In March of 2011 Brenda Hofstetter, a certified reflexologist through The International Institute of Reflexology, opened Happy Feet Unlimited and quickly found clients flocking to her hand and foot massages.
“To market my business I went to a Women’s Night Out event to support the Community For Breast Care Project. I worked on one foot and I found I had a huge line of people waiting. I sold nine gift certificates and I was on cloud nine,” she said.
Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is based on the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands that correspond to all of the glands, organs and parts of the body. While some in the medical community are skeptical, many doctors acknowledge that there are health problems linked to nervous stress and tension.
“I don’t diagnose, prescribe or treat,” said Hofstetter whose work is based on the Ingham Method® of Reflexology. “What I do stimulates blood flow, relaxes tension and boosts the immune system,” she said.
When I entered her office at 707 Washington St., it was homey and inviting, the smell of peppermint oil filled the air in the dimly lit room, where Loretta Schulte, one of her weekly clients, was in the chair. A breast cancer survivor, Schulte originally came to Happy Feet Unlimited because she wanted to get rid of any toxins in her body to help her stay healthy. She continued to see Hofstetter because she helped with plantar fasciitis, a fairly common disorder that causes pain in the heels and the ball of the foot.
Two of her regular clients, Dr. William Schlegel, a cardiologist at Mid Missouri Cardiology, and Ricky Kutscher, a sales person at Riley Chevrolet, Buick GMC Cadillac, also suffer from plantar fasciitis.
“Four years ago I was diagnosed with this condition and my podiatrist put me in a walking boot. It wasn’t until I started seeing Brenda that I felt relief,” Kutcher said. “I’m in a lot less pain and my feet don’t throb and ache, and she can also work on spots that get to your back and shoulders.”
Hofstetter, who makes house calls, also works on his wife, Lindsey, and even their 4-year-old enjoys a foot massage. The benefits vary for each of her clients.
“I have found that Brenda’s foot massages have helped my problem go away and I believe it has definitely kept me from having foot surgery,” said Dr. Schlegel. “Brenda does surprise me when she is massaging my feet and asks me if my back has been bothering me and she’s right. My session is always a good stress reliever.”
He’s right. Hofstetter massaged my hands and feet with soothing scrubs and essential oils and I found it relaxing and therapeutic. Occasionally she would tell me a certain part of my foot was “crunchy,” and ask if I was having a problem somewhere on my body. Hofstetter offers a nurturing presence and it’s easy to talk with her about what’s going on in your life. I definitely left less stressed and lighter in spirit than when I entered her shop.
“One of the leaders at one of my workshops when I was training told us that it was a great gift to be able to make someone feel better with your hands,” she said. “That really stayed with me and is what my business is all about.”