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Podiatric Reflexology

Therapeutic Reflexology is not Podiatry but complements it.  Read more in today’s post.


Podiatry and Therapeutic Reflexology are both recognised healthcare professions in South Africa, thus making medical aid reimbursements possible.  Both of these healthcare professions work on a patient’s feet and ankles, but there are vast differences between what the professions offer in South Africa.


Podiatrists study for four years full-time at the University of Johannesburg to graduate with a Bachelors’s degree in Podiatric Medicine.  Therapeutic Reflexologists study two years full-time at a private training institution like the Potchefstroom Academy to graduate with a Diploma in Therapeutic Reflexology.  Upon graduation, Podiatrists register with a statutory council, namely the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) alongside other healthcare professionals like medical doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, and psychologists, in order to legally practice.  Upon graduation, Therapeutic Reflexologists register with a statutory council, namely the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) alongside other healthcare professionals like chiropractors, homeopaths, naturopaths, and phytotherapists.  After registration with the statutory councils, both Podiatrists and Therapeutic Reflexologists can apply for a practice number from the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) [the same organisation that issue practice numbers for medical doctors] in order to make it possible for the patient to get reimbursed from medical schemes [if the plan/option covers the services].


Podiatrists are diagnostic practitioners and may diagnose foot and ankle problems whereas Therapeutic Reflexologists are therapists and may not diagnose but may treat feet and ankles.


Podiatrists treat foot and ankle problems surgically or biomechanically whereas the Therapeutic Reflexologist treats therapeutically in a non-invasive manner by stimulating the reflexes (nerve endings) in the feet and ankles.  That provides clear differentiation between the two professions because Podiatrists may deal with specific foot and ankle ailments like removing verrucas while Therapeutic Reflexologists see the verrucas as a sign of a possible underlying condition in the body.


Therapeutic Reflexology and Podiatry are two totally different professions and Therapeutic Reflexologists can therefore never replace Podiatrists but may complement the treatment provided by Podiatrists.  Where the Podiatrist deals with specific foot ailments and disorders like corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, and bunions, the Therapeutic Reflexologist works on the feet to increase overall health and wellbeing.


To explain the complementary nature of Therapeutic Reflexology, let’s consider that a patient experiences pain in the foot.  Both the Podiatrist and the Therapeutic Reflexologist may provide treatment for the pain in the foot but in totally different manners.  The Podiatrist will look at the pain and determine if there is a physical reason for the pain that may perhaps require surgical intervention to remove a wart or corn or callous, or biomechanical intervention whereby insteps may be developed and put in the patient’s shoes in order to rectify an incorrect gait that may cause the pain.  The Therapeutic Reflexologist will look at the pain and assess in which specific reflexological reflex area the pain appears that may be an indication of an underlying condition like specific stressors that may result in pain being experienced in the foot.  The Therapeutic Reflexologist will then treat the feet and give special attention to the painful areas by applying pressure point and massage techniques to the areas.


While the patient is getting treated by the Podiatrist, the Therapeutic Reflexologist may provide complementary therapy to assist the patient with pain relief and the increase of overall wellness.


It is evident that the Therapeutic Reflexologist cannot replace Podiatry but can definitely complement it by assisting the patient to experience an increased quality of life and hopefully pain relief, even while the patient is receiving Podiatric treatment from the Podiatrist.  Obviously, as a healthcare provider, the Therapeutic Reflexologist will know how to work with a patient that underwent surgical procedures and will not interfere with such areas or cause pain to the patient by stimulating areas that are busy healing after surgical procedures.


When a Podiatrist provides insteps to the patient to rectify incorrect posture or gait, Therapeutic Reflexology may work wonders to help the patient experience pain relief while getting used to the insteps and just giving the patient an hour of relaxation and reflexological stimulation that may assist with restoring balance, increasing circulation and providing some well-deserved pain relief and even pampering; non-invasive physical touch on the feet may do wonders for a patient that experienced long-term pain.


Remember, the Therapeutic Reflexologist is a professional healthcare provider and will know when to refer a patient to a Podiatrist, thus ensuring the patient’s wellbeing is at the forefront of all treatment.


Have you ever considered Therapeutic Reflexology for the pain you are experiencing in your feet?  You are more than welcome to make an appointment with a Therapeutic Reflexologist.  The Therapeutic Reflexologist will assess the pain and your overall wellbeing and recommend a customised treatment plan for your unique situation that may include a referral to a Podiatrist if that is warranted.  Sometimes pain in the feet is just the body’s way to tell you to take it slower and to help your body to reboot itself (for that Therapeutic Reflexology is ideal and you may experience pain relief after a few sessions), but in other cases, the pain may be due to a physical problem that needs to be addressed (for that a referral to a Podiatrist will be made).


The benefit of seeing a professionally qualified and formally regulated AHPCSA registered Therapeutic Reflexologist, is that, as a healthcare provider, referrals to other healthcare professionals are made when it is needed.


Make your appointment today!

Christo A. Scheepers: Therapeutic Reflexologist

Dip.T.R.(Cum Laude) [IARAMT]

AHPCSA:  A11945

Pr. No.: 1080000737453

Tel. 072-800 7243