"Basically just a foot massage"

Discussion of reflexology techniques, both generic and modality specific.

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"Basically just a foot massage"

Postby pyronymph on Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:30 pm

My business partner offers R (I am not trained in it, though we were intro'd to it in school). She took the course at her massage school, which overall I am not impressed with. Just for a little background. I have received a sample R session once, but it too was from a non certified therapist who took a ceu class on it. I am by no means an expert, is basically what I'm getting at here, I suppose...

My issue is, when she talks about it, she says R is basically just a foot massage. Now, I am very set in the way of "you should not offer things you are not well &properly trained (preferably certified) in." I know that R is not "basically a foot massage" and this bothers me that she tells people this. I fell this downplays the tx, as well as her knowledge/experience in it... I would like to ask her to become certified in it, but unsure how, or if, I should do this.

Any suggestions are welcome, even if it's "well, you can't really do anything, since she's not your employee... suck it up til you can afford to go out on your own" (this is what my mother told me to do... haha)
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby [email protected] on Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:28 pm

Well.. yes, she should be letting her clients know that she is not a certified Reflexologist. That being said, I offer a "blend" of reflexology and Swedish massage because I too am no expert, and reflexology is considered to be a different field by some therapists! If she is willing to take courses to become certified will you offer her an incentive?
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby pyronymph on Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:02 pm

Thank you for your response.

I'm not really sure what kind of an incentive I could offer her... she's my partner, not an employee... other than actually advertising the tx more and suggesting it to current clients, there's not much I can do. I have no problem with incorporating knowledge of other modalities into a therapeutic massage, I do that myself. But I am a little off-put by her presentation of it, to the point that it makes me almost want to take it off our menu. We aren't in a position financially to have the business pay for more training at this point, either.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby [email protected] on Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:16 am

Well maybe you can compromise by offering a "new service" on your menu? Perhaps just a "foot rub bliss", or "tender tootsie treatment?" LOL. That way you can offer foot specific treatment without saying it is reflexology? Or you could write a new descripstion saying "we offer a blissful foot treatment that is a mixture of swedish, and reflexology technqiues". I do agree that if people are looking for a certified reflexologist your co-worker should refer them to one. The techniques and ideology is different, and you want to ensure that your clients are receiving the bodywork they request.

(One worst case scenario I thought of.. A client books a session for reflexology (And they have received it in the past), comes in, and then could possibly think that your therapist doesn't not know what she is doing (not to say she she doesn't, but..) or will tell other people that it wasn't a "real" reflexology session (not to say it isn't, but..) I obviously have no idea what the sessions are like, but just something to think about.. for instance I know a little shiatsu, but I wouldn't offer it without more training also.

Have you talked to your coworker about your concerns?
Perhaps even buying a DVD or two, or a good instruction book and learning on each other could help?
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Dragonflies on Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:31 am

pyronymph wrote:My business partner offers R (I am not trained in it, though we were intro'd to it in school). She took the course at her massage school, which overall I am not impressed with. Just for a little background. I have received a sample R session once, but it too was from a non certified therapist who took a ceu class on it. I am by no means an expert, is basically what I'm getting at here, I suppose...

My issue is, when she talks about it, she says R is basically just a foot massage. Now, I am very set in the way of "you should not offer things you are not well &properly trained (preferably certified) in." I know that R is not "basically a foot massage" and this bothers me that she tells people this. I fell this downplays the tx, as well as her knowledge/experience in it... I would like to ask her to become certified in it, but unsure how, or if, I should do this.

Any suggestions are welcome, even if it's "well, you can't really do anything, since she's not your employee... suck it up til you can afford to go out on your own" (this is what my mother told me to do... haha)

I know when I go for a bodywork session if I book something specific I expect the practitioner to be trained and competent in that modality. Recently I booked a session for one modality and received something completely different from what I requested. While it was overall a nice session, I was ticked because it wasn't what I had booked. Turns out, the therapist didn't have any training in the modality that was on the menu but the manager didn't think that was a problem. Umm, what?? This has happened to me on several occasions and I feel like it is false advertising. If I go to a restaurant and order macaroni and cheese and end up with spaghetti I'm going to be livid. The latter dish might taste delicious but it wasn't what I had ordered.

I have heard hundreds of complaints (no exaggeration) from folks over the years about how they booked a Reflexology treatment but were given a foot massage instead. In fact, I know a few people who have stopped the session and walked out since it wasn't what they had booked and the spa/clinic/office couldn't deliver since no one was trained in Reflexology.

I guess my question to you would be - "does this false advertising undermine your business image?"
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby peacenut on Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:25 pm

I offer reflexology, but I am not reflexologist. My reflexology sessions include a foot and lower leg massage, hot stones, and hot towels. I took a weekend seminar through my massage school and have watched videos.

I can see how some people would say it is massage. It is hands on work performed on a body. It's a specialty. Just like Thai massage wouldn't be considered a massage if you were expecting a swedish massage.

Everyone in a while I have a client complain about a hot stone massage they got somewhere else. There is a place in town that lays the hot stones on you and then the therapist walks out of the room for 10 minutes at a time, replaces the cool stones for hot stones, and walks out again. By us, we actually massage you with the stones and are working on you for the entire session.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby riversinger on Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:15 am

As always, some clients wouldn't know the difference between one treatment vs another, however many others do - especially those folks who've had a lots of massage treatments over the years & those with MT training (a little or alot) and if they're requesting something specific they should get what they're paying for. What a concept!

Since my DH gave me a few gift certificates over the years at local, expensive day spa I went there expecting class A treatment. The place is beautiful & the people were attentive, however in 3 out of 4 sessions I walked out at the end, disappointed by not receiving what I paid for, & somehow it always ended up costing more than expected (but that's another issue). I ended up by letting my husband know that from then on I only wanted gift certificates to specific independent practitioners that I prefer to see.

So, I'd have to say advertise what you do, not what you don't do! That way clients will get what they're looking for & are more likely to be happy with what they end up with! You might want to sit down with your business partner and let her know that a foot rub & reflexology are not in fact the same thing at all, by the standards set for training, & try pushing the issue further by strongly suggesting that she go get a session done by someone who is certified (even if she does a trade for it!).

I know funds are tight everywhere these days, so if your business can't afford the training then just advertise some version of what Jenn suggested, and keep it simple, without making false or misleading claims.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby JLWmassage on Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:30 pm

I am with everyone on this. I did a 300 hr. training in Reflexology and I have had lots of folks complain about other places that just offer "foot rubs". And I have even had a few people ask while they are booking, " This is not just a foot rub"? Lots od Spa's are famous for having things are their list of services that the staff is not fully trained in
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Timedess on Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:17 pm

riversinger wrote:
So, I'd have to say advertise what you do, not what you don't do!


Um... I don't know about in YOUR state, but in OUR state, if we advertise something that we're not trained to do (with the paperwork/CEU's to back it up), and someone complains to the State about it, they WILL Follow up and possibly even suspend your license for it. We were visited late last year by the "guy from the State" who said it was "just a routine visit" (and we know that they do do that, both announced and unannounced), but DH said that he looked over the certificates on the wall with great interest, and DH said later that the guy did hint that someone had inquired whether DH was actually trained in what he said he was. No sweat- we are very careful about what we say we do- and the guy seemed genuinely impressed with how much training DH has had for even having his license for only 2 years. But I am constantly reminding him, even still, to say "I've had some training in such-and-such and incorporate that into my sessions" rather than "I *do* such and such modality" (obviously, for things he hasn't gotten completely certified in already). So, besides it being possibly "false advertising" and risking a negative image, it *could* also get you into trouble with your State Boards- if that is regulated in your state.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Sole_Purpose on Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:53 am

riversinger wrote:...suggesting that she go get a session done by someone who is certified (even if she does a trade for it!).

I agree with doing the above, if your partner hasn't already...or maybe she needs to receive one again, if she has.

To me, reflexology is similar to shiatsu. The finger pressure is much more specific and the practitioner will have knowledge in which organs are being effected (without referring to a chart). A reflexology session is typically much more intense and sometimes quite painful, where a foot massage leans more toward unwinding & relaxation. Both leave you with wonderful health benefits and a sense of well-being but are achieved differently.

I feel that they are completely different. A reflexology sessions leaves me feeling like my whole body has just been worked on, whereas a really good foot massage alone does not accomplish this.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Dragonflies on Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:34 am

Kindred Spirits wrote: A reflexology session is typically much more intense and sometimes quite painful, where a foot massage leans more toward unwinding & relaxation.

Unfortunately many practitioners (especially Asian styles of Reflexology) still practice with deep and painful techniques. This is too bad because the research coming out of the reflex biopsies over the last decade indicate that this level of pain causes damage to the reflex and nerve endings.

I'd highly recommend that if it goes past a "hurts good" to look for a new Reflexologist.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Sole_Purpose on Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:39 am

Dragonflies wrote:Unfortunately many practitioners (especially Asian styles of Reflexology) still practice with deep and painful techniques. This is too bad because the research coming out of the reflex biopsies over the last decade indicate that this level of pain causes damage to the reflex and nerve endings.

I, myself, could not tolerate foot work - or any bodywork for that matter - that goes beyond "hurts good."

I have very soft/sensitive feet and never go barefoot (unless on the beach). My mother could live barefoot, lol.

Did you catch the most recent season of The Amazing Race? One of the tasks for the teams to complete was a very painful Asian foot Reflexology session - 15 min, maybe, I can't remember. I know it's not funny, but I had to laugh at their twisting faces and body in response to this work, they were in PAIN...seriously, I know it's not funny.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Dragonflies on Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:35 am

Kindred Spirits wrote:Did you catch the most recent season of The Amazing Race? One of the tasks for the teams to complete was a very painful Asian foot Reflexology session - 15 min, maybe, I can't remember. I know it's not funny, but I had to laugh at their twisting faces and body in response to this work, they were in PAIN...seriously, I know it's not funny.

Oh yes, I did see that. What a disgusting display from the producers to request the therapists to physically harm those people! The entire Reflexology community was in such outrage over that - there was a letter writing campaign by some. I question both the ethics of the producers and directors of that show as well as the actual practitioners. IMHO if you will go to the great length to physically harm a client for financial gain you shouldn't be practicing, period.

Who knows what level of harm those practitioners did to their clients' feet and nervous systems. It is beyond me to comprehend why anyone would do that or sit through that.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Sole_Purpose on Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:23 am

Dragonflies - I completely understand what you're saying as receiver and a giver...as well as, your professional community's outrage. I feel the exact same way regarding massage therapy. TV seems to present a very skewed view of bodywork in general. Just shows the rampant lack of education, even though our work is more main stream than in the past.

Education is a huge part of what I do, and that's why I agree with pyronymph's business partner needing to receive foot work from a Reflexologist. Experience is the best teacher.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby JasonE on Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:28 pm

Dragonflies wrote:
Kindred Spirits wrote: A reflexology session is typically much more intense and sometimes quite painful, where a foot massage leans more toward unwinding & relaxation.

Unfortunately many practitioners (especially Asian styles of Reflexology) still practice with deep and painful techniques. This is too bad because the research coming out of the reflex biopsies over the last decade indicate that this level of pain causes damage to the reflex and nerve endings.

I'd highly recommend that if it goes past a "hurts good" to look for a new Reflexologist.


I have a training client who spent some of his military time stationed in Taiwan. There was a reflexology school near the base, and he went there for free work now and then. They loved working on his "huge" (to them) feet, but he said they were very aggressive and it often hurt like hell. Sometimes he was there for 3-5 hours, getting worked on by every student present.

Since that time, his left foot has several bones that are severely misaligned, and it has really impacted his ability to move around and live without pain.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Dragonflies on Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:19 am

JasonE wrote:I have a training client who spent some of his military time stationed in Taiwan. There was a reflexology school near the base, and he went there for free work now and then. They loved working on his "huge" (to them) feet, but he said they were very aggressive and it often hurt like hell. Sometimes he was there for 3-5 hours, getting worked on by every student present.

Since that time, his left foot has several bones that are severely misaligned, and it has really impacted his ability to move around and live without pain.

Thanks for sharing this story JasonE!
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Sole_Purpose on Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:06 am

Dragonflies wrote:the research coming out of the reflex biopsies over the last decade indicate that this level of pain causes damage to the reflex and nerve endings.

I'd really love to be able to share this - I think this is huge. Do you happen to have a link to research or articles (where the public has access to for reading)?
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Dragonflies on Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:24 am

Kindred Spirits wrote:
Dragonflies wrote:the research coming out of the reflex biopsies over the last decade indicate that this level of pain causes damage to the reflex and nerve endings.

I'd really love to be able to share this - I think this is huge. Do you happen to have a link to research or articles (where the public has access to for reading)?

Umm, in Castillian Spanish. But here is a little snippet of info on the biopsies themselves as written by one of Father Josef's students:
Father Josef spoke of the evolution in the knowledge about reflexology. Reflexology has been used for thousands of years especially in ancient cultures as a health and healing practice. Modern reflexology is now learning what was known before. Reflex points have now been biopsed by Dr. J. Manzanares of Barcelona, Spain, who identified the reflex as containing three substances: nervous tissue, vascular matter, and connective tissue. When an organ is out of balance, that organ’s reflex will have substantially greater percentages of the nervous tissues than in a reflex of a healthy organ. The “Pain” sensation is a result of the excessive nervous tissue within the reflex of an out-of-balance organ. The stimulation through the pressure sends a “wireless” message to the reflected organ.
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby Sole_Purpose on Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:11 am

Haha! Thanks for the snippet (and the link). :altsmile:
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Re: "Basically just a foot massage"

Postby JasonE on Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 pm

Dragonflies wrote:
Father Josef spoke of the evolution in the knowledge about reflexology. Reflexology has been used for thousands of years especially in ancient cultures as a health and healing practice. Modern reflexology is now learning what was known before. Reflex points have now been biopsed by Dr. J. Manzanares of Barcelona, Spain, who identified the reflex as containing three substances: nervous tissue, vascular matter, and connective tissue. When an organ is out of balance, that organ’s reflex will have substantially greater percentages of the nervous tissues than in a reflex of a healthy organ. The “Pain” sensation is a result of the excessive nervous tissue within the reflex of an out-of-balance organ. The stimulation through the pressure sends a “wireless” message to the reflected organ.


Two thoughts on the bolded portions of that post:

(1) Pretty much any tissue that can be biopsied will contain "nervous tissue, vascular matter, and connective tissue" - so this finding sheds no new light on the physical nature of reflex points. A brief description of how those tissues function in relation to the neurological reflex (all reflexes are neurological in nature) might provide something of use to guide clinical decision-making prior to applying reflexology techniques.

(2) Pain is not the result of "excessive nervous tissue" - never has been, never will be. That statement simply demonstrates ignorance of the nervous system and how it functions. All pain arises from how the brain interprets data received from the rest of the body. Manipulation of the body triggers neurological changes that may alter muscle tone, organ function, sensations of pain or pleasure, etc. This is actually a "hardwired" (via established nerve pathways) rather than a "wireless" process.
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