How to become a Reflexologist. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about Reflexologist career.
What does a Reflexologist do?
Reflexologists aim to encourage the body’s natural healing processes by applying pressure to reflex points on the hands and feet, which is said to restore the body’s natural balance. Reflexology is based on the belief that points in the feet and hands are joined to all the major organs and parts of the body by ‘energy pathways’.
As a reflexologist, you would work with clients to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, sleep disorders, sports injuries and chronic back pain. Your work would involve:
- explaining the treatment to the client
- taking a medical history, covering issues such as health, diet and lifestyle
- examining the client’s feet and hands for possible ‘blockages’ and problem areas
- applying pressure with the thumb and fingers to the client’s feet and hands
- keeping treatment records
- referring clients to their GP, if necessary.
You could focus just on reflexology, or you could combine this with other complementary therapies, such as massage therapy.
Your working hours would depend on how many clients you have, particularly if you are self-employed. You may start by working part-time until you have built a solid reputation and client base. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to accommodate your clients.
You could work in a variety of settings, from hospices and hospitals to clients’ homes and complementary or holistic medicine clinics. You could also work in a beauty salon or health farm. You may travel around, seeing clients in a number of settings.
How much does a Reflexologist earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Reflexologists may earn around £19,000 to £24,000 a year, depending on the number of clients and the location.
- Practitioners with established practices may earn around £40,000 a year.
Self-employed reflexologists charge a sessional rate, which usually varies from £35 to £70 for a 45- to 60-minute session. Business costs such as rent and materials come out of these fees.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
There are a variety of courses available that can help you prepare for a career in reflexology. These range from level 3 diplomas (created by the VTCT, ITEC, City & Guilds and ABC exam boards) to degree and postgraduate qualifications.
- City & Guilds
To get on to the diploma, you may need knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and it could also be useful to have a GCSE (A-C) in biology. Contact course providers (listed on the exam board’s websites) for exact entry details.
If you decide to take a degree-level qualification in complementary medicine/therapies (specialising in reflexology), you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C) plus around two A levels. Check with course providers, listed on the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website, for exact entry requirements because alternative qualifications may also be accepted.
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
It may help your career to join a professional body. Membership criteria can vary, so it is important to check directly with the organisation you feel would represent you best. Some of the main associations are listed on the Reflexology Forum website, including:
- Association of Reflexologists (AoR)
- British Reflexology Association (B.R.A.)
You may have an advantage when applying for a course if you have previous experience in healthcare, massage, beauty therapy or counselling.
Training and Development
You may need to follow your initial training course with extra study and more hours of supervised client-contact if you want to become a full member of one of the professional bodies. Each organisation’s website has further details of approved training and membership requirements.
Being a member of a professional body could improve your chances of work or increase your client numbers. Membership will also usually provide access to professional development opportunities, conferences and workshops, which can help you keep your skills up to date and extend your contacts.
Organisations from a variety of complementary therapies, including reflexology, have worked to create a single (voluntary) regulatory body, known as the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The aim of the CNHC is to protect the public by registering practitioners, setting standards for safe practice and providing a means of redress if things go wrong.
It is anticipated that health professionals and the public will use the CNHC register to check if a therapist is of sufficient standard, so it may help your reputation and business if you are registered.
Reflexology is one of the first areas to have access to the CNHC register. You can join via your professional body (check with them for details) or directly through the CNHC website.
- Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council
Skills and Knowledge
- a good understanding of human biology and anatomy
- good communication and listening skills
- the ability to develop empathy with clients
- a genuine desire to help people
- the ability to inspire confidence in your clients
- good co-ordination and practical skills
- the ability to recognise when a client needs to be referred to a medical doctor
- business and marketing skills (to be successful as a self-employed therapist).
You could work in a variety of settings ranging from hospitals, hospices and practices attached to GP surgeries to holistic health centres, beauty salons, gyms and luxury hotels. You may also work from home, from rented premises or visit clients in their homes.
You are likely to find most opportunities as a self-employed reflexologist. To be successful you will need to build up and maintain a sound reputation and client base. You will also need to the ability to market your business, which may involve working long hours at first until you have established your practice.
You could go on to train and qualify in other areas of complementary medicine, for example aromatherapy, massage therapy or reiki healing, which may help you attract a broader client base.
With experience and further training, you could go into teaching reflexology within colleges. You may also coach or mentor newly qualified reflexologists.
Vacancies may occasionally be advertised through Jobcentre Plus offices, in the local and national press, and in industry journals (often published by the professional bodies for reflexology).