Job Description (What the job involves)
Reflexology is an amazing holistic treatment with its roots in ancient civilisations. This is evidenced by cave paintings which were found in an Egyptian officials tomb dating back to 2330 BC depicting people having their hands and feet treated and saying "please don't hurt me" and the practitioner replying 'I shall act so you praise me!"
It is believed that there are reflexes in the hands & feet that may correspond to all of the body's glands & organs and reflexology seeks to stimulate these. As a practice reflexology is widely used to aid stress relief, improve blood supply & nerve impulses.
It is vital that reflexologists provide a relaxing environment to allow their clients to relax deeply in. To this end they must maintain high working standards that include a comprehensive consultation so the client is given the best possible treatment & aftercare.
And at all times the reflexologist must ensure they act professionally and yet are approachable. You must have great communication skills so that you can encourage relaxation & repeat bookings!
Hours and Working Environment
Reflexology is now a very popular treatment and can be found in spas/ salons, clinics, hospitals, Chiropractors etc. As well as this therapists may also choose to be mobile working at people's homes or in a variety of clinics in their local area, offer workshops at Yoga studio/fertility clinics & even in schools where there is often a great opportunity to network for new clientele.
It is important to be flexible with your work as many people may need evening or weekend appointments.
A lot of Reflexologists are self employed so that they have freedom to choose what they charge & when they work. They may choose to be employed in a spa for some of their working week & self employed for the rest of the working week. Some therapists will focus on building their business during the week & then do some kind of temp/part time work at the weekend to help pay their bills!
Although you can be a standalone Reflexologist if you put in hard work at the start, it is more common for beauty therapists & massage therapists to complement their holistic and beauty treatments portfolio with Reflexology qualifications. Many reflexology practitioners will start their career as a massage/beauty therapist and then start practicing reflexology a few years into their career when they want to add more holistic treatments to their menu
Upsides and Downsides
They are several challenges to face as a Reflexologist! It is a competitive market and you need to stand out head & shoulders above your colleagues to gain regular work. This doesn't necessarily mean dropping your prices to rock bottom, remember you may have room rental & supply bills to take out of your fee! It does however mean being as knowledgeable about your subject as possible.
It is also a must to be enthusiastic & passionate about your trade. Enthusiasm is infectious & your clients will soon become loyal & spread the word for you!
Reflexology isn't for the faint hearted as you will be dealing with many physical & emotional issues & you must make sure that you are physically & mentally able to deal with the things that you may see or hear on a daily basis. In saying that, working with clients that become pregnant after trying everything, or working with terminally ill people or helping to diminish daily pain or anxiety are things reflexologist can feel very blessed to be part of and inspires them to just want to learn more & more about this amazing therapy.
Skills and Personal Qualities
Maturity, sensitivity & life experience are really important personal characteristics that this line of work needs.
It's really important to genuinely care and go the extra mile for your clients.A good reflexologist will for example ensure their clients have suitable homecare exercises or a referral to see a Doctor, councillor or chiropractor if they think it will help their treatment. On top of an A1 treatment that includes relaxation techniques and foot & leg massage a good reflexologist will work throught the treatnent to address their clients concerns that arose from the initial consultation. Providing a great service should ensure your clients return time & time again.
Work doesn't fall on to your lap however & your job must become part of YOU! You have to live and breathe your therapy so it doesn't feel like work. And this may extend beyond the treatment room, for example if you attend a social function and find it's a good opportunity to share around some of your business cards or you suggest to a friend that their family and relatives visit you.
Some people still have skewed preconceived ideas on certain types of therapy and in many ways it will become your duty to educate them.
Most courses don't ask for prior therapy skills but rather individuals with a professional outlook who can commit to study as the course has much work involved that requires you to be able to study for several hours a week as well as possibly requiring models to act as case studies for you.
There is a lot of written work but most colleges offer learning assistance for students that struggle with the academic side of things -don't let the work load put you off, it is equally important to do a fabulous, safe & effective PRACTICAL treatment that puts your client at ease.
Opportunities and Progression
You may do advanced Reflexology courses or even fertility / maternity courses; these are popular at the moment with more people turning to complementary health! You may even wish to add massage therapy, or even beauty therapy, offering manicures & pedicures alongside your Reflexology treatments. This would also make you more attractive to potential employers.
Reflexology is now being taken seriously due to the many scientific & industry trials being carried out. The medical fraternity is now having to sit up & take notice of the results being found with Reflexology so this type of therapy certainly has longevity.
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Potential Salary and Benefits
Salary ranges can vary greatly but as a full time salaried therapist you can expect to earn between £12,000 - £15,000 per year. As a self employed therapist you can charge anywhere between £30 - £50 an hour. Please be aware that you would usually have other therapies in addition to the reflexology under your belt to enable you to work as a a full time therapist. Gaining regular self employment opportunities takes time to build up.