This is a very good article written by Michelle Milder, a reflexologist in California, on the subject for Massage Magazine. Well worth a read as you consider how to re-boot your business in the coming year.
The last few weeks have given me plenty of time to reflect on many aspects of my life, both personal and business, and how they intersect with and are dependent upon one another. Contemplation led me to make some big changes in my life; ones that I believe will better support and reflect the life I wish to lead and the person I wish to be going forward.
The biggest change is that I started school this week – and in my jammies! I am taking an accelerated program to earn a certificate as a Nutrition Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. This is a program I have admired for many years, and when I decided to take the plunge into formal nutrition study again, I knew for certain that this was the course.
Digestion and nutrition have been lifelong interests and studies of mine. Although I am very well informed on the subjects, I have been very careful in my reflexology/massage practice not to overstep the scope of my license by offering nutritional advice or suggestions to my clients. And that has been difficult for me when I know I could offer doable solutions. Ninety percent of my clientele present with health issues stemming from their digestive and lifestyle habits; soon I will be able to offer a service that will go a long way in helping people reach their wellness goals. Combined with reflexology – wow!
The second big change is that I moved out of my clinical space and closed the practice for the time being. I don’t think it’s safe yet to return to offering reflexology and am not, in fact, even interested in doing so when the guidelines require me to suit up in what resembles a Hazmat suit to do so! I am hopeful that come the fall I will be able to resume offering reflexology.
With no income since mid-March and not likely any until the fall sometimes, I asked myself what I was willing to give up to have the life I say I want. That, surprisingly, turned out to be rather easy. In addition to solidifying some additional daily practices, I painlessly trimmed some things off my budget:
* I canceled my cable service when I recognized how much of a distraction it is to my reaching my goals. I decided to live my life as opposed to watching actors portray other people living theirs. Haven’t missed it all.
One of the many things this added time gave me was the ability to contribute to a book that will be published by Amazon beginning this weekend. It’s called 40 Days in the Hole: Self-Care in the Time of Corona Pandemic and was written by Kevan Breitinger. Check it out! She is a wizard with words! And the book lists for only $10!
* I decided not to renew two magazine subscriptions, again a distraction from reading more in-depth writings and books.
* I canceled my lawn service after a friend’s son gave me a mower. A move away from being ‘She Who Writes Cheques’!
* Also started sprouting again and started my first veggie garden (Being a brown thumb, I did it the easiest way I could find, with a Grow-Box) – two ways in which I can be more sustainable and connected to the food I eat.
All in all, I have found this time while “exiled for the good of the realm” to be such a game-changer for me. Although I miss touching and being touched very much, I am comforted by the knowledge that this time of seclusion will pass. In the meantime, I am taking advantage of every moment to fashion a life and business that will really work for me at this point in my life. I’m so excited!
Traveling the globe, working with world-class business executives, athletes, coaches, administrators, and entrepreneurs, Tom realized that, regardless of the field or industry, everyone wanted the same thing: advice about excellence.
So began his search to find the universal conditions for success and the skills or arts involved to achieve it. “My claim,” Tom said in an interview with the DailyStoic, “is that for success in any challenge, the great practical philosophers have taught me that we need what I call the 7 Cs of Success”.
The 7 Cs of Success
- 1. A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.
- 2. A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain that goal.
- 3. A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach our goal.
- 4. A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision.
- 5. An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we’re doing.
- 6. A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course.
- 7. A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way.
“You can find all seven of these ideas in the writings of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius,” Tom added. “The great thinkers understood greatness.”
All of Tom’s 7 Cs of Success fall under what the Stoics called the dichotomy of control. Basically, we can control some things and can’t control others—and we should focus on what we can control. The Stoics knew that in the chaos of life, as in sports, fixating on things we can’t control is not a recipe for success, but for great agony and despair.
The road to success—winning championship titles in sports, becoming a bestselling writer, or a successful entrepreneur— is just that: a road. And just like you travel along a road in steps, excellence is a matter of steps. Excelling at this one, then the next, and then the one after that.
Today, spend some time with Tom’s 7 Cs of Success. Where are you along the road? What can you do to make the next step? Focus on that—the things you do control.
(shared with permission from the Daily Stoic, because I think the above also applies to a bodywork practice.)
Where else does one remove all or some of her clothing minutes after meeting someone and allow that person to touch their body in an intimate, familiar way in a dimly lit closed room for an extended period of time, with no one else present, and likely being encouraged to close their eyes?
That scenario requires a lot of trust; trust that must be earned, not assumed, by a practitioner.
I taught professional boundaries and ethics to the massage community for over 20 years. It’s a topic dear to my heart and one I wish bodywork schools took more seriously. Even if you think you have a good understanding of professional boundaries, one thing I would ask you to remember is that many of the people who come into your space have had their boundaries violated – and sometimes by well-meaning, but ignorant people. The responsibility to re-frame someone’s experience of receiving reflexology as a safe event, therefore, will fall on you.
So, what are boundaries?
Boundaries separate me from my environment; from the surroundings that include people, not just inanimate objects.
Boundaries are both innate and learned (what we grew up within our families and in our culture) and dependent on context and location (work, public or personal environments, country or region).
There are 5 types of boundaries.
In this culture, an arm’s length (two to three feet) in front and back is comfortable for most people; one foot on the sides. In other cultures that distance can vary.
In somatic practices, contact is expected and appropriate during the session. It’s questionable before and after, depending a lot on culture. In Latin-speaking countries, for example, hugging is more prevalent than in the Anglo-Saxon based cultures, where a hug might feel forward.
Do you automatically reach out to hug your clients when they arrive or are about to leave? Have you asked if they would like a hug that day?
How do you feel when clients grab you for a hug without checking in first?
Emotional boundaries are essential for all healthy relationships, both personal and professional. And this is an area where boundaries can be radically different depending on context (friends vs. the first-time client vs. retail store clerk) and culture (African-American vs. Caucasian, for example).
Are you aware of how different cultures feel about sharing emotions and/or personal information with strangers?
It is important that clients not feel that they are expected to share emotions or personal aspects of their lives that don’t directly relate to their reason for seeing you.
Sexual boundaries are actually a subset of physical and emotional boundaries.
Everyone has the right to determine with whom, when, where and how s/he expresses herself sexually. The healthcare relationship is one in which sexual safety must be paramount. Somatic practitioners should not have sexual relationships with clients, period.
A person’s thoughts, opinions and beliefs form her identity. To ridicule, criticize, ignore and/or dismiss another’s opinion is a boundary violation.
Many seasoned practitioners have put discussion of potentially heated topics such as politics or religion off-limits in the clinic room; if for no other reason than discussions such as those put someone in their head rather than in their body where relaxation is initiated.
The human body conducts electrical currents through an electromagnetic field. As practitioners, we must prevent being influenced by a client’s energy at the same time that we protect the client’s energetic boundary.
Some therapists are somatically intuitive and can ‘read’ other people’s energy. It is a boundary violation to share unasked for perceptions. Always remember that the person has come to you for a reflexology session, not an intuitive energy reading.
I’ll close with a few ways you can strengthen your professional boundaries:
1. Increase your awareness of your client’s experience. Pay attention to what your client is asking for and not asking for, both verbally and non-verbally.
Does your client:
* pull back when you try to hug them?
* avoid answering certain questions you ask?
* tense up when you touch a certain place or move their body in a certain way?
2. Manage the energy field. Before and after each session consciously direct your energy to build a protective bubble around both you and your client. Release it all when you are done, either through a physical practice or by spraying the room with an essential oil blend.
3. Learn to identify clients’ behaviors that indicate a crossed boundary. Example: muscle tension/eyes open/stubborn behavior or a change in customary behavior.
4. Ask questions that identify when you suspect a boundary has been violated:
“I’ve been asking you some personal questions in the last few minutes. Have any made you uncomfortable?” Or, “Let me apologize if any made you feel uncomfortable.”
Show respect for client boundaries. Admit and apologize when you overstep. This will go far in building trust.
5. Teach clients how to establish their own boundaries and to articulate their experience. Fully explain that you have no way of knowing what the session will feel like to them, and since you want to give them the best experience possible, you need them to partner with you by informing you of what is working and what is not.
Regarding getting feedback during the session, ask, “How do you respond to pain? Do you grin and bear it, or do you say something?”
If a client says she doesn’t want to break ‘the spell’ by speaking up when receiving, establish non-verbal cues that can be used to inform you when you’re on a point that wants attention or if pressure is too much.
Do you have a particular behavior that you practice that delivers strong professional boundaries? Please share, so we can all learn.
Here are three easy ways to do just that:
Whenever a client talks about a friend or family member dealing with (fill in the blank) you can pretty well safely assume that s/he is looking for some help for that person. So, give it to them!
* Either inquire a little about the condition/situation and share your insight, or offer a piece of self-care advice for your client to pass on to the friend.
* Explain how you can help this person and then ask your client if s/he would like to give the friend your business card. (Give ‘em two, just in case.)
Give first-time clients ‘goodie bags’. It can be an actual bag or it can be as simple as an envelope, file folder or presentation folder. Inside include a few business cards and brochures of reflexology and/or your business. Add in any of the following:
* discount coupon for a friend
* small foot chart
* toe separators or a small container of the foot scrub you used in your session
* reflexology bookmark
* hard copy of one of your key past online newsletters
* supportive/non-supportive steps for good health
* resources specific to client’s situation.
Ensure that your business name and contact information is on as many items as possible.
Send a hand-written card of appreciation to clients that refer someone to you. Send it by snail-mail! It’s such a treat to receive something of value in the mail these days and so much more personal than a text or email. In order to protect confidentiality, do not name the new client.
Keep a record of clients who refer to you and how many people they have sent your way. When they reach a certain threshold (five? ten referrals?) comp their next session. I call this a WOW! experience. When they go to pay and you tell them the session is on you, they usually say Wow! And they likely will talk it up with others afterward.
These are easy ways to let your clients know you value them. Try it. It’s as simple as one, two, three.
I wrote the following to enclose with gift cards people purchase. I figured that some people receiving the gift certificates might not know what reflexology is and therefore hesitate to redeem their amazing gift. And that’s not good!
Please feel free to use what I wrote.
For thousands of years, cultures all over the world have known how to positively influence the body’s complex physiology through the feet and hands. The earliest record of therapy on the feet and hands was documented in the form of hieroglyphics in the Physician’s Tomb at Saqqara, Egypt during the early Sixth Dynasty (about 2300 BCE).
In the modern day, the intentional, therapeutic touch of the feet and hands is known as Reflexology.
Today, the effectiveness of reflexology is recognized worldwide by various national health institutions and the public at large as a distinct complementary practice within the holistic health field. It is commonly used to relax and support people facing challenges that threaten the quality of their lives.
Reflexology has grown over the centuries into a protocol of unique manual techniques applied to specific reflex areas predominantly on the feet and hands. These techniques stimulate the complex neural pathways linking body systems, supporting the body’s efforts to function optimally.
People choose reflexology when they are experiencing:
- high levels of stress, resulting in sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, etc.
- pain in the feet and/or hands from overuse, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, excessive text messaging, injuries, gout, etc.
- less than optimal functioning of a body system, manifesting as respiratory allergies, digestive problems, headaches, diabetes, reproductive issues, dementia, weight gain, ADHD, cancer, etc.
Although hundreds of case reports and research studies have been and continue to be executed proving the efficacy of reflexology, the proof is really ‘in the pudding.’ Try it for yourself. Whether you choose to receive reflexology because your feet and/or hands hurt or to enjoy an increase in well-being of your overall health, I think that you will find reflexology a great way to relax, rejuvenate and restore.
STAND OUT In the Crowd!
If you’re a certified reflexologist, here are a couple of smart moves:
* Get Board-certified. This is the highest credential a reflexologist can hold.
That designation really shows your seriousness; your commitment to the field and the high standards set for its certificants.
In the US, the only independent, non-profit national testing agency is the American Reflexology Certification Board. In Canada, the organization testing and registering qualified professional practitioners is the non-profit Reflexology Association of Canada.
* Join Your National and State Professional Associations. Because members of a professional Association must adhere to a high standard of ethics and business practices, the public perceives those individuals as more trustworthy and upstanding. Another way to STAND OUT and attract more clients.
Reflexology Association of America (national and state listings)
* Specialize Your Practice. There are many avenues to take here.
The options are numerous. Pick one. STAND OUT in the crowd!
So, I can’t move on here without letting you know of opportunities to study some of those listed above!
If you want to learn all you need to learn to add Traditional Thai Reflexology to your toolbox, or if How to Relieve Chronic Foot Pain is more up your alley, check out the upcoming classes.
STAND OUT More!
I have to admit that I am surprised when I run into therapists today who haven’t implemented these two simple operations. In this day and age of convenience and technology, they should be part of everyone’s business model. If you haven’t already, do so – Stand Out More!
* Online Booking. This is a must. I am always tickled when I wake up to find that someone booked my last open appointment that day sometime late the night before (while I was fast asleep). Make it easy for people to book with you whenever the thought crosses their mind. Stop playing telephone tag.
There are plenty of apps out there. I checked out a few and settled with Schedulicity. It’s easy to navigate and set-up, and even easier for clients to book or change appointments. Clients receive automated, customized messages confirming appointments as well as a reminder(s) prior to appointments.
* Accept Credit/Debit Cards. Many people do not carry cash or use cheques anymore. Don’t lose business by not offering the option of using plastic. I like Square. People know it. It can be customized with a menu and more and is very easy to use. No monthly fees; you pay a small percentage for each sale. The money is in my bank account the next day.
There are, of course, many other ways you can stand out. What sets you apart in your field?
I’ve heard people question why they should study reflexology in a physical classroom when they can just as easily take a free course online. That’s a reasonable question, and I’d like to address that today.
I am convinced that you cheat yourself by only watching free content online IF you are ready to get serious about reflexology, yourself, and the dream of a happier life for yourself.
If you’re still at the place in your life where surfing Internet videos engages enough of your curiosity, then do that. But, if you’re ready to dive deep, then step onto the diving board!
Free content may offer you information, but it can never produce the results that a personal instructor’s thought, effort and commitment to you and your success will deliver. It’s not possible.
Online programs are formatted for the masses; the material is generalized and nonspecific to you and your life. You deserve more than that and will need more than that if you want to build a successful practice for yourself.
From the very beginning of the Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification we focus simultaneously on mastering the two sides of a successful reflexology practice:
- The skills to offer a results-oriented reflexology session. That involves more than just learning hands-on techniques. It’s how to put it all together. It’s knowing how and when and why to offer what.
- The steps to manifest an ideal business and life for yourself. It pains me to no end to see people invest their time, money and heart into something and then never reap the rewards they imagined for themselves. For that reason, we start right at the beginning of the program to clearly visualize your dream and strategize an action plan to make that dream come true.
By the time your classroom hours are fulfilled, you will be equally adept at offering a reflexology session and have created a marketing plan to create a successful reflexology business.
And, I’ll hold you accountable to your business plan!
We’ll set up a private consultation to fine-tune your ideas for success and establish achievable goals and deadlines that will get the results you want. I’ll hold you to your commitment (unless, of course, you don’t want that support).
I wish I had had a coach when I started out; someone to help me to move past the limiting beliefs that stopped me from being all that I was meant to be. I didn’t, so I had to figure it all out for myself. Let me be your personal coach – make your journey easier than mine was.
Another thing to consider when contemplating whether to take an online course (free or paid) or take your reflexology certification in a classroom setting:
If you wish to become nationally board-certified in reflexology, or licensed in reflexology (five US states require a specific license to practice reflexology) and/or hold a Professional level membership with the national and/or state reflexology organizations, you will require live classroom hours of training – plenty of them. These organizations consider live classroom instruction, supervision and feedback essential to attaining the skills to practice safely and effectively.
I charge for my reflexology trainings because I see value in what I have to offer. I’m proud of my teaching abilities and have been recognized nationally by the Reflexology Association of America for “serving as a role model for all educators to inspire students to aspire to create a successful life on their own terms.”
I’m way better than free!
Join us (this year only) in Gainesville, Florida for the 22nd Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification. Classes start April 4, so act now.
“No matter how rigorous or extended, your initial training will only see you through the first five years. Then you will be doing one of two things: subsiding into a rut, or chafing at the bit to be able to do more. “ Thomas Myers
When I read Myers’ comments recently, I was reminded of the years following the completion of my initial reflexology training and later massage program. His statements echoed my experience, for sure. I felt like I had a strong foundation in both disciplines, but recognized that I lacked advanced information that would allow me to be more effective in helping people with very specific challenges. And, today when I read posts from fairly recent grads on various Facebook reflexology groups, my thoughts are confirmed. Most have no clue as to how to create a targeted session for the clients arriving with complicated and serious health concerns.
It’s why I’m a big advocate of advanced certifications, and why when I’m looking for a therapist, I look first to their training resume.
A Specialty Certification indicates, to me, the following:
* Expertise in the field; exceeding entry-level requirements
* Demonstration of proven critical thinking skills, deeper knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, indications and contraindications
* A serious commitment to contributing to the health and well-being of others
* An expanded ability to effectively treat those seeking help
I also agree with Til Luchau’s thoughts stated in a recent national bodywork magazine:
“People often pick careers in massage and bodywork because they require so little training. Although that means we start working and earning relatively quickly, it also means we rapidly get to the limits of our knowledge, abilities and earning power. It might also be part of why so many in our profession don’t last more than a couple of years. But it’s also an explanation for why those who do last, thrive and develop satisfying careers are so often voracious learners who see education as something that extends over their entire lives.”
I love being in classes with like-minded people intent on improving themselves and the lives of others. It’s inspiring to me and renews my interest in what I do. (In all honesty, I also love, that I get to be the student for a change; no responsibility!)
The advantages of investing in one’s career through advanced schooling are many. Here are some that come to my mind:
* your business will grow, both through word-of-mouth and professional referrals
* your practice will open up to new and varied clients, stimulating your intellect and calling on you to work outside your routine
* renewed motivation, enthusiasm and passion
* increased confidence
* professional respect
* STAND OUT IN THE CROWD!
If you are thinking of tackling a certification program, there are important questions to ask when shopping around:
* Is the program content adequately described?
* What is the limit on the number of participants? The student/instructor ratio?
* Are learning outcomes stated? What you will be able to do with this additional knowledge?
* Are the number of learning objectives reasonable for the length and cost of the program? (A colleague just told me about seeing an ad for ‘a fully credited reflexology course online for only $19.99′. Buyer beware!)
* What are the instructor’s credentials?
If you are thinking that you would like to add reflexology to your skill set, I would be thrilled if you would take a look at the Academy’s Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification. The next program begins in April. Contact me if you don’t find answers to all your questions; I’m happy to chat.
According to the well-thought-of astrology site, Astro Butterfly, December is the best time to dream big and envision a new reality for yourself. The planets Jupiter and Neptune encourage us this month to envision something that doesn’t yet exist.
I had to smile when I read this in my Inbox yesterday. Why? Because four other reflexologists and I decided that was exactly what we would do. We would shoot for the stars and create a formal chapter of reflexologists for the state of Florida.
We announced the birth of the Florida Association of Reflexologists – FAR, for short – a few days ago. We plan to GO FAR, and we totally trust that the stars will guide us as we aim our intentions high.
Florida has been without a reflexology membership organization for many years now – and it’s time the Sunshine State got back in the game. Florida reflexologists deserve and need a strong support network! At the Reflexology Association of America conference in Chicago earlier this year, five of us got talking and decided to fill that void.
We invite all reflexologists and lovers of reflexology to GET INVOLVED! As a fledgling organization, we could use help in so many areas. Here’s how you can get involved right now:
★ Sign up to receive our periodic newsletters.
★ Follow us on Facebook. Chime in when you feel moved to do so.
★ Enter a logo design; win a free FAR membership until June 30, 2020 (that’s 18 months) and receive credit on FAR’s (soon-to-be) website as our Logo Designer. If not you, maybe you know a student who needs items for his or her portfolio? Just send the design as a JPEG file to yours truly by December 20.
You might include the shape of Florida; a graphic of feet, hands and/or ears; the letters FAR and/or ‘Florida Association of Reflexologists’.
Finalists will be sent out in an e-blast on December 27 to all FAR members to vote on. And yes, that means membership will open soon. Only members will get to vote, so make sure to stay informed (through the newsletter and Facebook) of when you can get an inaugural membership!
★ Build our website. If you have experience in developing on a WordPress platform and are interested in submitting a bid, please contact – guess who? I’ll send you the RFP.
And, I think this is the perfect segue into who the founding FAR board members are:
Karen Ball, President (Saint Augustine)
Julie Wesling, Vice-President (Saint Augustine)
Lorna Eaton, Treasurer (Miramar)
Gail Lanning, Secretary (Delray Beach)
diane Wedge, Director (Venice)
Please join us in our excitement as we support the wonderful healing art of reflexology and all the practitioners in Florida, the U.S.A. and the world!