Foot massage is an ancient technique, said to have originated in China over 5,000 years ago. In 1915, Dr.William Fitzgerald, a US ear, nose and throat specialist, introduced the concept of "zone therapy" claiming to alleviate certain symptoms and induce numbness by applying pressure to the hands, mouth and feet.
US physiotherapist Eunice Ingham took this concept further in the 1930s developing the "Ingham Reflex Method of Compression Massage", which held that all parts of the body could be treated by pressing relevant areas of the feet. Ingham mapped out the reflex points and developed techniques for stimulation.
One of her students, Doreen Bayley, introduced reflexology to the UK in the 1960s and its popularity has been on the increase ever since.
Reflexologist - Ketyn Jepson
Name - Ketyn Jepson
Location - Scarborough, North Yorks
Family - Married, 3 daughters, aged 8, 7 and 4
How did you become a Reflexologist? What is your background?
I received treatment during my pregnancies and always enjoyed it and the benefits! After the birth of my 3rd daughter, I started to think about training to become a therapist myself, and when she was 2 I started my course in York (the nearest city to Scarborough which ran an AOR accredited course, see below). Prior to my training I worked as a secretary in many different offices and I just really wanted a change of direction, however I do still work part-time in an office as my practice is quite new and still growing. I also do Swedish Body Massage and have just done my First Degree Reiki.
What exactly does Reflexology involve?
Reflexology is a holistic therapy which means the treatment of the 'whole' person. You look at all aspects of the client's lifestyle including diet, sleep patterns and general health and well-being. The treatment is carried out on both the feet with the idea being that all the bodies systems and organs are reflected on the feet, thus meaning that imbalances found on the feet reflect those found in the body.
What sort of problems/issues do clients normally have when they come to you for help/therapy?
Anything ranging from migraine problems, period problems (PCOS), stress, depression - some people come just for a treat and for some 'me' time.
What/Where was your training? How long did it take overall?
My course was one year long, held every 3 Saturdays 10am - 6pm in York with the Northern School of Reflexology. The lessons were structured such that we did written theory / anatomy and physiology revision during the mornings and then the afternoons were spent doing practical work on each other. After 3 months and once we had learnt all of the techniques, we then had to carry out 6 case-studies over a period of a few months and each case-study had to be treated 10 times, so as you can see that was 60 treatments in total, all of which had to be written up in detail afterwards.
There are many courses on the market, some even correspondence (which I find rather ludricrous - how can a hands-on treatment like Reflexology be taught over the internet?!) so you need to be very aware you are getting the right course as the quality can vary greatly. I chose to study with the Association of Reflexologists as it was recommended to me by a friend but also because their courses are high quality.
How did training fit round your children?
There was a lot of work - 8 hours every 3 weeks or thereabouts plus an awful lot of home work and hours spent on the computer completing case-studies! It was very difficult to fit it all in and you have to remain extremely focused to complete the course. Had I known what I was getting into, I think I might have waited until the children were a little older!
Roughly, how much did your training cost?
As I remember around £1,200 plus travel costs to and from York (40 miles each way), equipment/uniform to buy etc.
Where do you carry out your work?
I either go mobile to their home or I hire a room at an hourly rate at Fountains Court Holistic Hotel in Scarborough (which specialises in holistic treatments).
Do you need lots of specialist equipment?
I bought a 'La Fuma' reclining chair which is extremely comfortable for the client and light weight and easy to move about for me! I also bought a stool which supports my back for me to be comfortable on during treatments! You also need towels, flannels, candles, CDs and all the other bits and bobs to set the atmosphere.
How many hours do you work a week?
As explained above, I am still building my client base so at present, doing Reflexology, only around 5 hours per week, as obviously your clients may only come once a month so you need plenty of clients to keep busy all through the month!
How does the job fit round your family life?
If fits around well as I can manage my diary and book clients in during school hours and / or evenings.
How do you find clients - do you advertise?
This is very tricky! There are an awful lot of therapists in Scarborough! I find word of mouth is best but I have also tried a feature in the local newspaper which generated a few clients and also offers like 'introduce a friend and get £5 off'.
What is the earning potential?
Charging £25 per treatment, 4 per day (which I think is the feasible maximum, as it can be very tiring for the therapist emotionally and physically), then obviously its looking good - £100 per day, but it doesn't always work like that because getting people to commit to regular treatments can be difficult.
Is the job rewarding?
Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum?
Yes definitely - and my girls love receiving a treatment!
Do you think you have to have any special qualities (in terms of personality) to become a Reflexologist?
Patience, empathy, commitment and ambition.
Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training?
Be very sure about what you are getting yourself into - then go for it!
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