Specialising in reflexology for special needs and anxiety, over the past few years reflexologist Judy Buckley has been working with a number of Fermanagh schools to provide sessions for children.

“I’m the first and only reflexologist in Fermanagh that has brought reflexology into schools for the children,” commented Judy, who travels from her home in Bundoran to work in Fermanagh. She continued: “Therefore it’s really early intervention, it’s about children with mental health issues, especially with little kids anxieties, not sleeping properly, not focussing or finding it difficult to focus. It’s helping them with everyday insecurities and worries and it’s working.”

“My passion is working with children with anxiety. I started working with autistic children with the parents coming back to me saying the meltdowns were less, sleeping had improved, and that there was a general far superior sense of well-being with the child,” she added.

With her form of reflexology, Judy explained that she works on the foot because every part of the body is mapped on the foot.

“By working on the feet you can then identify the different areas that are blocked so it’s then very very gently unblocking the blocked areas which is leaving the energy then to flow through the body,” she said.

“I’ve had great feedback from parents telling me that their child isn’t near as anxious and sleeping improves dramatically. The other thing some parents have noticed is that their child is engaging in other activities that they wouldn’t have dreamt of engaging in before so it’s also helping to build up their self-esteem,” commented Judy.

Jimmy Jackson-Ware, Principal of Erne Integrated College, one of the schools in Fermanagh that Judy works with, said: “Judy has been working with the students of Erne Integrated College since September 2018. Students from years 8, 9 and 10 have been attending the reflexology at Erne Integrated College every Wednesday and Thursday which is supported with extended schools funding.”

He continued: “The students look forward enthusiastically to seeing Judy every week for their 30 minute treatment in a supportive and caring environment. One student reported that she feels more relaxed and ready to learn after having reflexology. She said, ‘Its lovely to see Judy every week. She has such a lovely, friendly smile. It (reflexology) helps me to get to sleep and it’s relaxing, a good way to chill out’.”

“Parents have reported many benefits including improvements in sleep patterns and have said that their children appear calmer at home. Teachers have also seen many benefits including increased levels of concentration in the classroom and report that they have witnessed students being more positive and showing greater overall resilience. Erne Integrated College is delighted to be in a position to continue to work with Judy and to offer reflexology into the future,” he added.

As well as working with students of Erne Integrated College, Judy has brought her reflexology sessions to St. Fanchea’s College, St. Joseph’s College in Enniskillen and St. Martin’s Primary School in Garrison.

“I work with any age from two years up. From two years up there could be something like the child isn’t sleeping or they’re just frustrated so any age.”

Noting how child reflexology is in high demand in schools, Judy is passing on her wisdom to other reflexologists.

“I teach other qualified reflexologists how to work with special needs and anxiety and I also teach a reflexology diploma,” explained Judy, adding:

“There’s so many schools now that I thought I’d teach other reflexologists how to do it.”