ELK RIDGE -- Foot zoning? It's probably not something that most people are familiar with. But foot zoning is now becoming more common, and more people are aware of it and how it is helping others.
Foot Zone Therapy is a method of treating the physical, mental and emotional features of the body, by using a specific massage of the nerves located on the feet. Each nerve signals the brain to affect change at the corresponding area -- muscle, bone, joint, organ or system. A complete zone communicates to every cell in the body. The zone encourages the cells to regenerate from their abnormal state to their original healthy state, bringing the body back into balance at the cellular level.
After a foot zone treatment most people will feel relaxed and a great release of stress. They may feel that their body feels more in balance allowing the body as a whole to have a more perfect state of homeostasis.
Julie Cheney, a resident of Elk Ridge, is using her knowledge of this therapy and helping others. Nine years ago, after giving birth to her fourth son, Cheney was told by her doctor that she had cancer. This was not a total shock for Cheney, being that the form of cancer ran in her family. After spending a lot of time thinking of where to go from there, she made the decision to take a more natural alternative than radiation and chemotherapy.
"I met a lady that did foot zoning and I became fascinated with her stories and how she was able to provide a wonderful service to people," Cheney said. "I knew this is something I needed to learn more about."
After working for several years as a nurse, Cheney pursued training at the Academy of Foot Zone Therapy to become a certified foot zone therapist. Foot Zone Therapy is analogous to an advanced practice of reflexology, which combines the discoveries of reflexology with an extensively researched, systematic approach to healing the entire body. In the three and a half years that Cheney has been foot zoning she has provided this therapy to more than 600 clients and performed about 3,000 foot zones.
When several doctors told Rod Shepherd two years ago that he would be wheelchair bound within five years, he felt helpless and knew it was not the kind of life he wanted.
Shepherd suffers from neuropathy, or nerve damage, and he has it from his knees down. When his daughter-in-law heard of foot zoning, she arranged for him to have three treatments. Shepherd said he was skeptical and didn't even want to try. But his wife and daughter-in-law gave him no choice and they took him to his first appointment with Cheney.
"I left my first appointment frustrated and discouraged because nothing had changed for me," Shepherd said. "But I gave it a few more times and by my fourth treatment I was in awe of the outcome. I was able to have feeling in my legs and feet and it has been a life-changing experience."
Shepherd planned to have his feet zoned every 10 days at first, but because it has helped him so much and he is regaining the feeling he had lost, he now only has to go every three months.
"His story is such a wonderful example of how positive this kind of treatment can be," said Carolyn Shepherd, his wife, who also has been going to have her feet zoned with Cheney.
Cheney has been teaching the things she loves in various settings for years, from small community groups to large university classes. She is willing to travel and offer classes where there is not a teacher already available. Anyone who has a sincere desire to become a foot zoner can successfully complete the course -- her students have ranged from ages 12 to 85. She has a firm belief that every family needs a zoner.
"I have taught and had 57 graduate from the program," Cheney said. "I try to encourage people to add positive before negative and this is a way I can show others how to work towards accomplishing this. Many people who come in for nerve or endocrine systems see amazing results."
Heidi Goodsell and Sala Naulu are both graduates of Cheney's and work with her. Naulu is a Tongan native and grew up on an island where they used natural forms of healing when they were ill. That is why she wanted to become a teacher of zoning. She has been zoning for a year and a half and loves being able to help others. Both Goodsell and Naulu are taking new clients who are interested in trying this wonderful form of therapy.
"This is such a support for my health," Goodsell said. "I was so impressed with the education behind the foot zoning, I have been zoning for two years and I am excited to share this passion with others and help them."
Foot zone therapists cannot diagnose or prescribe. They believe in treating the body as a whole and not treating specific diseases or problems. Although they cannot claim direct healing effects and cures, they have seen remarkable results during or after the treatment. Some foot zoning clients have reported experiencing relief from common ailments such as headaches, back pain, digestive and sleep disorders, depression, auto immune failure, the common cold or flu, stress and many other health problems.
The first Foot Zone Balance session should take between 45 to 60 minutes. After that 40 to 45 minutes should be normal.
The size of a client's feet does influence the time it takes, as well as how open the signals are on the feet. For example, children with smaller feet take less time because of their size and general overall health. The purpose is to not kill clients with pain; it is to allow the body to heal. Foot zone therapists work directly with clients and communicate throughout the treatment to determine the level of pressure that is right.
Foot zoning isn't just a relaxing foot massage. When signals in the feet are shut down, therapists work to attempt to open them back up. Most people will feel a direct pressure or a slight burning where the work is being done, if that signal is shut down.
In many cases, for every one signal that is closed there are several others that are fine. Some people will feel nothing at all and say it feels like a soothing foot rub; other will feel everything and say it is not a foot rub.
Cheney is working on publishing a book "Little Miracles of Foot Zoning," which is about the results that her clients have seen. It will include stories of each of them. She hopes that reading her book and testimonials of her clients will encourage people to give foot zoning a try and see if it helps them like it has others. For more information on foot zoning, contact Julie Cheney at (435) 616-1778 or by visiting her website at www.footzonetherapyutah.com. To schedule an appointment with Julie Goodsell call (801) 471-6744 and for Sala Naulu (801) 362-7131.