Two reflexology joints have recently opened in the sleepy corner of Northeast Westchester, New York, close to where I live. Granted this is an area where nail salons outnumber grocery stores by a margin of 3-to-1, but I can’t help but think the popularity of this phenomenon has less to do with day-to-day grind we subject our feet to (heels!), and more a result of our need to take 30 to 60 minutes to just zone out in a quiet space without interruption.
The benefits of reflexology, a 4,000-year-old modality, are well documented; and whether this particular foot rub is going to open up my qi remains to be seen. But it is a mini-vacation—and an inexpensive one at that, with a half-hour of pampering ringing in at $26. This gender-neutral space is filled with a line of overstuffed white leather chairs and ottomans. The room is dark and silent, with a single red light to provide illumination for the technician. Lying there fully clothed, covered in a blanket with a towel over your eyes, it feels very private for such a public space. You could be seated next to your neighbor and never know it. As your feet are gently placed in a wooden bucket filled with warm water, the technician begins with a knot-melting shoulder, neck and arm rub. Then your legs are taken out of the water, feet dried off and the main act begins. True reflexology can, at times, be painful. This is not. The combination of pressure point work and long, Swedish massage-like strokes is so relaxing, your stupor is occasionally interrupted by the snores of the person next to you.
It’s pampering to be sure, but it’s also an easy, inexpensive, and therapeutic way to recharge your batteries. No such place near you? No problem. Take a long bath or find a quite nook to decompress. In our e-enabled, go-go-go society, we’re always on. Give yourself permission to hit the “off” button.