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HealtyToes.com

What are those things?!?!?  They are toe stretchers.  They help stretch out toes that are cramped together, and help release and relieve sore feet and ankles. 

I’m writing about this today because I’ve recently had healthy toes and toe stretchers on my mind. 

  • WEAK ANKLE: The ankle I fractured last year still bothers me occasionally, and my first reaction is to spread my toes (on both feet).  Why do I do this?  Because I feel great when I spread my toes: I take a nice deep breath, my feet feel more relaxed, my ankle feels better… and I actually feel good all the way up my legs to my back.  Toe stretchers would allow me to spread my toes–and get the benefits–without effort.
  • BUNION: I asked my mom about her problem ankle.  She showed me her feet, and lo and behold, the big toe on the foot with the problem ankle turns in; she’s starting to get a bunion.  The toes on the other foot, however, are lined up nicely, and she doesn’t have any ankle problems on that side. I think toe stretchers would help her toes align better, which will stablize her foot and strengthen her ankle.
  • PLANTAR FASCIITIS: A student in a wellness class asked about addressing plantar fasciitis.  I think toe stretchers can help address this.  (Also, rolling your feet over a tennis ball can help relieve some pain, too.) 

I have to say that I personally have not used these, though I’ve tried them on once and they felt great.  You can read the account an MD has written about her decision to try them to prevent stiff feet, and how they beat her trip to the orthopedist.

They are available in several brands, which look pretty similar: Yoga Toes (which you can only buy on their website), Healthytoes (which is available on Amazon and less expensive than Yoga Toes) and Genki-Kun (which claims to be the original from Japan; their sizing is confusing).

To Buy:
Healthytoes BLUE color, Small or Large
Healthytoes PINK color, Small only

  • SMALL fits Women’s shoe sizes: 5.5 to 10.5; Men’s shoe sizes: 3.5 to 9.5
  • LARGE fits Women’s shoe sizes: 11 and up; Men’s shoe sizes: 7.5 to 10+
  • (SIZING TIPS: Sizing is approximate and may vary according to width of foot. The majority of Women with medium-width feet will wear a size Small. 99% of Women new to toe stretching should order the size Small.  — From the Healthytoes website.)

Genki-Kun products are available, too, but their sizing is confusing.

Yoga Toes sells directly; more expensive individually, but there’s a discount on volume.

Raindrops. Snowflakes.

On this shortest day of the year, December 21, we officially enter Winter. It’s the season that (usually) brings us lots of water. Not surprisingly, in the tradition of Chinese Medicine, Water is the element associated with winter. The related meridians (energy channels) are Kidney and Bladder, which have to do with our core energy, and also our ability to adapt and go with the flow.

So, as we move into winter, it’s a great time to think about our energy and how to nurture it and keep our bodies fluid.

  • The Bladder meridian (energy channel) runs down the back, along both sides of the spine and the backs of your legs. Keep your back supple with some gentle twists and bends every morning.
  • It’s also a yin time, which invites introspection and quiet.

What will you do this Winter to help you “birth” what you want in the Spring?

Last night I was at the opening party for the newest Elephant Pharmacy, in Los Altos / Mountain View (on El Camino north of San Antonio.) There I gave free mini-acupressure sessions to people who attended. While I only spent 10-15 minutes with each person, I was reminded of how effective a few minutes of acupressure and holistic wellness coaching can be.

For example, I worked on a lot of tight shoulders and upper backs. A very common complaint. A few minutes of shiatsu-style acupressure gave immediate relief and brought smiles. In addition, I talked about the concept of yin/yang, front/back; how important opening and stretching the front of the shoulder area is to relieving the back. I taught this simple stretch; stand by a wall, or in a door opening.

shoulder stretch (click to see larger image)

Place your hand flat against the wall or side of the door opening, keep your arm straight, and turn your body until you feel a nice stretch in the front shoulder area. You may also feel a stretch along the inner side of your arm. Hold it there for about 15 seconds and take a few deep breaths. Switch and do it on the other side. If you’re in a door opening, you can stretch both arms at the same time.

With this easy stretch, some people walked away a new tool in their personal Healthy Intentions Toolkit. So can you!