Briar Munro touches pressure points on the feet of classmate Louise Doherty during some practical training at a reflexology course that wrapped-up last week at Aurora College. - Terry Halifax/NNSL photo
Aurora College offered a two-week course in reflexology -- a massage technique that relates pressure points in the feet to organs and other parts of the body.
Allain St-Cyr is from Edmonton, where he teaches high school and is also an instructor for the Reflexology Association of Canada.
He says the art has many benefits outside of a great foot massage.
"It's a natural healing art that's based on the principle that there are reflexes in the hands, ears and feet, that correspond with every gland and organ in the body," St. Cyr said. "It relieves tension and improves circulation."
While clients may receive more health benefits from the treatments, St. Cyr said, they cannot claim any healing properties that may result from reflexology.
"We don't diagnose and we don't prescribe," he said. "Reflexology promotes body balance."
St-Cyr has had students and clients come to him for any number of ailments and they walk away feeling better from the treatment.
"I had one woman come to me who was a horse jockey," he recalled.
He noticed swelling on her foot in the area of her rib reflexes and asked if she had suffered a fall recently.
She had, in fact, fallen off her horse that day and bruised some ribs that day.
Reflexology concentrates on pressure points in three appendages, but St-Cyr says the feet are most often used.
"The three main courses are foot, hands and ears," he said.
"The most popular is the foot."
The connection between the pressure points in the feet hands and ears are not fully understood by the medical profession, he said.
"The science has not yet caught up to the practice," St. Cyr said.
The practice dates back to Egyptian times and is a sister of acupuncture.
"Acupuncture deals with meridians," he said, adding that reflexology is a study of pressure points.
Ten students enrolled in the intensive two-week course. St-Cyr said the class is comprised mostly of caregivers.
The course is 115 hours and each student must complete 60 case studies on clients.
"They will be looking for subjects and they don't charge," he said.
Some of the 10 students will challenge the national exam following the course completion.
St. Cyr said the students here have been quick studies and many could pass the exam.
"They are telling me things I didn't know," he laughed.