For those interested in starting a reflexology business, look no further. The global complementary and alternative medicine market size was valued at $82 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 22.03% from 2021 to 2028.
Key factors that are driving the complementary medicine market growth including reflexology include wider acceptance of alternative treatments among the general population, further causing an upswing in the number of yoga studios, meditation centers, spas, and wellness facilities.
Reflexology is growing increasingly popular across the U.S. and Europe as both a complement to other treatments and a holistic treatment in its own right. Given that reflexology is also low risk, it can be a reasonable option if you’re seeking relaxation and stress relief.
What is a reflexology business?
Reflexology is a type of therapy that uses gentle pressure on specific points along your feet (and possibly on your hands or ears as well) to help you feel better. The theory is that this eases stress, and that helps your body work better. It’s also known as zone therapy.
It can help people improve their nerve functions, relaxation, brain power, blood circulation in your body, reduce stress, eliminate body toxins and boost your energy levels.
A reflexology business connects patients with particular stresses, needs or ailments to reflexologists who apply pressure to the hands and feet of the patient to relieve muscle tension and stress.
The reflexologist applies pressure on various points based on a theory that these body parts are connected to certain organs and body systems.
Similar to any spa treatment or massage therapy, prices for reflexology will vary from spa to spa. However, the pricing is usually similar to a traditional massage. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50-120 for a 1-hour session.
Who can start a reflexology business?
If a reflexology career interests you, finding the right reflexology school can make all the difference to your success.
A reflexology program should provide not only the technical training you will need to do the job, but also fundamental business concepts and other essential aspects of the profession.
Your reflexology course work should cover the following subjects:
- Reflexology history, theory and techniques
- Reflexology maps of the feet
- Anatomy and physiology
- How to customize sessions based on client-specific issues
- Ethics and professionalism
- Relevant business practices and marketing
- Supervised classroom or clinical work
- Tuition and Length of Study
Reflexology school programs generally take between six and twelve months to complete and involve 150 to 300 hours of study combined with hands-on practice. Some schools offer online as well as traditional classroom programs to meet course work requirements.
You can expect tuition for a reflexology education program to cost approximately $3,000 to $6,000. As part of your education, you will also need to purchase a massage table or reclining chair, which typically costs $200 to $500.
Read our full list of tips below to understand a step by step play on how to set up your reflexology business.
9 tips for opening an reflexology business
1). Get certified
Become certified as a reflexologist. According to the American Reflexology Certification Board, “certification distinguishes the professional from the non-professional, setting apart and bringing credibility to the practitioner who is committed to excellence.”
Prospective reflexologists can find and enroll in an accredited program in your location to get certified. You will find a list of schools that offer reflexology programs in your state on the American Reflexology Certification Board website.
They offer national certification to candidates who meet requirements for education and hands-on practice and pass a certification exam. To maintain your certification, you must pay a renewal fee every year and complete continuing education units every two years.
Reflexology Certifications by State
Certification requirements for reflexologists vary from state to state. Many reflexology school programs result in reflexology certification that meets state requirements; however, others may deliver a diploma without certification.
Research the laws for the state where you plan to practice to ensure that you make the best choice in a reflexology school program. The Reflexology Association of America (RAA) provides a summary of state laws that can help guide your search. Also talk to advisors at your schools of interest for more information.
2). Start your business
During your business creation process, you will have to choose a business type that works for you (LLC or Sole Proprietorship or similar). An LLC will ensure your personal assets are protected from any business liabilities. For further information on this, check out our comparison of different company formation firms.
When choosing your company’s legal structure you will have to take into account all the parameters of your project and you may be required to obtain a designated business license.
Many states and cities have specific individual requirements for practicing reflexologists including Tennessee and North Dakota, states which specifically license reflexologists.
Company formation specialists such as Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness have been specially designed for professionals who wish to carry out their company creation process online. You can also choose to set up your business on your own.
Financing: You have several options to get the money you need. Contact your family and friends for money if you do not already have the savings to start your business.
Apply for a bank or credit union loan tailored for small businesses. Visit the Small Business Administration’s website for information on guaranteed loan programs for small businesses.
3). Gain experience
Volunteer your services to gain experience. Hospitals, shelters, gyms and nursing homes are just a few of the places that may accept your services as a volunteer.
Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you may even pick up a number of clients after you have completed your volunteer stint.
Establish a vision for your business and develop policies to help your clients have realistic expectations of your practice. While reflexology can minimize or treat a number of ailments, it won’t necessarily happen overnight.
Be sure to thoroughly explain the practice and benefits to avoid having clients hold too high of expectations. Also, be willing to pass those clients with severe conditions onto professionals skilled in those areas, such as physical or occupational therapists or yoga instructors.
4). Find a suitable reflexology space
Reflexologists may run private practices in their own homes, travel to client homes or perform hands-on work in a chiropractic office, fitness centers or salons where they deliver treatment and work on building a solid client base.
Making use of a room within your own home can be beneficial for multiple reasons including saving on business premises rental expenses and the ability to conduct sessions from the comfort and familiarity of your own home.
If you have a gym membership, your gym may have a designated room you can rent to host your reflexology classes. This may come with a cost premium and may not be sustainable given the expense involved.
Once you’ve found a suitable space, you’ll need to convert the room or rooms into a suitable reflexology space with sufficient equipment including a reclining chair or massage table, rolling stool, lighting, candles, sound system, aromatherapy tools, linens, foot powder, foot and hand lotion, calming décor and cleaning products.
5). Define your target market
It’s very important to find out whether there’s enough demand in your area for the reflexology practice you’re planning. Although complementary medicine has become very popular with clients you will be competing against:
- Other reflexology practices
- Therapists offer different types of treatment for the same range of conditions that reflexology can help. For example, clients might visit an aromatherapist or an acupuncturist
Look on Google to see how many reflexologists and other complementary therapists are already practicing in your area.
Check out online health blogs to get an idea of the types of problems patients are experiencing and where you might be able to provide a reflexology solution.
Have a good look at existing reflexology practices to establish:
- What qualifications and training the therapist has
- Range of conditions they treat
- If they specialize in a particular type of client
- How much they charge
- What other therapies they offer, if any
- Working alongside doctors and other health professionals
The use of complementary and alternative medicine, including reflexology, has increased considerably in recent years and many GPs are prepared to refer patients to therapists for treatment if they feel it would help them.
You might consider approaching your local hospitals and doctors to see if there would be opportunities for you to provide reflexology services to patients.
You might be able to come to an arrangement with businesses such as health spas or fitness centers whereby you provide treatment at their premises, say, one or two days each week.
You would benefit from having a broader client base, and the other business would benefit by being able to offer clients a wider range of services in-house.
Other organizations that you might consider approaching include:
- Residential care homes
- Large companies that want to provide stress-relieving therapies for their staff
6). Write Your reflexology Business Plan
There are 4 key elements to include in an reflexology business plan:
Determine the level of interest persons in your area have in reflexology. This gives insight into how many potential reflexology customers you can attract.
Identify the current rates for reflexology classes to determine how much you will charge. Reflexology fees vary based on the area of operation and if the instructor is renting a full, professional studio.
This deals with the advertising aspect of your online business. This may range from word-of-mouth marketing to online ads based on behavioral targeting, to attract them to signup to your reflexology sessions.
Financial plan and projections
Calculate how much capital you will need to run the reflexology studio for the first 6 months of its inception. You will also need to budget money for personal expenses if you want to practice reflexology full-time.
Ideally, your reflexology business plan covers the first three to five years of your business, giving you something to work toward.
7). Launch your reflexology business
You’ve done your research, found a suitable reflexology space, set up your equipment and are ready to go! Time to launch and don’t be shy in promoting your business opening.
Invite your friends, colleagues, neighbors and more to post about your new reflexology business and indeed attend your opening date.
Create a hashtag and encourage all attendees to post it on their social media accounts. Your job now is to drive new and repeat customers.Don’t forget that your customers are the key to a successful reflexology business, so be kind and caring to them, this is a wellness space after all and repeat custom will likely ensue.
7). Create a website and leverage social media
When starting your reflexology business, the goal of the website is simple:
- Let prospective reflexology clients know your business exists
- Allow clients to see your location and availability
- Showcase your reflexology expertise
Your reflexology website is essentially your shop’s storefront, allowing potential customers to come and learn more about your practice, expertise, pricing and more and to see if reflexology is the right option for them.
It’s important that you create a professional-looking website to showcase your expertise to your online community. To start a website, you can build one yourself or commission a web designer, be it a friend or web design professional on a services marketplace like Fiverr.
Leverage social media
Choose a couple of platforms and learn them in and out. For reflexology practitioners, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are excellent.
A successful reflexology business, like any, should include advertising costs in the budget, especially for a startup — this will help get the word out, at least until you generate repeat business.
Online advertising using Google Adwords and Facebook ads are a great way to kickstart your marketing campaigns. Consider even conventional mediums like newspapers, business flyers and word of mouth.
Refer back to those clients you met while volunteering your services and inform them that you have officially launched your practice. They should be more than happy to spread your name to friends and family.
You can also garner repeat clients by calling each client the day after the session to check up on her progress. Purchase a website. Start a reflexology blog.
Establish relationships with others in the holistic field, such as yoga and Pilates instructors, health food store owners, osteopathic doctors, physical therapists and nutritionists. You may be able to set up a mutual advertising exchange system.
Other requirements for opening a reflexology business?
Equip yourself with the right tools
If you choose to open your own reflexology business, you will have to think about investing in your own equipment. Among the essentials, we recommend a credit card reader to accept debit and credit cards to take payment from patients.
Consider also accounting software from our comparison to allow you to keep an accurate view of the financial health of your reflexology business.
You will also have to take into account all the costs related to the decor of your reflexology studio setup such as:
- Reclining chair
- Massage table
- Sound system
- Foot and hand lotion
- Cleaning products
Open a business bank account
Among the essential steps for the successful opening of your business, you will need to choose a business bank account.
Thus, you will be able to estimate your professional expenses and manage them without taking the risk of losing yourself between your professional and personal expenses.
What equipment do you need for reflexology?
A reflexologist will need a reclining chair or massage table, rolling stool, lighting, candles, sound system, aromatherapy tools, linens, foot powder, foot and hand lotion, calming décor and cleaning products.
How do I advertise my reflexology business?
Reflexology businesses can advertise online using Google Adwords, Facebook ads and business directories or offline through deals with hotel chains and spas as well as establishing relationships with Yoga and Pilates instructors.
How do I get more reflexology clients?
Reflexology classes attain clients in a number of ways including social media postings of reflexology video classes and poses, word of mouth, online advertising such as Google Adwords and Facebook ads as well as posting in online forums and business directories.
Tom is the founder of Gottagrow.io. He reads the offers, deciphers the details including features, pricing, included services and more to find you the best products and services.