Reflexology Association of British Columbia
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Approved Teachers/Instructors

Alphabetical listing

Frances Birdsell - Principal - Viva Holistic Healing

Foot, Hand and Ear Instructor - Terrace B.C.

Website: - Tel: 250.635.2194 - Email:

Frances Birdsell, Reflexologist and Natural Health Practitioner, has owned and operated Viva Holistic Healing since 1997. She is a Practitioner and Instructor of foot, hand and ear Reflexology, offering ongoing courses in Reflexology and other holistic healing methods in Terrace and across the northwest.

Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology, and has worked in health research for a number of years. She arrived in Terrace in 1978, launching a career in community development, running the Terrace Women's Centre. Frances received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Instituto Naturista in Guatemala in 1997, as well as a Masters in Kai Igaku / La Medicina Agradable, utilizing the widely used method of applied kinesiology, called the Examen Bioenergetico (Bioenergy Exam) from COHNAN, in Leon, Nicaragua. Through Northwest Development Education, Frances has worked for global awareness with OXFAM and CUSO. She is also an accredited Spiritual Healer utilizing a number of techniques including Reiki, Prana, Polarity, Chakra Balancing, Gemstone, Monadic and Emerald Fire.

Ron Leibel - Principal - Advanced Reflexology Institute

Foot, Hand and Ear Instructor - Port Moody B.C.

Website: - Tel: 604.720.1397 - Email:

Ron discovered Reflexology in 1985 because of his asthma. When he tried it on regular basis, within a couple of months his lungs cleared up and he was able to stop taking medications. It was a life altering experience that changed his life forever. Wherever he lived, in the ensuing years, he kept up with the reflexology sessions that acted as a preventative and a health tune-up.

In 1993 he decided to take the Foot Reflexology Certificate Course at the Pacific Institute of Reflexology and another at the International Institute of Reflexology in Richmond. He realized that Reflexology was his true passion in life. He started a full-time Reflexology practice in 1993 and worked at Le Spa at the Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Vancouver as well as a mobile service for BC Hydro, Vancity, Film Studios and other personal clients.

He went on to be the President of the Reflexology Association of British Columbia for six years and is a Professional Reflexology Standards Committee Member. He was also the Editor of the Foot Press, the newsletter of the RABC.

After practicing Reflexology for a few years, he began to feel the effect it can have on his thumbs, hands and wrists.  He used the thumb-walking technique as he was taught for the first few years then he began to doubt whether he could continue because of the pain in his thumbs, hands and wrists. Reflexology is a manual therapy that is all about thumb and handwork, care must be taken to protect and strengthen the hands in order to ensure a long career. Out of necessity, he developed what he call the “Sliding Technique” whereas instead of walking the thumb he would slide his thumb using skin cream or massage oil instead of corn starch, baby powder or nothing. 

He found this to be more effective in several ways. It requires less effort because you don't have the constant thumb-walking motion, you can actually apply more pressure with less exertion, you don't miss any reflex points and develop a better feel of the feet and the reflexes. It also feels more comfortable for the client because it's comparable to a massage technique but it's not a massage because you are stimulating and pinpointing all of the reflex areas. You have less friction built up with your thumb and the feet because you are using cream or oil plus less mess on your client's clothes and yours if you are using cornstarch or powder.

In 2002, he developed his own Advanced Reflexology “Sliding Technique” Foot Course and began to teach courses at various locations in Metro Vancouver such as Kwantlen University College, Surrey College, Metro College, Vancouver Community College, Sprott-Shaw Community College, North Shore Continuing Education, Burnaby Continuing Education, Port Moody Community Services, Coquitlam Continuing Education, West Vancouver Community Learning, Vancouver School Board and the Advanced Reflexology Institute.

In the ongoing years he has added the Advanced Reflexology Hand & Ear Course. He has also produced Foot & Hand “Sliding Technique” Instructional DVDs that are included as part of the Reflexology courses. All of these courses have been accredited by the College of Massage Therapists of B.C. as part of their Continuing Education and Professional Development (CE/PD) for the full 24.0 Credits needed for the 2-year cycle.

Helga Petersen - Principal - HCP Reflexology Institute

Foot Instructor - Surrey B.C.

Website: - Tel: 778.574.5502 - Email:

Helga embarked on her journey as an holistic practitioner after she recognized the shortcomings in modern medicine. Seeing patients over the many years of her service in a hosptial setting as an intensive care nurse and in her practice as an accomplished Naturopathic Practitioner, she found that the one thing most effective in stimulating the healing process is kindness, compassion and the patient's understanding of a willingness to help. Combining this basic with the “hands on” holistic modalities that she practices, allows her to successfully help clients in ways that are far removed from the practices that have been created for health in western or modern medicine.

In 1993, Helga became a Registered Naturopathic Practitioner and opened a medical clinic in Germany. She became a certified Acupuncturist in 1992. Her Reflexology training was extensive, through the internationally renowned Hanne Marquardt School in Germany, where instruction is focused on how to treat the sick and ailing. In Germany, Reflexology is recognized by the medical profession and to be able to participate in Reflexology instruction, a person‘s occupation must lie within the medical field. Helga became a professionally certified Reflexotherapist and a Touch for Health Practitioner in 1995 and subsequently obtained her Instructor Certification in both modalities. Over the years, she also studied many other holistic forms of medicine and althernative therapies, such as Bach Flower Therapy and Psychokinesiology. Emigrating to Canada in 2003, Helga set up a Reflexology Practice and introduced herself to the Reflexology Community in British Columbia. Over the following years, she founded the HCP Reflexology Institute and became heavily involved in various holistic modalities throughout the province. In 2007, she was elected Chairperson of the Reflexology Association of Canada, British Columbia Chapter, serving in that capacity until 2011. She now serves on the Board of the Reflexology Association of British Columbia as President and also on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Specialized Kinesiology. Helga is also the principal Reflexology Instructor for the PCU College of Holistic Medicine in the Lower Mainland.

Helga is dedicated in promoting Holistic Medicine and Alternative Therapies in general. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with people at any given opportunity, especially to those who are interested in Touch for Health and Reflexology. In her words she states, "I know that most individuals will find an answer to their problems in the natural alternatives that have been provided for all mankind since the beginning of time. It is just a matter of educating and encouraging people to look for the answer to their problem in the library of man‘s knowledge“.

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Elizabeth Laurie Salter

Foot, Hand and Ear Instructor - Kamloops, B.C.

Tel: 250.318.8127 - Email:


Christopher Shirley - Principal - Pacific Reflexology Institute

Foot, Hand & Ear Instructor - Vancouver B.C.

Website: - Tel: 604.875.8818 - Alt Tel: 1.800.688.9748 - Email:

Chris Shirley is Director of the Pacific Institute of Reflexology, and has a professional background in counseling psychology. With a BA 1st class honors degree in Human Resources Development from York University , and two years post graduate training in counseling psychology at the University of Victoria (1975), Chris relinquished his career in counseling to promote, practice and teach reflexology in 1978.

He commenced his studies in reflexology in 1977 with the late Laura Kennedy, chairperson of the education committee of the Reflexology Society of B.C. After studying with Laura he worked alongside her in an informal apprenticeship. In 1978 , Chris attended a seminar in the Ingham Method of Reflexology with Dwight Byers of the International Institute of Reflexology..

May 1982 saw Chris establish the Reflexology Centre of Vancouver with a regular program of courses, a private practice, and an outreach educational program of lectures and speaking engagements.

Chris served as President of the Reflexology Association of British Columbia from 1985 - 1987, and succeeded in having reflexology entered in the Yellow Pages under its own heading. In 1989 he was certified to teach the Reflexology Association of Canada 's courses which he taught until 1994.

In 1990 he became the founding president of the British Columbia Holistic Healing Association . Chris conducted research at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 1995 to evaluate the effects of reflexology on the conductivity of the peripheral nervous system. And in 1996, Chris changed the name of his practice to the Pacific Institute of Reflexology.

Over the years Chris has attended seminars with many prominent international instructors: “Foot Adjusting” with podiatrist Dr. Harvey Lampell, “Ear Reflexology” with Bill Flocco, “Reflexotherapy” with Hanne Marquardt,” Vertical Reflex Therapy” with Lynne Booth, “Ayurvedic Reflexology” with Sharon Stathis, “Advanced Reflexology Training” with Anthony Porter and Hagar Basis, “Cranial Sacral Reflexology” with Martine Faure-Alderson,”Round About the Spine” with Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund Frandsen, and “German New Medicine” with John Theobald.

Since 1990 Chris has developed and published Foot Reflexology, Hand Reflexology and Ear Reflexology charts, and produced an instructional DVD: “Foot Reflexology: A Step-by-Step Guide.” He also developed basic courses in hand and ear reflexology and advanced reflexology training courses for Professional Skills and Clinical Skills.

Lynne Booth accepted Chris as a tutor for Vertical Reflexology Therapy (VRT ) , and he commenced teaching the VRT Basic and Advanced Courses in November 2008

Currently, Chris serves his clients, teaches the regular program of basic and advanced reflexology courses in Vancouver, British Columbia, and, sponsors internationally acclaimed reflexology instructors.  He also serves on the Reflexology Association of British Columbia board of directors as association treasurer and as a member of the Education Standards and Approval Committee , and, continues to expand his knowledge of reflexology by attending training with acknowledged masters in the field.

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