You enter a small, cozy room, dimly lit by the gentle light of a small table lamp in one corner, and a Himalayan Salt lamp in the other. Bottles of essential oils, natural remedies, teas and tinctures line the shelves on the wall. You lay down on the treatment table and find it is heated and soft, even though it is lined with a mat made of crushed amethyst crystals, which promote healing. You are about to begin your first experience with reflexology at Ray of Hope Reflexology, LLC.
This experience is made possible because after 29 years as the Village of Belgium’s Clerk/Treasurer, Lila Mueller was faced with a tempting opportunity to run for State Representative. A devout Christian, Mueller went to a silent weekend retreat with her church, and prayed for God to provide her an answer regarding what He wanted her to do.
By the time she left the retreat, she had her answer. But it wasn’t to run for State Representative. In the early 1990s, Mueller had been diagnosed with acute fibromyalgia. She saw specialist after specialist but nothing helped the pain, until she stumbled upon a unique treatment called reflexology.
Through prayer, she concluded that God wanted her to study reflexology and use her new skills to help others who had suffered as she had. She subsequently contacted the reflexologist who had treated her, and in 2003, after a year of intense training in Milwaukee as well as St. Petersburg, Florida, Mueller earned her certification as a certified registered reflexologist and Ray of Hope Reflexology was born.
According to the Ray of Hope literature, “Reflexology is the scientific study of reflexes and the application of techniques for a specific outcome. It relieves tension that, in turn, assists nerve conductivity, blood supply, lymph movement and bio-electrical energy to normalize the body’s energy. Reflexology creates balance thus increasing the body’s ability to heal itself. Reflexology has been known to assist with pain reduction, increased mobility and restoration of body function. Reflexology is not massage.”
Reflexology is considered a complimentary therapy, working in conjunction with Western medicine, treating clients internally through hands-on treatment of their feet, hands, face, and ears.
Since 2012, Mueller has been a preceptor for St. Luke’s Medical Center, where doctors in the Integrated Medicine program shadow Mueller regularly.
“There’s a lot of potential for reflexology in the medical world,” Mueller says.
Since treatments work to ensure the body’s energy is flowing properly, Mueller says ladies who have c-sections have the most issues to correct, as the cutting of the midsection interrupts a great deal of the energy flowing through the body. She said reflexology also helps diabetics to prevent the loss of limbs, and can aid in patients with stage 4 cancer in rebuilding white blood cells so their bodies are better able to accept chemotherapy. Mueller also specializes in treating planter fasciitis, migraines, lymphodema, and hormonal issues, as well as aiding in mental and emotional issues such as PTSD, helping veterans and emergency response workers.
Treatments take an hour and 15 minutes, and clients generally come once a week for at least four weeks. Mueller says if the treatment is working, results should be obvious in the first four weeks.
“Our goal is not to string people along but to give them quality of life,” she says.
Your bare feet are propped up on a pillow and the session begins. You are given stones to hold and the reflexologist can assess your reaction to them.
Your feet and hands are individually reflexed and tested, but this isn’t an ordinary foot/hand rub. The reflexologist is able to communicate with different parts of your body via your nervous system and acupuncture meridians.
When the contact feels painful or inflamed, the area is stimulated until the energy is again moving properly and the discomfort disperses. As the session wraps, you feel relaxed, at peace, and ready to face your day.
Mueller’s client list is more than 2500 strong- with people coming from all over the nation, from as far away as California. She’s even had people here on business from Paris come in for treatments. Seeing the need for these services, in 2011, Mueller started Ray of Hope Educational Services to educate others. In 2014, she opened Ray of Hope Academy. When her current students graduate, she will have had 12 graduates who have now started their own businesses throughout Wisconsin.
Five of these businesses have started since COVID hit the US in spring, which Mueller says has been beneficial to many clients who are now facing increased stress, or are unable to see their doctors as often and in person as they would like. Mueller says her business is considered essential due to its association with St. Luke’s Hospital, and only faced a short closure period. Two of the graduates, Vicki Koepke and Michele Reilly, are now working alongside Mueller in Belgium. Koepke’s business, Sole Shine Reflexology, focuses on clients with anxiety, depression and PTSD. Reilly’s business, Fly to Wellness, LLC, focuses on helping her clients reduce stress. Mueller’s specialty is chronic and unresolved issues.
To earn a degree from the Academy, students participate in a college-intense training period for one year. Starting in 2021, some learning will be done via Zoom, but hands-on training is very much a part of the education, with students required to practice on 100 people before graduating. The process also includes a business class in which students must write their business plan, and a segment on self-care to prevent burnout. Ray of Hope Academy is the only academy of its type in the United States.
The public can get a free sample of a reflexology experience at the Ray of Hope Academy’s Open House Sunday, November 1st from 1 pm- 4 pm. The public is also welcome to partake in free clinics held April through November for student practice.
After 17 years of practice, studying different techniques all over the world, and serving as the current acting as the President of the Integrated Reflexologists of Wisconsin, Inc., Mueller is still as fired up about reflexology as the day she started.
“I’ve not lost my favor for it. I have 98% success rate for what I do,” says Mueller.
Ray of Hope’s clinic is located at 640 Main Street in Belgium. For more information, you can visit www.rayofhopereflexology.com, find them on Facebook on the Ray of Hope Reflexology, Inc page, or the Ray of Hope Academy page, or call Mueller at 414-531-2587.