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WRA's mission is to promote excellence and professionalism in the practice of Reflexology in the State of Washington.


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  • Hanne Marquardt, Ireland and Reflexotherapy
    July 3rd, 2018

    by Jacqueline Lyczewski, NBCR

    On March 31, 2017 a dozen reflexologists from Spain to Seattle gathered together in Kilkenny, Ireland to learn about reflexotherapy from one of reflexologies greats, Hanne Marquardt. When I discovered that Hanne will no longer travel to the U.S. but would be as close as Kilkenny, Ireland, well it was now or never to take the opportunity to study with this wonderful icon. So I headed to Kilkenny, to discover more about this fascinating lady and what she now calls Reflexotherapy.

    So what is Reflexotherapy of the feet and who is Hanne Marquardt? Born in 1933 and growing up in the Bavarian Mountains, Hanne, at the age of 17 studied for 3 ½ years to become a nurse. After which she learned therapeutic massage and became a naturopath. As a young nurse and physiotherapist, Hanne became most interested in the findings outlined by Eunice Ingham in her book ‘Stories the Feet Can Tell’. (Eunice Ingham is attributed with developing the term ‘Reflexology’ and with the mapping of the whole body onto reflex areas of the feet, reflecting a micro-system of the whole person on the feet). And in 1958 Hanne pursued reflexology.

    By chance (or was it) Thursday night sister reflexologist, Linda Frank, and myself ran in to Hanne at dinner and were invited to join her! During our conversation, she reflected on the fact that she actually set out to disprove Eunice’s findings on the results of treatment by reflexology. Hanne explains that in those early days the claims of reflexology were quite radical. And as Linda and I attempted to probe Hanne with our own investigative questions, I got a glimpse of how brave she must have been to challenge Eunice. But Hanne admitted humble defeat in her efforts and instead developed a growing respect for her teacher and the practice of reflexology. And she has earnestly and whole-heartedly, continued its development and practice, fine-tuning the position of reflex areas and treatment techniques according to her own findings and thereby opening the door to her use of the term ‘Reflexotherapy’.


    Students look on as Hanne demonstrates her techniques

    Two days we spent with Hanne, eagerly listening as she imparted much wisdom and knowledge interspersed with humor and anecdotes for living simply and fruitfully. Our class was outlined with the historical development of Reflexotherapy of the feet (RTF), similarity of shape and Fitzgerald’s 10 longitudinal body zones including Hanne Marquardt’s three horizontal zones. Included was terminology, the micro and macro system, grips for stabilization and harmonization of the ANS, treatment of scars, joints,  techniques and a wonderful ‘balm’ that Hanne herself has created for soothing the stressed beast within.

    We watched intently as she demonstrated techniques for treating sensitive reflex areas and harmonizing holds. We were put through our paces as she challenged us to locate the reflex areas corresponding to scars on the body of the person being treated. We practiced the treatment of such scars and all that she demonstrated to us under her watchful eye.

    Hanne prefers to use the word ‘zones’ or ‘reflex zones’ when describing locations on the feet. In Germany, she says, we do not treat reflexes; we treat zones or reflex zones when describing our practice to those in the medical field. Where in West Germany medical doctors ‘prescribe’ reflexology to their patients. Wow, could you imagine! J

    In Germany Hanne has gained even further recognition for her use of Reflexotherapy as she treats ‘patients’ instead of ‘clients’ and for ‘specific illnesses’ rather than ‘generally’. Hanne also urged us to use the term ‘someone’ as opposed to ‘somebody’. ‘Always remember’ she paused, ‘you are treating a person not a body or just their feet but a whole person.’ She also requested that we use the word complimentary when talking to others about reflexotherapy and not ‘alternative’, for we are so much more than an alternate modality, we work together!

    Thanks to pioneers such as Eunice Ingham and Hanne Marquardt, Reflexology has grown to be a highly respected and recognized therapy. Hanne has 24 schools in Europe! Along with 2 in Spain and 2 in Italy. She has hand-picked 5 students to study under her watchful eye and to assist in class to one day become instructors themselves. This giving us a hint that Hanne herself will be stepping out of the spot light soon and turning over her teachings to someone else.

    An incredible teacher and a wonderful story teller, studying with Hanne was a pleasurable, productive and valuable learning experience. She clearly enjoyed the weekend also and is keen to return to Ireland soon to refresh our memories and provide opportunity for advancement of our skills. As we parted company she urged us to be creative in our practice, talk to the inner doctor and to be mindful of the unique potential that exists in all of us. And remember to take care of ourselves!

    Part 2 of this class will be held in Belgium in November of this year. However, we heard a rumor that the second half might also take place in Kilkenny, Ireland in October 2017. But we have a sneaky hunch that it could be taught by Jennifer who assisted Hanne in the classroom during our class. We may have been very lucky to have seen the last of Hanne Marquardt and been a part of her slowly fading into the sunset.

    Students in Kilkenny, Ireland with Hanne Marquardt (positioned center with ‘feet’)

    Jacqueline Lyczewski, NBCR is a Washington Reflexology Association member.  She is a Washington State and National Board Certified Reflexologist with a private reflexology practice in Sunnyside, Washington.   RF60394362