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Anyone wishing to become a reflexology therapist must first find an accredited course on the subject. While many massage therapy schools offer brief chapters on pressure-point massage and reflexology basics, only a few offer specialized degrees to best let a student become a reflexology therapist. After completing all education and certifications, a pressure-point masseuse can become a reflexology therapist through one of two ways: he can secure a job with an employer or become sole proprietor of his own practice.
Reflexology has attracted its share of both supporters and critics. Its adherents believe the art of pressure-point massage can be very therapeutic, and even offer a panacea for a host of ailments. Critics argue that this form of alternative medicine is not grounded or studied in any legitimate science, and so reflexologists cannot be valid healthcare providers. It is for this last reason that some countries and some states in the U.S. have foregone any certification process for reflexologists; it is for the former reason that others have imposed strict requirements for licensure.
Only a very limited number of U.S. schools offer at least a two-year degree in reflexology. Europe, however, has given more validation to reflexology as a legitimate treatment method, especially since the formation of the Reflexology in Europe Network (RiEN) in the mid-1990s. As a result, the number of schools offering programs in reflexology has grown. In Asia, where pressure-point massage is a centuries-old practice, hundreds of schools and academies offer students the chance to become a reflexology therapist.
Regional and national bodies which require certification or licensure of reflexologists often mandate at least 500 hours of schooling before applicants can take a licensing exam. Those 500 hours are usually fulfilled through a two-year program. In the United States, certification can be gained through either the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) or the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB). The ARCB's prerequisites are less strict than those of the NCBTMB, and so its certification may not be valid for licensure in some states. In the United Kingdom, certification can be done through the Association of Reflexologists (AoR) and in much of Europe through RiEn associates.
Once a student has completed her training to become a reflexology therapist, she can join an existing practice or start her own. Those who hire reflexologists include chiropractors and alternative or holistic medicine clinics. Establishing an independent practice can be cumbersome, with added costs for additional licenses and insurance.
In the UK the main Reflexology body is not AoR but IFR The International Federation of Reflexologists (IFR) is the largest Reflexology body in the world. Almost all Reflexology bodies in the UK came together in 2001 to form a National standards setting body called the Reflexology Forum The body publishes the Core Curriculum for Reflexology in the UK
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