reflexology regulations

Regulation of Reflexology in New Zealand: Ensuring Safe and Ethical Practice

If you’re interested in ensuring that your reflexology practice aligns with national standards in New Zealand, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the detailed guidelines and regulations. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that covers all the necessary rules and regulations for reflexologists in NZ.

To explore the detailed guidelines and ensure your practice aligns with national expectations check out the key sections below

Regulatory Body and Membership

Reflexology in New Zealand is primarily overseen by Reflexology New Zealand (RNZ), a professional association committed to supporting reflexologists through education, setting practice standards, and maintaining a code of ethics​ (ReflexologyNZ)​. RNZ ensures that all practicing reflexologists are registered and meet rigorous qualification standards before they can offer their services to the public.

Code of Practice and Ethics

RNZ enforces a strict Code of Practice and Ethics to which all members must adhere. The Code of Practice ensures that all reflexologists maintain a professional approach in their practice, which includes the cleanliness of the premises, the privacy of client consultations, and the appropriate handling of client records​ (ReflexologyNZ)​. The Code of Ethics promotes integrity, confidentiality, and the welfare of clients, emphasizing that reflexologists should not diagnose or claim to cure medical conditions.

Code Of Ethics

The Code of Ethics for Reflexology in New Zealand, governed by Reflexology New Zealand (RNZ), serves as a comprehensive guide to promote integrity, responsibility, and professionalism within the practice and teaching of reflexology. Here are some key aspects highlighted in the Code:

  1. Purpose: Reflexologists prioritize the well-being and benefit of their clients in their practice.
  2. Understanding: It is essential for clients to receive clear explanations about reflexology treatments, including expected outcomes and what they should anticipate from the sessions.
  3. Privacy: The confidentiality and privacy of clients are paramount, only to be breached if legal requirements necessitate.
  4. Scope of Practice: Reflexologists must operate within their professional competencies, avoiding diagnoses or cure claims. Referrals to other health professionals are made when necessary.
  5. Professional Development: Ongoing education is crucial for reflexologists to enhance their knowledge and skills to provide the best possible advice and treatment.
  6. Advertising: Promotional activities must align with the ethical standards and specific advertising codes related to therapeutic services.
  7. Annual Membership: Reflexologists are required to visibly display their professional credentials and adherence to the codes of practice and ethics within their practice areas.

For any concerns regarding breaches of these ethics, complaints should be formally written and sent to the specified address for Reflexology NZ in Wellington.

This framework ensures that reflexology is practiced with high ethical standards, safeguarding the profession’s integrity and the trust placed in it by clients. For more detailed information or specific queries, it’s advisable to contact Reflexology New Zealand directly or visit their official website.

Code Of Practice

The Code of Practice for Reflexology in New Zealand sets essential standards to ensure professionalism within the field. Here’s an overview of the key elements of this code:

  1. Premises: Reflexology practice areas must be clean, well-lit, properly ventilated, and generally well-maintained, including having accessible toilet facilities.
  2. Hygiene: High standards of health and personal hygiene are mandatory, with adherence to public hygiene and local safety regulations.
  3. Records: Confidential client records should be securely maintained, including personal details and treatment information.
  4. Limitation of Treatment: Reflexologists should provide advice and treatment strictly within the scope of their expertise.
  5. Insurance: Practicing reflexologists must have adequate professional insurance.
  6. Qualifications and Certifications: Visible display of the practitioner’s credentials and certifications in the practice area is required.

These standards aim to protect clients and ensure the integrity and professionalism of reflexology as a therapeutic practice. If anyone believes these standards have been violated, they should submit a written complaint to the appropriate authority within Reflexology New Zealand.

This framework ensures that clients receive the highest standard of reflexology care, reflecting the professional commitment of the practitioners. For those seeking more detailed information or wishing to raise a complaint, contacting Reflexology New Zealand directly is recommended.


Contraindications in reflexology are conditions or factors that suggest that a particular treatment should not be used because it could be harmful to the patient. This concept is crucial in the field of reflexology as it involves recognizing situations where reflexology treatments may need to be modified or avoided altogether to ensure the safety and well-being of the client. Here’s an overview of the key points regarding contraindications in reflexology:

A. Identification and Management of Contraindications

Reflexologists must use their professional judgment to identify contraindications and decide whether to proceed with a session. This might involve modifying the treatment method or entirely refraining from providing reflexology if it poses a risk to the client.

B. Collaborative Health Management

Reflexologists are encouraged to work closely with other healthcare professionals to provide holistic care, particularly when a client’s condition requires the expertise of other medical specialists. This collaborative approach helps ensure that all aspects of the client’s health are considered.

C. Specific Circumstances Requiring Caution

  • Direct healthcare oversight: Clients under active care for specific conditions or those whose medical parameters are being closely monitored (e.g., post-operative patients, those undergoing chemotherapy, etc.) should consult their primary healthcare provider before receiving reflexology.
  • Severe conditions: Conditions like acute infections, severe inflammation, or significant injuries are generally considered contraindications to reflexology because they require specific medical treatments or could be exacerbated by physical therapies.

D. Referral to Specialists

In situations where a reflexologist encounters a client with needs beyond their scope of practice or training, such as clients with complex medical histories or special care requirements, it is appropriate to refer them to a colleague who has specialized training or to another healthcare professional who can better address those needs.

E. General Precautions and Professional Boundaries

Reflexologists should also consider general safety precautions, such as not proceeding with treatment if there are any doubts about the client’s health status or if the client is uncomfortable. It’s important for reflexologists to remain within their professional boundaries and not attempt to diagnose or treat conditions that require medical or specialized attention.

Reflexologists must adhere to these guidelines to ensure their practice is safe and effective. Clients and therapists alike should be aware of these considerations to foster a secure and supportive environment for reflexology treatment. If there are any breaches in these practices, complaints should be directed in writing to the relevant authority overseeing reflexology practice in their region. This ensures that standards are maintained and that the health and safety of clients are prioritized.

Under New Zealand’s Medicines Act 1981, the regulation of therapeutic claims is stringent, especially concerning practices like reflexology that don’t fall neatly into conventional medical treatments. This law governs how therapeutic claims can be made and ensures that any product or practice claiming health benefits is accurately categorized and regulated to protect public health and safety.

Importance of Careful Claim Management

The Act requires that any claims suggesting therapeutic benefits must undergo rigorous scrutiny to ensure they do not mislead the public. For reflexologists, this means that any suggestion that reflexology can treat or cure diseases must be supported by evidence and meet regulatory standards. If reflexologists claim that their treatments have therapeutic outcomes, these treatments might be classified either as medicines or related products. This classification triggers a series of regulatory requirements, including approval processes to validate the claims.

Encouragement to Focus on Wellness

Given the legal and regulatory complexities associated with therapeutic claims, reflexologists in New Zealand are advised to focus on promoting the general wellness benefits of their treatments. This approach involves highlighting how reflexology can enhance overall well-being without specifically claiming to cure or alleviate symptoms of medical conditions. For example, reflexologists might safely advertise that their services help with relaxation, stress reduction, and promoting a sense of balance and harmony, rather than claiming to treat specific health issues.

Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with these regulations is monitored by Medsafe, the authority responsible for medicine and medical device regulation in New Zealand. Medsafe ensures that all health claims comply with the law and that no misleading information is given to the public. This oversight helps maintain the credibility of complementary and alternative therapies and ensures they’re used safely and appropriately within the wider health system.

By focusing on general wellness rather than specific medical outcomes, reflexologists can provide their services within the legal framework, avoiding the potential pitfalls of non-compliance while still offering valuable services to their clients. This balance helps maintain the integrity of reflexology as a complementary therapy and ensures that it is a beneficial addition to New Zealand’s health and wellness landscape.

Education and Continuous Learning

Reflexology New Zealand (RNZ) places a strong emphasis on continuous professional development (CPD) to ensure that reflexologists are equipped with up-to-date knowledge and skills relevant to their practice. This commitment to ongoing learning is crucial in a field that often sees new research findings and evolving techniques.

Importance of Continuous Professional Development

CPD is essential in maintaining high standards within the profession and ensuring that practitioners can provide the best possible care to their clients. By staying informed about the latest advancements, reflexologists can integrate new practices that enhance the effectiveness of their treatments and improve client outcomes.

Forms of Professional Development

RNZ encourages reflexologists to engage in various forms of professional development, including:

  • Workshops and Seminars: These are practical sessions where reflexologists can learn new techniques, understand recent research developments, and interact with peers and experts in the field.
  • Educational Programs: These may include more formal courses that can lead to advanced qualifications or specializations within reflexology.
  • Conferences: Attending local or international conferences not only provides learning opportunities but also helps practitioners network and share knowledge with others in the field.

Benefits of Professional Development

The benefits of such professional development are manifold:

  • Skill Enhancement: Practitioners refine and expand their reflexology techniques, which can lead to more effective treatment plans for clients.
  • Knowledge Update: Regular updates on research and new insights into the human body and reflexology practices ensure that practitioners are not relying on outdated information.
  • Networking: Engaging with other professionals can lead to collaborations and opportunities to learn from the experiences of peers, which can be invaluable in a practice-based profession like reflexology.

Commitment to Excellence

RNZ’s advocacy for continuous education reflects a commitment to excellence and professionalism in the field of reflexology. This approach not only benefits practitioners by enhancing their capabilities and confidence but also serves to elevate the overall standard and credibility of reflexology as a therapeutic practice.

For reflexologists in New Zealand, adhering to these guidelines means they are better equipped to meet the needs of their clients and contribute to the broader health and wellness community. Reflexology NZ provides resources and information on upcoming events and opportunities for professional development on their website.

Handling Complaints and Enforcement

RNZ provides a clear mechanism for handling complaints against its members, ensuring accountability and transparency in the profession. Complaints about breaches of the Code of Ethics or professional misconduct are taken seriously, with procedures in place to investigate and address such issues​ (ReflexologyNZ)​.


The regulatory framework for reflexology in New Zealand is designed to protect the public while promoting the legitimacy and effectiveness of reflexology as a complementary therapy. By adhering to high standards of practice and ethics, reflexologists in New Zealand contribute positively to the health and well-being of their clients, reinforcing the professionalism of the field.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Reflexology in New Zealand

What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a complementary therapy where pressure is applied to specific points on the feet, hands, and ears. It is based on the belief that these points correspond to different body organs and systems, and pressing them has a beneficial effect on the person’s health.

Is reflexology regulated in New Zealand?

Yes, reflexology is regulated in New Zealand by Reflexology New Zealand (RNZ), which sets professional standards for practice, including a Code of Ethics and Code of Practice.

Do I need to be certified to practice reflexology in New Zealand?

While New Zealand does not have formal certification requirements for reflexologists, RNZ provides registration for practitioners who meet their professional standards. It’s recommended to be registered with RNZ to ensure credibility and professional recognition.

Can reflexologists diagnose health conditions in New Zealand?

No, reflexologists in New Zealand are not permitted to diagnose conditions. The Code of Ethics stipulates that reflexologists should practice within the scope of their knowledge and training and may not make claims to cure.

Are there any restrictions on advertising reflexology services?

Yes, advertising for reflexology services must comply with the Code of Ethics and the Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code. Claims must be accurate and not misleading, focusing on general wellness benefits rather than specific medical outcomes.

What should I do if I believe a reflexologist has breached professional standards?

If you believe a reflexologist has violated professional standards, you can file a complaint in writing to Reflexology New Zealand (RNZ). They have a procedure in place to handle such complaints.

Can reflexologists in New Zealand treat any condition with reflexology?

Reflexologists should be aware of contraindications to treatment and refrain from treating conditions that are outside their scope of practice. They should also refer clients to other healthcare professionals when necessary.

How can I find a registered reflexologist in New Zealand?

You can find a registered reflexologist by visiting the Reflexology New Zealand website, which offers a searchable directory of practitioners who are registered with RNZ.


  1. Reflexology New Zealand (RNZ). “About RNZ – ReflexologyNZ.”
  2. Medsafe. “Regulatory Guidance.”
  3. New Zealand Legislation. “Medicines Act 1981.”
  4. New Zealand Government. “New Zealand Charter of Health Practitioners.”
  5. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) New Zealand. “Therapeutic and Health Advertising Code.”

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