With special thanks to Teresa Carr, President of RACT at the time, for interviewing me for this article. Reprint from Reflexology Association of CT (RACT) Newsletter - Jan. 2005
Irina studied the Original Ingham Method of Reflexology with Dwight C. Byers, the world's leading authority, and Director of the International Institute of Reflexology.
She is a Certified Original Teacher of the Father Josef Method of Reflexology after training in Taiwan with the founder Doctor Josef Eugster, has been team-teaching with him throughout the US and overseas continuing education workshops.
Irina first became interested in Reflexology in 1997 when she gave her daughter a spa gift certificate. While her daughter enjoyed a massage, Irina enjoyed a Reflexology treatment and was intrigued. It was then Irina knew that Reflexology was her new direction - a far cry from her original education with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineer in Moscow University. Before fleeing her native country of Russia more than twenty years ago, Irina had quite a successful career in the Film industry as a Film Editor. She settled in Stamford, where she currently lives with her husband and a cat.
Irina’s initial Reflexology training began 1998 in New York City, learning The Original Ingham Method ® with Dwight C. Byers of the International Institute of Reflexology. She achieved ARCB Certification in August 1999. The following month, she took a gamble, which would further change her life.
The International Council of Reflexologists held their biannual conference in Hawaii that year. Irina envisioned this meeting as an opportunity and an investment in her Reflexology career. That year, Father Josef Eugster, a Swiss-born Catholic priest was the keynote speaker. This charismatic man and his personal story how reflexology helped him overcome painful rheumatoid arthritis fascinated her. Fr. Josef, a self-taught Reflexologist, achieved his healing, and developed his own technique, called “Rwo Shur Method” (Fr. Josef’s name in Taiwanese). Irina wanted to learn more about this different approach to reflexology and an opportunity to study with Fr. Josef himself. She found out there were no formal schools in the U.S. where she could learn his technique. Fr. Josef’s method was taught only in far eastern countries.
A month following the conference, Irina was in Chang-Pin, Taiwan (a small village of 100). She spent the next three weeks studying and practicing the Rwo Shur Method with Fr. Josef and other students. Irina found his technique results oriented, painful, yet, enormously therapeutic. She returned home, faithfully practicing Fr. Josef’s method and found it very successful in treating her clients.
In 2000 she collaborated with a friend to form a non-profit organization called “Father Josef Method of Reflexology” headquartered in Stamford, CT. The organization was a way to bring Fr. Josef to the United States to teach other Reflexology practitioners. Since that time, she and Fr. Josef held 10 workshops and have trained over 175 professional Reflexologists throughout the United States. Irina finds her involvement in FJM Reflexology, although time consuming, very rewarding and fulfilling. In 2003, the training course became an ARCB approved provider of 12 CEU’s. The non-profit organization supports National and State Reflexology Associations by donating a portion of the tuition back to the hosting organization. To date, the total of $2,345 in donations was sent to the State or National Associations. In fact, seed money, which helped launch “Reflexology Association of Connecticut” came from FJM fund. Irina Breslav, Deb Guerin, Chris Jensen, Ariana Rawls, and Alba Venecua were the core group whose vision and persistence has shaped RACT into its present organization. For Irina, this was a dream come true.
As far as Reflexology and its role in healthcare, “Our current healthcare system is disease care and a crises management system,” Irina said. She would like to see a shift in paradigm, from crises intervention to real health care and well-being. She pictures the Reflexology profession as playing an integral role in this shift. “We must educate the public on the benefits of Reflexology for health maintenance, not just to handle the crisis,” she added. Her dream is to see Reflexology blossom into a viable and respected profession, more alike the European model, which requires 500 hours minimum training standards. She hopes to see the profession widely accepted within the medical community throughout the country.
Irina is a goal-setter and believer in investing in continuing education to enhance her skills. Her training includes: Courses in Nutrition, Reiki Certification, Sound Healing, Energy Medicine, Aromatherapy, Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Techniques. For Irina, it’s all about giving to her clients. “I do what I love, and I love what I do.”
Irina was the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the field of Reflexology by Reflexology Association of America - 2002