by Lou Mancinelli
After she fell in the basement of the old Sears Roebuck Company on Roosevelt Boulevard that had flooded with two inches of rainwater, she could not sit down in the car without screaming from the pain. She had to sit on her knees, facing the rear windshield in order to be able to travel home in the car with her husband.

Next month Judy Dobbs will teach Introduction to Reflexology at the Mt. Airy Learning Tree.

It was 1973, and Judy Dobbs, 61, now a resident of East Mt. Airy for the past 15 years, was then 23 and teaching English as a second language in the Philadelphia School District, when she began experiencing an excruciating shooting pain in her coccyx, or tailbone.

Her husband at the time had to carry her down the stairs in order to get Dobbs to the chiropractor the next day. She was screaming in pain. The chiropractor could not help her. She next went to a doctor of osteopathic medicine, who prescribed her painkillers like Codeine. That only worsened her condition.

A week later, she saw an ad in the paper for May Post, a reflexologist. That’s when, Dobbs, raised in Medford Lakes, N.J., remembered something from her junior year in college at Lock Haven University. While she was home on break, she had wrist pain. Her mother had just taken a reflexology session. She tried what she remembered about the technique on her daughter. When her mother got to her heel, and pressed deep, Dobbs “felt an implosion come up her legs, down her arm and into her wrist.” The pain was gone.

So she decided to go see May Post. What did she have to lose? She could not sit or stand. This is paralysis, she thought. Her husband carried her into the car. She sat on her knees, facing the back windshield.

At the appointment, when Post got to working on her ankle, Dobbs’ heard a pop. The pain melted, and she was able to walk out of the office of her own accord.

Two years later, Dobbs enrolled in a class taught by May Post through the International Institute of Reflexology. Since then, she has practiced the art of healing through reflexology. Over the years she has worked with people struggling with troubles as common as anxiety, or back and shoulder pain, to paraplegics. She has worked with people who had loud ringing in the ears that they were able to heal. She has helped individuals who suffered from a loss of balance reestablish their sense of level ground. At present, she practices in Center City, Bucks County and her home.

This November, Dobbs will teach Introduction to Reflexology at the Mt. Airy Learning Tree. Dobbs has taught the course for 11 years. It meets twice Nov. 7 and 14 for a two-hour session each time at the Blair Christian Academy, 220 W. Upsal St. At the course, Dobbs instructs her students how to perform the technique on themselves.

Reflexology. You may recognize the term, or perhaps you are more familiar with the multi-colored foot maps. If you were to take a stroll down Race or Arch Street in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, you might see a poster of the bottom of feet hanging in a shop window. On that poster, different parts of the feet have lines pointing to them, much like a drawing that names the bones of a skeleton. A Google search will reveal numerous images.

The different colors on those maps refer to what reflexologists call reflex points. In the practice of reflexology, a holistic therapeutic medical treatment, with unclear origins that supposedly date back to ancient China, and pre-date acupuncture, those reference points are said to correspond with body parts.

“Each part of the hand and foot corresponds to a different part of the body,” Dobbs said. Parts of our head and neck correspond with the bottom of the toes. Below the toes, before the incurve of the foot, if you are working from toe to heel, is the area that corresponds to our lungs.

“I use their feet and their hands as a remote control into their body,” Dobbs said about working with her clients.

By applying and releasing compression to specific points, and learning a sequence of movements along those points, lymphatic matter can be released, and circulation improved, according to Dobbs. Common issues like anxiety, headache, back and muscle pain are said to be relieved, and a physiological equilibrium restored.

She explained it like this: if you are watering a flower garden and someone jumps up and down on the hose behind you, the water-flow starts and stops. The same is true of reflexology. When you press, release and press the hands and feet again, its send vibrations through your veins and nerves. The vibrations help to heal your body.

Sometimes, patients feel better after one session, Dobbs said. Others need more. In her class, Dobbs wants to help students learn how to rid themselves of headaches and anxiety, shoulder and neck pain. She wants to teach them to breathe better and/or improve personal health issues.

To register for Introduction to Reflexology, or, for more information, visit www.mtairylearningtree.org. To schedule an appointment with Judy Dobbs, visit http://mattersforyourhealth.com, email matters4urhealth@yahoo.com or call 215-292-2203.