Friday, April 30, 2010

Choosing a Reflexologist

There are only a few reflexologists in the Memphis area. There are several more massage therapists and massage venues that are now offering reflexology. The prices run the course from $29 to $100 for one session. What will you get for your dollars, and how do you choose (no matter where you live)?

First and foremost, reflexology is not foot massage. While a reflexologist may include some massage techniques, it is not the main focus of his or her work. Once heard reflexology described by another reflexologist as a "moving accupressure." That's not a very scientific definition, but it certainly gives you a clearer picture of the work being done.

A recent article at featured reflexology as an effective, drug-free, non-invasive way of reducing tension. Based on the premise that all organs, glands, and parts of your body are mirrored on your feet, reflexology uses very specific touch therapy techniques applied to the feet, encouraging all body systems toward greater balance. Scientific research in the reflexology field offers continuous proof.

With that said, unless a massage therapist has received additional training in reflexology, the quick overview of it in massage school probably does not qualify them as a reflexologist. As a licensed massage therapist, however, they certainly may do reflexology. If you opt for this choice, realize what you think you're getting and what you actually receive may be two quite different things.

Second then, and equally important, ask questions. What are the reflexologist's credentials. What training does she/he have? Is that training both classroom and "hands on?" Are they nationally certified by the American Reflexology Certification Board (board testing required)? (National Certification requires both classroom and "hands-on" training.) Has he/she taken or are they taking advanced reflexology courses to enhance their practice? Are they members of professional reflexology associations? What does the session include? Does the reflexologist's scheduling allow time to take a vital interest in your specific needs? Will you feel like there is a buzzer set while you're in the session? (You know - exactly 55 mins. and it's over.) What extra touches, if any, are included in the session?

Third factor is price. I put this last, because I firmly believe that the reflexologist's skills and time carry value. Pricing says much about the value they place on their services. Depending on where you live (in the U.S.) fees generally range from $50-$100 for a 1 hour session. In light of current economic conditions, it is very tempting to look for the cheapest prices on everything. That is, of course, not always the best value.

The reflexologist who offers deep discounts, just to lure some extra business, may also find themselves resentful for the lack of income they are producing for their time and hard work. It would be difficult to keep from projecting that resentment and frustration on to the client if even in a subtle, non-verbal way. They have devalued themselves and the benefits their service adds to your health and wellness goals.

Massage chains are well-known for their low prices. Just to see, I called one locally and asked about the price of a one hour reflexology session. $39. And then, of course, there were the package deals that made it even cheaper. When I asked if they had a reflexologist on staff, I was met with, "Well, we have people who know how to do it." "Are they trained specifically in reflexology?" I asked. The response: "Well, no, but they know how to do it." I was convinced there are much better choices to be made. (Note: Some of these establishments may have a well-trained reflexologist on staff. I would still be concerned about the low value they have placed on their time and their skills to work for so little.)

At Footsteps In Eden Reflexology instead of offering deep discounts we offer what we believe is an awesome value for investing your budgeted health and wellness dollars with us. We have endeavored to create a wonderfully relaxing and "soothing to all your senses" experience for our clients. We offer sessions 30, 60, and 75 minutes in length. The 60 and 75 minute sessions include some extra touches our clients seem to truly enjoy. Our sessions are usually scheduled with 30 minutes between, so that no one need be stressed. We prefer punctuality, but everyone has those days they are running a few minutes behind. Many times, too, there is just a reason or two we would like to indulge our clients a few extra minutes of our attention. And there's time to take care of the necessary business details at the end without the client feeling pushed out the door.

Lynn Watson (Footsteps In Eden Reflexology) is a Registered Certified Reflexologist (State of TN Health Related Boards). She is Nationally Board Certified, studied reflexology at Laura Norman School of Reflexology (Boca Raton, FL), holds certification from both Laura Norman's School and Healthflex School (Knoxville, TN) and additional Certification in Maternity Reflexology from Soul to Sole Reflexology (United Kingdom). Maternity certification indicates competence in reflexology support for preconceptual care (including sub-fertility challenges), antenatal care, birthing preparation, postnatal care, and newborn baby care. She has taken course work in a Plantar Fasciitis specific reflexology protocol. Lynn also holds an international certificate in aromatherapy from Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy (San Rafael, CA) and is a member of the Reflexology Association of America, the Tennessee Reflexology Association, and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals, and has been featured in local news media in Memphis, TN. Desiring to give back to the community, Lynn also volunteers at Target House in Memphis, offering reflexology to the parents of critically ill children of St. Jude Hospital.

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