Ah blessed relief, Bianca went back to school last week. On Monday morning I said to her, “I’m so excited about you going back to school!” and Dave snorted into his coffee. “I DON’T MEAN LIKE THAT!” I said indignantly, except actually, I kind of did. The holidays were great fun but a month of all day every day is a lot of togetherness.
I actually had a pretty busy week. On Monday there was a coffee morning to welcome the new parents to the school (as an expat school there are people coming and going all the time) and somehow I got roped in to being secretary of the Parents’ Association so I went along as part of that. I met lots of nice people, most of whose names I forgot immediately. On Tuesday we had a workshop to introduce the Bounce Back program, which was devised by some educational psychologists to teach kids resilience and wellbeing, amongst other things. I would love to give you a spiel on it because I was so excited and emotional about it (I need this program for me!) but I suck at that so do have a look at their website. Then I had a lunch with one friend, a coffee/skype date with another… it’s not looking like much when I write it down but there wasn’t much time left over to lounge on the couch and watch TV, is what I’m saying…
I also went back to the Kenko Fish Spa for a reflexology treatment. My entire body is hurting at the moment and I’m keen to explore more traditional and alternative therapies to sort out my balance and wellbeing. And, well, treat myself! Reflexology is a massage of the pressure points of the feet and it sounds like it would be absolute agony of tickling but it’s actually divine. You do have to sort of not focus on it to avoid kicking the therapist in the face, but once you’ve mastered that you turn into a puddle of relaxation. She starts with tiny pinching massages of the joints in each toe then onto the base of the toot and heel, then calves and shins.
The theory behind it is that every part of the body has a corresponding pressure point on the foot and can be stimulated–the science is unproven but like acupuncture it does seem to work. Also, if you have tenderness or pain in any area it could indicate a problem with that body part. I had tenderness in my arches and also my right little toe, which could indicate problems with my sinuses or headaches (true) but also could just mean I’ve cracked it on furniture a few too many times and that going barefoot on marble tiles is not a good idea.
Then after the massage it was time for the fish spa! This uses little fish from Turkey called Doctor Fish to nibble dead skin off your feet. Honest. You wash your feet first then pop them in the tank and the little fish glom and and start to chew. It feels a bit like pins and needles but in a good way. You sit there on your bench watching them scurrying around and, if you’re me, talking to them… it’s very relaxing.
After that first time I went I did some research and found there were concerns about cleanliness and passing on foot infections, and also about cruelty to the fish — how hungry do they need to be to do this? Not going to lie, it put me off it a bit. But, the place I go to does a lot of cleaning of the water with UV light, plus the therapists check your feet thoroughly before you go in. As for the fish, I watched them and they typically hung around for a couple of minutes before swimming off again. Two other people came in just in the 30 minutes I was there, so I think they get enough business. Finally the fish are very expensive; I don’t think it’s in the company’s best interests to harm them. I feel okay about it.
When it was over I walked out like I was floating on clouds. My feet and legs worked again! And they looked pretty good too. I’m definitely going to have reflexology again. As for the pedicure, I think I want to try a regular person-with-nail-file-and-polish one. I have noticed that here everyone has very well groomed feet; you are in sandals most of the time and displaying gnarly toenails is not okay. Even no-makeup, ponytailed and tshirted people like me have pretty toes. It is The Rule.
Have you had reflexology or tried a fish spa? What therapy should I try next? I’m open to most things, so any suggestions are welcome.