My response to that question is never simple and sometimes viewed as an obstacle to working as a reflexologist. It needn’t be.
The issue has to do with the legalities surrounding the professional practice of reflexology in the United States. In this context, the word “professional” refers to anyone who accepts compensation for his or her work. “Compensation” is defined to include cash, barter, trade, tithe, love offering, donations; i.e. anything with monetary value.
Since states have different (or no) laws governing the professional practice of reflexology, it is always in your best interest to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your state if you are thinking of practicing reflexology. Because, it all comes down to where you want to practice.
* Most US states exempt reflexology from any licensing laws.
* Some states license reflexology as a separate practice.
* A few require professionals to hold a specific state-issued license before accepting any form of compensation for their services.
* Some states allow an individual with a cosmetology license to offer reflexology as part of nail services.
In Florida, where I live and offer the Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification, a license is required. One of the state government’s primary mandates is to protect the public; therefore, the state tests anyone whose services involve touching the human body (healthcare practitioners, cosmetologists, morticians, etc.) to determine if the applicant’s knowledge and skill level are such to safely operate a business; i.e. to do no harm. The preferred license to practice reflexology in Florida is a massage therapy license.
Florida does allow someone with a cosmetology or nail tech license to offer reflexology as part of those services though. These practitioners are allowed to do that because the scope of their license includes massaging the hands and feet. It’s important to note that in these situations, reflexology can only be offered in conjunction with the nail tech services, not as a stand-alone service. For that, a massage license is required.
The above information – my answer to this frequently asked question – can feel like an obstacle to some people who want to just practice reflexology. I can understand that, and I can add, from personal experience, that it can also be seen as an opportunity. Certifications in more than one area can work to one’s advantage. Employers love it when they see multiple skills on a resume. The more education you have and the more variety of services you can offer, the more attractive you are to clients and to a business looking to hire.
I practiced reflexology in Toronto, Ontario where a license was not required. When I moved to Florida, I legally had to obtain a massage therapy license before I could hang my shingle. Attending the Florida School of Massage was one of the best decisions of my life; both in terms of the knowledge I acquired and the personal growth experience. Without a doubt, everything I learned in my massage and hydrotherapy training supported, and continues to support my reflexology practice.
Some people who contact me choose to complete massage training first and then take the Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification as advanced training. Some do it the other way around, choosing to ease into the field of bodywork by first completing reflexology training (less time commitment, money and complexity). Either way is fine.
Like the Florida-based woman who called recently (and the inspiration for this article): someone looking to get out of her current work field who has held a lifelong interest in reflexology. Rather than see the requirement for licensure as an obstacle, she got excited. Like me, she has most times been a little less than satisfied with the massage aspect of pedicures, and immediately saw the niche she could create for herself as the nail tech that includes effective reflexology. Yes!
It’s all in how you look at it.
The 2021 Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification begins on April 1 and will be the last time I offer this enriching program. After 30 years of teaching reflexology, I have decided to move on to other interests. Act soon, if you wish to acquire the knowledge to be able to skillfully offer foot and hand reflexology to your community. Because of social distancing requirements, enrollment in all classes next year will be limited.
If you wish to see a current listing of stipulations regarding the practice of reflexology in the United States, please visit this link.