By Jonathan Shubow, Manager in the Digital Department with GateHouse Media, Inc., the parent company of Wicked Local. November 2012, Medfield Press

I  hadn’t been working at Wicked Local very long when one day my boss came by my cube and handed me a note saying she recently received a telephone call from someone claiming to have gone to school with me and wanted to know if I was the same person now working at Wicked Local and would I please call her.

At the time I was the Web operations manager for all the Wicked Local websites, and my name was published on all our contact pages, and if you think you get spam, well, it seemed to me that my weirdo magnet was all of a sudden set to “HIGH”. Even though I only addressed technical issues and had very little to do with editorial, every nut who wrote a book, had an idea for a perpetual energy machine or was arrested recently, was bugging me. In fact I still get emails from someone who I call the “Rapture Nut” who wants me to publish his predictions on the “any minute now” coming of “The Rapture” which incidentally he has been predicting will happen next week for the last six years.

Email for me, in terms of human contact with strangers, was bad enough, so as you may imagine, especially for a geeky computer nerd like me, I was not exactly thrilled with actually having to talk with anyone. You see I’m the type of guy who has spent more time “talking” with my pet house rabbit than my wife, who knows if she really needs something, she better email me.

The name on the note “Helen Chin Lui” wasn’t familiar to me right away, and after some deep- breathing exercises I got up the nerve to call her. Little did I realize that the “school” we attended was the John D. Runkle Elementary School in Brookline, MA and the class was Seventh Grade, some forty-four years ago.

It was snowing outside when Helen and I met for the first time in about forty years. Helen reminded me we went to High School together and wondered if I had remembered her as I certainly had made an impression on her. I responded that similar to cases of post-traumatic stress, the human mind blocks unpleasant experiences and that I had, in fact, forgotten I attended High School altogether, much less remembered much abut her. However, the more we spoke, to be fair, I slowly began to remember things.

I was shocked that I had made any type of an impression on anyone at that time, especially girls, to whom I assumed I was totally invisible. The High School popularity spectrum ran from good-looking football jocks to pimply-faced skinny nerds at the bottom. For me, asking a girl even the most inane or innocent question, like “What time is it?” would result in a gaggle of giggling that would be repeated for many months each time I encountered that girl again, especially if she was in a group of her friends who all seemed to be “in” on the joke.

Fortunately I wasn’t very pimply, but felt ignored and nerdy enough that I assumed I could walk the halls totally naked not noticed by anyone whatsoever.

Helen is a pleasant, lively, very down-to-earth type of person with a great little laugh and a fabulous sense of humor and a clear vision of her world. She seems the type of person that was destined to heal people, I like to say people like her have “Helping Genes”, that is, like nurses, and teachers, it’s in their DNA to help folks.

We swapped our life stories over lunch as the snow fell and I remarked on how my health has deteriorated, and it seemed that after finally getting my head together my body has fallen apart. Helen mentioned she could help me and began insisting I come see her for a reflexology session.

As you may imagine, I was highly skeptical. So skeptical that it took four years and back pain from a spinal condition for me to get up the nerve to agree to have Helen try reflexology on me. I showed her the x-ray of my spine where my spinal chord was pinched and told her that I would need major surgery, but it would take about six to eight weeks to schedule. I had numbness in both hands and back pain. I thought that perhaps she could help me in the interim. I had a spinal fusion back in 2002 where they grafted bone and fused me at T-1 C-7 (the meeting of the top of the thoracic to the bottom of the cervical spine). This involved operating on me through the front which entailed opening up my chest like one opens a steamer at Legal Seafood. Now, a different cervical joint, above the fusion was the issue and shortly I would have to have my chest re-opened, and my sternum sawed open once again to provide access to my neck where they would insert some high-tech titanium joint thingy and screw it into my spine relieving the pressure on the nerves to my hands.

On top of all of this I have some hormonal imbalance, perhaps a pituitary gland issue, where I have very low levels of magnesium, calcium, vitamin D and so on that apparently caused the calcium to come out of the spine and the joint crushing my spinal chord. (See x-ray No. 1) So severe was the imbalance, I have been hospitalized on several occasions to undergo IV therapy to replenish my

Helen’s office provides a invitingly warm atmosphere, Oriental artwork bloomed on the walls and a small electric “waterfall” sang softly somewhere. We talked for a quite while about how I was feeling and reviewed my medical history and current situation. Helen made notes on a sheet of paper that had printed diagrams of the feet. She was confident she could help me, and I would do anything not to have to take narcotics to relieve pain.

By the time I took off my shoes and climbed onto the the table I was more curious than anxious. I laid on my back and a special pillow positioned under my knees, raised my legs. After a brief “rubbing” of the feet, Helen began to press specific spots in an organized manner. She seemed to be able to “see” things with her fingers and repeatedly pressed spots on my feed with a certain rhythm that reminded me of someone playing an instrument. As she worked, Helen explained briefly what she was doing and we chatted. Everything she was doing actually felt quite pleasant.

After a while Helen became more aggressive with the pressing, that is, she seemed to concentrate on a few particular areas on both feet. A couple of these spots were sensitive and I asked her: “What the heck is that?” Helen said: “That’s your spine”. I was instructed to lay quietly and concentrate on my breathing. After a while Helen returned to what seemed to me a more normal rhythm and I felt sleepy and quite relaxed, soft music played and the waterfall gurgled along and I concentrated on my breathing.

I must have nodded off for a while because when I awoke Helen was at her desk in the other room. She helped me up and I went over to the chair to put my shoes back on. The whole business took a little more than an hour. I felt embarrassed to have fallen asleep and told her. She explained that this is normal, and quite common.

I made an appointment for next Saturday and walked downstairs to my car. I noticed my feet were a bit sore when I walked, but that soon went away, overall I felt very relaxed. I got home, had a sandwich and felt tired so I went and took a long restful nap.

The next day, Sunday, I awoke early as usual. It was a brisk sunny day that seemed to match how I felt. I seemed to have more energy than usual and I walked to church. A few people remarked that I somehow looked better and seemed to have a better “color”. It seemed easier, somehow, to sit on that hard bench.

At my next visit, I mentioned all this to Helen, particularly how tired I felt after the treatment. Helen explained that is was normal after a fairly intense reflexology session as many of my internal organs were stimulated. This visit resembled the first, but Helen concentrated on the spine and other areas, she also did ear and hand reflexology. Driving home I anticipated my nap and my walk on Sunday. I stopped taking my pain pills.

I saw Helen for weekly treatments for about four or five weeks and then I began skipping weeks. I had the surgery at the end of March. I was in the hospital for several days and I remember waking up and not having numbness in my hands anymore.

My recovery period lasted about 12 weeks, mostly for my chest to heal, during that time I saw Helen as often as I was able. My recovery would be longer than normal because this was the second time my chest was opened and there was a lot of scar tissue. Diabetes also exacerbates the healing process, I believe reflexology helped to shorten my recovery and is continuing to help me in general.

Presently I see Helen about once a month, we are on a “maintenance” path. I’ve gone back to work, I’m walking more often, feeling better and have begun to enjoy work again.

Every now and then I hear Helen’s funny laugh in my mind, I close my eyes and I’m in seventh grade, girls giggle and Carl Yastrzemski steps into the batter’s box.

Helen Chin Lui is a certified Reflexologist, certified Energy Medicine and Reiki practitioner. She is the founder and owner of the Healing Place in Medfield. She specializes in helping clients with chronic digestive disorders and chronic pain. If you like a free copy of “Proven Alternative Ways to Heal Common Chronic Digestive Problems: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Can Keep You From Healing,” please visit  or and sign up for our newsletter. As a bonus you will receive health tips, products and services.

To learn more about Reflexology, chakra balancing or energy medicine, email us at Healing Place or call us at 508 359-6463. If you feel you are unbalanced we can help you. We offer free 60 minute consultation.

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