Media: The Anecdotal Story

Chronicling the anecdotal story of the lay or professional reflexologist has a value. The value is illustrated by following newspaper stories that speak to the people side of reflexology.

November 2, 1993: National Inquirer, "Donald Trump was astounded when he watched Marla Maples give birth to their baby without any painkillers… "a massage therapist Aiko Aiyana, rubbed Marla's feet to help her relax as her labor pains increased."

1982: "Reflexology, Practitioners say the foot bone is connected to wellness" by Rex Buntain, Unknown Florida newspaper, "When Heather Ridenour of Jacksonville was 5, she was plagued by constant ear infections. "Her tonsils and adenoids were removed in March, 1981 but the problems persisted. Tubes put into her ears for drainage didn't help and her hearing began to suffer. After three more stays in the hospital and a month of medication, Heather finally got relief,… "The cure rested in her feet - through reflexology treatment.… " 'It was unbelievable," Mrs. Ridenour said, "I would not have believed it had I not been there and seen it. I honestly believe that is what cleared it up.' "

March 31, 1992, "Treatment at a Touch, How feeling the feet can keep illness at bay" by Georgia Metcalfe, England, "Like close to 25 percent of babies in our area, my son Alexander failed to pass his eight-month hearing test. … "Closer examination at an audiology clinic revealed that the eustachian tubes of his middle ear were partially blocked. He is not deaf by any means but his hearing is less that it should be, which could lead to problems in speech development.…' "'Instead of pursuing this course of treatment (Traditional medical) I took Alexander to Robert Wynford, a reflexologist who enjoys working with babies although he by no means specialize in them.…' " 'Three weeks later (after the first session) the cold hasn't come back. Our amateur experiments seem to show that his hearing has improved, for example, he turns around even when we whisper quietly.'"

March, 1994: "'Reflexology cured my son's glue ear,' Every mother dreads her child going into the hospital. For Kim Badcock the trauma was made even worse because her young son Alistairs's adenoid and ear operations were to be carried out at Christmas…" by Deanne Pearson, HH (England), "Alistair came out of the hospital on Christmas Eve, but the next Christmas he would have been back having more grommets put in and would have been having the same operation the following year had Kim, a nurse working in a local GP's surgery, not taken the situation, quite literally in hand.… "It was then that she came across an article in the Daily Mail on reflexology which said it had been successfully used for the treatment of glue ear.… "Although Alistair said his ears felt better after the first session, Kim and David didn't notice any improvement until after his third visit."

Feb. 9, 1987: Sports Illustrated, "(Canadian hockey player) Greshner's back continued to keep him on the sidelines for all but ten games in the '82-'83 season. He tried traditional medicine, chiropractors, acupuncture, papaya enzyme injections - you name it - but nothing worked… "Finally on (girlfriend fashion model Carol) Alt's advice, Greshner tried a therapy called 'reflexology'… "and the back slowly mended."

April 1, 1988: "Growing along the recovery road," Guardian (England), "Jackie Leven was a singer and song writer of the 70's who, had he been around a decade earlier, would have made it to the top. Leven's switch from pop music to alternative medicine was the result of a brutal mugging four years ago. Every part of his mental and physical being was affected and eventually he found comfort in heroin. Spending £150 a day he found his money gone, and turned to homeopathy, acupuncture and reflexology. The treatment worked and her was inspired to turn his attention to helping other addicts, with this holistic principle." (Ed. Note: The program continues today.)

April 13, 1988: "Dutch touch that helped Lyle win by a stroke" by Tim Glover, The Independent (England), "The mistress of the new Masters (golf) champion would like it known that the only happy event the couple have been celebrating was the triumph in August. Jolande Huurman, an expert in massage and foot reflexology, has announced that she is not pregnant and has no intention of becoming so … On the morning of his unforgettable final round in the Masters, Lyle, who was suffering from a cold, woke at 2 a. m. "My nose and eyes were choked: he said.… "As she had done earlier in the week, Jolande, who qualified as a sports masseuse after taking a five-year course in the Netherlands, her home country, eased the congestion with foot reflexology."

April 17, 1988: "Lyle is finding success with companion," Philadelphia, Pennsylvania newspaper, "Huurman came to public attention a week ago when Lyle, leading the Masters, made an offhand remark in a press conference about 'about going back to my room and having my girlfriend tickle my feet'… "as it turned out, attention to his feet may have had a bearing on his Masters' triumph."

December 10, 1988: "Woman carries burden well following farm accident" by Delores Jochimsen, Fort Dodge Messenger (Iowa), "It was Oct. 30, 1987. (Marilyn) Anderson was unloading corn about six miles from their home farm.…' "'It was a nice night, warm with a big full moon. I had just placed the big hoe I used to rake the corn down when I felt a tug. When you feel a tug like that you know you are in trouble,' she said. 'As soon as I felt the tug, I pulled back. I said 'Oh God, no.' I pulled back and held up my arm and I could see the jagged bone.'" She had lost her arm.… "At first it appeared doctors would have to amputate above the elbow. But the family summoned a foot reflexologist. The ensuing therapy allowed the muscles in the elbow area to relax and doctors were pleased. The elbow was saved."

October, 1989: "My Husband Healed Me with Love," Redbook, "The thought of beginning a family is wonderful news in any woman's life, but for Tracy Nelson (Daughter of singer Ricky Nelson and granddaughter of 50's television stars Ozzie and Harriet Nelson) it was a triumph - nearly two years ago, the actress was told that she had Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes and lymph glands.…' "I worked with a chiropractor and a nutritionist,' she says. 'I saw a foot reflexologist and an acupuncturist.' "

September, 1991: "Unheard of - Reflexology Promotes Bone Growth," Here's Health (England), "Orthodox medicine did a magnificent job on IAN MURPHY, but reflexology saved his right leg from being amputated. Doctors put him together after a horrific head-on car crash which had left him unconscious. He had multiple fractured leg and a completely shattered thigh bone, head injuries and masses of cuts and bruises.… "nine months after the accident, he was told there was no bone growth, no signs of healing and it was likely he would have to have his right leg amputated." Ian turned to reflexologist Barbara Newman for help. "Ian still has his leg - and consultants are amazed that he now does have bone growth where they thought none was possible."

1992: "Nun's footwork helps homeless" by Martin Wroe, The Independent (England), "Colette Flynn, a nun and former biology teacher, is taking a holistic approach to helping homeless people. … "Two afternoons a week Sister Flynn visits a hostel where, as a trained reflexologist, she massages the residents' feet, a process which ' helps the body normalize itself.' "

Unknown: "Reflexology," Medical Foundation News (England), "When Maureen Li saw a photograph in the Observer of a physiotherapist working on the feet of a torture victim, she thought "That's something reflexology can do." She contacted the Medical Foundation and offered her services as a volunteer.… "Survivors present with a variety of problems which include pain, pain in the knees and shoulders and, as many have suffered falaka (beating on the soles of the feet), pain in the feet. These physical symptoms are usually accompanied by psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness.… "Some people have been X-rayed numerous times in hospital and told that there is nothing wrong with them: Maureen believes that pain which has no medical explanation is the body's way of holding onto the memory of previous pain which the person cannot let go of.… "Occasionally, reflexology can be effective very quickly. An Iranian man who had been severely tortured (soldiers trampled on his back and he suffered falaka), showed dramatic improvement after only four sessions.… "After three sessions his back pain diminished considerably and he had stopped taking painkillers. He was bright and cheerful when he came to the fourth session."

June 25, 1993, "Diploma Honors Girl's Recovery, Teacher's Faith" by Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times, "The sixth-grade graduation ceremony was so important to Esmerelda Pena that she dragged her mother to buy a fancy pearl-colored shoes to match a new white dress. Then came the unthinkable. … "Esmerelda was just a few feet from the shoe store when a car driven by a suspected drunk driver fleeing police veered onto the sidewalk and struck her. The precocious 12 year-old suffered a critical brain injury, lapsed into a coma and appeared to be near death." But her teacher Jose Roberto Vasquez never lost hope. Although the nurses said she could not see or hear him, Vasquez took the bus to the hospital twice a day to hold her hand, massage her feet and whisper news of the upcoming graduation. … "Fourteen days later Esmerelda awoke."

Thanks to those who contributed stories: Toni Wilbanks, Kay Thomas, Jim Ingram and Jerry Budenz of the Foot Reflexology Awareness Association, Shirley Thomas, and Mo Usher of the Association of Reflexologists (England).