Ingham’s approach served as the basis for the Laura Norman Method of Reflexology in which Kirsten van Gelder earned certification in 1986. Kirsten’s interest in holistic modalities for healthcare began during her undergraduate studies in Boston. While a nursing student at Boston University, she was introduced to complementary and alternative medicine. She turned to acupuncture and botanicals to relieve chest pain from bronchitis that wasn’t relieved with antibiotic treatment. She recalled, “The pain relief from my first acupuncture treatment was immediate but the feeling of well-being and uplift was startling. I remember being surprised at the sounds of birds singing outside and the realization that spring was coming. From that experience I realized that even though it can’t be quantified, ‘balanced energies,’ is an intrinsic factor in wellness.”
Not long after the introduction to traditional Chinese medicine, Dr. Tenzin Choedak from Dharamsala, India provided a sublime introduction to traditional Tibetan medicine. He was a physician for the Dalai Lama at that time and spoke in Cambridge, Massachusetts as part of a U.S. tour. “Dr. Choedak, “according to Kirsten, “seemed to sense my frustration as a nursing student with memorization of the purpose and side effects of hundreds of pharmaceuticals. He said that “when given with love, a medication provides more benefit (than if it is administered in an efficient, almost mechanical manner.)” Decades passed before non-locality in physics and research on the effects of prayer began to support the good doctor’s statement. “At the time,” said Kirsten, “I was challenged as a nurse and as a person to develop loving-kindness.
Through that process, I discovered missing ingredients in my undergraduate education that are now part of the curricula in nursing as well as medical schools.” Loving-kindness, empathy and compassion have a place in health care. They support the spiritual dimension in the healing arts and nursing science.
A holistic approach informed Kirsten’s nursing practice whether it was on a primary care orthopedic or neurology unit in major medical centers in Boston and New York City or in settings in the Pacific Northwest such as busy family health clinics, home care, hospice or long-term care. Kirsten was one of many nurses who assisted in a healing group in Manhattan started by the healer, Dora Kunz. She and many other nurses and physicians assisted Dora Kunz with her Seattle healing group during the 1990’s. She has helped hundreds of people and foot reflexology has been part of that for over 25 years. Kirsten is happy to garden and provide caring and effective Healing Foot Reflexology here in Wisconsin.
Though she wasn’t raised in Wisconsin, Kirsten’s mother was raised in Stoughton, where she currently lives, as well as the Cambridge-Rockdale area where her family farmed. Kirsten’s father was raised in River Falls where her grandfather was a professor at the University. Her parents met when they were both students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and left the state because of her father’s military career. Sixty years after they left the state, Kirsten and her husband returned. In 2014, Kirsten became a Master Gardener and practices therapeutic gardening. She posits that gardening promotes optimal wellness in the gardener and balance and beauty in the environment.
Foot reflexology is based on the theory that there are points and zones on the feet that correspond with various parts of the body such as the sinuses, shoulders, heart, lungs, liver and adrenal glands. The practitioner skillfully uses her hands to apply pressure to areas of the feet. This produces a generalized relaxation response as well as posited ‘reflex’ or spontaneous reactions in the related organs and other areas of the body.
Kirsten van Gelder’s interest in foot reflexology began during graduate school in the Division of Nursing at New York University when she searched for ways to help others experience simple and effective holistic health care modalities. The Laura Norman Holistic Method of Reflexology integrated well with her conventional nursing practice and Therapeutic Touch; she earned certification in foot reflexology in 1986. Now living in the Madison, Wisconsin area, Kirsten offers 60 and 90 minute sessions of foot reflexology at her Madison office.
Foot reflexology is the application of pressure, primarily with the practitioner’s thumb and index finger to reflex points on the feet. Its purpose is to bring balance to the body’s subtle energies and thereby calm the emotions. The goal is to assist the client to achieve optimal well-being. Use of lotion or oil for the feet is necessary to the treatment but no other therapeutic devices are used. Experience the relaxing and rejuvenating effects of foot reflexology for yourself!
You can make an appointment or purchase a gift certificate by phoning (608) 371-3789.
Healing Foot Reflexology
Kirsten van Gelder, MA, BS in Nursing
Certified Foot Reflexologist
Healing Foot Reflexology
6409 Odana Rd. Suite 20 B & C
Madison, WI 53719
Phone (608) 371-3789 for an appointment -
By Appointment Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30 - 5:30 and Saturday 9:30 - 1:00