The Biscayne Bay Campus community recently celebrated the unveiling of its very own reflexology path—the first of its kind at a public institution on the East Coast.
“The reflexology path is a reminder about the importance of wellbeing, about the importance of having balance, and about the importance of a holistic lifestyle,” said President Mark B. Rosenberg.
Practiced in Asia for thousands of years, foot reflexology is believed to improve health by stimulating acupressure points on the soles of the feet that correspond to specific organs and systems of the body. Scientific research shows walking a reflexology path 20 minutes a day for 16 weeks, three times a week, can lower blood pressure and improve balance.
“I am absolutely thrilled to see it come to fruition,” says Valerie Morgan, director of Academic Support Services, “I really think this is going to benefit students for years to come.”
Morgan proposed the idea to the Student Government Council at Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC) two years ago. Since then, several Student Government Association (SGA) members, including former Vice President Meredith Marseille and current Vice President Jonathan Espino have worked tirelessly on the initiative.
“The Reflexology Path is not only a great way to look after yourself physically, but it’s also a great way to have a little moment of reflection,” says Espino.
Students can reflect inward and calm themselves down after a stressful day at class or walk the path to relieve built-up pressure after exams.
THE PATH’S UNIQUE ELEMENTS
Located adjacent to Panther Plaza, the reflexology path was built by Paths of Health, founded by Elizabeth Marazita, an expert in acupuncture and Oriental medicine and the co-author of The Dao of Foot Reflexology Paths: A Global Self-care Tradition.
Marazita worked with the SGA to incorporate fun details within the path—including the beloved university mascot’s paw at the entrance of the walkway, a design of Roary’s tail made from rocks midway, and an infinity sign at the end of the trail.
Honoring FIU’s diversity, the path features instructions in Creole, Spanish and English. Instructions will also be inscribed in braille, and there will be seated instructions for those unable to walk.
The path measures 75 feet and has five sections that represent water, wood, fire, earth and metal. It consists of hand-selected lava rocks, smooth river rocks and Geodes from the USA, Latin America, China, Indonesia and India. Additionally, stones were placed by at least 50 administrators, faculty and staff, and students who took part in the creation of the path.
Embedded within each section is an inspirational quote corresponding to the element and the emotion associated with each. Among the quotes is one from Jefferson Noel, current SGA BBC president and another from Richard Blanco, alumnus and inaugural poet for Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony.
The most challenging section of the path is fire, featuring the smallest rocks of the entire walkway.
“If you can walk this section with no soreness, you are very healthy!” says Marazita
To reap the health benefits, however, the path must be used on a consistent basis.
“It doesn’t work unless you give it a chance!” said Rosenberg.
Organizers hope this will be the beginning of a new, self-care tradition on campus. As students begin their academic career at FIU, they will be encouraged to place their foot on Roary’s paw and reflect on how they are going to make a mark on the university. Then four years later, they can place their foot on the paw and reminisce about their FIU journey and their path to health.
The reflexology path at BBC will be available to students, faculty and staff, as well as the greater North Miami community to promote health and wellness. Members of the Reflexology Club and Reflexology Ambassadors will be available to explain the path to anyone interested in learning more about it.