Confessions of a foot reflexologist: Stinky feet can't defeat her

 Confessions of a foot reflexologist: Stinky feet can't defeat her
Jaene Kuan, foot reflexologist.

Smelly feet are definitely a problem.

And they usually belong to men, as women are usually too embarrassed to go for a foot massage if they have foot odour problem.

If wiping with an antiseptic towel doesn't solve the issue, this foot reflexologist will gently excuse herself, before dripping generous amounts of essential oils into the massage cream.

It helps. Mostly.

When it doesn't, it means 40 minutes of putting up with the odour.

Ms Jaene Kuan, 53, tells The New Paper on Sunday: "I have to pretend that it is not smelly, even if the smell is overpowering. It is not nice to suddenly don a mask."

Her job involves massaging away soreness and water retention in feet, as well as kinks in the body, for better health and improved well-being.

She explains that certain reflex zones on the feet correspond to different body organs and systems. Benefits are reaped when pressure is applied to the correct zones.

She says in Mandarin: "When we massage the feet, we are stimulating these reflex zones and this sends the message to the body to self-heal. It also helps with blood circulation and improves the immune system.

"If I press the big toe and it hurts, it means you probably have lack of sleep and maybe sinus problems. The big toe corresponds our brain, nose and eyes."

Ms Kuan entered this industry after spending more than 20 years doing administrative work.

She took up a government-sponsored course in foot reflexology and body massage in 2004 because she wanted to help her mother, now 78. She had suffered two strokes.

She says: "She was not so flexible after suffering a stroke in 2000.

"I've seen how she has reaped benefits and improvements from her massage sessions."

Over three months, she learnt body and foot massage. She also picked up shiatsu, also known as acupressure or finger press.

She was bonded to a now-defunct spa for six months after the course.

She is currently with Refresh Bodyworks at Lot One, Choa Chu Kang, and this is her 10th year in the industry.

She says: "I love it and there's job satisfaction. I enjoy my work because I feel that I can help people.

"I thought I couldn't last - I'm a woman and I don't think I have that much strength. Most foot reflexologists are men.

"But I was wrong. Strength can be cultivated over time, just as my instructor used to say."

She laments that she has become more muscular, compared to the days she spent working behind a desk.

Jokingly, she says: "My butt used to be bigger (than the rest of my body).

"Now, I use more of my upper body, so my body is now more well-proportioned."

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