Reflexology Footpaths

Reflexology foot paths are very common in China. These pictures show the paths that go around the lake we live near. I still haven’t gone all the way around the lake, but, everywhere I’ve been, they have had these paths. There are narrower ones, maybe 1 ½ feet wide, on either side of the main walkway/road, and then these wider ones, probably 2 ½ feet wide, are set back a little from the main road. Many reflexology paths in China are decorative, but these are simple. If you aren’t familiar with reflexology, there are pressure points on the soles of your feet that connect to your body meridians, so as you walk on a path like this, either with soft soled shoes, socks or barefoot, you are basically giving yourself a healthy foot massage :-) The stimulation to your feet is beneficial to different parts of your body! These are becoming more popular worldwide, so, if you see one of these paths, give it a try! It may hurt at first, take it slow if it does!

Leah and I leave in the morning for a trip to the USA…. I have managed to do 132 days straight of “Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day”, but for the next month I won’t be posting regularly. I do have some extra pictures saved up, so I will post once in a while :-) Stay tuned …. Daily pictures will resume in mid June!


Chinese honey has gotten a lot of bad publicity, so I’m pretty careful where I buy my honey from. Larger supermarkets usually have an area where you can choose from numerous types of honey from larger jars. Options at this supermarket were: Chinese Date, Loquat, Acacia, Medlar, Wild Chrysanthemum, Wild Osmanthus, Mountain Coptis and Lemon. There are a few more kinds in the smaller bottles and you can also buy different kinds of bee pollen. Honey has long been a part of traditional Chinese medicine and the different varieties are used for different medical benefits. For example, loquat honey is supposed to be good for the throat, so it is recommended specifically for speakers, singers and smokers. Honey in Chinese is “fengmi” and a bee is a “mifeng” ….and after seven years, I still get them confused!

Foot Massage

One of my favorite things in China is getting a foot massage! On Friday nights, Jim and I have a regular foot massage date. :-) Foot massage, called “xi jiao” or literally “foot wash” is much more than it sounds like! The routine at the spa we currently go to is to sit on the footstool, with your feet soaking, while first they massage your neck and shoulders, then back, also working on your spine and stretching you a bit, then you turn and sit back in the chair, still with feet soaking, and they massage your face and scalp from behind the chair, then arms and hands. Finally, it’s time for the feet! One at a time, the foot and calf are massaged while the other usually stays wrapped in a towel.  They are well trained in knowing the pressure points all over your body, so they are working them the whole time. Once they finish massaging your feet, they rub liquid soap on your feet and lower legs and then you rinse them in fresh warm water. To finish, your legs are given more of an overall massage, including your upper legs. By this time, I’m usually ready to fall asleep if I haven’t already! I ALWAYS get a wonderful night’s sleep after a foot massage! An 80 minute massage costs 88rmb, about $13.50 usd, and includes some tea and fruit.

Honeysuckle Drink

Honeysuckle is called Jinyin hua in Chinese. “Jinyin hua” literally translates as “gold silver flower,” because when the flowers first bloom, they are white (silver) then turn yellow (gold). Last week when we went to Walmart, we saw the dried flowers for honeysuckle tea, which is popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Then yesterday, we saw these cans and bottles of a honeysuckle drink. Leah said that the Chinese character after honeysuckle means “alcohol” (Hmmm, honeysuckle wine? Not for 3.5rmb a can!) ….but there is no alcohol in it! Another example of how Chinese words can have multiple meanings. It sounded interesting so I got some to try and had it this afternoon. It was too sweet for my liking, but the honeysuckle flavor was nice. The taste reminded me of the Wang lao ji drink I wrote about on January 23, which also has honeysuckle in it. It is best known for fighting bacterial and viral infections, helping reduce inflammation, reducing toxins, and good for use in the summer heat. The flowers, which is what the tea is made from, are considered very safe, but when using the stems and leaves you have to be careful not to use too much. There are supposed to be about 200 species of honeysuckle and three are known for their healing properties. I guess I don’t have to feel so bad when I think of all the honeysuckle I’ve pulled from my flower beds in the past in the USA, it did smell good, but probably wasn’t the right kind for tea :-)

Ginger Tea

I have a whole assortment of “tea” that I enjoy in China! “Old” ginger tea is considered not just a drink, but a Traditional Chinese Medicine Remedy. “Old,” or mature, ginger, with the light brown skin, is the type you probably see most often in stores. Young ginger is much lighter colored on the outside and doesn’t need peeled. Ginger is recommended for nourishing the blood, improving circulation, improving digestion, reducing nausea (including motion sickness), reducing inflammation, and as a pain reliever.

You can make your own tea at home or, in China (and probably Asian stores elsewhere), buy packets ready mixed with other beneficial ingredients. In the packets, it is generally mixed with black tea and dark brown sugar. The box on the bottom of the picture also has Luohanguo (see Jan 9 pic of day).

Ginger, red dates and brown sugar tea is sold especially for women to drink during their monthly cycle and post partum. The ginger helps with cramping, and the ginger and red dates are both good for blood circulation, and red dates are high in calcium and iron. Goji berries are also often mixed in.

Old ginger increases body temperature, so is especially good if you are cold (winter, poor circulation, etc). Young ginger decreases body temperature, so is good when you are hot (summer, fevers, etc).

Those with high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, or in menopause, are advised to reduce or avoid use of ginger. It is a blood thinner so doesn’t mix with certain medications. It’s probably best to read up on precautions before using more than a few slices a day!