SA Reflexology | FAQ
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What is the reflexology and what is a reflexologist?

Reflexology is used world-wide as a complementary therapy.

The reflexology theory is that every organ in the body is reflected on certain areas of the feet, legs, hands, face and ears.

The reflexologist manipulates the pressure points according to specific protocol and techniques of reflexology therapy.

What is the difference between reflexologist and therapeutic reflexologist in South Africa?


In South Africa reflexology is a registered healthcare profession with the Allied Health Professions Council of SA [AHPCSA] and  is known as therapeutic reflexology.

To practise legally the Therapeutic Reflexologist must register with the   AHPCSA to obtain a registration number.

The therapeutic reflexologist may treat or provide treatment for diagnosed disease, illness or deficiencies in humans, signs and symptoms of disease/illness in humans or prevention of disease, illness or deficiencies in humans.

A practice number is a legal requirement for the process of reimbursement of a claim to either a medical scheme member or a service provider.

Non-registered reflexologists e.g. in Spas and Wellness Centres normally apply reflexology techniques with the focus on relaxation.

What are therapeutic reflexology techniques?

For  a therapeutic outcome and prevention of conditions of illness in patients the reflexology techniques includes:

  • specific hand, finger and thumb techniques in order to stimulate the reflex areas on the feet, body, legs, hands, arms, face and ear;
  • the manual mobilization of soft tissue structures and
  • using other associated reflexology equipment.

Can therapeutic reflexology treatment replace medical treatment?


Therapeutic Reflexology is recommended as a complementary therapy and does not replace any medical treatment or medication although it falls into the sub-field of:

  • Promotive Health
  • Developmental Service
  • Preventive Health
  • Curative Health
  • Rehabilitative Health

Is therapeutic reflexology a foot massage?


A Therapeutic reflexologist is able to authoritatively and professionally design a treatment protocol, within the pain tolerance level of the patient, in relaxing and balancing entire body systems.

In a therapeutic reflexology session unique manual and pressure point techniques are used.

Foot massages serve as a feel good or pamper service rather than treating a specific health condition.

A foot massage consists of slow, firm, gentle, gliding strokes all over the foot with the application of soothing oils or lotions.

Where do I train to be registered as a therapeutic reflexologist?

Contact the AHPCSA for an education institution that is accredited.

Can I practise therapeutic reflexology legally after a short certificate course?


The therapeutic reflexology course is a two year Diploma and includes the study of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology to qualify therapists to work very closely with Health Professionals in the Allopathic or Medical fields.

A qualified therapist must register within six months with the AHPCSA to practise legally.

What is the Scope of Practice for the therapeutic reflexologist?

A Therapeutic Reflexologist may treat or provide treatment for diagnosed disease, illness or deficiencies in humans, signs and symptoms of disease/illness in humans or prevention of disease, illness or deficiencies in humans.

The Therapeutic Reflexologist is able to authoritatively and professionally design a treatment protocol and offer appropriate health care advice in the promotion and maintenance of the health of a patient.

Where deemed necessary the person will be referred to other health care professionals.

What is the benefit of therapeutic reflexology treatments?

Although reflexology treatment may not be capable of removing the causes of the illness it is known around the world that reflexology treatment complements other treatments when dealing with psychological symptoms and conditions such as anxiety, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular issues, diabetes etc.

There are evidence-based studies that
therapeutic reflexology, as a complementary therapy, has the ability to stimulate the nerve endings in a carefully conducted manner via the hands, feet, and ears of clients to reduce symptoms, pain, and discomfort of e.g. chronic deceases and improve quality of live.

Is therapeutic reflexology a safe therapy?

Generally, therapeutic reflexology appears to be a safe therapy. It is non-invasive and does not cause many side effects. Mild side effects after therapeutic reflexology treatment include tiredness, light-headedness, tender feet and emotional sensitivity.

Contra indications: Therapeutic Reflexology treatment is not contra-indicated for any condition although caution is to be taken under the following circumstances:

  • Tumours and metastases
  • Deep Vein Thromboses
  • Broken fractured bones (in the feet or ankles) while healing

Is therapeutic reflexology treatment appropriate for children?

There is no minimum or maximum age limit for treatment.

The therapy is effectively used with babies and children to encourage health and wellbeing.

In cases, such as the very young, treatments over shorter intervals, may be given.

What is the duration of a therapeutic reflexology treatment?

Depending on the needs of the patient a therapeutic reflexology session usually lasts between 45 and 60 minutes

In cases, such as the elderly or particular illnesses, shorter treatments over shorter intervals may be given.

Can a therapeutic reflexology treatment be painful?

When the congested reflex areas are treated it can often be sensitive or painful when a pressure technique is applied.

The therapeutic reflexologist will adapt pressure to the pain levels of the patient in relaxing and balancing entire body systems.

In some cases more than one treatment is needed to clear the congested area.

How often should you get therapeutic reflexology treatments?

Health condition: Based on a person’s individual needs and medical condition a treatment plan will be used in the best interests of the person in therapy.

Preventative therapy: Regular sessions once a month or every six weeks are an option.

Will medical aid cover my therapeutic reflexology sessions?

There are medical schemes that include reflexology treatment in their benefit plans and have various tariff scales for feet, hand facial and ear reflexology.

Contact you medical scheme for further information.

Does therapeutic reflexology treatment require a referral?


Therapeutic Reflexology  has been accepted as a registered profession with the AHPCSA

You do not need a referral but could inform your GP that you are making use of therapeutic reflexology treatments.

What can I expect at my first visit?

This first visit could last about 15 minutes longer than subsequent treatments

Your therapeutic reflexologist will follow the following process:

  • Consultation: General questions about your health, lifestyle and medical history.
  • Discussing a treatment plan: The expected benefits of the treatment; possible minor side effects, and options of alternative courses of action.
  • Assessing: Questions will be asked about pain in the feet or legs and condition of the feet.
  • Treatment session: Feedback during the session is encouraged, and you can request that the session stop at any time.
  • Full treatment will be given even if you fall asleep during the session.

Where do I find a therapeutic reflexologist?

Find a Therapist in your area – Click Here