Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.
||Openings 5 years to November 2019: > 5,000
||Median weekly earnings: Varies to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
||Reflexology qualifies as an important adjunct to health care as it improves general function and often improves biological disorders.
A high % of today's disorders are attributable to stress and tension and various body systems are affected. Reflexology promotes balance in physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels of the body. Reflexology is based on the principle that all parts of the body are reflected in the feet, hands, ears and face. It is a holistic, non-evasive therapy which compliments other therapies and modern medicine.
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Reflexologists have a unique way of determining the areas of stress in the body. They do not diagnose, they help with the relaxation of the person and work the tissue at the cellular level. At the base of most conditions is stress, and by releasing stress you enable the body to establish homeostasis (body balance).
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TAFE SA offers a Diploma of Reflexology
Currently the industry is not regulated but the official association, the Reflexology Association Of Australia is striving for registration in order to maintain professional standards. Practitioner members of the Reflexology Association hold business insurance, a current First Aid Certificate and practise ongoing professional training and development. The association will only endorse those people that meet industry standards.
Employment prospects for the natural therapies industries look good, with growth predicted to be strong. According to a recent report prepared for the State Department of Training, reflexology is one of the modalities that will have an anticipated skills shortage in the next five years. Currently, however there are limited opportunities to find employment in large clinics, and most Reflexologists are self employed. Most are trained in other natural therapy modalities such as naturopathy or aromatherapy. With growing awareness of the benefits of reflexology to help patients recover from injury or operations, and to assist critically ill patients, there may be growing opportunities for employment in hospitals.
Health and Community Services, Personal And Other Services
Nature of the Job
Like any health practitioner, the first thing a reflexologist needs to do is obtain the patient's personal history. Here they need to get a background picture of their patient, assessing factors such as lifestyle, diet, areas of pain or discomfort, all used as tools to identify where the stress may lie in the body. Next the client's feet are bathed in a foot bowl containing an essential oil. Clients have the option of lying on a couch or sitting up for the foot massage. The therapist commences the treatment by examining the foot, noting the general appearance and condition which may reflect areas of concern. Calluses, corns, dryness, creases, joint flexibility or sore spots are some of the criteria recorded. Using firm 'inching' techniques with thumbs and fingers, the reflexologist works the foot, or hands and ears - sometimes being able to pick up 'crunchy' areas or areas of tension. Some tension can be immediately massaged away, a heel spur for instance can be removed in such a way. A non oily cream may be used during the massage. The duration of each treatment depends on the client. Usually it takes about an hour, with clients like the frail, sick or infants requiring less time, and less applied pressure. Massage techniques can also vary, with the Chinese reflexology method being more penetrating and vigorous in its application.
Typical Physical Working Environment
It is essential that you are a person with great communication skills and have genuine empathy with your wide range of patients. Reflexologists are passionate about their work, and general health care issues. It's not unusual for someone in this job to be interested in many areas of natural therapies and to adopt these in their own lifestyle.
Typical Occupational Example
Reflexologists don't prescribe medications. They don't diagnose illnesses. Their primary role is to correct imbalances in the body and allow the body's own systems to do the rest. It's a bit like unblocking a blocked drain. The body can develop 'blockages' due to self neglect, busy timetables or the unrealistic expectations we sometimes place on ourselves to continue functioning without maintenance. They work on the principle that the feet, hands or ears are the mirror of the rest of the body. For example, the top of the big toe corresponds to the brain and sinus area of the body. Even the colour and texture of the foot can give a reflexologist a general idea about the person's emotional state of being.
Most clients need to return for at least another half a dozen treatments for optimum results, though obviously not all conditions can be treated solely by reflexology. Reflexologists may refer patients to other health practitioners, and complement other treatments the patient may be undergoing.
Most start off small, working from their homes, needing only a massage table. Expect to earn between $30 to $45 a session, with about four clients a day. Salaries are estimated to be between $20,000 and $30,000 a year.
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