How I became a Reflexologist…

Believe it or not, I was once a serious scientist, a molecular biologist no less; working in scientific research. But then one day I crossed to the dark side…

Some 27 years ago I was working at St Thomas’ hospital, and I decided that I wanted to do an evening class to meet new people and even possibly gain a new skill. I had intended to take part in wine tasting, but according to the helpful person at Morley College, wine tasting classes always filled up first and well in advance – so I would have to wait for a further 12 weeks to book. At this point, I was not to be put off doing a class, so I simply requested what else was available at the same time and day. ‘Reflexology’ came the answer, ‘then I shall do that!’ I said! Such was the level of prior thought applied to my decision that day, I wasn’t even completely sure what reflexology was, beyond my knowledge that it had something to do with the feet, but no matter, I paid my money and signed up.

I went away and read up a little on the course that I had signed up for and found that reflexology is a complementary therapy; not an alternative therapy, as it comes from a common health paradigm, and can be used alongside medical treatments; hence the term complementary. Alternative therapies originate from a different diagnostic paradigm, classical examples of these are Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The theory of reflexology is that all the systems and areas of the body are reflected in the extremities – the feet most commonly but also in the hands, face, and ears. By applying touch, be this firm or gentle pressure, to the various areas of the foot, etc, the theory is that the body makes a decision to return to balance, to stop working too hard or not working hard enough, but to be balanced and therefore in harmony. Thus the level of tension reduces, relaxation ensues, sleep is aided, your mood may be improved, and best of all wellbeing is heightened. And who, in these days of trouble, couldn’t do with improved wellbeing? This is the cornerstone of all care packages these days, albeit in health, work, or within illness. Good well-being is what we all desire.

So, I went along to the class, not really knowing what to expect, and found that although we were complete novices learning and practicing on each other, the way we learnt to apply pressure to the feet was exceptionally pleasing. We were learning the process of reflexology little by little and week by week, however, I found very quickly that on a personal level that some of my health issues were simply improving. I had been getting migraines more and more frequently and to a greater extent as each year passed. What started as a horrid yet relatively simple headache had progressed to visual disturbances, numbness in my thumb (paraesthesia), and a minimum of three days in bed. In addition, my menstrual cycle was at best erratic, with a 5 or 6-week cycle and pain, bloating, and nausea in the latter weeks. Yet once I started this course – remember we were complete novices(!), everything started to settle down. I became a better person than I was before, less pain meant I was nicer, fewer hormone ups and downs, meant less anger and irritability. The change was subtle but to me obvious.

After the 12-week introductory course was complete, I wanted to know more! And I wanted to keep my health improving, so I signed up for a practitioner course with the Association of Reflexologists. This is a year of training, with lots and lots of hands-on experience. There are lots of very short training courses out there, but if you want to do a good course that will open doors, then is the place to find out more.

I completed my course and then started to be a reflexologist. Even today, after 25 years of applying bespoke and individualised treatments to my clients I never cease to be amazed at the changes reflexology can initiate in people. Reflexology, through my hands, facilitates the inner rebalancing and yes, even prompting their own inner healing in people. Pain reduction, hormone rebalancing, mood improvement, babies where there had been problems, happiness where there had been none, reduction in stress, improvement in movement, changes in outlook, and most of all improved wellbeing!

As to me, well I have not had a single migraine since I started that course, and my menstrual cycle settled to a steady 28 days up to the menopause, and even that hasn’t been terrible.

Fate took me by the hand that day when wine tasting was full, and hopefully will never let go.

Tracey Smith BSc, FMAR.


GDPR is bringing in new legal protection for personal information from May 2018. This tells you what personal information I hold and why, and what your rights are. You will be asked to complete a signed declaration of agreement at our first face to face contact.

Therapist’s Name/Identity: Tracey Smith FMAR BSc (Hons)

Therapist’s Contact Details:

Telephone No: 07899077855

Email address:

Address: 11 Ashmore Close, London, SE15 5GY

Data Controller Contact Details: as above

The Purpose of processing Client Data

In order to give professional reflexology treatments, I will need to gather and retain potentially sensitive information about your health. I will only use this information for informing reflexology treatments and associated recommendations concerning aspects of health and wellbeing which I will offer to you.

Lawful Basis for holding and using Client Information

As a full member of the Association of Reflexologists, I abide by the AoR Code of Practice and Ethics. The lawful basis under which I hold and use your information is my legitimate interests requirement to retain the information in order to provide you with the best possible treatment options and advice.

As I hold special category data (i.e. health related information), the Additional Condition under which I hold and use this information is: for me to fulfil my role as a health care practitioner bound under the AoR Confidentiality as defined in the AoR Code of Practice and Ethics.

What information I hold and what I do with it

In order to give professional reflexology treatments, I will need to ask for and keep information about your health. I will only use this for informing reflexology treatments and any advice I give as a result of your treatment. The information to be held is:

•Your contact details

•Medical history and other health-related information (gained from you at first consultation)

•Treatment details and related notes (made after each consultation)

I will NOT share your information with anyone else (other than as required for legal process) without explaining why it is necessary, and getting your explicit consent.

How Long I Retain Your Information for

I will keep your information for the following periods:

•8 years for adult data to comply with my registration with the CNHC

•Or for any child treated within my practice to comply with the legal practice regarding children records – until the age of 25 if 17 when treated, then to 26 years of age.

Your data will not be transferred where it is under my control outside the EU, without your consent.

Protecting Your Personal Data

I am committed to ensuring that your personal data is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, I have put in place appropriate technical, physical and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect from you.

I will contact you using the contact preferences you give me in relation to:

• Appointment times

• Reflexology information or information related to your health

Your Rights

GDPR gives you the following rights:

• The right to be informed:

To know how your information will be held and used (this notice).

• The right of access:

To see your therapist’s records of your personal information, so you know what is held about you and can verify it.

• The right to rectification:

To tell your therapist to make changes to your personal information if it is incorrect or incomplete.

• The right to erasure (also called “the right to be forgotten”):

For you to request your therapist to erase any information they hold about you

• The right to restrict processing of personal data:.

You have the right to request limits on how your therapist uses your personal information

• The right to data portability: under certain circumstances you can request a copy of personal information held electronically so you can reuse it in other systems.

• The right to object:.

To be able to tell your therapist you don’t want them to use certain parts of your information, or only to use it for certain purposes.

• Rights in relation to automated decision-making and profiling.

• The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office:

To be able to complain to the ICO if you feel your details are not correct, if they are not being used in a way that you have given permission for, or if they are being stored when they don’t have to be.

Full details of your rights can be found at

If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please use the contact details given above.

If you are dissatisfied with the response you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office; their contact details are at:

Therapist’s Rights

Please note:

• If you don’t agree to your therapist keeping records of information about you and your treatments, or if you don’t allow them to use the information in the way they need to for treatments, the therapist may not be able to treat you

• Your therapist has to keep your records of treatment for a certain period as described above, which may mean that even if you ask them to erase any details about you, they might have to keep these details until after that period has passed

• Your therapist can move their records between their computers and IT systems, as long as your details are protected from being seen by others without your permission.