MLS! Magazine: Life & Beauty. April 2010
THIS MONTH´S THERAPIST OF THE MONTH IS THE DELIGHTUL ASHIRDA AUREN, ONE OF THE LONGEST PRACTICING REFLEXOLOGIST IN SPAIN, AND KNOWN TO WHAT SHE LAUGHINGLY CALLS HER “FOOTFRIENDS’ ON THE ISLAND AS THE “GRANDMOTHER OF REFLEXOLOGY.”
Ashirda, who was born in Germany and raised in Holland, has lived on the island for 42 years – 25 of them in Deia – and now practices out of her village home in Campos, or will visit your home on request.
I decide to drive through to Campos to see her in situ, and when I later learn that her teacher once flew from Holland to San Francisco for a treatment as she was her best student he’d ever had, my drive seems a doddle.
An attractive and vivacious 71 year-old, with a ready smile, smooth complexion and an abundance of anecdotes that come from a full and interesting life, Ashirda welcomed me into her home and settled me down with a blanket and herbal tea before treatment began.
I was glad I had booked a pedicure the day before as Ashirda did not make me soak my feet in hot water or spray them with antiseptic, but made me lie on a low bed and immediately got down to the business of the massage.
“You can tell a lot about a person from their feet,” she remarked knowingly.
She does not use creams or oil during treatment as he does not like there to be a barrier between her fingers and the feet.
When her phone rings in another room and I ask if she would like to answer it, she looks surprised. “Never!” she pronounces, “every can wait. I will never leave my client once treatment has begun; it’s a form of abandonment. I have only had to do that perhaps five times in my career.” For someone who has been practicing for over 30 years in Mallorca, the mainland and in the US, that is saying something!
The story of how Ashirda turned to reflexology is a romantic one. She had split from “the love of her life” and was so heartbroken that she got into bed and cried solidly for five days without eating or drinking anything. On the fifth day she heard a clear, loud voice asking her when she was going to stop wasting her energies on men and start using her talents. She thought she was hallucinating but got up, got dressed and went out of her apartment – all the time wondering what talents she had. She heard the voice again and found herself staring at a poster for a course in reflexology that was starting the next day. She signed up and has not stopped massaging feet since.
Her clients, many of them regulars of many years standing, visit her for both the pleasure of foot massage and for health problems.
“I am not in favor of the very painful type of reflexology as the greatest gift I can give my client is to get them to relax completely – I can’t do that if there is discomfort.” She has also started to incorporate massage of the area from the knee down as she believes women especially have a lot of blockage in the calves – “after this many years you start to know what works!”
She also practices reflexology on herself (the secret of her youthful looks, perhaps?) and is a keen believer in the importance of trading treatments with other therapist friends on the island. “You have to give and receive to learn and grow.”
In the last 10 years Ashirda has also been working with the dying.
“I work with the family to help them open up and speak to the person, who is dying. So often families don’t want to admit a person is dying, and therefore deny them the moments to say what is really on their mind and help them dispel their fears.”
“I have learned that when people don’t live authentically they are not ready to die, because they are still waiting to experience the pleasure of true life.”
There is no doubt Ashirda has lived in her own authentic style and an hour with her is a very affirming experience that adds to the enjoyment of the treatment. I left feeling deeply relaxed, with a list of health tips based on Ashirda’s assessment, and having experienced a little foot heaven.
If you are visiting Ashirda at home take socks in the winter and freshening wipes in the summer. Try not to do the shopping on the way home, as you will feel completely relaxed – a little bit of heaven for your feet.