WALDWICK, N.J. — Ming Lu hopes the foot spas he opened in the past two months — Thai Foot Spa in Waldwick and Xing Yao Foot Spa in Paramus – help Bergen residents unwind.
Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to areas on the feet, the premise being that these areas correspond to systems and organs in the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stimulation of the areas is believed to affect the organs and promote a person’s well-being.
Lu knows firsthand the benefits of reflexology, or foot massage. For starters, it’s an ancient tradition in his native Fujian Province in southeast China. Yet, he didn’t fully appreciate the power of the practice until 15 years ago when he was working in the restaurant business in New York.
“My body felt tired all the time,” said Lu, 41. “In the restaurant business, there are long hours.”
So, one day, when he was off work, he made his way to Canal Street in Chinatown and visited a popular foot reflexology place for a session.
“I really enjoyed going there. It made my body feel different,” he said. “That one hour makes you feel good. That night, you sleep well.”
The experience got him to thinking about all the other people who could use some relief: runners, bikers, women who wear high heels, people who work on their feet all day, people who just feel stressed.
So, he opened a reflexology place in Queens and enjoyed success until the lease expired. Then he decided to bring to Bergen County his own kind of one-hour foot treatment — a warm foot soak in water infused with either sea salt or yellow ginger power, a reflexology massage, a hot stone rub over the feet and calves.
“I wanted to offer neighborhood places that are convenient,” Lu said.
Everyone who works in his spas has at least six months to a year of training, he said, but the staff also features some Chinese masters, such as Sun Fu, who works in Waldwick and who has practiced the art in his homeland for many years.
“I train for marathons so my feet need care, and they feel so much better after having a foot massage,” said Lori Sweeney, of Saddle River, who has reflexology done at Thai Foot Spa in Waldwick.
“It’s the best reflexology I’ve ever had,” she added. “They take their time with each zone of the foot – the heel, the instep. Then they go to the top of the foot, where the ankle is. They get to each toe and all the pressure points.”
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