All paths lead to feet
Students take new look at often neglected body part

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 22/98) - Feet are big in Yellowknife.

And they are about to get much bigger, as graduation time has arrived for Aurora College's first class of reflexology students.

"I thought of learning it a long time ago, because I love the feet," said student Darlene Robertson.

"It's not a foot fetish or anything," Robertson quickly added. "When your feet feel good, your whole body feels good."

As instructor Allain St. Cyr (after whom the French school is named) explained: "Reflexology is based on the principle that there are pressure points on the foot and hands that correspond to every gland, organ and body part."

St. Cyr said there is no scientific explanation for the link between pressure points and body parts, but it is an effective healing technique nevertheless.

"It's been around for thousands of years," said St. Cyr, who first started practising reflexology in 1989. "There are pictures of it being performed in the ancient Egyptian pyramids."

The course, a total of 30 hours over two weekends, filled up almost immediately after it was offered.

"They could've filled this class three times over," said student Cal Smith, who works at an esthetics business in town. "I think reflexology will be really popular. A lot of people here are very much into naturopathic and homeopathic healing."

From the first day, students began learning by working on each other's feet.

"I think everyone felt a little uncomfortable at first, about things like sock fluff and others handling your unpedicured feet," said student Denise Bowen. "But now we'll take off our socks at the drop of a hat."

"I've always had an interest in holistic therapies," said Lynda Comerford. "I thought this was a great opportunity, being able to get trained here in town to become a certified practitioner."

To become a certified practitioner, after the course students must document 60 treatments they have administered and complete national exams with a mark of 80 per cent or better.

So, does it work?

"Oh yeah," said Marlene Borgford, while Bowen was working on her feet. "It improves your circulation and increases your level of relaxation. It gives you a feeling of total well being."

Borgford said reflexology treatments have helped her cope with foot problems caused by marathon running. She added it has also been a help in dealing with arthritis.

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