To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Expert Advice,” by Paula S. Stone, in the April 2011 issue. Article summary: Reflexology is one of the most popular forms of bodywork, with industry statistics showing about half of massage therapists practice this modality. Reasons for doing so include reflexology’s effectiveness at addressing a variety of conditions, and its portability. (There is no disrobing required; only the feet are bare.)

by Trish Padilla

The practice of reflexology is in a precarious place, with reflexology and foot-massage businesses popping up in every downtown area across the nation. In the 15 years I have been in business, I’ve seen my beloved specialty go from obscurity to inundation.

Here are some steps for distinguishing yourself from the crowd and marketing your reflexology specialty:

  1. Being certified by a school of reflexology with at least 200 hours for basic certification is a good beginning—and then be sure to take advanced classes every year. There are amazing workshops on every aspect of reflexology that will further your education, and also increase your love and respect for this field of healing.
  2. Become a member of the Reflexology Association of America and your state’s association, and attend yearly conferences to support these organizations. Getting professional insurance and renewing it every year is also vital.
  3. The next step is to be clear on what it is you are marketing. Discover your own style and emphasize your strengths on your brochures, website, ads and presentations. Even while doing volunteer work, you should be explaining why you love your work so much.
  4. Set up your office in a professional manner with absolute cleanliness. I use plastic foot liners for the footbath with each client’s name to make it their own. Some clients prefer a steamed towel at the beginning of the session. Either way, I pay strict attention to sanitation.
  5. It’s important to charge a professional rate. This will distinguish you from larger businesses. All of these facts should be mentioned in your marketing.

In the process of building your reflexology practice, remind yourself of the reasons why you are in this wonderful profession. Allow that to be your guide and clients will find you.

Trish Cooke Padilla is a certified in the Ingham Method of reflexology and a certified massage therapist in San Rafael, California. She has been in private practice since 1996 and taught reflexology workshops for massage therapists for nine years as well as for top spas in Napa Valley, San Francisco and Corte Madera, California (