A reflexologist could be described as a person that brings relief to those who are putting their worst foot forward. Something of an adjunct of massage therapy, the field of reflexology deals heavily with the massage and manipulation of muscles and pressure points of the feet. Those seeking reflexology training should first be aware that such a career requires many hours of study and hands-on practice. Preparation in an accredited school is followed by exams and certification.
To begin reflexology training, you should first locate a school. A list of institutions in the US may be found via the website of American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB), which serves as the governing body of the reflexology community. Students seeking reflexology training are also expected to purchase equipment, such as a massage table, which can add to program costs. The coursework can take as much as a year to complete, although some schools offer online lessons and study programs.
In total, reflexology training leading to certification will involve 150 to 300 hours of coursework and practical experience. Various classes will cover anatomy and physiology, the history of reflexology, theory, techniques, and a variety of business oriented subjects. Perhaps most important, students are taught the intricacies of reflexology maps of the feet. The latter is especially pertinent, as much of reflexology is based upon the Chinese traditions of acupuncture, acupressure, and the body’s energy zones.
Upon completion of reflexology training, you will likely seek to gain certification from the ARCB, if you are within the United States. This certification is not a license to practice, as such matters fall under the auspices of individual states. Rather, the certification is more a symbol of competency. The three-part ARCB exam covers written and practical knowledge, as well as documentation of experience. The minimum requirements to take the exam are 110 hours of combined classroom work and hands-on involvement.
A license to practice reflexology, at least in many states, is covered under the same laws that apply to massage therapy. There are some exceptions to this rule, and those wishing to set up a practice should also play close attention to individual city and county requirements. In Missouri and Louisiana, reflexology is included under the laws that govern cosmetology. In fact, only Tennessee and North Dakota have legal requirements specifically pertaining to reflexology. A state-by-state list of laws can be found on the website of the Reflexology Association of America (RAA).
The largest European group representing reflexologists is the Reflexology in Europe Network (RiEN). This organization has been in existence since 1995, and represents over 20,000 reflexology practitioners in 20 different nations. Still, licensing and regulations vary from country to country. For instance, in the United Kingdom (UK) reflexology is voluntarily regulated by the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). This governing body, with the full support of the UK Department of Health, requires competency and knowledge in reflexology techniques, practices, and business methods, and insists that practitioners carry both public and professional liability insurance.