Hi I’m Lucy Stride otherwise known as Lucyflex Reflexology. I live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney with my husband, teenage son and daughter. We moved to Sydney from Grenoble, France when I was almost 7 months pregnant with my second child (fun times!) some 14 years ago. I’m British/French, sadly my French is a little rusty.
I am mostly a foot reflexologist however on occasion hand reflexology and ear reflexology are requested by clients. I see clients in their home in the Eastern Suburbs or Inner West during the week, and Sundays. However, on Saturdays, clients come to my space located in Randwick, just a 10 minute walk to Coogee Beach. I also am very lucky to work with corporate clients in the CBD on a monthly basis."
To get in touch try this: www.lucyflex.com or this: 0423 659 596 or also Instagram which has got my heart @lucyflex.reflexology (sorry Facebook!)
Good Morning Lucy, and thanks for being on board...
Hi Alex and Jade, honoured to be here. Like you, I’m a proud supporter and wearer of barefoot-style shoes. I’m not sure I’ve ever been interviewed before, so be kind :)
How have things been, and whats a normal day like for you?
I’m a full time reflexologist, however that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m busy every day. Just like in nature there’s definitely an ebb and flow in how busy I am with clients. Sometimes, I have busy weeks and other times I appreciate the slower pace. I’m very lucky to have that kind of balance. I’d say the last few months have been busier than usual for me.
Typically, a normal day goes something like this; if I’m meeting friends for a run or walk then it will most likely be early around 5:30/6:00am, if not, I’m happy to wake up naturally. These days I’ve been celery juicing, it has helped me come off coffee and milk very easily and I enjoy the surprisingly sweet taste of celery juice. After about 20 minutes, I’ll have muesli & frozen berries & mango & banana with hot water (I like having a hot breakfast but can’t be bothered to stir porridge for 10 minutes! - I don’t own a microwave).
I’m a massive fan of medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Lions Mane, Cordyceps and Chaga, so I’ll usually have a few cups over the day, generally ending with Reishi for sleep. I love discovering new medicinal mushrooms such as Tremella and Turkey Tail. I buy them from health food shops and the brand I like is Teelixir. Green tea is another favourite or hot cacao/honey - can you see a trend there? Most of my drinks are hot! I’m always telling clients to favour warm drinks, to keep that stomach area warm - it can help with digestion.
After being plant-based for so many years I recently started wanting a little fish and chicken from time to time. It happened in September when I committed to running 3-5 km every single day. Maybe I just wasn’t being careful enough with my protein. Anyway, I decided to go with it. My kids tell me they love the pizzas I make from scratch (shiitake mushrooms on my slices, pineapple & ham or chorizo on theirs). Exercise-wise, I keep things simple. Walking and running (5-6 km). Again, I look to nature. I’m happiest when I can get my exercise outside and preferably early to beat the Aussie heat. I have had gym memberships in the past but over the years realised I felt guilty if I didn’t go, got distracted by too much going on (music blaring or TV on, and all the mirrors, and people watching!) and I just feel weird under neon lights smelling in the fumes from the foam carpets tiles. Having said that, I have enjoyed hot yoga classes indoors with dimmed lights. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I like the idea of incidental exercise, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, carrying shopping, squatting when tying shoe laces, stretching or doing the ironing when watching TV... That kind of thing, rather than a one hour class and then sitting all day. Perhaps it helps that I don’t yet have my driver's licence (at age 46…I know, I know!), so I take public transport (sorry Uber!) everywhere and bring a little suitcase with my towels and balms for reflexology treatments.
Hobbies? I’m not sure this counts as a hobby but I love listening to podcasts, in particular to ultra athlete Rich Roll - he’s incredibly present with his guests and very articulate, and I really get so much from his uplifting long form conversations on a myriad of topics. To be honest, it’s hard listening to anybody else, he’s set the bar very high!
What inspired you to follow your career path?
The very first time I came across reflexology was when I was employed as a nanny in Berlin in 1995-8. The children’s mother, Sandra, a Czech-Australian concert violinist introduced me to natural therapies and a more natural lifestyle. Her influence changed the way I viewed health and wellbeing forever. She bought me a few reflexology sessions as my leaving present and I was hooked from the get-go. It just seemed unfathomable to me that the feet could tell me what was going on in my whole body, but it was true!
I first qualified as a reflexologist in France in the late 90’s. I was working as an admin assistant in a scientific institute in Grenoble whilst seeing a few reflexology clients on the side. When we moved to Sydney I worked at a university doing marketing for 2 schools in the science faculty, but in order to practice here I decided to retrain as a reflexologist. I re-qualified in 2012, and have been a full time reflexologist since Feb. 2016.
Can you give us a brief rundown on what reflexology is/does?
Deliberate and precise pressure applied with the finger tips on specific reflex points of the feet, hands or ears have an influence on all of the body systems without the need to touch them directly. For example, if you have hurt your shoulder, I can access it via the joint of your little finger or toe, without needing to touch your actual shoulder.
Reflexology is supreme for regulating the nervous system. It never ceases to amaze me that whatever the environment, for example when seeing clients in an office setting, or recently at the Mind Body Spirit Festival clients are very quickly in an incredibly relaxed state regardless of the noise happening around them.
You have quite a lot of training under your belt, are there any institutions or teachers, in particular, that were quite memorable for you?
After my initial training in France and when I re-qualified at Nature Care College in Sydney, I became a member of the Reflexology Association of Australia, it is a requirement that continued professional training is undertaken every year to maintain a professional membership status. I have very fond memories of my first reflexology teacher Mireille Meunier-Roux who taught us everything from reflexology, the Traditional Chinese Medicine 5 element theory to anatomy and physiology, her books and chart are still my favourites. In Sydney, I have a lot of respect for Sue Ehinger in particular for her ear reflexology post-graduate course because it was quite unlike anything I had ever studied. Ear reflexology is perhaps the least known of all styles but one I often use to help alleviate any musculoskeletal issues, such as knee, hip, neck or lower back issues - results can be pretty incredible.
What are your thoughts on the health industry and social media being so interconnected nowadays?
Having open access to an abundance of free information relating to health is both incredible and overwhelming due to many conflicting ideas. However, it can be incredibly useful to be able to communicate directly with someone we resonate with, or who positively impacts us. What can potentially be damaging though is the very visual nature of social media platforms which can encourage “comparitis”. I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point and it often doesn’t feel great.
On Instagram I like @organic_olivia for her knowledge, she gets down to the root cause of issues. For all things movement and living more naturally I can’t go past Tony Riddle aka @thenaturallifestylist who recently ran the length of the UK barefoot in 30 days in September. His tagline is “we can’t all live in nature, but that doesn’t mean we can't live naturally”. I like that! He prompted me to undergo my own 30 day challenge, running a very modest 3-5 km every single day, culminating in me switching from my old Nike runners to running in my Vivobarefoot Primus shoes on day 11 of my mini-challenge.
Have you suffered from any injuries, and can you offer any advice for people suffering from one?
I’ve been lucky not to have many injuries. I am a slow runner so I’m sure that helps! I have had an injury in the past, I basically popped my calf whilst wearing Vibram Fivefingers doing sprints. I now understand that it wasn’t me wearing those shoes that was the problem.The problem was wearing those shoes 20% of the time, and heeled shoes (anything over 4 mm high) 80% of the remaining time. My advice would be from a place of prevention, as in do the groundwork, build slowly, make your workout sustainable. And review technique and form over speed or results.
What got you into the barefoot movement?
I think it must have been in 2002 or 2003 when I read about the Vivobarefoot shoes for the first time. I’ve got relatively large feet (size 40-41) which wasn’t easy to cater for when I was growing up in France, and I never had much luck with shoes. I also grew up watching my Scottish grandmother struggle with bunions, corns, and sore feet that made walking painful. As a reflexologist, this style of shoe made intuitive sense. Our feet were meant to feel, not be numbed by cushioning! It wasn’t until I moved to Australia that I bought my first pair of Vibram Fivefingers which made me feel like a gazelle, so light on my feet when running but so socially awkward…! It wasn’t until 2018 that I finally bought my first pair of Vivobarefoot, the olive green Primus that I now run in. And about a month later bought my vegan Vivobarefoot Gobi boots in black. I would say I wear them probably 6-7 days a week!
The first time I wore my Vivobarefoot Primus I thought I was going to fall backwards even though I thought I wore “flat” shoes. I very soon started feeling the benefits; more ankle strength and mobility which translated to stronger calves and better range of motion in my hips. Not to mention increased big toe mobility, toe grip, arch strength… Honestly the effects are felt all the way up to my neck. Emotionally, I noticed I just felt happier, more switched on, which of course would be true because all 200,000 nerve endings are being stimulated through feeling the variations in terrain below. I’m convinced there would be fewer falls amongst the elderly if barefoot style shoes and foot exercises were introduced as standard injury prevention.
What shoes do you wear?
I own an old pair of Vibram Barefoot shoes, and a pair of Vivobarefoot Primus and Gobi desert boots. I’m looking to purchase a third pair this summer.
What are your plans in the future?
My plans are to run in a sustainable fashion (remain injury free and overcome any blocks over getting out and exercising), to continue to share my passion for reflexology with all who will listen and finally learn to drive!
Thank you for stopping by Lucy, and all the best in the future!
Thank you Alex and Jade, all the best with your endeavours too, I love that you are reviewing the very best of the barefoot shoes out there. I’m incredibly encouraged by the fact that they seem to be growing in number every year... And to anyone looking for a reflexologist, go to the Reflexology Association of Australia website and pop in your postal code, you should then find someone in your area.