Reflexologist jobs(Also known as Zone therapist)
A reflexologist is an alternative medicine practitioner who massages a patient's feet, hands and ears in order to unblock corresponding energy channels in the body and bring about positive change in their state of well-being. Reflexology is based on 5000 year old Chinese health principles and the notion that within the body essential life energy (Qi) flows along invisible channels, nourishing the body and spirit. Reflexology states that each area of the body, each organ and system, has a corresponding reflex zone located on the hands and feet. Via massage of these zones energy channels can be unblocked, stimulated or calmed depending on the symptoms displayed by the patient. Forms of reflexology have also been found to have existed among North American indigenous peoples and the ancient Egyptians. Modern day reflexology owes much to studies carried out in the early 20th century by the physiotherapist Eunice D Ingham.
- A reflexologist starting out is likely to earn from £11,000 - £14,000 per annum.
- An experienced reflexologist with a good client base can earn between £20,000 - £35,000 per annum.
- A reflexologist who runs their own clinic with other employees on the payroll may earn upwards of £35,000 per annum.
ResponsibilitiesA reflexologist has the following set of responsibilities:
- Meeting with clients and conducting an initial assessment.
- Explaining to new clients the principles and methods of reflexology.
- Applying hands-on massage to patient's feet and to a lesser extent their hands and ears.
- Instructing the client in self-reflexology techniques to be practised at home.
- Keeping detailed patient notes.
- Setting out a plan of future treatment.
- Advising patients to seek mainstream medical treatment where necessary.
QualificationsThere are several nationally recognised qualifications in reflexology. They all contain a mixture of theory, technique and hands-on practice. There are also many privately run reflexology courses which, while being comprehensive, are not nationally recognised. This can limit their usefulness as professional qualifications. The following nationally recognised reflexology qualifications can be studied full or part-time, depending on the providing institution:
- ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Reflexology
- City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Basic Reflexology Techniques
- City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Reflexology
SkillsA reflexologist will need the following skill-set:
- Patience and empathy to listen to other people's problems.
- Ability to see to the root problem amongst a host of interrelated issues.
- A good understanding of healthy living practices.
- The ability to inspire confidence in others.
- The ability to develop mentoring, caring relationships with others.
- Excellent organisational and book-keeping skills.
- The ability to recognise the limit of one's own abilities and the appropriate time to refer a patient to another healthcare professional.
Working ConditionsReflexologists predominantly work within a clinical setting, usually within an an alternative medicine practice offering other therapies such as Reiki, Massage, Aromatherapy etc. Often reflexologists travel to see patients in their own homes or places of work. As in many alternative healthcare roles there are currently more female reflexologists than male. However an increasing number of men are entering the alternative medicine industry as public perception changes and such therapies gain wider recognition. In addition to the special techniques of reflexology, creams and salves may be applied to feet in order to bring about soothing, warming or healing effects. Hours can be long and early morning, weekend or evening work is common in order to attend to clients outside of office hours. The work is hands-on so it can by physically tiring though not to the extent of full body massage. Dealing with other people's problems can also be emotionally draining. However, helping people and bringing about positive change in their well-being is immensely rewarding and most reflexologists do the work for this reason, rather than being motivated by financial gain.
ExperienceA reflexology course includes a large amount of hands-on work. Additionally, a student will be required to take on case-studies - trial patients of whom a detailed record of symptoms, treatment and results must be compiled. Thus a graduating reflexologist will be ready to begin practice right away.
EmployersPrivate complimentary or alternative healthcare clinics are the major employers of reflexologists, check your local listings and apply directly. Additionally many reflexologists start up their own businesses, working from their own home or that of their patient and advertising themselves in local shops, newspapers and on the Internet.
Career ProgressionMany reflexologists are qualified in another alternative therapy, commonly massage, reiki healing or acupressure. This allows them to treat a wider range of patients, offer a more extensive program of care and facilitate a higher and more regular income for themselves. Business minded reflexologists may go on to start up their own clinic, where they can hire out rooms to, or directly employ, other alternative medicine practitioners.
Kyoungjin Ha, 40 years old, is a reflexologist, holistic and Japanese face-lift massage therapist and Reiki healer specialising in maternity. She is based in London.