Member in the Spotlight: Chrissy Ravelli-Studer
During my growing up years, I lived in the warm months by a beautiful resort area called Gull Lake in Michigan. My father was a professional golfer and worked at a golf course close to our home. He taught me to swing a club when I was four years old. My parents named me Christopher as my father hoped their child would follow in his footsteps. Come November, my family, which consisted of my parents, my two older sisters and our German Shepherd dog Laurie, would pile into our Cadillac convertible and head for Hollywood, Fla. My father taught golf lessons at a driving range and some of his clients were Jackie Gleason and Perry Como. On his day off, I began a ritual of rubbing liniment into my Dad’s scalp to supposedly make his hair grow back. He would put down the newspaper and fall asleep, telling me how good that felt. This made me very happy that I could convey my love for my father through my hands. I trace this experience as my catalyst in making the decision to take reflexology classes in 1986. Another component was I always had compassion when anyone was ill or hurting. I decided as a teenager that I wanted to become a doctor when I grew up so I could ease suffering.
I did become a licensed medical assistant while living in Denver, Colorado. At this time I was married and had two young daughters. But once I began working as a medical assistant, it was not rewarding, plus I shortly thereafter moved to Maine. My license was not recognized here.
Once in Washington Maine, I began gardening with my family using organic methods, endured a painful divorce, became involved in food co-operatives, worked part time in numerous places and was drawn to spiritual teachings. I did marry again and had a son, but unfortunately, my husband died. In August 1978, I married David Studer.
In 1986, I made the decision to take a course in reflexology in Waldoboro taught by Janet Stetser. I had been considering becoming a massage therapist and then learned about this field of reflexology which I had never known existed. When I contacted Janet Stetser to explore going to her reflexology school in 1986, Janet suggested I seek a session from her former student Nancy Simms, who I actually was acquainted with. It was an unforgettable experience and I felt like I had been transported right up to heaven. I felt such excitement realizing that once I became a reflexologist, I could convey that wonderful, comforting experience to many others.
The following year, I believe when Aloisia, our President became a reflexologist, Janet, Aloisia and I offered sessions at The Common Ground Country Fair held in Windsor. We were out in the open in a field, hauling buckets of water to bathe the fairgoers feet, in very chilly, rainy weather. I think I developed pneumonia afterwards. We have come a very long way and surely have a strong presence at the Fair.
So what is my practice like? I still use the same method Janet taught me 29 years ago where I alternate the feet and work systems. I have added more moves of course, but anytime I have attempted to switch methods, my clients have protested. Sometimes I invite my clients to first use my Chi machine as a warm -up. I like to include hot stones as a special treat. Since being introduced to essential oils, I normally add whichever one my client selects to the castor oil which I apply. I have done trades for more things than I dare mention. I did have an office at The Center of Health and Healing in Rockland, for 7 years, but presently I have a growing number of clients on the island of Vinalhaven, which has an hour long ferry ride. In the summer, I stay overnight at a client’s guest cottage nestled in a secluded cove. On a warm day, I might set up my chair on a deck and we listen to the sounds of the waves lapping on the beach and the sound of sea gulls. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
Another pleasurable thing I do is teach reflexology classes through Adult Education. One of my former students, David Nougaret, went on to become certified. This fall, I invited Karen Boynton to be my assistant and that worked out very well.
In addition to my profession, I am also involved in several network marketing companies. I market blue green algae, freeze dried food, survival equipment, doTERRA essential oils and just recently became a broker for telecommunications and energy, so I guess I am not going to retire anytime soon.
I am a believer in the importance of having a spiritual practice. Mine includes meditation and prayer, studying the scriptures and other spiritual teachings. When I am able, I enjoy taking our dog Audrey for walks. I enjoy swimming, reading, dancing, kayaking, hiking, visiting friends and family members, and weekly dates with David. One of my passions is doing family history research and performing temple ordinances in their behalf. I love to garden and am known as the flower lady at my Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known as Mormons) as I bring in a vase of flowers every Sunday.
One thing I miss about our organization is the fun and camaraderie we enjoyed in our earlier years. I remember gatherings at Aloisia’s cabins on Damariscotta Lake for instance and the swimming and potlucks. I think our current plan to hold teas and trades is a good thing and hope more are organized throughout the state.
I have much more that I could share since I have gotten warmed up but time is limited and so is space in the newsletter. So thank you one and all, God bless and continue in our most worthwhile profession and have much joy in your journey. Chrissy
Interviewed and edited by Wendy Decker, Newsletter reporter