After reading over the membership benefits on the Reflexology Association of America website, a woman wrote and asked me how I personally have benefited as a member of RAA. She asked how becoming a professional member changed my day-to-day life as a reflexologist.
Great questions; I really appreciated them, because I realized when having to come up with a response that I never asked myself those questions when I joined RAA. Maybe I figured I just needed to since I am a professional reflexologist; maybe it just felt like the next logical step to take in my professional career. Not sure, but I do appreciate the opportunity to identify what benefits I do derive by being a professional member of my association. Maybe my responses will provide clarity to others who, like this woman, are considering joining the Reflexology Association of America.
So, in no particular order, here are the reasons I am grateful and proud to be a professional member of the Reflexology Association of America:
1. Client referrals. My name (and contact information that I want to publish) is available on the RAA website for anyone looking for a reflexology practitioner in my area. The RAA listing links directly to my website, an important feature for anyone in business. I have personally acquired many clients this way and this is the number one benefit cited by members.
2. By adding my name and voice to the US national membership organization, I help to bring professional credibility and recognition to the field. Helping to further the field of reflexology and its wonderful benefits is important to me. As the field moves inch-by-inch closer to state- by-state licensing and recognition by the National Institutes of Health, the numbers are very important, trust me. Reflexology is taken more seriously the more practitioners we have operating at the professional level who value their field enough to join forces as members of an independent, non-profit membership organization. As reflexology gains more recognition, so will its practitioners. Plain and simple.
3. Personal credibility. The public perceives someone listed on a professional membership site as being better qualified than those not listed. Like it or not, that’s the truth folks. This is a considerable benefit when people are researching whom they will allow to touch their bodies and to whom they will give their hard-earned money. As a teacher of reflexology, it is equally important to me to be able to state that I am a member in good standing of this country’s only national professional reflexology association.
4. When people contact me (and lots do) looking for a reflexologist in some other part of the state or country, the RAA website is the first place I check (well, actually the first place I check after the Academy’s list of graduates!). I know that I can feel confident referring someone who has successfully completed a program in study of substantial hours. How is that a benefit to me? Well, I feel good knowing someone is going to receive reflexology from a qualified professional and that someone is going to get some business because of my small efforts. And I like feeling good!
5. I really enjoy the Reflexology Across America magazine, delivered to my mailbox quarterly. It keeps me informed of reflexology events, legislative movements, accomplishments and challenges nationally, internationally and state-wise. As a member, I can submit my opinions and articles for publication. As an example, RAA publishes all the research case studies the students in the Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification complete. I also really appreciate that RAA has stuck to a policy of printing a magazine and not abandoning the tactile version for an online posting.
6. As a professional member I receive a significant discount to the biannual conference. I’m not really a fan of big gatherings, but just two RAA conferences shifted my comfort level in this area. So much so, that I decided to step up to the plate (see #11). Where else can you spend three days in perhaps a new locale (next year’s is in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico – can hardly wait!) with folks from all over the world who share your passion and curiosity for the same subject?
7. Another benefit is access to reflexology research sites. This is the second biggest reason members visit the RAA website. Research data will increase your confidence in the power of reflexology, which will translate to how you speak about reflexology to others, which will translate into more business and a healthier society. (BTW, watch for the completely redesigned website later this year.)
8. As a member, I receive e-blasts on time-sensitive issues and breaking news, so I stay really current on the important matters affecting my life as a reflexologist, and if necessary to the issue, am given the opportunity to take action.
9. RAA has available to its members a number of printed brochures that can be useful in building a practice: Discover Reflexology and Identifying the Legitimate Reflexology Practice (deals with human-traffickers infiltrating our industry).
10. Several insurance companies offer liability insurance discounts to RAA members. Always nice to save a few bucks!
11. RAA is a family of talented, dedicated and passionate individuals who are extremely inclusive when it comes to the running of the organization. It offers many opportunities to anyone and everyone to engage in dialogue and activities, both state and national, to help shape the future of reflexology. Last summer, following the 2012 conference I found myself just organically wanting to get involved at the national level; that surprise awareness resulted in my being elected to the national board. As a Director, I currently chair the website committee, charged with the complete overhaul of the website, and the education committee that is creating feasible and forward-thinking strategies to increase the quality of reflexology education in the United States. I have to tell you, that since becoming involved – and perhaps this has been the greatest benefit to me of membership – I have felt nothing but joyous camaraderie, amazing support and respect, and most importantly, a sense of contributing to something bigger than me, my own clinical work and even my reach as a teacher. Even if you decide not to volunteer your services, as a professional member you get to vote on who runs the organization.
So, I hope the inspiration for this post agrees with me that there are plenty of reasons to become a professional reflexologist – especially so when the price of membership is so inexpensive ($75 for professional and $50 for associate).
The RAA membership renewal process is now underway for this year. If you would like to join at the professional level or associate level (reflexology student or school), then the time to do that is July 1st when the new year starts. Check the website for membership qualification details.