American Reflexology Certification Board ®

Setting the highest testing standards to which Professional Reflexologists aspire since 1991.

ARCB®’s Position on Human Trafficking

An unethical but growing trend in the USA is the operation of “reflexology spas” as fronts for human trafficking and prostitution. Legitimate reflexologists and professional reflexology organizations are opposed to human trafficking in any form.

ARCB® recognizes human trafficking is a multi-faceted and complex issue. We support law enforcement in its efforts to combat human trafficking operating under the guise of reflexology foot massage/spa establishments.

ARCB® is committed to educating and supporting law enforcement in identifying professional reflexologists and their legitimate reflexology practices. It is our belief that business licensing of the individual reflexologist based on proper education and testing will lead to reduced instances of human trafficking.

ARCB® works legislatively to support laws that will aid in the prevention of human trafficking throughout the US. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring that laws don’t infringe on the professional certified reflexologist’s right to practice independent of massage or other manual therapies.

Recognizing the Legitimate Reflexologist

Professional reflexology is recognized worldwide by various national health institutions and the public at large as a distinct complementary practice within the holistic health field. The effectiveness of legitimate reflexology is supported by over 300 global research studies, including a study published in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that supports the use of reflexology for the treatment of PMS symptoms, Grants funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) support the efficacy of reflexology on patients with breast cancer. Reflexology is recognized by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) as a separate integrative therapy, distinct from massage. Currently reflexology is exempt from massage laws in a majority of states and is licensed at the state level in Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington.

Based on the most recent ARCB® psychometric evaluation study, the typical professional reflexologist:

  • Is a certified graduate of an initial 110-hour reflexology-specific classroom training program (This is beyond a typical massage training program’s 8 to 16-hour reflexology instruction. Online certification is not recognized by professional reflexology organizations.)
  • Adheres to a strict Code of Ethics and Business Standards
  • Is a member of the Reflexology Association of America and/or their state reflexology organization
  • Is middle-aged, self-employed, has college level education and regularly attends continuing education courses
  • Practices in a private health clinic or a home-based office in accordance with state and local ordinances
  • Takes a client health history and keeps written charts
  • Actively communicates in English with the client
  • Carries practitioner liability insurance.


The Legitimate Reflexology Session

A legitimate reflexology session consists of a protocol of manual techniques, such as thumb and finger-walking, hook and backup and rotating-on-a-point, applied to specific reflex areas predominantly on the feet and hands, although some methods include the outer ears. Reflexology techniques stimulate the complex neural pathways linking body systems, supporting the body’s efforts to function optimally as opposed to the soft-tissue stimulation provided by the rubbing and smoothing techniques of massage.

  • At the beginning of each sessions, the professional reflexologist assesses the client to identify any contraindications.
  • A session is typically conducted in a reclining chair or on a bodywork table.
  • The client remains fully clothed with only footwear removed.
  • During the session, pressure is adjusted to a comfort level acceptable to the client through discussion with the reflexologist.
  • The average session is 45 – 60 minutes duration and is priced at $1.00 or more per minute.



Download our Human Trafficking Brochure Here