Looking at the Work of an Aromatherapist, Reflexologist and Chiropractor

The Reflexologist

Reflexologists work on the basis of the theory that energy pathways, which end in reflex areas on the feet, the hands and the head, which connect every part of the body. They work systematically on these reflex areas and, by applying controlled pressure, stimulate the body's own healing mechanisms.

Reflexologists treat patients' bare feet (and sometimes hands), feeling for any deposits under the surface of the skin. By working on these points, they aim to release blockages and ease tension.

The Aromatherapist

Aromatherapists treat a variety of conditions using essential oils extracted or distilled from flowers, trees, herbs, spices and fruit. Practitioners often massage their clients with blends of these oils, which can also be used in baths or inhaled.

The aromatherapist takes a detailed personal and medical history of each client, often covering areas such as diet, exercise, environmental factors, allergy and emotional problems. From this, the essential oils to be used in treatment are selected and administered in the way the aromatherapist thinks is most appropriate. Different oils are used for their therapeutic properties, depending on the condition being treated.

Homeopathic Practitioners

Practitioners often work from a room in their home, others may rent space in large buildings (such as the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital or the British School of Osteopathy Practitioners) or smaller rented rooms on health centres. Some Practitioners may work outdoors, e.g. at sport events. Some chiropractors treat animals, especially horses.

It is essential for practitioners in complementary medicine to be ethical, and to be able to establish a good rapport with a wide range of patients. Good communication skills are vital, as are sympathy and understanding when treating patients who may be in some pain. Clear logical problem solving skills and detached observation, help with case assessments.

A willingness to pursue their own personal development is required, since some self-knowledge and stability is necessary to help other people. A genuine desire to help people is essential, along with a certain amount of sensitivity, especially in therapies, which involve touching the patient. For most complementary medicines, a lot of stamina is needed to cope with the physical and emotional demands of healing.

Interest in complementary medicine has increased in the last few years, with demand exceeding supply in most areas, so that opportunities are generally good. Many areas lack complementary medicine practitioners, so there is often room for new practices to start. These opportunities are most apparent in cities and large towns, where there is a large population to provide potential patients.

Many practitioners are self-employed in private practice, although some work in health centres. It is sometimes possible for newly-qualified practitioners to start work as assistants to other practitioners before setting up their own private practice.

Many further education colleges offer part-time programmes in Holistic Therapies that are certificated by ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council), who have been established for over 50 years and whose qualifications are equivalent to A'level standard. They are recognised worldwide. Each programme is divided into theory and practical classes.For further information on courses, please contact your local college or careers service.

This article appears with thanks to Calderdale College and first appeared in the Halifax Evening Courier


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