will help you stand a little taller!
With a little time and TLC, your feet will feel better in no time!