They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, though Donaghcloney woman Sarah Thompson is going some way to prove she can access all of a person’s internal organs through their feet.
The ‘MAIL’ caught up with Sarah on the second day of a two day reflexology marathon in Care In Crisis in Union Street.
The 33-year-old who runs One Therapy in Donaghcloney said: “A lot of people still don’t know what reflexology is. What I do is work through the nerve endings in feet and hands to find imbalances elsewhere in their body.
“When I look at a person feet I see a map of their entire body. I look for imbalances in the feet which point to imbalances in the body. What I do is manipulate the nerve endings that correspond to different areas of the body. For me it’s the best treatment you can have for dealing with today’s stresses.”
Of the reflexology marathon Sarah said: “I’ve been seeing feet in my dreams. People think I’m bonkers because it’s only recommended you do two or three a day. When you do reflexology you’re taking on everything your client is suffering from so by the end of a marathon sessions I’m a ball of other people’s stress. It’s a bit like counselling in that respect.”
Evelyn Curran, a volunteer counsellor at Care In Crisis, said: “People don’t take enough care of their mental health. Something like this shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a necessity. I’m very passionate about mental health and I can see the obvious benefits of reflexology to this area.
Sarah added: “I love what I do and I’m doing this marathon to raise awareness of the benefits of reflexology.
“When you look at how far medical science has come it would be great if mental health could make the same strides. There are strong links between reflexology and mental illness. It’s not something that is prescribed by your doctor, but for me this is far better than popping pills.”
She believes in starting from an early age and to this end Sarah is pioneering a programme called Weeflex to teach parents to do reflexology on their own kids.
Sarah, originally from Lisburn, moved to Donaghcloney just over 10 years ago with her husband Ian. They have three children - Megan (12), Niamh (6) and Noah (1).
She said: “I’d always worked in the travel industry but after suffering from post natal depression travel wasn’t an option for me anymore. I went to see a reflexologist and it opened up a new door for me.”
For more information on Sarah’s business go to www.one-therapy.co.uk
“Schemes have been pioneered over in England and in Michigan to offer the treatment in hospitals. “This is something I would love to implement in Northern Ireland. I’m on a mission to marry up holistic health with mental health with reflexology as an alternative treatment.”
She added: “I’d love to get more male clients. I’ve a few lorry driver who will come to me, they like the fact that it’s a private clinic and a very relaxed atmosphere. But generally men don’t like to talk about the mental well being. They’re seen as the big strong guys who just live with it.”