An increasing number of spas and massage therapists offer foot massages called reflexology. During the session, you are dressed and seated or lying down. The therapist will rub, press, and squeeze the points on your feet. The therapist can focus on specific areas to alleviate ailments, such as sinus problems, or work on the entire foot to strengthen all of the body's systems.
In most states, you'll need to meet licensing requirements to practice massage therapy, but certification isn't necessary. Each state sets its own certification and licensing rules. If you want to become a foot massage therapist or any type of massage therapist, the licensing requirements for touching vary from state to state. You can check massage therapy licensing requirements by state using resources such as Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals or similar organizations.
Alternatively, you can visit your state's website and research licensing laws. Typically, becoming a massage therapist requires 500 to 650 hours of education and training. This is a general training for massage and body work rather than a specialized training in foot massages, although the principles will also apply to the feet. In most states, after completing your massage training, you take a licensing test.
The exam questions cover topics including anatomy, kinesiology, pathology, client evaluation, ethics, massage laws, and guidelines for practice. Getting certified has its advantages, both as a marketing tool and because of the additional training you receive. There are several certification bodies with various levels of training, education and costs. Like licensing requirements, each state sets its own penalty for practicing massages without a license.
Reflexology is a specialized form of body manipulation aimed at pressure points on the foot, according to the American Reflexology Certification Board. If your real interest is to become a reflexologist rather than a foot masseuse, you may have to deal with different rules. Once again, it all comes down to where you live. Four states have separate reflexology regulations from massage therapy licensing rules.
Today, most forms of foot massage take elements from a variety of disciplines, such as shiatsu and reflexology. They can also be a wonderful entry point to other types of massages and body work, and are a pleasurable experience for almost everyone who experiences them. Foot massage and reflexology offer a multitude of health and wellness benefits. Foot massage can help relieve headaches and back pain, swelling of the feet and ankles during pregnancy (edema), promote mental health, facilitate sleep and provide an overall sense of calm and well-being.
Like massage in general, foot massages can help relieve pain and tension in other parts of the body as releasing trigger points and tension in one place often has a cascading effect. Better circulation: massaging the limbs helps blood circulation throughout the body, promoting cell repair and growth. For these reasons, foot massage and reflexology can be a less intimidating entry point to the experience of massage and bodywork services. Traditionally, foot massages are performed with the hands, although treatments can sometimes include the use of canes or rollers to more effectively stimulate the reflex areas of the foot.