I've had a lot of consumer selling aimed at me lately, from trendy yoga leggings to reflexology socks and massaging devices with little wires like an egg beater. Now, I'm not going to buy any of this stuff but I enjoy hearing about it as it always gives me a good laugh because some of it is truly bizarre and the idea of actually picking it up and using it is hilarious.
On a more serious note, I'd like to talk about those flip flops with spiky insoles which call themselves reflexology footwear, and reflexology socks which have little bobbles on the soles. No way of avoiding this, they are nothing whatsoever to do with reflexology! It astonishes me that their makers and marketers think for one moment that a professional therapist would want to sell them to clients or indeed put a pair on themselves. But why not? After all, don't the little bobbles and spikes stimulate the reflexes and isn't that just the same as having a reflexology session with me? By that token, isn't a barefoot walk on a pebbly beach or a gravel driveway just the same as treatment with a reflexologist?
And here we are, straight into the world of the debunkers of reflexology. What is the difference?
Intention is the point of a reflexology treatment. We are not poking at a client's foot at random and everywhere at the same time, and the aim of reflexology is not only to provide direct physical stimulus to the reflexes. It is to achieve an energetic connection between the therapist and the client, and to achieve balance within the layers of the client's own person - mind, body, soul.
The reflexes are a map on the feet (and indeed hands and face) of the organs and tissues of the body. The reflexes reflect the energetic level of the client we are treating, and when we stimulate a reflex we bring the energies of that part of the person into balance to enable optimum function at all levels. By this I mean that we stimulate the lung reflex, for example, in order to aid respiration but also to help the client breathe easily at an emotional level and perhaps to clear emotions which may be held here. The therapist brings concentration on the treatment, focus on the client and compassion to the process, and this achieves a strong healing intention in the room. A successful reflexology treatment takes knowledge of the body, empathy, the ability to listen to the client's needs, and the technical ability to give good foot massage and effective and accurate stimulation to the reflexes.
Laughing apart, those socks and sandals and egg-whisky things are trivialising a deeply helpful and indeed sacred process - the therapy session. I thought it needed saying, in order to maintain the integrity of our work and to assert its value.
Men's Pampering Courses
Men and women have always been equally welcome on any of my courses. So why have I seen so few men doing manicure, pedicure, waxing, facials or lash & brow training? I've asked several men who have done massage and reiki with me and the reply has been, more or less, that they would feel out of place or not welcome on a regular beauty course. They also feel that the specific needs of men are not addressed on mainstream beauty courses, and again this was more or less every male student I asked!
I've also asked women students whether they plan to offer treatments for men. Most of them have balked and said they think it would be awkward - men don't want nail polish, their body hair grows in different places and can be long and abundant, and how on earth would you offer a facial to a man with a beard? As if this wasn't enough they feel they would really only wish to offer grooming services to partners of their women clients, or to men that they already know well.
There is a lost opportunity here, both for men who would like to offer grooming and pampering treatments, and women who are missing out on juicy bookings from men who like to look their best, both on holiday and in their social lives and for business reasons!
The new package of courses aimed at training students how to give manicure, pedicure, facials and non-intimate waxing treatments to male clients fills the gap. Male students can come along knowing that the courses are aimed at their needs, and women therapists will be able to gain knowledge and confidence in giving treatments to male clients if they want to get into this worthwhile market.
Here are the facts! According to the International Spa Association (ISPA) survey carried out with PricewaterhouseCoopers, men are now 49% of spa clients (compared to 29% in 2005). The treatments covered in my courses are the most popular grooming treatments according to Beauty Guild surveys. In the United States, spas for men are a growing and popular business - a GQ article from August 2017 lists Living Fresh Men's Spa in New York, The Shays Lounge Men's Spa in Los Angeles and Well Groomed Men's Spa in Columbus, Ohio. They offer subdued lighting, dark colours, private spaces for discreet treatments and the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned drink whilst you are there. Nearer to home, the London Evening Standard reviewed men's salons in June 2017 and covers Men's Manicure at Ned's Barbershop (EC2). The London Salon offers a full range of treatments for men including facials, manicure, pedicure, waxing, lash and brow treatments and much more.
So don't hang around whilst the trend grows - start catering for men now. Email me and book the full package of men's grooming courses for £499 and learn the skills you need to give good treatments male clients will book and pay for regularly!