How do reflexology students fulfill one of their requirements for certification, market themselves and honor the field of reflexology? They throw a reflexology party and invite the city to attend!
A requirement for completion in the Academy’s Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification is that each student organize and conduct a community outreach program or some other directed independent study. Some folks choose to offer a presentation and mini-sessions to their local teachers, nurses or fire fighters, as a way to thank them for their ongoing service to the community. Others choose to educate and teach a small targeted group (such as the elderly, or those suffering from diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome or Parkinson’s disease) on how they can help themselves with reflexology.
Three Florida participants in this year’s certification decided to band together and really celebrate. Terri Bishop-Brahen (from Ponte Vedra), John Guinta (from Jacksonville) and Adrianne Metz (from Titusville) rented a space at the University of North Florida and then wrote and distributed an invitation to the Jacksonville community to join them in celebrating World Reflexology Week (held annually during the last full week of September). Their September 25th party was broadcasted as a four-hour educational and experiential event not to be missed. John also prepared an article that was published in the city’s Natural Awakenings magazine. As phone calls started coming in, they wisely decided to recruit another set of hands; Jacksonville certified reflexologist, Elke Schreiber, joined the team. On the day of the event, the four arrived 45 minutes early (along with a photographer) to dress the room with reflexology posters, handouts, fun relevant give-aways, music and refreshments. Much to their surprise, there were already people waiting at the door!
My three students each took the podium to introduce the history, theory and benefits of reflexology, describe the difference between reflexology and massage, and answer specific questions posed by the very inquisitive crowd. Guests were then offered the opportunity to receive a 20-minute session on either their feet or hands. No one declined!
What surprised the therapists most was that people stayed the entire four hours! Even after they received their own taste of reflexology, folks chose to stand around and watch the reflexologists at work.
So, what did these reflexologists gain from conducting a community outreach (other than course credits, confidence and more outreach ideas)? Here’s what they had to say in response to that question:
“We learned how hungry the public is for reflexology. More people are interested in reflexology than we realized. That is a boom to people like us just starting a business. The diversity was pronounced: young and old, husbands and wives, mothers and sons, all kinds of ethnicities represented. Most people who were at our event knew something about reflexology and had come to it after impersonal and unproductive experiences with western medicine. Our time has finally come!”