To the awestruck patient especially, the knowledge and skills possessed by reflexologists can seem mysterious and ancient. The ability to heal with reflexology is one that sometimes, when pondered by those who would like to learn it, renders an amusing but inaccurate image as to how these people are trained. No, there is no bearded sage waiting atop a mountain for you to trek up so that he can reveal to you that knowledge is surrender. There is no secret compound in the Himalayas where you would learn how to become a reflexologist. The reality is much less romantic but, thankfully for those interested, much more feasible. Simply find an accredited reflexology program, gather the experience and education you need, achieve certification, and find the perfect job.
Find a Program
While it’s a touch reductive to lump reflexologists in with massage therapists, as they often are, it is convenient to do so in the area of how each is educated because reflexology and massage therapy are very often “associated” (pun intended) with each other. Point being that reflexologists can be certified out of massage therapy programs. This field has expanded such that 13-month to 2-year associate’s programs for massage therapy are popping up in every state with little signs of slowing. So how does the burgeoning reflexologist hone in on their intended specialty while undergoing massage therapy education?
Conventionally, there are two ways to do this. Students can either select a massage therapy program that features reflexology beyond a casual mention, or search for continuing education opportunities after they graduate. There are even associate certificate programs found at some community colleges, albeit more scarcely than massage therapy programs, that are dedicated to teaching the high school graduate how to become a reflexologist.
It would greatly behoove any student interested in a career in reflexology to lay a solid foundation in terms of prerequisites before applying. This doesn’t mean cluttering the mind with disjointed tidbits of reflexology-related knowledge from random websites. Focus instead on the staple prerequisites, as the following will probably be required in some form before or during the program anyway:
- Anatomy and Physiology I and II
- Medical Terminology
Finally, speaking of program requirements, try as early as you can to find shadowing opportunities with practicing reflexologists in your area because many programs require a minimum amount of shadowing hours for admission. This may seem daunting to the inexperienced, but it is as simple as calling clinics (preferably with a reflexology expert on hand) and budgeting some time to come in a couple of times for observation. The vast majority of practitioners you would follow, of course, are passionate advocates for the field and would be happy to teach you how to become a reflexologist.
Pass the Test. (Yes, there’s a test.)
Not unlike its “allied health” contemporaries, massage therapy is a practice regulated at the state level by all but six states. Yes, this means that if you really want to know how to become a reflexologist, you must study for and pass one of two spirit-numbing board examinations: the MBLEx or Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, or the NCETMB, also known as the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Now offered for those interested in reflexology is a professional certification offered by the American Reflexology Certification Board, also requiring the passing of an exam and a minimum number of practice hours (110 of lab/practical work and at least 90 treatment sessions).
Get a Job!
So now you have the all-important piece of paper with fancy letters on it. If you ever want to see the kind with numbers on it while pursuing your passion for reflexology, you will need to find employment. For reflexologists, this could mean a number of things. You can work at a massage therapy clinic, fitness center or spa, or even start your own reflexology operation. The latter is not recommended for the paperwork-averse, although it does afford certain freedoms: running the practice how you want, with what you want, and so on. If you do decide to work for a facility, know that they may require x amount of practice hours, professional malpractice insurance, immunizations and basic life support certifications, and a firm understanding of the state’s practice act. Poof, you’re a reflexologist.