The Mouse's House

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This is where it all started! The Mouse's House is a unique book that combines reflexology, a gentle non-invasive complementary therapy, with a delightful and engaging children's story. The story is based on a group of animals, each one representing a different reflex area of the foot, with a foot map diagram to show parents where to work on the foot. As each character enters the story the story teller moves on to a new reflex area so that as the story unfolds the child receives a basic reflexology treatment. The programme was created by me, Susan Quayle, an experienced professional reflexologist. This book is the foundation of The Children's Reflexology Programme and is published by Singing Dragon, an imprint of Jessica Kingsley Publishers and is available from all good booksellers including Amazon.

I specialise in maternity reflexology, which includes newborns, and came up with the idea as a gift to give my clients after their babies were born. I had been looking for a small gift to present to these wonderful women and their children but couldn't find anything appropriate, so I thought I'd make my own.

I am passionate about the benefits that reflexology can offer children and their parents. As a parent myself I know how it feels to stand by helplessly as your child suffers in pain. It is the hardest thing a mother can endure to see her child suffer and be unable to do anything to help. Reflexology offers parents the opportunity to be proactive and actually help during these times of distress, while children find it easier to cope knowing that a parent is actively trying to help. It also offers a wonderful bonding experience, which can be particularly effective for women who suffer from post-natal depression.

Children growing up with this story will, in time, be able to use it on their siblings and their own children, passing on this gentle therapy and the importance of self care to a new generation.

Writing this book was an epic undertaking that involved many years in the making starting with the wonderful women I have the good fortune to have worked with – all were an inspiration with out any of us realising it at the time. Once the idea had been born there was the writing. I knew it had to be rhyming and I thank all those amazing writers like Julia Donaldson, Dr Seuss and Lynley Dodd, and my children for wanting me to read their books to them endlessly! Then there was the hours of sitting and clapping out the rhythms to get the meter correct. After all this was finished I had the challenge of finding an illustrator; I had no money and no reason to suppose the book would ever make any. What I did have was a very strong vision and an enormous passion that this was important. Then I found Melissa, a mum from school and the most wonderfully gifted artist. Melissa is a “yes” person. Her initial response was that she had never really done any drawing as such because she was a sculptor (of amazing drift wood art) but that she'd have a go. As it turned out, we didn't need to redo any of her illustrations, they are all first drafts! I then spent months creating the foot diagrams - it took me so long because I had to learn to use the drawing program and I'm not particularly technical! Once it all came together my wonderful husband Merlyn, creator of this fantastic website, did his techy magic and turned it all into an actual book.

After only a couple of months of self-publishing my book I was approached by Jessica Kingsley Publishers who were keen to publish The Mouse's House for me. At the time I was flabbergasted! I wasn't anticipating this level of interest, in fact I had been struggling with how on Earth I was going to market my book. Agreeing to pass the book over to such excellent experts was the best choice I could have made. I found myself free to create The Children's Reflexology Programme and my vision to empower parents and carers through Infant Reflexology. And that is what I have done. These courses empower mums, dads, carers, grandparents, indeed anyone who works or spends time with children, giving them the chance to be able to do something at those times of desperation. It also offers these same people the opportunity to have their own business doing something that offers people help and hope in a positive, empowering and supported setting.

I have already written a second book and my wonderful illustrator, Melissa Muldoon, has created the most beautiful pictures to go with it. We are planning an entire series so watch this space.

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