Browsing the carrots, snap peas, strawberries and other freshly harvested produce at the Ellsworth Farmers Market, which convenes several days a week (see hours below) in front of 190 Main St., look for Michael “Mac” MacDonald. He’ll be the tie-dye T-clad fellow rubbing the sole of a customer’s foot.
In a zero-gravity outdoor recliner, which makes you feel weightless by elevating feet to the same height as the heart, clients can lean back and relax while the reflexologist works on their feet and hands.
For six or seven years, MacDonald has tended to people’s extremities at the Ellsworth Farmers Market. He likes the exposed setting because of the foot traffic and chance to pique the public’s interest and inform them about reflexology.
“All I have to do is get them in the chair once, and they come back,” the reflexologist related.
Reflexology revolves around the human body’s thousands of nerve endings. These reflex points are said to correspond to specific organs. Practitioners use thumbs and fingers to apply pressure to these points and release tension and improve circulation.
MacDonald, whose Holden-based mobile practice is called Handprints Reflexology, also notes farmers markets are frequented by health-conscious folks and reflexology complements that lifestyle.
In 1967 — the “Summer of Love” when the alternative hippy culture came to a head — MacDonald discovered reflexology while attending a summer camp in southern Maine. The 15-year-old saw it as a good way to meet girls. He also recognized its value as a means to help others.
After suffering a shoulder injury as a glove cutter in 1999, MacDonald decided to seriously pursue that interest at Treat Your Feet School of Reflexology in Augusta. Family and friends loaned him enough funds to cover the tuition and he repaid them in foot rubs following his 2000 graduation.
Before each session, he has the patient fill out a form alerting him in advance to any medical problems or injuries they are dealing with.
At the farmers market the first and third Saturdays of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., MacDonald offers 10-minute introductory sessions for $10. Sessions, ranging from 20 minutes to an hour, cost from $25 to $65. He also does house calls in Hancock and Penobscot counties.
It’s not about the money though.
“It’s about camaraderie and connecting with people,” the practitioner said. Appointments can be made by calling or texting him at 1-(207)-664-4294 or via Handprints Reflexology’s Facebook page.