5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Reflexologist

Mistake #1 – Assuming All “Reflexology” Is the Same

Not everything that claims to be reflexology today actually IS reflexology. Currently only 4 states (New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington) have their own law for Reflexologists, so in many areas just about anyone can say or advertise they offer reflexology, whether they are truly a trained and certified Reflexologist or not! Reflexology is not foot massage and it’s not acupressure. The National Institutes of Health Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines reflexology as a separate therapy. True reflexology is performed only on the reflex maps of the body located on the feet, hands and outer ears. Real reflexology involves the application of alternating pressure techniques which are unique to reflexology and different than massage or acupressure techniques.

Mistake #2 – Assuming All Reflexologists Are the Same

Just as Reflexology is a unique therapy, a Certified Reflexologist has completed unique reflexology only training (typically 200 hours in the USA). According to the standards of most state and national reflexology associations and the national certification board, this training must include classroom instruction which focuses on techniques for the hands and feet as well as instruction in anatomy, physiology, professional standards, ethics, application of protocols to address particular systems of the body or particular pathologies, as well completing a minimum number of practical sessions and learning to keep session notes. You’ll often hear people say they provide reflexology, but ask them how many training hours they’ve had specific to reflexology and whether they have any certification only in reflexology. Also be aware that there’s a recent trend offering on-line training in reflexology; however, current professional standards require the majority of initial reflexology training to be taken personally in a classroom environment. Learning to locate reflexes on different individuals, modulation of pressure, etc., cannot be taught on-line.

Mistake #3 – Not Checking Credentials

An individual who has completed certification solely in reflexology in the United States should be able to show you the following documentation:

  • Certification from their reflexology-specific school. (Check the school credentials to determine if certification was on-line or included hands-on training and how many hours of reflexology only instruction were involved.)
  • Optimally, national certification by the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB). You can verify this at www.ARCB.net.
  • A currently valid professional liability insurance certificate.
  • A local business license.
  • If residing in one of the states mentioned above with reflexology laws, then a current state license.
  • In some states, voluntary licensing may be available, such as California’s CAMTC conditional licensing for reflexologists. In California, you can verify whether a CAMTC license is current at www.camtc.org.

Ask to see certification, licensing and insurance documents up front and don’t be afraid to verify!  Ask for reflexology-specific certification or you’ll likely just be receiving a foot massage!

Mistake #4 – Not Checking Continuing Education, Experience, and Professional Associations

If the Reflexologist received certification some years ago, has he or she taken any continuing education courses since that time? Some schools such as the International Institute of Reflexology which certifies people in Ingham Method® reflexology require 16 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to maintain your certification. The ARCB requires 12 CE hours every two years. Look for someone who continues their education after initial certification. This insures they are up to speed on the latest techniques and information. Be sure to ask how many sessions the reflexologist you’re considering performs in a typical year or how many session hours they have overall in their reflexology career. Someone who does more than 1,000 sessions per year will have more experience in a few years than another person who only does 50 sessions per year. It’s not the years of experience; it’s the number of client sessions in the experience that you should check. This will insure you’re working with a truly experienced Reflexologist.

Check whether the Reflexologist is a member of their state association or the Reflexology Association of America. Members of these organizations have access to association-sponsored continuing education. Association members are concerned with the professionalism, ethics and advancement of reflexology as well as protecting public health and safety. Certification by the ARCB and membership in a state or national association gives you a path for complaint if you find unethical or unsafe conduct on the part of the Reflexologist you’ve chosen.

Mistake #5 – Being More Concerned About Their Wallet than Their Health

When seeing a Certified Reflexologist who can evidence the qualifications above, expect to pay between $50 and $120 per session, depending on session length. Don’t foolishly try to compare this with the price of a similar length session at a foot spa. Remember, the worker at the foot spa probably can’t demonstrate equivalent education and certification, so the service you’re paying for is usually not reflexology. In addition, an untrained person with no certification can be dangerous to your health. However, you’ll find certified Reflexologists are normally welcomed in hospital environments and approved by many physicians. Bottom line: Don’t expect to receive reflexology from a certified professional for the price of a foot rub at the mall.

My own licenses and current certifications by the International Institute of Reflexology and the American Reflexology Certification Board are on display in my office along with my current memberships in the Reflexology Association of California, the Reflexology Association of America and the International Council of Reflexologists.

This is the disclaimer to remind you that I am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice or treatment. These are my personal opinions and my summary of research as well as verbal and written reports of some of my clients. As always, consult your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment.
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Should We Talk During Your Reflexology Session?

The answer is “Yes” and “No”.  An ambivalent answer, I know, but read on to find out why! When you come in for our first session, of course we will talk. There will be discussion about the information on your intake questionnaire and there may be questions that you have about what is happening during the reflexology session. We will also be working together to find a pressure level that is comfortable for you while I am getting to know your feet.  At the beginning of subsequent sessions, you need to let me know how you are feeling and whether any new issues have come up since the previous session or if you feel there’s been improvement in any area.  It’s also helpful if you share how stressful or relaxing things have been at home and at work since the last session. This information helps me to determine where we are making progress, which reflexes should be a focus and if particular protocols might be useful for you.

Depending on your areas of concern, we may work together through certain protocols that will involve talking. Usually we will handle those first in the session and then focus on letting you relax for the remainder of the session. www.susanmix.com/blogRelief of stress as well as helping the body’s parasympathetic nervous system become dominant are key to success with reflexology, so at a certain point in the session it’s wonderful for us to become silent. I recommend that unless you are expecting an emergency contact, you silence your mobile phone at the start of a session. There’s not much that is so critical it can’t wait for an hour.

In silence I can often “listen” to what your feet have to say more effectively than when we are chatting. In silence you can often enter a theta brainwave state that you probably won’t achieve when we are talking. EEG studies done by Dr. Jesus Manzanares documented theta wave induction with foot reflexology application. Theta waves are strong during internal focus, meditation, spiritual awareness, prayer, etc. This is the perfect time in your session for us to visualize improvement in your areas of concern and to reflect on a successful outcome for you. Some of my clients use this quiet time to visualize success at their next competition, presentation, interview, or similar event.

Wondering how you can close your eyes, relax, not talk and still let me know when a spot on your foot is very tender? Remember, professional Reflexologists generally work with the client in a chair rather than having the client lying flat on a massage table. That’s because it is very important for the Reflexologist to be able to see the client’s face throughout the session. We are taught to validate whether there is sensitivity in an area just by watching the tension on the client’s face.  So don’t feel it’s necessary to talk throughout the entire session. Close your eyes, be silent and relax. You just may find this will make your sessions even more effective!

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Reflexology on the Radio!

If you missed my guest spot this week on the radio show When Your Health Matters with Dr. Richard Huntoon, you can still listen by downloading the podcast at: http://www.thealternativehealthcarenetwork.com/SF-Bay-Area/podcasts.html

Dr. Huntoon interviewed me with questions about reflexology, its origins, different methods practiced, why it is different than massage, research studies, and even some of the successes reported by my clients. I hope you find the time to listen and enjoy the program!

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Reflexology and the Digestive System

Clients often ask me why their tummy will begin making loud gurgling noises mid-way through their reflexology session. In order to understand that, first you need to understand the effect that the nervous system has on our digestion.  To summarize from authors Ross and Wilson’s Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Wellness, the majority of the body’s organs are supplied with both sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves which have opposite effects that are balanced to ensure optimum functioning of the organs. Sympathetic stimulation is what happens when we are under stress. Our adrenal glands are stimulated to secrete adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones into our bloodstream. This is the ‘fight or flight” type of stimulation. When the body is in this mode our stomach and small intestine experience inhibited muscle contraction and secretion of digestive juices. Our digestion is inhibited and delayed.

When the body experiences parasympathetic stimulation, the general effect is to allow restoration of our digestive processes. The rate of digestion is increased and there is an increase in the secretion of pancreatic juice and the hormone insulin. So when we relax and release stress, our digestion kicks into high gear and the body is better able to absorb nutrients from our food and move waste products through our system.

In studies in the UK, Denmark and China, reflexology has repeatedly been shown to help resolve constipation. Just doing what reflexology does best – relieving stress – helps the body to return to balance, enabling improved digestion and elimination of waste. Many clients who have come to me with digestive issues have reported improvement, typically with just a few sessions. So, while a bit embarrassing, that gurgling sound from your tummy in a session is just an audible sign that your body has relaxed and your parasympathetic nervous system has taken charge of the digestive processes. That’s a good thing in this stress-filled world!

This is the disclaimer to remind you that I am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice or treatment. These are my personal opinions and my summary of research as well as verbal and written reports of some of my clients. As always, consult your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment.

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Detoxing with IonCleanse®

This article was provided by A Major Difference, Inc., manufacturer of the wonderful IonCleanse® Detox Footbath, which I offer as one of my therapies. I’m pleased to share it with you. This is the disclaimer to remind you that I am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice or treatment. This article represents the opinions and summary of research of A Major Difference, Inc.  As always, consult your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment.

Toxicity in Our World

When it comes to exposure to toxins, the body cannot metabolize most of the poisons it is exposed to. Most of these toxins remain in the body for many years, stored in the fat cells that exist throughout the body .

Consider these statistics:
* 250% increase in breast cancer since 1980
* 1600% increase in birth defects since 1980*
* More than 95% of cancer is caused by environmental toxicity and diet
* The average city water contains more than 500 chemicals
* Multiple studies show that most of us have between 300-800 chemical residues stored in the fat cells of our bodies
* Pesticide residues are detectable in 50-95% of the food consumed in the U.S.

* The EPA approves about 90 percent of the new compounds without restrictions. Only a quarter of the 82,000 chemicals in use in the U.S. have ever been tested for toxicity.

Systems of the body affected by toxins
The immune system causing an increased tendency to allergies and recurrent respiratory (nose, sinus or lung) or ear infections.
The defense systems of both animal and human bodies making them prone to cancer.  (Infants and young children, as well as adults, are presently developing cancer at an alarming rate.)
The brain and nervous system causing headaches, difficulty thinking or remembering, inexplicable emotional ups and downs, inconsolable depression, irritability, moodiness, aggression, hyperactivity or extreme fatigue.
The reproductive system causing a wide variety of sexual problems and infertility.
The endocrine system contributing to illnesses such as Diabetes, Thyroid Disease and weakened adrenal glands.
The muscular system causing twitches, tics, muscle pains or weakness, in time possibly leading to Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.
The skeletal system causing chronic swelling and stiffness that eventually leads to pain and permanent joint deformities.
The heart and circulatory system causing high blood pressure or irregular heart beats.
The blood vessels causing abnormal bleeding into the skin, joints, breasts, urine and elsewhere.

The IonCleanse® and Toxicity

The IonCleanse® provides the most thorough and efficient way to cleanse and purify the body more effectively and faster than any herbal or fasting protocols!

We are living in the most polluted environment in earth’s known history! This dramatic increase of toxin exposure has exceeded the body’s ability to release these toxins.

The IonCleanse®, with its patented dual polarity feature, creates both negative AND positive ions. This feature creates the most thorough and efficient detoxification process in the industry.

We urge you to use your IonCleanse® on a consistent basis. How often should a person use their IonCleanse®?

Below is the general formula for maximum detoxification with the IonCleanse®:

* Cleanse 14 times – (every other day if under the age of 50, every 3 days if over the age of 50)

* Take 10-14 days off – (allow your body time to recover)

* Repeat the cleansing cycle of 14 sessions.

* Continue this cycle until the number of sessions completed equals your age (i.e. – if you are 56, you will do 4 cycles of 14 sessions for a total of 56 sessions)

You have  now completed a Full Detoxification Program and it is now time for a lifetime maintenance program.

* Maintenance – cleanse 1 time per week after completing the above cycle.

The IonCleanse® has been documented to remove heavy metals, urea, creatinine, glucose, and other harmful toxins.

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Reflexology for PMS?

Remember this old joke? “What’s the difference between a woman with PMS and a pit bull? … Lip gloss!” Most women can recall having had a premenstrual cycle that left them behaving a lot like an angry pit bull (and many men will attest to that behavior). PMS isn’t fun. Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, cramps, joint pain, bloating, weight gain, acne flare ups, depression, anger, anxiety and an inability to concentrate.  That’s just the highlights, though, did you know there can be up to 150 symptoms? Hey, fellas, you’d be depressed and angry too!

Many women just live with the problem or treat the symptoms with over-the-counter medications. Some of us assume the PMS symptoms will improve as we age. Some of us who didn’t experience severe PMS problems in our twenties and thirties find symptoms worsen as we move closer to menopause. When the problem is severe, we may work with our medical doctor to receive prescription medications to help with pain or depression. However, many of us today don’t want to take medications that may add side-effects to the long list of PMS symptoms we’re already trying to overcome. So what if there’s another way?

Studies conducted in Denmark, China, Korea and the USA have shown that reflexology can be effective in helping to address PMS symptoms. Reflexology simply helps the body return to balance naturally, so a reflexology session may relieve stress and pain, help to alleviate hormone-related symptoms, improve sleep, mental outlook and energy. Many of my clients have reported reduced PMS issues after reflexology. Some clients reported an immediate improvement after just one session and others have needed multiple sessions to find relief. Every woman is different and each body reacts to reflexology in its own way. If you’re looking for a solution to PMS, then I encourage you to give reflexology a try!

This is the disclaimer to remind you that I am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice or treatment. These are my personal opinions and my summary of research as well as verbal and written reports of some of my clients. As always, consult your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment.
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Learn More About Flat Feet

Another Reflexologist kindly shared the link below to an article by Mark Sisson. It has some interesting info on research about flat feet as well as some strengthening tips for helping address the problem. Hope it helps some of you! (Don’t forget reflexology may be helpful too!)


This is the disclaimer to remind you that I am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice or treatment.  The information presented here represents my personal opinion, my summarization of research reports I have reviewed, and the verbal reports of some of my clients. As always, consult your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment.

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Have Pain In Your Heels?

Many clients report pain in the heel with their first steps upon getting out of bed in the morning. This is a classic symptom of plantar fasciitis, also sometimes called “heel spurs” or “arch pain”. The plantar fascia (pf) is a tight, inelastic ligament that runs from the toes along the arch of the foot and inserts into the heel bone. When the pf pulls on the bone, micro-tears can be created resulting in pain and inflammation. Activities that increase the pull of the pf on the heel, as well as uncorrected over-pronation conditions may worsen the problem. In their book, Foot!, Care, Prevention and Treatment, Doctors Matthew B. Werd and E. Leslie Knight recommend initial steps (pun intended!) for plantar fasciitis folks can take to help alleviate the problem before it worsens to the point it needs serious medical attention.  These include:

  • Well-fitted and properly supported footwear.  Arch supports, heel lifts or custom orthotics should be worn if necessary. (Ladies, note that wearing flats or flip-flops with no arch support may be making your problem worse!)
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises before stepping out of bed in the morning.  (See the simple pf stretch instructions below.)
  • Roll a frozen water bottle along the arch of your foot for ten minutes, three times per day.
  • Lose weight if necessary to help alleviate pressure on your heels.
  • Choose lower impact sports activities, for instance walking or swimming instead of running.
  • Avoid standing or walking barefoot, especially on hard surfaces.

Doctors Werd and Knight also specifically recommend Ingham Method® Reflexology in their book. They state “Reflexologists do an excellent job relieving tension in the feet, as well as stimulating blood flow and circulation. Additionally, Reflexologists are often able to pinpoint specific areas in the foot that relate to symptoms in other parts of the body.”

Stretch for Plantar Fascia This is recommended first thing in the morning, in bare feet, while still seated on the bed, before walking.

Cross left ankle over right knee. Grab base of all five toes on left foot with left hand and pull toes back toward left shin until feeling a stretch in the arch ligament (the plantar fascia). The plantar fascia will be prominent along the length of the arch of the foot being stretched and should be massaged with the right hand while keeping toes flexed. Repeat for right foot.

This is the disclaimer to remind you that I am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice or treatment. These are my personal opinions and my summary of research as well as verbal and written reports of some of my clients. As always, consult your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment.

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Free Seminar! Wellness For An Active Lifestyle

Join me and other members of the Silicon Valley Healthy Living Series group for a free summer seminar and wellness expo on Saturday, July 23rd from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 740 S. Bernardo Avenue in Sunnyvale (just up the street from my office). I will be one of the featured speakers along with J. Jay Lashbrook, DC; Sunita Pal, MD; Jennifer Potter, ND; plus Certified Hypnotherapist, Karuna Jain; Business Coach, V. Lynn Hawkins; and Wellness Consultant, Linda Soto.

Our summer seminar topics include:

  • The Healthy Way to Sit and Exercise at the Same Time
  • 5 Positive Steps for Weight Loss and Preventive Health
  • Top 5 Protection Strategies for Active Lifestyle Lovers
  • Tips to Change Bad Habits and Improve Behavior
  • At Home Remedies for Minor Injuries
  • 9 Great Ways to Boost Your Energy
  • Faster Way to Recover from Injury

Seating is limited so register soon to be sure you get a place!

Just click on the Register Today button at the Silicon Valley Healthy Living Series website http://www.svhealthyliving.com/ for more details and to sign up! This will be a great event for those “not-so-pro” athletes among us and parents who are gearing up for the start of the autumn scholastic athletic programs. Hope to see you there!

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Ouch! Why does my big toe hurt?

I hear this question once in awhile from a client during a session. If I’ve just been working the pituitary/pineal gland reflex, I normally will ask the client “How are you sleeping lately?”. Often the answer will be “Oh, I’m having a horrible time getting to sleep,” or “I fall asleep OK, but I wake up during the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep.”

To put it in really simplistic terms, the pineal gland is responsible for secreting melatonin which controls your biological rhythms. If that gland is out of balance it may be responsible for trouble dropping off to sleep, staying asleep or sleeping deeply enough to feel rested. In addition, you’ll usually have a tender spot in the center of the plantar surface of your great toe on one or both feet. This is the location of the pineal gland reflex. By working on that reflex, I am often able to help clients who are having trouble sleeping. In fact, research studies done in China and France showed a better than 90% success rate in helping resolve sleep problems with Reflexology.

Reflexology can provide a wonderful alternative to prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications for helping improve your sleep. It simply helps your body balance itself, so there are no side-effects and no grogginess. Many of my clients who have had insomnia report that the problem resolves following a series of Reflexology sessions. One client with insomnia came for a couple of sessions but then didn’t show up for her next appointment. I tried to call her, but no answer. Later in the day I heard back from her. She’d been sleeping so deeply that she hadn’t heard either the alarm or the phone and said “Well, at least we know the Reflexology is working!”

So, if your big toe hurts, I’d ask you to consider whether you are having any difficulty sleeping. If so, you might want to give Reflexology a try!

This is the disclaimer to remind you that I am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice or treatment.  The information presented here represents my summarization of research information and my clients’ verbal reports. As always, consult your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment.

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