Lifestyle

Langley reflexologist envisions a world of wellness

Reflexologist Shirley Jantz works in her home studio in downtown Langley. - Patricia Duff / The Record
Reflexologist Shirley Jantz works in her home studio in downtown Langley.
— image credit: Patricia Duff / The Record

When you enter Shirley Jantz’s sanctuary of wellness, your whole body retreats into a wonderland of repose.

Jantz is experienced in several of the healing arts, including reiki healing touch therapy, reflexology, T’ai Chi and Qigong (pronounced chi kung).

As an 18-year practitioner of bio-energetics and Universal Chi, Jantz said these Asian arts have transformed her life and beckoned her toward further study that continues to unfold for the benefit of others.

A visit to her home reflexology studio in Langley verified Jantz’s beneficial effect on one’s feet, the domain of the reflexologist.

With her warm, welcoming demeanor, even before one’s shoes are left at the door, it is clear that Jantz has found her calling as a healer, possessing as she does an unforced aptitude for exuding calm. After just a few moments in her presence, the decibel levels in the mind start to soften.

Already letting her quiet magic make its way into the limbs, she presents a hot-foot bath lined on the bottom with Whidbey Island stones on which to massage the feet while they soak into a warm dream.

Jantz has told her clients, and those who attend her frequent reflexology learning circles, that one’s feet deserve to be treated to a little bit of heaven every now and then.

“I tell them to pull out those Epsom salts and to soak their feet just like their grandmother did,” Jantz said.

Apparently, many a grandma was hip to a simple act of kindness for the feet that has since been lost in America.

But the idea of healing through the feet is not foreign in other parts of the world.

Many cultures create stone and bamboo reflexology paths to touch the foot’s reflex points and clear the body of toxins and crystal deposits. The Japanese often include foot baths in their gardens, and Native Americans are historically known for being mainly barefoot in order to stimulate the more than 7,000 nerve endings that exist in the feet.

Reflexology takes advantage of those easily accessible nerve endings by applying pressure to the feet with specific thumb, finger and hand techniques. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that are directly related to the body’s organs, with a premise that such work causes a healthy change in the body. Often, mineral-salt foot baths are included with a session to relax muscles and release stress.

As an ancient healing art, reflexology has been practiced for thousand of years, from Egypt to Denmark. The Danes, in fact, seem to be onto something health-wise. Eighty-six percent of physicians in Denmark have a reflexologist on staff.

Jantz said reflexology, along with other healing arts, can maintain health and offer full-body balancing if practiced regularly. Those 7,000 nerve endings are a valuable link to deep relaxation and self-healing.

After being treated to Jantz’s foot reflexology session, returning one’s feet to the earth seems a bit like walking on air. Really. There is a definite euphoria that comes from having laid down in complete relaxation induced by the gentle yet satisfying fingers of Jantz, while mesmerized by the sound of Tibetan bowl music piped softly into the room and aided by the darkening eye cover that all conspire to send you down one delicious healing rabbit hole for an hour.

Jantz has been offering foot reflexology for two years on the island, as well as teaching Qigong and T’ai Chi for almost six years. Trained by Chinese masters with an emphasis in medical Qigong, her sessions are an integrative way toward wholeness. With her focus on inner peace, Jantz said she strives to give clients a deeper awareness of inter-connectedness, and the ever-present life force that imbues balance and joy.

Presently, Jantz is offering free T’ai Chi classes at Langley’s Seawall Park through April in honor of Earth Day. The class meets on the beach from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays.

Qigong classes meet from 10 to 11 a.m. Mondays and from 5:20 to 6:20 p.m. at the Island Pilates Center at 222 Anthes Ave. in Langley. Both Qigong classes will move outdoors in warmer weather.

Also look for Jantz’s Wellness Learning Circles around town, which offer foot reflexology experiences in pairs, where participants give and receive nurturing care that balances and rejuvenates the body and spirit. These circles can also integrate Qigong, the practice of breath and chi, for a fuller awareness of sacred well-being.

Ultimately, Jantz’s main thrust is to create a place of natural healing for all the people she encounters.

“It’s an overall vision to wellness that I have,” Jantz said. To that end, Jantz said she envisions a preventive self-care sanctuary where all four practices are embraced for the health of one’s heart, mind, body and soul.

“I want to connect people to their divine wellness,” she said.

To register for classes, or to schedule a reflexology learning circle, call Shirley Jantz at 221-6296, or e-mail her at 2herons@whidbey.net.

Also, Jantz is offering reflexology sessions at the Lavender Wind Farm in honor of mothers and women. Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.Saturday, May 8 by appointment. The sessions are 20 to 40 minutes at $1 per minute. Call or e-mail Jantz to set one up.

Gift certificates are available.

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