The jury is still out as to whether or not reflexology certification is a material advantage for aspiring and practicing reflexologists. Fundamentally, the reflexology certification process is an additional phase of testing designed to reinforce what has been taught in an approved reflexology curriculum from an accredited reflexology school.
On the surface, this seems all fine and good and ultimately beneficial. However, the challenge is this: there are many variants of reflexology, each one requiring different certification testing measures. At present (2012), reflexology certification testing, offered by the large national certification boards, is not addressed uniformly across the entire scope of reflexology education and the different types of reflexology being practiced.
This is somewhat of a conundrum, in that an aspiring reflexologist will become confused by the inconsistency of reflexology certification offerings.
Reflexology Certification – More Questions Than Answers
For instance, there is no industry-standardized and recognized certification for Facial Reflexology, Body Reflexology, Vertical Reflexology and others. However, a handful of schools who teach these methodologies, offer their own “in house” certification. But not all of them do. And, while this does not diminish the credibility or efficacy of a particular reflexologist’s ability to practice, it does call into the question the need for reflexology certification. I have had numerous conversations with very good reflexologists who ask, “If a student completes their education, is tested on that material and passes, isn’t that good enough?” In other words, “Why do I need reflexology certification?”
Some educators argue for credentialing and credibility. Unfortunately, because of the differences between reflexology certification bodies and the gaps that exist regarding certain types of reflexology not being represented or recognized as certifiable, there is a real concern among reflexologists regarding the need for reflexology certification.
With this as a backdrop, it would be accurate to say that reflexology certification has come to mean different things to different people. And, here’s another twist: there are organizations that will certify a reflexologist with only snail-mailed or emailed proof of having taken a course in reflexology – accredited or not. This has produced a cottage industry of questionable organizations that have preyed on reflexologists who have wanted to become certified, but have not qualified for the more mainstream certifying bodies. This has risen to the forefront of concerns for states that are currently restricting the practice of reflexology due to the confusion and inconsistency with reflexology certification and the different types of reflexology.
Conversely, some states do not require certification to practice reflexology. However, in some states, it is required to have a massage therapist’s license to practice reflexology. So, if you want to advertise for and practice reflexology in the states requiring massage licensure, no formal reflexology education or certification is required at all. All you need is a massage practitioner’s license and you can take a continuing education course in reflexology and officially practice reflexology. It is advised and strongly suggested that anyone considering a career in reflexology, consult with their state’s reflexology association and Department of Health for what rules and regulations pertain to the practice of reflexology. And what types of reflexology are recognized.
There are two states, North Dakota and Tennessee, that have implemented regulatory requirements for reflexologists that are tracked on the state level. North Dakota requires completion of an accredited course of study, certification and a state-issued license to practice reflexology. Tennessee requires reflexologists who have completed an accredited course of study to become part of the Reflexology Registry, but they do not need to be certified.
Washington State – where I have my reflexology practice – is undergoing a rules change and it looks as if there will be educational and certification requirements governing reflexologists, very soon. This has occurred due to a very severe development where a human-trafficking ring was operating out of reflexology clinics and the state decided to clamp down and require more stringent conditions to practice reflexology. In light of the situation, this is a positive change in policy, however, no one knows exactly what will be required or if certification will be part of the requirements.
Reflexology Certification History
In the good old days, the ARCB, or American Reflexology Certification Board, was the only certification board. If you were a student of reflexology, or practiced reflexology professionally, the message was pretty clear: getting certified through the ARCB was paramount to the success of your reflexology business and your personal credentials as a reflexologist. We were told that becoming certified served to instill confidence in your clients and established an unparalleled level of professionalism and authority for you – the reflexologist.
That approach worked for a while until entrepreneurial-minded individuals realized they were on the cutting edge of a burgeoning niche in the alternative health care industry and could be successful without becoming “optionally” certified. However, once the word got out that reflexology was such a great business opportunity, more and more people began getting educated and looking to start their own reflexology businesses. And, once again, reflexology certification was highlighted. As I’ve already stated, this served to create an industry that would certify almost anyone for a price – not unlike online degrees. Many of these have stood the test of time and are still offering their wares today.
There is another certification body that is based in New York – The RCB. While they provide certification for reflexologists, they also provide certification for other alternative health modalities, as well. They are significantly more diverse in their offerings than the ARCB and this brings into question who they are and how they operate. After an exhaustive interview and extensive research, it is my opinion that the RCB should be viewed as a viable alternative to the ARCB for those reflexologists who practice reflexology outside the scope of practice that is currently certifiable through the ARCB.
Take all of this with a grain of salt and remember – knowledge is power. Do your own research and due diligence.
Currently, reflexology certification is optional and should remain that way until there is a consistent standard for reflexology certification.