Career as a Reflexologist

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Sharon Reed is a reflexologist who practises in Glasgow. Reflexology is a form of foot massage which is based on the theory that the body is divided into ten zones through which energy flows.

How does reflexology work?

Reflex points on the feet and hands relate to every part of the body. During treatment I apply mild pressure to specific areas of the foot. If an area feels tender or gritty it may indicate an imbalance or problem in the corresponding area of the body. Reflexology works to restore balance and relieve any symptoms.

Who can you help?

I treat men and women of all ages, with all kinds of problems. I have treated men in their 50s who suffer from work-related stress and women in their 20s who have migraines or hormonal problems.

What happens when the client arrives for their first treatment?

I take notes of the patient's details and ask about their general health, going through a check-list of conditions which might prevent me from treating them without their doctor's consent. When I am happy the client is suitable for a reflexology session, I ask them to remove their socks and shoes and clean their feet with a wipe. They then sit on the reclining reflexology chair.

What happens next?

I begin the session, using talcum powder on my hands which helps me to hold the feet firmly. The session normally takes 45 minutes. Some clients find it so relaxing they fall asleep; others want to chat.

After the treatment, I make a note of which reflex zones felt gritty or tender during the session, so I can build up a picture of possible problem areas over the coming weeks.

How many times do you see each client?

I usually recommend weekly sessions for four to six weeks, but I leave the client to decide on how often they want to come. Do you work a normal five-day week? No. It's important to work outside regular working hours, as most people want to have treatment after work or at weekends. Usually, I work late on one or two evenings a week, and I work on Saturdays.

How did you train to become a reflexologist

My course was spread over several weekends and took just under a year to complete. It involved around 100 teaching hours. Usually we would study theory in the morning, including anatomy and physiology, and do practical work in the afternoon.

I also had to complete about 86 hours of case studies which were continually assessed throughout the training. This involved spending a lot of my own time practising on friends and relatives.

What do you like about your career as a Reflexologist?

I enjoy meeting people and seeing the difference I can make to their health and well-being. It is fulfilling to see how relaxed people can be after a session, particularly if they have arrived feeling stressed after a hard day at work.

What qualities make a good reflexologist?

You have to be interested in people and their health, with strong communication skills. You need to identify which clients want to chat and which would rather be quiet during the session. It also helps to be friendly and smile – even if you are having a bad day!

How do you market your business?

I sometimes work in an established complementary health business which means marketing is slightly easier, as clients call the clinic to make appointments. I also rent out a treatment room, and have found the best way to find new clients is by word of mouth and through friends and family.

Sharon's route to her career as a reflexologist

  • Law degree.
  • Post-graduate certificate in journalism.
  • Diploma in Reflexology.
  • Studied Indian head massage and therapeutic massage to offer more services to clients.
  • Currently studying for a certificate in counselling skills.

Sharon's reflexologist tips

  • Have a reflexology treatment to find out if you like it. It will also help you to understand what the client is feeling and experiencing.
  • Train in other complementary health subjects so that you can offer a variety of treatments.

Reflexology related jobs

Salary of a Reflexologist

  • Most reflexologists are self-employed, so income varies according to the number of patients they treat and the amount they charge for each session.
  • Someone building a practice could earn £12,000 a year.
  • With experience this could increase to £20,000.
  • Reflexologists with large, established practices could earn £40,000 a year.

Career as a Reflexologist

  • A wide variety of courses in reflexology are offered by a number of different organisations. Courses for professionals usually last one year or more.
  • There are often no formal entry requirements, but applicants must be able to cope with the study of human biology as well as the written elements of reflexology courses.
  • The minimum age to begin training is normally 18.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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