finger pressure

foot pressure points




Dear Mom,

April is just around the corner, but the snows and winter winds are still whipping across both Kansas and Colorado.  As everyone sniffles and sneezes, I remember two of the  “healthy” things you used to do for us.

SHIATSU.  Acupuncture is done with needles; the Shiatsu acupressure you studied in the 60s was done with finger pressure, also known as Reflexology. When Dad’s sinuses started aching, you would massage and push/hold the undersides of his toes until they popped…and immediately Dad felt better.

The bottoms of our feet were virtual healing fields in your hands.  You never tickled our feet, but held them firmly in your hands and massaged, pushing and holding the toes, arches and heels, relieving headaches, back pain, and insomnia. And then you taught me to locate the pressure points on my own feet, too, for all kinds of health benefits. Foot rubs have amazing health benefits!

PINEAPPLE.  Recently I read that fresh pineapple is the new multiple-purpose healing fruit. That was no surprise. I grew up watching you buy fresh pineapple, slice it into raw chunks for eating, bake it with ham or chicken or sweet potatoes, and mix it into salads and desserts.  If the grocery store didn’t have fresh pineapple, you bought canned and rinsed off the syrup.  Whenever one of us had a sore throat, you made hot herbal tea and simmered it with pineapple pieces.

The article I read gave all the current data, Mom, and your instincts were right! Pineapple eases indigestion, arthritis, and sinusitis; its manganese is important to developing strong bones and connective tissue. It is also high in Bomelain, an enzyme considered to be an anti-inflammatory, discouraging blood clot formation for frequent fliers.  And this is for Kate Middleton’s royal pregnancy:  pineapple is a natural folk remedy for curing morning sickness!

In addition to advising our blog friends to eat fresh pineapple and rub their own and each other’s feet (not at the same time, though)  let’s also remind them of special days during the last full week of March.

March 27 is National “Joe” Day:  If you aren’t crazy about your name, this is the day to call yourself “Joe” (or, I guess, maybe Jo-Anne?)   March 29 is Smoke and Mirrors Day: This is the day of illusions, when things are not what they appear to be…intended to be used as part of mysteries or teases, not for harm.

And March 30 is “I Am In Control Day”—on March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt. Secretary of State Alexander Haig said, “I am in control here.” The press focused on only this part of his statement, and eventually Haig resigned.

Now the context is to remind yourself that YOU ARE IN CONTROL.  (Maybe this is in response to the March 9th Panic Day I mentioned in an earlier blog. If you did have a Panic Day then, you’re probably ready to get things under control now.)

We can joke and have fun with all these special days, Mom, but this last week of March is also getting ready for Easter.  Next week I’ll share the poem you wrote before Easter in 1980, “ In God We Trust.”  Until then, thank you for the fresh pineapple, the hot tea remedies and healing foot rubs, and especially for the loving attention you showered on us all.  Love, Marylin




Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, teachers

63 responses to “SHIATSU AND PINEAPPLE

  1. Molly

    Hmmmmm…………… is this BLOG and the thinking and planning of it what prompted you to eat a Grilled Cheese sandwich with Pineapple on it the other day??

    Grandma always had an ability to “sense” what was good for us all.

    Great information and story about Grandma. Thanks!

  2. Thanks, Molly. Just wait; Easter is almost here, and we’ll be having ham…and lots of pineapple!!!

  3. Beautiful post Marylin. I’ll be sure to continue buying that fresh pineapple! And learn these secrets of feet message! Blessings to you, Robyn

  4. Thanks, Robyn. As I got older, I bought my own books on reflexology and included the pressure points on hands. I was a debate coach, and before competitions I had my team pinch and hold the flesh between their thumb and the first finger, breathe deeply and slowly exhale to calm down and get ready to debate. Some thought it worked really well; others not so much.

  5. Your mother was so far ahead of her time. She was right about both the foot massage/pressure points and pineapple. What an amazing woman. I’d like to consider myself retroactively adopted.

  6. I’ve read some of the poems from your book to my mother, Julia, and also Darla McDavid’s stories about growing up, and I think my mom would be glad to retroactively adopt both you and Darla! Yea, now I finally have two sisters!–Can’t wait to see my brother’s face when I tell him!
    But you’re right, Julia, she was ahead of her time, and I am so glad. It’s one of the things I really want her great-grandchildren to realize and appreciate about her.

  7. Ha, what a prank, you joker! I’m snowed in and now want fresh delicious pineapple. Boy does that sound super! Thank you for another wonderful post. Last night my feet were cramping like crazy. Your mom would have needed a hammer and ice pick to get to them in their Celtic knots that surely were left from St Patty’s Day! HAR. I think the return to the mountains from the desert by these high mileage tootsies, will be remedied after a wee nap! I look forward to the upcoming poem you, tease. Hugs!

    • I’ve never known a busier, more on-her-feet person than you, K. Even my mother would have had a hard time with your feet. But she would love your art…especially the illustrations for your books.
      I think you’ll like Mom’s poem next week. It gets to the heart of what she believes.

  8. oops, and sorry about the commas in the wrong places…is there shiatzu for that?

  9. It’s always interesting to see the experts discover evidence that some of these old-time therapies actually have merit. Other examples are chicken noodle soup (has anti-viral properties) and green tea. And I agree–foot rubs are fantastic. 🙂

    • And my mom made amazing chicken noodles soup, too!
      If a patient came to you today with a general overall malaise that you couldn’t identify, could you even mention these alternatives?
      I visited a friend in hospice who had a friend giving her friend and foot rubs, and she had fresh pineapple chunks in a bowl beside the bed. It’s a shame we only do this at end-of-life instead of throughout. (Don’t get me wrong; when I have a roaring sinus and ear infection, I want antibiotics from my doctor!)

      • I always recommend natural ‘therapies’ like green tea and foods rich in antioxidants when sick (like berries) whether antibiotics are needed or not. And I always recommend these things when well. They’re so good for us!

  10. Pineapple and reflexology are both so wonderful. Sadly, I haven’t, till now, thought to combine the two. I am imagining myself delighting in pineapple whilst my feet are attended to. More seriously, does your mother allow you to rub her feet these days? Reflexology aside, I think there is something very healing about a foot rub or washing; our previous minister used to wash and dry our feet during a special service on Easter Thursday. To touch/rub and clean a person’s feet is a sign of great devotion and love.

    • Foot washing is a part of the Church of the Brethren, my mother’s home church in Missouri. It is a comforting act of service and care for one another.
      And general hand and foot rubs are a usual part of care in our family when someone is ill. I think it helps us heal on several levels, for both the person who offers it and the person who receives. There’s so much we can do to help each other. Thanks for sharing about your minister.

  11. A foot massage and a fresh pineapple sound wonderful right about now. Sounds, too, like your mom was ahead of her time as someone has already mentioned. You are so fortunate to have such a lovely mother. Thanks for this worthwhile information 🙂

  12. Don

    Everything you say about a foot rub is so true. I’ve experienced it and continue to do so. I’ve also always loved pineapple. Now I know why. Great post Marilyn

  13. Marylin you got me. I was just about to get a pineapple and rub my feet. 😀
    you inspire and entertain in equal measure. your mom is a great one

  14. Another lovely conversation with your mum Marilyn.

    And both things she did I have recently read about! Both acupuncture/pressure are supposed to help symptoms of MS, and pineapple is on the fist of anti-inflammatory foods too! So I am nowon a mission to try both!

    These are all such wonderful tributes o you mum 🙂

    Christine xx

  15. Reflexology is just wonderful. I found a printout on the web about where the pressure points are. Have no idea if I do anything right but enjoy trying anyway. Pineapple – not so much. Have never liked the stuff from a kid. Oh well, I’ll just have to eat more lemons 🙂

    • That’s great to know! I’m still using Mom’s old book on Shiatsu, so I’m ready for some updates. As far as pineapples–my mother would say that if you’ve never liked them, maybe your body doesn’t need them.
      For me, the lemons (other than in tea and water or squeezed on fish) would be too much.

  16. Lovely post. I’m happy to report that I have a pineapple sitting on my kitchen counter just waiting to be cut into chunks.

  17. A lovely post – your mother must have been close to the earth and natural healing. How lucky to grow up in a family like that.

    • I really believe she was close to the earth and natural healings. It began on the farm as she was growing up, but throughout her life she was always reading about herbs and natural remedies. I was very fortunate to be influenced by her search for answers.

  18. Jim

    Your mom was always ahead of the trend when it came to natural remedies. We never outgrow our need for foot rubs. Let’s find a good movie on TV tonight and take turns doing foot rubs. We can nibble on fresh pineapple when we change places. Okay?

  19. Amy

    I agree, your mother was way ahead of time. Thank you for sharing with us, Marylin! I have learn so much from your blog. Happy Sunday!

  20. Your mom is an amazing person!

    And I love you you manage to pull together so many disparate ideas to create a coherent pattern of thinking out of what seems to be random.

    • Thank you, Tracy. Sometimes when I start writing I have no idea what other ideas will creep in, but I’m so very glad when they do! Now, THAT I did inherit from Mom–she believed that if you just kept going, kept working and trying, it would all work out.

  21. Thank you for sharing again such a lovely conversation with your mum, Marylin.
    groetjes, Francina

  22. Hi Marylin,
    I just happen to love pineapple, but I didn’t realize the healing properties associated with this delicious fruit. And I know I’ve said this before, but your mom was one wise mom. 🙂

  23. Oh, I’m so looking forward to reading her Easter oem!

  24. Marilyn, I love your health tips. I’m big on natural food remedies and the health benefits of pineapple sound wonderful. I’ll also look into the reflexology. Wonderful stuff – including the Smoke and Mirrors Day.

    • HI, Judy. One of the other readers said that you can Google foot reflexology, and there are specific techniques for different needs. I still have Mom’s old book on Shiatsu, but I think I might update some of the techniques.

  25. I love this post what a great information about pineapple , Love it 🙂

    • It really does work, Jake. For those who can’t take the high acid, if they add a piece of pineapple to their tea, they can still get benefits. I love your theme of “sentimental” for this week; for me, the foot rubs and pineapples have a sentimental quality.
      Jake, I just read your extra comment under my post, “Things We Lose.” I am so very sorry that you still haven’t found your dog. In our family, dogs are members of the family, and when we lose them we lose a part of our hearts. I am truly so sorry for you.

  26. I need a foot massage, a back massage, a shoulder massage – well, you get the idea. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your very kind comments!

    • Oh, and my feet, shoulders and neck ache, too, but now my mom’s dementia has made her forget pressure points for foot massages. But we still have pineapple!?! Thanks for stopping by.

  27. These are two great reminders of how we can heal ourselves or at least ease the symptoms. The feet mirror many of our health problems and I still have my reflexology chart. My mother-in-law taught me what I know. I now have 16 little pineapples growing their hearts out of about 35 plants I have. My grandsons love fresh pineapple.Amazing how our moms instinctively knew what remedies worked. Thanks for sharing.

    • They sure did, Lynne. I think my mother followed instincts on some of the remedies, remembered lessons from her mother and other family members for other remedies, and read and took workshops for the rest. But when she combined them, WOW! Except for surgery, I would have trusted her first for my solutions!

  28. Aw, aw, triple aw. I love hearing about holistic remedies. I am familiar with Shiatsu. You are surrounded by great women Marylin. Margie

    • Thank you, Margie, I really am–my mother, my daughter, my granddaughter, and numerous aunts and cousins–all of them terrific.
      Add the great women I hear from on the blog, and it’s wonderful how many things get shared!

  29. As always, a wonderful post to your Mom. Anyone up for a pineapple pedicure??? 🙂

  30. Really, Pamela? Is there such a thing? I don’t know if you rub the pineapple on your feet to relax them…or use the prickly tops to scrape off the callouses. Or maybe do you soak your feet in warm water while you drink a pineapple cooler?
    Please advise!

  31. This is so good. I also am dealing with dementia in my mom. She knows me and carries on what seems to be an okay conversation…but it’s the same conversation, word-for-word, every day.
    I love the idea behind this.

    • Welcome, Victoria.
      At least your mother still knows you. Bless her heart, my mother smiles and thanks me when I stay with her each month–she thinks I’m just the nicest girl who comes in to help her–regardless of how many times I tell her who I am or that I came from Colorado just to see her because she is my mom.
      I hope you’re writing about your mom, recording memories you have of her to share with others so they’ll know who she was before the dementia.

  32. I do love pineapple, the only problem is, the acidity of it can be a bit harsh for my sensitive tummy some times.

    • Ooo, then I wouldn’t push it. My mom always said that if the “healing” foods didn’t taste good or made us feel kind of bad, it was a sign our bodies didn’t need them.
      Since you like pineapple, though, you might try putting some in a blender with ice cubes and milk, and–unless you’re allergic–a T. of peanut butter to make a frothy pineapple-peanut butter shake. It really smooths out the acid.

      • Thanks but unfortunately I have lots of food allergies. I am lactose intolerant and allergic to sugar, wheat, MSG, intolerant to gluten and yeast. Have to avoid Dairy.

  33. Oh-oh, one last try. Have you tried Almond Breeze (regular, unsweetened)? We have a friend with lots of allergies who does great on this.

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