(This interview was conducted May 22, 2018)
Healthy Soles Healing Touch Reflexology offers reflexology, Karuna Reiki, the Reiki of Compassion, ear candling and ionic detoxification. Lois works from 2 locations: 1 East Pulteney St. in Corning, NY 14830 and 301 West Broad St. (Dr. Jeff Patterson, Chiropractor) in Horseheads, NY 14845. She may be reached by phone at (607) 329-0382 and through email at HealthySolesLois@gmail.com. Healthy Soles Healing Touch Reflexology is also on Facebook.
Please explain a bit more about what you do.
Reflexology is a science based on the theory that there are reflexes in the feet (and the hands) that directly correspond to organs, glands and systems in the body. Stimulating those reflexes in the feet or hands helps the body find its own natural balance or homeostasis. It is a relaxation technique.
Reiki is universal energy. The healing energy is channeled through me to the client. I am the conduit or channel of that energy.
Ear candling is about taking a 10” long candle that is shaped like a funnel and placing one end in the ear. You light the opposite end and it wicks ear wax up into the funnel of the candle. It comfortably pulls excess wax out of the ear.
Ionic Detox is about pulling toxins out of the body using a water bath that has been ionized. You place your feet into a bath of ionized water. The body is a negative charge and the water is a positive charge creating a magnetic pull. You do not put anything in the water. You just use an ionizer. The result may show a different color and particles in the water.
I am also an herbalist. However, I have limited space where I do my work now, so I am not active with herbs. I had an herb store on Market St. for 10 years.
How long have you been in business?
I have been doing Reflexology for 23 years. I do not know of any other Reflexologists in the area.
Talk about the differences between a Reflexologist and a Massage therapist.
A reflexologist and a massage therapist working on the feet is two completely different things. A massage therapist works on muscle and a reflexologist works on the reflexes. 45 minutes of reflexology on your feet is different from a massage therapist doing an hour massage where they may spend a few minutes on your feet. A reflexologist will not use oils or anything else that makes your feet slippery.
I had a woman come in and her neck reflex in her feet felt crunchy to me. I asked if she was having trouble with her neck. She worked on a farm carrying milk cans. A bit later I was working on her bladder reflex. It felt as if a bit of salt was sprinkled on a piece of paper. It had the feeling to me of running your finger over the page of salt. I asked her if she had any urinary problems. Her jaw dropped. She just came home from the doctor and was told she had a raging UTI.
I can feel differences. I don’t know what they mean. I am not a doctor. I don’t prescribe or diagnose, but I knew the reflex was not ‘right’ compared to other people I have worked on.
What has been the evolution of you as a business owner?
Originally, I worked at Hess’s Department store at the mall for 10 years. I managed most of the departments they had.
I don’t know why I discovered Reflexology. I signed up for a class is Syracuse. When I walked in to the classroom in 1995 I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. It was as if a choir of angels was singing halleluiah. It was incredible. I have loved it ever since.
That was when I realized there was a healing aspect to things I truly enjoyed. I had always been interested in herbs. I used to make things with my girls – bath salts and soaps, etc.. After the reflexology course, in 1996, I did a course at Healing Spirits, an organic herb farm in Avoca, NY. It ended up as an apprenticeship with the owners, Matthew Matthias and Andrea Reisen through Rosemary Gladstar.
Hess’s department store closed and I received a small pension. I used that money to open an herb store that same year I finished the apprenticeship in herbs. I moved twice on Market St. and was there for 10 years. My reflexology space was in the same space as my herb shop.
After only a year and a half, my shop was a destination location. I made a product called Booboo Goo. People would come from as far away as Buffalo and South Carolina and sometimes build their vacations around coming to my shop. This was before everything was online and mailed.
What made you close the store?
Corning replaced the water main down Market St. in 2004 (?). Our block was closed for 4 months during the summer while they dealt with the water main and the problems with Monkey Run that ran under the street. I never got my momentum back. Just around this time, Corning laid off a huge number of people. I stayed open for another year after that, but never quite got the momentum back.
What did you do once the shop was closed?
I opened up another little business with a friend. We made breadboard and knife sets. We made them and traveled all over the country selling them. That was fun.
At the same time, I was still doing reflexology out of Becky Hinman’s office on 14th St. in Elmira Heights. She is an acupuncturist. When she moved to Dr. Patterson’s chiropractic office, I went with her.
Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?
People who have never had reflexology do not know what to expect. A lot of people think reflexology will be like a massage. If someone has an issue, it can be really uncomfortable. Some may come and not tell me there is a problem. They wait to see if I can find it.
What have been your greatest achievements?
Helping people feel better and realize they can still do things. With my herbal background I can offer suggestions for things that may help. It is nice to help people to feel good and know that I can make a difference.
Have you had any stumbling blocks?
The biggest stumbling block was having to close my shop.
If you could have a Do-Over in anything, what would that be (if anything)?
I would still like to have an herb shop or a center where people can get more than just their reflexology done. I would want it to be less of a Spa setting and more of a healing setting where I can sell herbs.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would like to be in a healing center and have a good presence. I would like to be teaching how to cook and eat for any of the serious issues (Blood Pressure, Diabetes, etc.). I would like to have a place where women can come to relax and BE and be powerful.