Professional standards...why it matters
It may seem like a dry subject but it's so important for me that I maintain high professional standards as a reflexologist. It genuinely comes from the love I have for reflexology and the work that I do supporting my brilliant clients! I really value my intial and ongoing training, as well as the professional membership and insurance I have. There are two main reasons for this focus on professional standards:
- Firstly, I really, really want to be the best reflexologist I can be! For my own fulfillment, to enable me to grow my business, and to deliver properly considered, tailored and therapeutic treatments to my clients.
- Secondly, I want people to have complete reassurance that I'm practising ethically and to the highest standards possible.
Here’s a little about bit more about why all this stuff matters to me.
Quality training and a good foundation
When I left the security of a corporate job few years ago to embark upon my self-employed career as a reflexologist I didn't want to do it half-baked. I really needed to make my new career work, in terms of it being a fulfilling, rewarding thing to do, and to make sense financially. The most important thing to me was to be trained really well and although there are good qualifications out there, you can also do a quick weekend or online course and in theory call yourself a reflexologist. Not my plan!
I trained at the Cotswold Academy of Complementary Health and Sport for an ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Reflexology. To be able to pass this course I also needed to complete an ITEC Diploma in Physiology and Anatomy which I studied for at the same time. To say it was an intense year is an understatement! Working on my day job in the corporate wellness industry, I then spent the evenings attending my course, writing up assignments and revising. And that was just for starters! Once the majority of this work was out of the way I had to undertake 100 reflexology treatments and provide comprehensive written case notes for every one. And juggle family life (luckily I have an amazingly supportive husband who helped with all the logistics). Thankfully the hard work paid off and I passed with a Distinction which I’m really very proud of!
Being an ethical practitioner
I know how hard I worked to gain my qualification and I know that I got a really good foundation right from the get-go. In addition to the practical side of qualifying as a reflexologist, my training taught me much more. Key things included the importance of undertaking a thorough consultation for every new client (doesn't always happen), when to refer clients to their GP (yes, they should always be the first port of call for any health concerns), and how important it is never to overpromise or make false statements about reflexology.
This last point is really important. There's no doubt in my mind that reflexology can help provide relief from a range of health conditions (and there is much anecdotal evidence and a number of small studies in its favour), however there simply isn't the large scale body of scientific evidence to be able to make unsubstantiated claims of its effectiveness. An ethical and well-trained reflexologist should never claim to cure or diagnose anything, as this could be scary and potentially dangerous. Be wary of a reflexologist whose website lists health conditions which reflexology can ‘cure’, or alerts you to there being something 'wrong' with a part of your body after working on your feet. It's simply not ethical to do this, we are not medically trained and we should never say anything untrue, misleading or unproven, nor present anything as fact based on 'a hunch'. There's a lot more I could cover on this, probably best saved for another blog!
Ongoing professionalism through the AOR
Gaining my reflexology qualification was just the starting point for me and as soon as I qualified I became a member of the Association of Reflexologists (AOR). My membership (MAR) confirms that I’ve met the association’s stringent standards for eligibility and provides reassurance and a quality standard for members of the public, the NHS, private clinics and other practitioners to refer to. Membership means that I hold a nationally recognised reflexology qualification and am fully insured (not all therapists are). The AOR is dedicated to excellence within the industry, and provides professional advice, support and guidance to reflexologists (an invaluable service when I've been supporting clients with multiple or complex well-being issues).
To stay registered with the AOR I need to demonstrate that I adhere to their code of practice and am committed to my continuing professional development, through e.g. ongoing training, and keeping up-to-date on latest developments and research. The Maternity Reflexology training I did at the end of last year with AOR guru Sally Earlam is a good example of this ongoing learning.
So, I hope this gives you a feel for my qualifications and commitment to my reflexology work? Drop me a message if you'd like to know more. Far and above of the formal stuff, I totally love what I do and I hope this comes across with every contact you may have with me. Supporting all the wonderful clients I see here in Falmouth makes my commitment to my job very easy!
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