I first met Norma in 2008 when she has just retired at 66 years of age. I was so impressed with this amazing and yet timid lady. So many potential reflexologists wonder if they can do it and manage to qualify. Working with Norma was inspiring and wonderful and together we travelled a wonderous journey. I was thinking about her recently and decided to ask her some questions about her experiences. To me, Norma is one of the many reasons why I love this amazing therapy of Reflexology as it means so much to so many, however, it is not an easy thing to achieve. Norma shone throughout and was one of the reasons why I wanted to be there for people.

Read what she has to say and read more about dyslexia and her journey at the end of the interview.


Norma Thorpe talks about the experience 12 years later…

Q – 1: What made you decide to qualify in reflexology?

A – When my husband and I were on holiday, I was reading a magazine about a woman who was a beauty consultant and wanted to change so she took a course on Reflexology because she had read that women conceived with this treatment, so I thought how lovely to be able to help women to have a baby when everything else had failed. When I retired, my husband wanted to carry on working past his retirement, so I wanted to venture into something new instead of being on my own, and this seemed the answer to go on the course. 

I had been having acupuncture for years with Nick Haines (Nottingham, UK) who was so lovely. I mentioned what I wanted to do, as I looked on Nick as a mentor as I wasn’t sure where to find a course. He suggested Sue Ricks and it was the best thing I could have done. She was so patient with me being hard of hearing and I loved learning with her, and she taught me so much. When it came to the exams, I couldn’t do my file properly and Sue said I was dyslexic and I thought “how can I be? I can read” but when I arrived home, I looked up some of the symptoms of dyslexia and I had nearly all of them, it wasn’t just about being able to read. Then I realised that was why I wasn’t very good at school, it was just like a puzzle of my life, not knowing all of the pieces which were now coming together. I have to laugh to myself sometimes when I read notices etc. as I read things that are not there, and sometimes have to read them again. There was an advert on the TV and there was a dog in the picture, and it was about making a will, but I read it as thought it was about making a will for a dog, because my brain had seen the dog first, that was funny. The good thing about being dyslexic is that lots of people who have it are very intelligent so there is hope for me yet.


Q – 2: Was the training what you expected?

A – The training was far more than I expected in a good way. I found that I really wanted to know all about how the body works and Sue also taught me how to help people with how they are feeling. I really know how people are feeling sometimes and I wanted to know how to use my reflexology to help them. I loved all of the learning and found it really helped my family and friends. Sometimes it was really hard, but Sue helped me to learn all the way through.


Q – 3: Did you learn anything about yourself along the way?

A – Yes, I learned a lot about myself, and surprised that I was good at it. I found that I could do more than I expected. I learned how to make some nice changes to how I thought about my life and friends. I have always tried to look after everyone and think that I am a very lucky person and have a lovely family too. I learned a lot about myself and my family too.


Q – 4: What were you doing before you found reflexology?

A – I had just retired from John Lewis (department store in Nottingham). I loved working there and still have some lovely friends from my time there.


Q – 5: Are you pleased you qualified? How long ago was that?

A – Twelve years. I love helping people with their complaints. I get such a thrill when the treatment works. One chap came to me and couldn’t walk without a stick, after his treatment he went out without it.

One of my favourite clients asked me if I could help her daughter as she couldn’t conceive and had quite a few IVF treatments and sadly they did not work. So, I treated her, and she had a baby daughter.

Another thing I like is that I have made such lovely friends through the years and we have lovely chats when they come to see me. Taking up reflexology was the best thing I could have done.


Q – 6: Do you still practice?

A – Yes and I love it!


Q – 7: What do you love the most about reflexology?

A – Knowing parts of the body so I can help friends and family but not to diagnose that’s the doctor’s job. And making the clients relaxed, that’s the best bits.


Norma and Dyslexia.

When I met Norma, she was so full of energy, hope and uncertainty too. I remember her being really nervous when she same into my clinic room in Loughborough, UK. She was so nervous and yet excited as the same time. Such a mix of emotions. What struck me was that the light in her eyes and inner desire to qualify whilst being full of self-doubt at the same time. I remember being so surprised that she asked me if she could tell me about the bones in the body. It was delightful when she went through the names and locations of the bones in the body and told me she had been learning in the week to see if she could learn. It had been so long she had been at school, and that had been a troublesome time, so she wanted to know if she could learn and retain the information. It was so very clear that Norma was innately talented and was going to make a very fine reflexologist if we could work with her to help find ways through and around what I suspected to be dyslexia.

Norma and I worked together a tremendous amount and I gave her lots of one-to-one time as I was determined that even though she did not have a big educational background, she was a very gifted lady whose love and care made such a difference to many. I used to tell her that she had magic coming out of her fingertips.

So, if anyone wonders if they can learn reflexology and gain a qualification it is all about finding the training establishment that suits you and then working in a dedicated fashion to achieve your dreams. I personally have a belief that it is not up to us to give up on anyone and although it was hard work for Norma to qualify it was so worth it. She was a trojan and worked so hard. She put in extra effort and we both worked together to help her reach the required level to be able to achieve what she wanted to do. In those days, students had to sit exams and that was another problem for Norma and others who suffered from exam nerves. Again, she did so well! What an example she is to all!

Well done Norma and how fabulous that you are still offering sessions for those lucky enough to know you and here you are at 79 and still as magnificent as ever. Thank you, Norma. I am so glad I met you. You are an inspiration!

Lots of Love, Sue xx