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This article was published 10/12/2018 (714 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new wellness clinic in West Winnipeg is aiming to get to the bottom of residents’ aches and pains.
Sherri Gunn Wilkins is a registered Canadian reflexology therapist and teacher who has been working at a clinic in St. Vital for the past 17 years. Last weekend, the Crestview resident brought her practice closer to home with the grand opening of Heal and Toes Reflexology at 511 Hamilton Ave.
Gunn Wilkins has been working for the last year to transform the former pizza joint into a calming oasis.
"It’s exciting when I get to sit back and relax and see it all," she said of her journey into entrepreneurship.
The space has a clinic room for each of the business’ three therapists and a large foyer, where Gunn Wilkins hopes to hold reflexology classes in the future.
Reflexology is the practice of stimulating pressure points in the feet and hands to help ease pain in corresponding areas of the body.
"It can help so well with general circulation of the body," she said. "Relaxation of tension is another huge benefit that a lot of people really do feel and therefore it really helps the body get back to balance."
Gunn Wilkins says she fell into reflexology "by accident" when she was considering a career in massage therapy. She had always been interested in anatomy and signed up for a reflexology course at a friend’s suggestion.
"From the moment my teacher started talking I was like, ‘Why haven’t I known about this my whole life?’" she said.
Erika Goodman, a therapist at Heal and Toes, had a similar reflexology epiphany when she was just 10-years-old.
"The first time I saw the foot map I was 10 years old and it was like Shangri-La," she said. "Reflexology changed my life and I think it is just so accessible to empower one’s own body to be resilient in this day and age."
Goodman believes reflexology is more beneficial than massage therapy, but says the practice isn’t as well-known because it isn’t covered by insurance companies.
"That’s one of the things holding us back," she said. "It empowered me to take my health in my own hands, rather than relying on someone else to keep me healthy."
While foot and hand manipulation form the basis of the practice, Gunn Wilkins says ear and face reflexology has gained popularity in recent years.
"Because the basis of reflexology is reflexes and we have them all over our body, there is potential to be a lot of different spots all over our body," she said.
Each of Heal and Toes’ therapists are registered by the Reflexology Association of Canada and specialize in different areas of the practice.
In addition to basic reflexology, Gunn Wilkins offers ear and face therapy; Goodman does yoga and meditation instruction; and Zana Anderson practices reiki and aroma touch therapy.
Sessions range from 30 to 60 minutes. Visit healandtoes.ca to learn more.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.