Career Profile: Reflexologist

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Job Description:

Reflexologist is the practice of applying pressure to the feet, as well as the hands and ears. It is based on the same theories and beliefs of traditional Chinese medicine as acupressure, which believes that certain points on the feet and hands, as well as the ears, correspond to certain organs and tissues. Therefore, stimulating a certain point will prove beneficial and healing to the corresponding organ or tissue.

When a reflexologist first sees a client, they will take a detailed medical history, including lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise. They will also inquire about the physical, mental, and emotional health of their client, as well as day to day work and play habits. The reflexologist will also note the color, size, and feel of the clients’ hands and/or feet. After evaluation, they will begin treatment as needed. The reflexologist will likely spend entire sessions on just the feet or hands. The first few visits may be shorter so as not to over stimulate the body, but progress into 45-60 minute sessions. Following each session they will record any reflex sensitivity for later use in treatment.

Reflexologists work in wellness centers, usually working a regular week, but occasionally offering evening and weekend hours so as to provide their clients with better and easier access. They may also work from home or in clients’ homes, or they may have their own offices, and many are only part-time workers. Their income varies according to the capacity in which they are employed, but usually starts around $20,000 per year. The average salary is close to $30,000, however. The outlook for this career is similar to that of other natural or holistic health careers, in that as interest grows, so will the need for the occupation.

Reflexology is offered at some massage therapy schools, but it is important to understand that reflexologists are not massage therapists. There are some schools that are now offering a course of study strictly in reflexology, as well as schools specializing in the study of this practice. The standard of certification in the United States is at least 200 hours of study/practice before testing. Currently, several states enforce laws that require reflexologists to become licensed as massage therapists, but the professional community is challenging these laws, stating that reflexologist and massage are completely different, and therefore should be governed and regulated separately from massage. As of 2003, these states and/or cities have excluded reflexologists from the massage laws: Washington, Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, North Carolina, Maryland, Arizona, and the city of Chicago. Massage licensing requirements continue for reflexologists in the states of Oregon, Delaware, Hawaii, Alabama, Nebraska, New York, and Florida as well as under anti-prostitution ordinances in the cities of Los Angeles, Denver, and Colorado Springs (As of 2003). The best thing to do in these cases is keep abreast of the regulation/licensing laws in your own state, and if interested in a career as a reflexologist, make sure you know what the laws in your state are.

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