Recently, I was asked by the national publication Massage Magazine to write a spotlight on reflexology for massage students. In it, I explain the difference between massage and reflexology, why the public seeks out reflexology, levels of training, employment opportunities and continuing education options. As I was writing the article, I thought the information might also be useful for existing therapists trying to figure out in what direction to focus your practice; how you can stand out in the crowd. What do you think?
The 6-hour Reflexology Rocks! class is perfect for those of you who have taken weekend reflexology workshops (hands or feet) or the Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification – and want to “kick it up a notch”, as they say in the cooking world.
In this short class you will learn how to:
- safely use hot and cold mineral stones (basalt, marble and soapstone) in either a hand or foot reflexology session;
- utilize Himalayan salt crystal stones to reduce the effects of harmful electro-magnetic frequencies on the body;
- learn how to incorporate aromatherapy with hot stones;
- incorporate quartz crystal stones to balance the seven primary chakras.
More importantly though, you will yourself experience why clients rave about stone reflexology.
Rock your world! Sunday, June 17th.
At the recent RAA conference, Ko Tan, of the American Academy of Reflexology, gave a spirited presentation on the considerable need to take reflexology into corporate America.
As I listened to the shocking stats of employee need and reflexology’s impressive ability to positively affect the bottom line in business, I started to think about the enormous career possibilities for reflexologists.
Tan first shared numbers issued by the American Labor Statistics board regarding the financial impact of headaches, chronic constipation, premenstrual syndrome and low back pain on businesses. He then highlighted results of reflexology research on those conditions and reflexology’s impact on workplace absenteeism and job satisfaction. Finally he outlined the considerations and steps to take to develop a successful out-call business in the corporate world. The possibilities were unlimited, and perfect for the person who does not like to be tethered to any one work space.
I’ll share some of the stats from the ALSB here, that will, hopefully, convince you of the enormity of the market:
- 47% of all adults have a headache disorder and “the financial costs to society through lost productivity are enormous.”
- In the United States, headaches cost an estimated $50 billion each year. The cost to business in lost productivity is approximately $6 billion to $17 billion/year.
- Migraines cost American employers about $13 billion/year because of missed workdays and impaired work function. Close to $8 billion was directly due to missed workdays. 4/26/1999
- 63 million people live with chronic constipation. 6.3 million are forced into ambulatory care visits; 700,000 are hospitalized because of constipation.
- Constipation affects 12% to 19% of Americans; its prevalence increases with age and it affects women more than men. It has a major impact on quality of life. Americans spend more than $700 million annually on over-the-counter laxatives. 7/14/2011
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- As many as 90% of women deal with the aches, pains and emotional stress of PMS at some time during their reproductive years. 30% to 40% have symptoms distressing enough to interfere with their everyday lives. 1999-2001
- Nearly 2 out of 5 women ages 14 to 50 experience some symptoms of PMS. 10% have symptoms severe enough to disrupt their usual activities. 1999
Low back pain
- The annual cost of chronic low back pain in the United States, including healthcare expenses, lost income and lost productivity, is estimated to be $100 billion. 26 million Americans between ages 20 and 64 experience frequent back pain. 2003
- Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years of age. More than 26 million Americans, between the ages of 20 and 64, experience frequent back pain. Back pain produced the highest amount of lost productive time (5.2 hours/week). 2006
If you want to approach business owners about providing reflexology to their employees, the first thing you are going to have to do is convince that company president that your work will lower absenteeism and increase productivity and job satisfaction.
Fortunately, that’s an easy thing to do. Bill Flocco, director of the American Academy of Reflexology, has compiled a collection of 380 studies that prove the efficacy of reflexology with 75 different conditions. His gracious gift to the world can be viewed here.
Additionally, studies regarding workplace reflexology show:
- 2499 fewer hours of sick leave the first 6 months of reflexology sessions. (Journal of Danish Reflexologists Association, Number 6, 1992)
- A postal company was able to save expenses due to a reduction in employee sickness or absence an average of 11.4 to 8.5 days per employee. (Danish Reflexologists Association, November 1993)
- 55% of employees reported reflexology was effective; 29% reported that it was partially effective; 50% had fewer sick days; 70% reported a greater awareness of their bodies. (Danish Reflexologists Association, February 1995)
- 97% of employees reported relief from their primary issue from receiving reflexology; 62% reported improvement; 35% reported partial improvement; 77% reported positive secondary effect(s). (“A Study of the Effect of Reflexology Treatment in the Eastern District of the Municipality of Svendborg, Denmark”; Danish Reflexologists Association, 1995)
- 79% of employees reported complete or partial success from reflexology; 57% reported that it helped in other areas; 92% wanted to continue; 30% reported a greater job satisfaction after reflexology. (“Reflexology as Personal Care in the Arthus District Corporation Take Good Care of Your Fellow Employees”; Journal of Danish Reflexologists Association, November 1996)
Seems worth considering to me, if you’ve yet to carve your niche in the reflexology world. I’ll write a “To-Do List”, in the next few days, for anyone wanting to do onsite reflexology in the workplace.
Here they are! Lots of time to plan.
March 21 to 25
May 16 to 20
July 18 to 22
September 12 to 16 and
November 7 to 11
And some comments from last year’s participants:
One of the best learning experiences I have had! (You can quote me) 🙂
What stood out most for me was the community outreach we did, because it was at that point that the realization came to me that this dream of becoming a reflexologist was materializing; my interaction with my own community brought that to light for me… a big confidence booster!
I felt as if I was respected as an individual and that my opinions, when asked for, were valued without bias.
The greatest impact for me is now having the ability to change and improve someone’s health in one session.
I feel inspired to re-create my present massage therapy practice.
The flexibility and adaptability of your teaching techniques for how each student learns kept all the students at the same level throughout the program.
Schedule was very relaxed with time off between modules.
Strong point was a great instructor… Your communication skills are excellent and that made learning with you a pleasure.
I’m noticing a growing interest in self-care. It seems more and more people are taking their health into their own hands. Perhaps it’s a result of the increase in positive media coverage regarding natural health care benefits, or the rising cost of western medicine, or the economic environment, unwelcome side-effects of allopathic approaches, or the failure of conventional medicine’s promise to cure people’s ills. Maybe all of the above?
I’m also seeing an increase of complaints regarding foot pain and headaches. Leads me to wonder if both are somehow related to the stress of living in a tough economic time. Headaches for sure. And the feet – well, those trusty servants carry both our body’s weight and our identity every day of our lengthy existence here on earth. They provide a foundation upon which we “take a stand”, and allow us to move forward in life. If we fear for our future – or our present – then yes, there is a relationship.
These thoughts lead me to offer two new classes this month that I think can serve both the general public and therapists looking for ways to help more people.
TIRED OF LIVING WITH HEADACHES?
Learn What YOU Can Do To Relieve Your Pain
- In this 3-hour class you will identify what triggers your headaches (from a list of over 50 causes), and simple, natural choices that will move you closer to a goal of living headache-free. You will learn reflexology techniques specific to your condition that you can use at home.
Details and a full description of the class can be found here.
TIRED OF LIVING WITH PAINFUL FEET?
Learn What YOU Can Do To Relieve Your Pain
- In this 3-hour class we will examine the various factors that contribute to foot pain for about 30% of the adult US population, and then look at creative strategies to prevent and/or lessen foot pain. You will also learn reflexology techniques you can use on yourself to make those feet happier!
Details and a full description of the class can be found here.
If you are a therapist, consider all that you can learn from these classes to educate and empower more people in your community to improve the quality of their lives.
Do you text? Do you text a lot? If you’re under a certain age, you probably do. Afterall, you’re of the generation that was sprung from your mother’s womb clutching a smart phone, those cute little thumbs flapping in the breeze!
Hand injuries reported from texting are growing – a lot; enough so to have earned their own acronym: TMI (in this case, “text message injury”, not “too much information”). The popularity of this method of communication is causing alarming repetitive strain injuries to the tendons and muscles of the thumb. That’s NOT good. The thumb is involved in about 40% of your hand’s functioning!
In the Reflexology for the Hands workshop, participants learn how to give a relaxing and therapeutic session of reflexology, and maybe more importantly, how to take care of the hands and wrists through ergonomics, body mechanics, stretching, strengthening and more. With the rise in carpal tunnel syndrome and TMI, this may just be the most important workshop you could attend – for yourself and your business.
– More than 5 billion text messages are sent every day.
– 40% of “texters” suffer from repetitive strain injuries to their hands.
– Americans text more than they talk on the phone.
– American teens text 60 – 100 times a day.
That says to me that there are a lot of folks out there that could use some good hand therapy! Are you one of them? Or do you know someone who texts and types a lot?
When texting, the muscles of the thumb are held in an almost constant state of contraction. Oxygenated blood can’t get in and metabolic waste deposits can’t get out, resulting in sore muscles. The scarier risk though is to the CMC joint (the carpal metacarpal joint), the most vulnerable joint in the hand. Texting places even more force on this joint than typing! (I’ll post something tomorrow about protecting the thumbs and fingers when doing reflexology.)
Those first symptoms of achiness, tingling and/or numbness should not be ignored. They can lead to more serious conditions such as tendonitis, trigger thumb (when the tendons shrink to hold the thumb in a permanent curl) and/or deQuervain’s disease (a debilitating condition involving the tendons of the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus, the two muscles that extend the thumb). In some cases, surgery is even necessary.
GUIDELINES FOR TEXTERS:
– Stretch arms, hands and digits throughout the day.
– Strengthen forearm muscles.
– If your hands hurt, ice them as often as you can throughout the day.
– Use both thumbs to text.
– Watch your posture: spine straight, shoulders down and relaxed.
– Place phone on a hard surface to text.
– Restrict texting to 3 minutes or less at a time.
– and for God’s sake, take a break, especially if you feel discomfort in your hands!
Take a minute to think of all that your hands do for you. Our hands “grab hold of life”, thus relaxed, strong and pain free hands make it easier to eagerly reach out and grasp what life has to offer. Start a love affair with your hands and those of your family and clients. Learn hand reflexology!
As if we needed proof to confirm what we already know, a new science entitled “interpersonal neurobiology” shows that safe touch has far-reaching effects on the body’s mental, emotional and physical functioning.
Studies show that when two people who care for and trust one another hold hands, their neural responses and physiology change. Loving relationships, expressed in such a way, alter the brain, subdue blood pressure, ease responses to stress, improve overall health and lessen pain.
Holding hands is associated with some of our earliest biological memories. Remember when your parents held your hands to provide balance as you learned to walk; safety as you navigated your first street-crossings, intimacy when you strolled the beach together? Later as adolescents, our first forays into the world of adult romantic relationships began with the tentative and thrilling holding of hands.
The body remembers those early experiences of “oneness” and longs to recreate those health-saturated feelings in adulthood.
I get excited when I think of all that is happening behind the scenes as I give a hand reflexology session – for my clients, loved ones and myself. You too can revamp someone’s brain by spending just two days learning how to give a safe and accurate hand reflexology session. It just may be the most important class you’ll ever take.
In my 29 years (gasp!) of practicing reflexology, I am regularly asked if there is a reflex point for weight loss. How I wish there was! If there was one spot on the feet or hands that could deliver a desired weight, I would be a very wealthy woman!
In lieu of that imaginary “point”, may I suggest one thing that costs less than Weight Watchers, gastric bypass surgery and a year’s membership at the gym?
That magical item is water. Pure alkaline water. Lots of it. If you want to lose weight, I’m talking 1 liter for every 40 lbs you currently weigh. Drinking that much water alone will do so much to help you reach your desired weight goal. Imagine the results if you combine that with conscious eating, regular movement, adequate sleep, encouraging self-talk and relaxation?
When it comes to balancing your weight, drinking plenty of alkaline water will:
• metabolize stored fat. Your body creates additional fat cells and mucous to protect itself from attack from excess acid in the body. Dehydration makes it impossible for the body to reduce the accumulation of acid that contributes to arteriosclerosis, bone density loss, muscle atrophy, inflammatory conditions and unwanted pounds.
• aid kidney function. Water is the best antidote to fluid retention; the more you drink, the more your body is flushed of excess fluid and acid.
• reduce hunger pangs. In many people, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger! Drink plenty of water throughout the day and watch your cravings disappear.
• improve digestion. Water is essential to your body’s ability to break down food into usable nutrients.
• relieve constipation. Never mind laxatives; adding more water to your day is the first thing you should do.
But back to reflexology… There are actually specific points to work that will assist someone in their concerted strategy to reach a healthy weight. I’ll write about those points in my next post.