Member in the Spotlight: Linda R. Nickerson
As a young adult I was drawn to experience alternative and complementary healing modalities. Initially, I was introduced to chiropractic manipulation and Reiki energy therapies. My experience was so favorable that I delved deeper into the world of holistic healthcare. A short time later I experienced Reflexology for the first time. Honestly, I was turned off initially because the practitioner was insistent on “digging in” when he found an area of sensitivity. This was quite painful and I did not enjoy the session at all. It was quite some time later before I gave it another try. This time my experience was remarkable and completely different from my initial experience. Over a series of sessions I began to realize that there was really something to the healing modality of Reflexology.
In the Spring of 2006, after serving 16 years in Corporate America (5 years at a banking institution and 11 as a corporate accountant) I stepped into Myra Achorn’s Treat Your Feet School of Reflexology for the first time. After I got over the shock of forever keeping my nails trimmed quite short, I was ready to learn the skill of Reflexology. By the Spring of 2007 I had successfully earned my private certification in Reflexology. With the support of the universe and of those in my personal life I bravely left the comforts and challenges of the corporate world behind and opened my private practice as a Professional Reflexologist. For the next 3 years I gained experience and confidence in my abilities as I built my practice. In the fall of 2010 I earned the designation of Nationally Board Certified Reflexologist (NBCR) from the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) for Foot Reflexology.
After obtaining the designation of NBCR I approached True North Health Center in Falmouth, Maine to become an affiliate practitioner. True North Health Center is a nonprofit organization changing health care and inspiring individuals to live healthier lives through integrative care, education and research. As an affiliate practitioner I collaborate with medical doctors and various holistic practitioners each week.
I find this particularly rewarding as it allows me to offer Reflexology sessions in one location (in home business) while enjoying the opportunity to network, teach, and learn with like minded individuals in a variety of healing professions. I have been a member of the Maine Council of Reflexologists (MCR) for 6 years. I am a member of MCR because I enjoy interacting with other Reflexologists. In addition, I feel being involved with MCR provides me an opportunity to keep up to date with what is happening in the profession of Reflexology both in the State of Maine and nationally. I have also enjoyed various opportunities to increase my knowledge on an array of topics in the Reflexology industry through MCR sponsored workshops.
I choose to serve as an Officer of MCR because I believe in the mission that MCR has set forth as the desire to establish Reflexology as a self regulating profession, ensure professional standards and for the exchange of knowledge of Reflexology. In addition to being affiliated with MCR and True North Health Center, I am also a member of the International Council of Reflexologists (ICR) and the Reflexology Association of America (RAA). In the Spring of 2012 I attended the RAA Conference that was held in Orlando, Florida. I decided to attend the conference at the last minute...and am I ever glad that I did! I experienced an array of workshops and learned that I had a particular interest in providing Gentle Touch Reflexology (Sue Ricks) to infants and children. I had a suspicion of this interest prior to the conference as I have been serving my 4 year old nephew with Reflexology since I met him shortly after his birth. He now asks, “Auntie Linda, will you rub my feet?” I am hopeful to offer Reflexology through Birth Roots, a Portland, Maine based non-profit organization.
Birth Roots is devoted to removing obstacles to perinatal health by offering continuous support through pregnancy and postpartum in a community setting. They serve both woman and infants. A dream of mine is to study Gentle Touch Reflexology with Sue Ricks in the UK. Yea, I think that I could live in the UK for a spell. For now, I have her dvd set on the topic and will study it over the winter months. I also have the goal of studying and becoming ARCB certified in Hand Reflexology. My private practice has taken some twists and turns since its inception. Each providing me with an opportunity to learn and develop what is best for me. Early on in my practice, with the corporate blood still running through my veins, I realized that I was focusing a good amount of energy on earning enough money and I was spreading myself too thin to do it.
I was providing services at a few establishments and realized that the quality of my service was impacted by the constant need to get where I needed to be to provide sessions. I invested some energy reflecting on what was really important to me and realized that serving humankind to the best of my abilities topped the list. I quickly made a decision to offer Reflexology sessions exclusively at my home office. I realized that by letting go of my fear around earning enough money, my bank account actually began to grow and I have all the money that I need. When my schedule is on the lighter side I now embrace the space that is created. I have learned that the universe has freed my schedule for a reason that presents itself in due time.
My Reflexology practice teaches me how to be in the flow of life! Being in the flow of life serves me quite well in my personal and professional experiences. What works for me is to sit quietly and center my energy and clear my mind prior to the arrival of my client. From the moment my client arrives at my door I am listening, not just with my ears but with my senses, to what is going on with them and what their needs are physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or energetically. When my hands connect with their feet/hands we create an experience that reflects the needs of the present moment.
Therefore sometimes I work one foot at a time and sometimes I alternate between the feet. Sometimes I use a deep pressure other times feather light pressure. At times the pace is quite slow and other times moving right along. As appropriate, I incorporate other healing therapies, including Reiki and Gemstone Therapy. The only pattern to my work is the pattern of listening and working with intention. I trust that my client is receiving exactly what they need in that moment.
My clients report profound experiences that reach levels much broader than the physical body. I feel truly blessed to know and serve those with whom I have crossed paths. Listening to my own special needs is also important. On days that I have clients, I gift myself an extended lunch break in which I practice Anasara Yoga in addition to consuming a nutritious meal. Sometimes I also have space for a meditative walk outside. My journey has taught me that a lifestyle that includes high quality nutrition, regular cardio and strengthening activities, along with meditation serves me quite well. I enjoy participating in activities such as walking, hiking, biking, aqua aerobics, kayaking, and snow shoeing.
I enjoy moving my body and my all time favorite activity is dancing. I have studied the art of belly dance and I am currently exploring African dance. Another activity that I enjoy is joining with other yogis for Kirtan. Kirtan is a celebration of the world and an expression of gratitude. Singing is the heart of Kirtan (call & response chanting) and it doesn’t matter what you sound like; part of the practice is to cultivate non-judgement toward self and others. I also enjoy knitting, beach combing, and play dates with my nephew.
My personal wellness includes gifting myself at least one healing treatment each week. My tool box contains a variety of healing modalities such as Reflexology, massage, myofascial release, energy medicine, acupuncture, and facials in which to choose from. I receive regular chiropractic adjustments as well. Each of these therapies is a very restorative experience for me which is crucial to my overall wellness.
By investing in myself I am able to serve others more effectively. My vision for the future of the Reflexology profession is that Reflexology is a service that is recognized in our healthcare system as effective and beneficial and worth consideration by insurance companies. I am blessed to be serving as a Professional Reflexologists at a time where some critical and exciting decisions can be made to progress the industry in this direction! I would love for the term “Reflexology” to be a household name!..Linda
Interviewed by Wendy Decker