Off from the mountain, on to the sea
By R.J. Marx
Reflexologist Kathleen Dudley moved to Seaside in November 2014. Our community was a veritable big city compared to her former home in rural New Mexico. “It was 1,944 square miles with 5,200 people, and it’s all rural,” she said from her office in the Seaside Yoga building on Broadway. “When I first moved there, the only time I would see anyone would be to get in my vehicle or bicycle and drive 17 miles to the post office. My closest neighbor lived a mile away on a mountain, and he was a hermit.”
Born in Canada, Dudley taught herself palm reading in Seattle, where she lived for 25 years. “Our hands and feet are a description of our archetypes,” she said. “More clinically than that, when you have an emotion or a thought, that actually firing of the brain goes across the synapse and establishes itself on the palm.”
She trained at the New Mexico Healing Academy for the Arts in Santa Fe where she learned lessons about healing from the indigenous people in her rural Southwest community. Clients came from far and wide, including Santa Fe, a two-hour drive.
Dudley describes her practice as holistic, rather than spiritual; she spells it “wholistic,” in the English style. She uses pressure points, similar to acupressure, applying pressure to release blood flow, oxygen and other nutrients to help promote natural healing in the body.
“Wholistic healing is a way of life,” she said. “It’s the mind, spirit, the body and the emotions. If one is out of whack, we’re out of kilter. We can use something powerful like allopathic medicine to numb a nerve, to stop a pain. But that doesn’t mean that nerve is still not firing. What wholistic healing does is bring everything into a state of homeostasis so that we can truly understand and walk in full health.”
The study of reflexology goes back to 2300 B.C. to the Egyptians, she said. “Today, you have to go to the U.K. and India, the old cultures, where they’re still connected to their ancestors, and their ancestors’ rhythms and patterns,” she said.
In addition to reading the lines of a palm or a foot, Dudley studies the different shapes of feet and toes. “They have different elements that are over and above reflexology,” she said. “They tell about the nature of person. It’s a big part of what I do.”
Dudley said she sees parallels between her lifestyle in rural New Mexico and Seaside. “The county I was in was not gentrified,” she said. “It was all agriculture. There was not development there. I like this town because it is not gentrified.
“Even though this area is bigger than where I came from, it is very land-based, sea-based,” she continued. “People are fishing off the bridge, they are going off in crab season, clam season. It’s very heartening to see that. It’s not Cannon Beach. There is wealth, but it’s not slick. For me, I prefer that.”
The Seaside community has been very welcoming, she said. “I’m bringing forward two workshops, a series for the summer on woman’s worth, and another on mother and infant reflexology, showing mothers how to be able to apply pressure on a baby’s feet or hands to alleviate conditions,” she said.
According to Dudley, within 17 weeks of gestation, the lines on the palm are already formed on a human fetus. “All babies are born with a square palm and short fingers,” she said. “There are four different palm shapes — there are three other palm shapes that can develop socially as they mature. There’s a tremendous amount of activity.”
Dudley invites all members of the community to her workshops or for a consultation. “We can much healthier than we are, and we can be much happier than we are,” she said. “We are the ones who can determine it. If we choose wisely and really participate in our health and healing, we can see what we consider miracles to happen.”
Kathleen Dudley’s hours are by appointment. She practices at Seaside Yoga and Retreat Center at 609 Broadway. For more information call 503-717-5129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.