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Roanoker Makes a Better Way of Life

Amy Jo Wheeler helps a client.

Amy Jo Wheeler has come back to her roots.  It is a decision that she never expected to make.  After spending years away at college and living and working in the metropolitan DC area, she has shifted career focus, along with her address.

Wheeler graduated with a BA in communications and political science from Randolph Women’s College (now Randolph College) in 1987.  Ten years later she completed her Master’s Degree in education and obtained a teacher’s license.  Her career in DC included work as an administrative assistant, ultimately resulting in positions as a writer and research analyst for various contracting firms.

She also contributed to a policy manual for the Department of Energy regarding the Clean Air Act Amendment and designed a survey on alternative fuel vehicles.  By the time her career in DC was winding down, she had worked with the Department of Energy in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.

But Wheeler was experiencing some inner conflict. ”The fear-based mentality was contributing to a growing disconnect between my value system and my workplace reality.” Though she still believes in the greater mission of Homeland Security, her personal aspirations were leaning more toward the spiritual, and on having a direct impact on the lives of people she met daily on a face to face basis.

The impetus for a shift in direction came at the death of her mother, Janie Wheeler, a Roanoke area artist, in September of 2008.  “Things became stark to me — more of a contrast — and as a result I became less productive.  My heavy grieving over my Mom’s death, and the increasing awareness that my life was changing, reflected negatively in my work environment.”

She recalls telling a friend that her life was a wreck shortly before she was involved in a car accident. “I clearly got the symbolism of it” she states ruefully, “and I tried to put a band-aid on an open wound by taking a two week vacation with my son.”  Eventually, as her life unraveled, she took a two and a half month short-term disability leave from her work.

Wheeler had become certified in reflexology in 2006, after having been introduced to it in 1995.  She also incorporated Reiki training into her repertoire and registered her business in 2007 in the metropolitan area. Reflexology and Reiki are considered acceptable modalities for healing in many hospitals throughout the nation.

Reflexology uses points on the hands and feet that correlate to specific areas of the body.  Reiki uses the body’s innate ability to heal itself to overcome physical and emotional trauma. It is designed to help patients recovering from surgery or an accident to move along in the healing process.

In October of 2009, while driving to Roanoke to consult with a doctor about her father’s medical care, Wheeler says she realized she was supposed to move back to the area; however she experienced a very hard transition from city life as she was caring for him after surgery.

Once she got settled here, circumstances fell into place for her to both substitute teach and open her own business, “Luxurious.” Her life-altering personal choice to both relocate and change careers has been affirmed by the warm and supportive attitude of the people in her hometown.  “I want people to learn how to self heal, incorporating the many modalities that I am aware of that can help people to reach their true self.”  Wheeler certainly practices what she preaches, and the fruit is available to see in the new life she has chosen for herself.

Amy Jo Wheeler can be reached at 571.215.4963 or on the Web at www.luxuriouspampering.us.

By Christine Slade
[email protected]

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