After practicing reflexology for 20 years, I’ve noticed a few things that work and a some that don’t. Today I’ve compiled a list of the most important things to do for career longevity.
I call it my “Reflexology Career Longevity Ergonomic Check List”. Take a look and see where you stand (or sit):
- Are you sitting comfortably in your chair? Sounds simple, but I find a lot of students are so focused on their work that they loose track of good posture.
- Are you sitting half way between the front and back of the chair seat? This position will give you the maximum amount of room to turn or pivot in your chair.
- If you have a sore back or existing back condition, have you supported your back appropriately? This is the exception to the item above because you must support your back if that’s what it needs. Don’t forget that twisting your back is not an option and a chair with wheels may be necessary.
- Do you have your feet planted firmly on the floor? Hello. Put both feet on the floor for the best ergonomics and grounding. If you need a small stool, have one nearby.
- Is the table at a comfortable height? Is it approximately at elbow height? Table height will be different for everyone but in general don’t have your hands too high or too low when you’re working.
- Are your shoulders relaxed when doing the work? If they start to hurt, holding tension your shoulders while working is likely the culprit – pay attention to this especially if you have a previous injury.
- Are your wrists and hands aligned and in a comfortable “relaxed and straight” position? Remember to change hand direction and not use your dominant hand for all the work. Keeping wrists relaxed and relatively straight will minimize strain.
- Is there room at the end of the table for your arms to be supported? I like my clients feet on the table so I can rest my arms while working. If you like the feet off the table, well, I don’t know how you keep your arms up for 6 or 7 hours a day… if they do get tired, I invite you to try my method.
- Do you hold the foot with a loose, relaxed hand? When practitioners are just starting out there is a lot to pay attention to – okay, there is always a lot to pay attention to – and I’ve observed some students use a hold that I call “the death grip”. They are hanging on for dear life. Lighten up, especially while doing the relaxation techniques.
- Do you use a moderate touch while thumb-walking? There is a range of techniques and pressures and you need to know how to do them all because there is a time and a place for everything. However, there are many reflexologists who do just fine with the lightest of touch and others who have the physical strength and the inclination to go deep and stay there. Both of these styles and all those in between work, so use the pressure that will give you in the best ergonomics.
- Do you change postures regularly? Movement is so important. The more you can move the less apt you’ll be to stay in a position that’s not working for you.
- Do you take a break and stretch between sessions or at least once every hour? Those of you who do yoga know that when you do a twist or a stretch, you do a counter twist or stretch soon after. Because we often reach forward with our arms, a counter stretch and shaking out the arms makes sense too.
- Do you occasionally stand to work? I love to stand at various points during a session to get a better position for working and it reminds me to stay loose.
- Do you vary your thumb-walking to suit the angle or surface texture of the foot? Change directions and/or change hands so you can get deeper into the tissue from a different angle. This is not about pressure it’s about connecting with the reflexes.
- Do you insert relaxation techniques within the session for variety and ergonomic relief? I do this all the time. I call them desserts and before or after I detail an area, or if the client has felt some sensitivity, I reward them (and me) with a yummy relaxation technique.
I know you’re doing most of these things, but if you find even one item on this list that could be improved… well, my work here is done.
It pays to take care of yourself and your ergonomics. The reward can be a long and prosperous career.