How Can I Become a Reflexologist?

Research what it takes to become a reflexologist. Learn about salary, certification and licensure requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Holistic Health Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Reflexologist?

Reflexologists are massage therapists who specialize in a modality known as reflexology. This technique involves applying pressure to clients' feet, hands and ears to alleviate pain and improve symptoms of various health conditions. Before a treatment, they take the client's medical history and discuss their specific health concerns in order to devise an appropriate strategy. Depending on the specific client's needs, they may also use reflexology alongside other massage therapy modalities and complementary therapies, and they may recommend traditional medical treatments as well.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Education Required Certificate or diploma from accredited program
Key Responsibilities Apply alternating pressure to reflexes within body; understand body map of reflexes found on feet, hands and outside ears; talk with clients about symptoms and desired results
Licensure/Certification Licensure and certification recommended
Job Growth (2014-2024) 22% (for all massage therapists)*
Average Salary (2014) $43,170 (for all massage therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do You Want To Do?

The first decision you have to make before becoming a reflexologist is how you are going to use your knowledge. Many of the people who study reflexology are also massage therapists, or studying to become massage therapists. Being a massage therapist who has studied reflexology in-depth can give you an added edge in an emerging market. You can also become a reflexologist in your own right, with the intention of making reflexology your career. You also might want to study reflexology for the purpose of providing services to your family and close friends, rather than making it a profession or becoming a massage therapist.

Choose a Program

The reflexology program you choose will depend greatly on how you plan on using your knowledge. If you plan on only using your services to benefit friends and family, a short-course program would probably fit your needs. If you plan on making reflexology your profession, but not becoming a massage therapist, you want to find a long course program that offers an in-depth and comprehensive educational platform. If you plan on becoming a massage therapist who specializes in reflexology, you should choose a massage therapy school that offers an accredited reflexology program, or is taught by an accredited instructor.

No matter which type of program you choose, the best ones will be accredited by the American Commission for Accreditation of Reflexology Education and Training (www.acaret.org). ACARET is a non-profit organization that is run by reflexology professionals. Its main purpose is to ensure a nation-wide standard of education and practice within reflexology. ACRET accredits educational programs and schools, as well as individual teachers.

Classes you can expect to take within your course include: anatomy and physiology (human body, and lower leg and foot), theory and practices of reflexology, hands-on techniques, management and business practices, ethics, and clinical work under the tutelage of a trained professional.

Become Certified and Licensed

The American Reflexology Certification Board (www.arcb.net) is a nation-wide certifying body; it is not a professional organization into which you can join. The purpose of the ARCB is to promote a national standard of care and education in reflexology, and it is the only group with a national standard. The ARCB recommends that you take 2-3 months to study for the certification exam, as most programs do not cover in-depth the entire scope of practice on which the exam will test you.

Once you are certified by the ARCB, you can look into becoming licensed by your state. It is important to know the specific laws within your state in regards to the practices of reflexology and complementary and alternative medicines as a whole. According to the Reflexology Association of America (www.reflexology-USA.org), reflexology is recognized as a stand-alone profession in more than 33 state laws and exemptions, and they have a list of stat-specific laws available on their website.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As a massage therapist, instead of focusing your practice on reflexology, you could choose to specialize in a different type of massage such as sports massage or prenatal massage. Another wellness-related job option is a position as a fitness instructor. In this job, you would teach individuals or groups of clients about certain exercise techniques, like yoga or weightlifting, while also offering advice on topics like nutrition and motivation. The minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma, but employers may be more likely to hire you if you have professional certifications to teach different types of exercise.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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