When employers hire reflexologists, they seek high school graduates who are friendly, good listeners and comfortable touching a person's feet and hands. Candidates with first aid training and experience in massage treatments are preferred. Some reflexology training programs are divided into basic and advanced practice, depending on the applicants' skill and experience level. Since the reflexology movements are physically demanding and repetitive, candidates should be mindful to take breaks and use stretching techniques.
Six-month certificate programs are available for aspiring reflexologists, with online programs offered by some schools.
Students in a reflexology certificate program learn about job stress, business practices, foot anatomy, physiology and ethics. Instructors demonstrate stimulation techniques using the thumbs and fingers and review maps (zones) of the hands and feet. Through lectures, students also learn basic reflexology terminology, bodily system functions and the history of reflexology. In addition to classroom learning, students have supervised clinical sessions, where they may practice reflexology techniques on patients. Some common course topics might include:
- Thai massage
- Toe reading
- Emotional healing
- Pathology and assessment
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, massage therapists make a median annual wage of $42,820 as of May 2019. The job outlook for these therapists is expected to grow 22% from 2018-2028, according to the BLS.
Students should research licensing requirements for their state or county, because there isn't a national standard. In addition, some states don't distinguish reflexology from massage therapy. According to the American Reflexology Certification Board (www.arcb.net), only North Dakota and Tennessee have laws regulating reflexology practitioners.
The ARCB offers a voluntary reflexology certification, which requires a written and practical test, plus 110 hours of training. To maintain certification, students are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.
Some holistic health organizations and training schools hold information sessions for students to learn more about the art of reflexology, as well as other forms of alternative treatment. These sessions may be 1-3 days long and discuss topics, such as the chakra system, meditation and holding the feet and hands properly. Some workshops allow students to purchase instructional DVDs for home use. Since reflexology is so closely related to massage therapy, students may expand their training to include basic massage treatments. There is an abundance of massage therapy programs and many take as little as 12 months to complete. Training in massage therapy is likely to open doors for reflexology students seeking other positions in alternative medicine.
Students interested in practicing reflexology can find certificate programs providing instruction and hands-on training. Experience in related fields such as massage or aromatherapy can also be helpful when seeking employment in the field, with some states requiring licensure. Most states do not distinguish between massage therapy and reflexology.