The IDF and the foot fatigue question [pg. 6]

The bravest person involved in the current conflict may not be some worn out, heavily decorated soldier, but the woman who has to massage his feet. Michelle Novack, 32, from Kiryat Ono, went up to do just that on Sunday along with 11 other volunteer massage therapists - mostly women - who visited the North for a day. She was the only one to work exclusively on feet. "It was really gross," Novack told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. "The minute they took off their shoes you could smell it, and there were things peeling off of their feet. I've never seen feet like this," she said. Novack, an emigrant from Florida, said she had decided to volunteer because she had always wanted to be a part of the IDF but had been rejected when she tried to sign up. They told her she was too old, she said, when she offered to volunteer at the age of 19, although her hunch is that they just didn't need another girl during a time of relative peace. Now, Novack jumped at the opportunity to help the army, offering her services in a type of alternative medicine called reflexology. "The body is like a copy of the feet," Novack said. "I can feel something about your back by touching your feet. I can help your constipation by touching your feet. For every point in the foot there are reflex points that affect different organs." The soldiers were hot and dirty, Novack said; they were straight from the battlefield and hadn't showered in several days. Faced with a group of women wearing clean white clothes, it is understandable that they were a bit shy when Novack and her colleagues offered massages. "They were embarrassed about having the treatment," Novack said, "so we would have to coax them to do it because they were so smelly. Once they saw some of them got it they were like, 'We want it! We want it!'" Some even finagled Novack into giving them a second massage, something she referred to as "unfair."