By: Anna Radinsky/Assistant News Director
Members of the community can now walk across the five elements on the longest reflexology path on the U.S. east coast at the Biscayne Bay campus.
The Student Government Council at BBC’s Reflexology Path ribbon cutting ceremony occurred on Thursday, Aug. 23 to celebrate the official opening of the stone path in the Panther Plaza.
The reflexology path is separated into five sections of rocks, each representing a different element: water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Each target a different area of the body to heal, according to Dr. Elizabeth Marazita, the designer of the path.
“Someone asked me how many stones are in the path and I challenge you to count because I don’t know,” Marazita said to Student Media. “I can tell you that thousands of stones were hand-selected and placed to be in the correct therapeutic position by experts.”
Foot reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet to stimulate 10,000 nerve endings that help flush out toxins and regain balance within the body, according to Marazita.
“Reflexology is based on science and tradition,” Marazita said. “When you drink water, sleep well, have positive interactions and have positive thoughts you should feel no soreness when walking. If you feel some soreness, that does not indicate disease- it indicates imbalance.”
The path is tough to walk on, but some students believed that it was worth doing, including Leonardo Cosio, SGC-BBC Senator of the School of Communication + Journalism, who was present at the opening.
“I didn’t walk the whole thing,” Cosio said. “But you have to make it a part of your daily routine. It’s going to improve your health at the end of the day so it’s worth it.”
Others, like Mohammad Qureshi, the associate dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, said he had an easier time walking.
“It doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it would,” Qureshi said. “I am teaching this semester and I will tell my students that when they are getting stressed about accounting or exams that they should come out here, exercise their breathing and certainly do the walk.”
Bonnie Quiceno, a yoga instructor that led the first official walk down the reflexology path, recommends practicing controlled breathing exercises to make the walk easier to do.
Walking the path three times a week for 12 weeks will lower blood pressure and improve balance, according to Marazita.
Chelsea De Silva, SGC-BBC Senator for the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management believes that the path will bring more attention to the Biscayne Bay campus because of the community’s interest in yoga and relaxation.
Qureshi, however, believes that the University needs to do more to bring more attention to BBC.
“I think BBC needs more programming, more majors, more students,” Qureshi said. “I don’t think we have that kind of activity life. But hopefully it will increase and I hope to see students walking through [the path].”
Some students and staff did not see benefits to the path until they walked it, including the SGC-BBC President, Jefferson Noel, until he was convinced by other members of SGA.
“Originally, I didn’t know the purpose for the path, but as I began to get more educated and started to understand the health benefits of it, I now see the path as a gem on this campus,” said Noel.
The University’s mascot, Roary, is featured along the reflexology path. The panther’s tail is seen in the red stones that represent the fire element. His stone paw is also placed in the beginning of the path to represent a possible new tradition for students.
“You take your foot-your paw-and you walk on the paw and the path to see if you feel any imbalance or any soreness,” said Marazita. “You walk it four years later to feel no soreness. You can bring your family and they can take a picture with your paw on the paw of Roary.”
Marazita said that this path came about thanks to SGC-BBC’s commitment to boost health, wellness and happiness, and it is considered the first to be proposed by a student government organization.
The path is also unique because it is the first trilingual path; all of the instructions and quotes, which include one from the SGC-BBC president, Jefferson Noel, are written in English, Spanish and Creole.
“The students said we want to include diversity,” said Marazita. “So they’ve asked that the instructions be inflected in braille. There will also be seated instructions for those who cannot walk the path. They will rock and exercise their feet. For those who have difficulty walking, such as myself, you can use the railing for your benefit to exercise.”
University President Mark B. Rosenberg challenged everyone during his speech at the ceremony to get out of their comfort zone and give the path a chance to be walked on.
“If you don’t like it, come back. And if you don’t like it again, come back again,” Rosenberg said. “Force yourself to figure out why it is that this makes the sense that it makes.”
Images taken by Anna Radinsky