Here’s a brief history into how I became a Reflexology Therapist…
My Mother was in Palliative care back in 2007 and not able to speak. I wasn’t sure what I could do for her when I visited so I brought some books to read out loud and some minty foot cream. I could see the stress lines in her face go away the instant my hands touched her feet. She enjoyed it so much she would pull the covers off her feet when someone she knew came into the room, which gave our family a bit of comic relief! I was overjoyed that I could provide pain relief and loving touch to help my mother in her final days. 4 years later, I was asked to be a case study for a friend learning Reflexology. It came at a great time as I had just been (finally) diagnosed with copper poisoning. I had been a Metalsmith for 20 years and found myself depressed and without a career because the poisoning caused extremely sore joints and muscle tissue and a host of other complications. After 3 sessions with my practitioner, I realized it was helping me feel better physically AND emotionally and took away a lot of the muscle and joint pain. Since it was working so well for me I thought it would make a nice career change.
Getting an environmental illness is not something I would recommend for anyone. They are difficult to diagnose with invisible and hard to describe symptoms which often means a diagnosis of “it’s all in your head”. I was sick for about a year when I found a wonderful Naturopath who helped me to clean out with diet, exercise and a vitamin and herbal protocol with sauna and a few other cool tricks to get the metal out of my body. Getting help from disability programs are either hard to get or non-existent. It seems you have to be on Death’s door to get any help for a disability. During the clean out I found an organization that was willing to help me financially so I could retrain for a new career. I started in 2012 with Chinese Interactive Reflexology.
The methods of this modality are quite different from the North American style with lots of rocking and shaking as well as work on the head and neck, hips, knees and legs. It also combines acupressure touch with the principles of Yin/Yang within the body, the seasons and the elements and works with meridians rather than Zonal technique in Western style Reflexology. Soon after I realized that many people don’t like their feet touched so I learned Facial Reflexology and also took two workshops in Hand Reflexology. After getting these techniques under my belt I took Indian Head Massage so I could work on other areas of the body and a different group of people. Studying Reflexology helped me to understand how energy works within and without the body. I felt it was important to further my understanding of energy work so I took Reiki levels 1 & 2. This was the icing on the cake. I am able to read and interpret my clients energy which helps the treatment work and helps the client understand their own energy. In 2018 I realized how many suffered from lymph issues, either the end of the day type swollen ankles or the after surgery type. I took the training and case studies for Manual Lymph Drainage. I then took a pregnancy workshop, finger-free techniques (mostly for me and work related injuries) and my very favourite Solestry and Foot Reading. These are about visual clues in the foot that pertain to ego, emotional, work, family and relating and sense of security as well as clues to imbalances and illness in the body. I find it impossible not to assess all the bare feet I see in the summer! It also makes a great party trick when I can ask someone to tell me 3 things about their personality and from that tell them what their feet look like! Adding foot reading and Reiki to my treatments makes for excellent energy releases and accuracy for where to go with my hands. Then in March 2020, ya THAT March 2020! I flew to Tampa, Florida to study Reflexology Lymph Drainage. An amazing technique developed with research and funded by the NHS in England. The treatment gets the body to flush out stagnant fluid and with regular treatment works better to keep the fluid down. Anyone with lymph issues knows that it takes an emotional tole dealing with the physical side effects and the constant work it takes to get the fluid out of the body.
My newest mind blowing adventure in healing touch is Structural Reflexology. It is a wonderful treatment that was developed in the US by a Reflexology/orthopoedic/massage therapist. With over 20 years of experience working with feet she learned about the disfiguring affects of ill fitting shoes. There are mounds of evidence to prove what happens further up the body after years of ignoring painful symptoms or the refusal to stop wearing bad footwear. This copyrighted technique incorporates leg & foot muscle massage and manipulation, freeing up the bones, ligaments and tendons. It is a very thorough session that can correct bunions, hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, hallux rigidis, broken arches and correct bad walking patterns. Those are just a few the issues addressed directly in the feet with this session. The actual Reflexology that takes place is deep and focus’ on brain function, neck alignment, lung/diaphragm function and sooooo much more. I’ll be working my case studies towards my exams and certification for 2023.
As a visual artist who has always worked with their hands, I consider Reflexology an art form and I often tell people that I am in the “Healing Arts”. I used to work with copper and stone so my hands and arms have always been strong. I have the ability to provide deeper touch if needed and I can easily work on 4 - 5 full sessions in a day. The Human body is now my “medium” and the details that used to be important in my art are now the details important to Reflexology. Foot Reading really helps me see and feel the subtleties of colour & temperature on the skin, see lines, spots and depressions in the texture of the skin. They mean something is not working properly. Reiki helps tell my hands exactly where to go and then actually feel blocked or slow energy below the skin. It is here that I know whether to lightly stimulate the area or go into a deeper clearing. My empathic personality helps to clear the issue or blockages gently and skillfully, while supporting my clients emotionally thru a heath problem. The modalities I have chosen to focus on combined with my experience as an artist and my open, honest personality make my treatments a full experience with some fun and learning thrown in. I rarely let a client go home without a printed card for some self-treatment or a recommended exercise.
Although Reflexology is my main focus now, I still enjoy my artwork. I paint in acrylic, assemble collage, make stuff from “object trove”, make videos and play Ukulele. I even perform on stage every once in a while.
Dipper Hollow SessionsI live off-grid on the Bay of Fundy side of the North Mountain just outside of Canning, NS. I am currently building a house and treatment centre. The Dipper Hollow Healing Art Space will have a studio for workshops in art and Reflexology with a screened room for outdoor pond-side sessions in the summer. Plans also include a Sauna with wood fired oven, a Reflexology playground that includes a Labyrinth, textured walking path and Buddhist Hopscotch amongst the gardens and pond. I’m 10 -15 minutes to cool hiking trails, a beautiful pebble beach, the cove and waterfall of Baxter’s Harbour and the Halls Harbour Lobster Pound! You can plan a full “Away Day” to start or finish with a treatment. I’m building a wonderful healing and entertaining world for myself to live in and my clients and friends to enjoy with me. Come for a visit sometime!
Bio: Marie Jardine, The Virgo Tiger
Marie graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 1992. Since then she has run several home based visual art businesses. Her work has been published in ’50 Years of Canadian Metalsmithing” and “Three Centuries of Public Art: Historic Halifax Regional Municipality” and she has exhibited her work as far away as Denmark. Although her work is now in the healing arts Marie still makes costumes for her live performances, paints in acrylic and makes found object sculpture and videos. Check out these links to see her work.