Following the creation of the Love Reflexology community in 2017, I was delighted to connect with Emma Baxter founder of Tiny Toes Reflexage. Emma is a former nurse who worked in an intensive care unit and oncology centre. This nursing experience led her to change direction and support people through a holistic approach, whilst still being able to apply her nursing knowledge.
During the past two years that I have been connected with Emma in the Love Reflexology community, it is clear to see from her work she is passionate not only to support babies and parents, but also the reflexologists who train in the Tiny Toes Reflexage techniques.
I am thrilled to interview Emma to learn more about her and her exciting business.
Q: As a former nurse, what inspired you to train to be a reflexologist and who did you train with?
After the birth of my second child I had a difficult year. My daughter suffered with severe reflux and dairy intolerance, days and nights were exhausting, I struggled to feed and settle her. As a mother there is nothing more distressing than not being able to settle your baby, you feel helpless and frustrated that this tiny little being is in pain and looking at you to help them and you can’t. Over time with little sleep and my hormones out of balance I developed post-natal depression. As the time approached for me to return to nursing I realised I wouldn’t be able to cope and that during my time away I had realised that I had become exhausted by nursing. I had loved being a nurse but I was burning out and I knew it was time for a change. This was both daunting and exciting at the age of 39 it felt risky to leave nursing with a regular income and good pension, but like I say to so many of my clients we can step of that hamster wheel and make small positive changes in our life at any point.
During my maternity leave I attended a baby reflexology class and was amazed how I could feel ‘gritty bits’ along my daughter’s bowel line!! I wanted to know more! The reflexologist who ran the classes was experienced and I felt comfortable to confide in her. I started having regular reflexology sessions for myself. I couldn’t believe the sensations I could feel in my body, how amazing my feet felt and in time how amazing I felt. I was talking to my mother about how reflexology was making me feel and she suggested I look into training to become a reflexologist.
After much research I decided to train with Three Shires School of Reflexology, I like their professional approach to training and felt this would suit me best after my years of nursing. Wendy and Martyn were amazing and taught me so much and have continued to support me over the years. I call them my reflexology parents!
Q: Following your training how did your passion for working with babies and their parents develop?
After a couple of years of working as a reflexologist I had a regular client base of pregnant women! I supported them throughout their pregnancy and soon found they were coming back for post-natal treatments, and would ask me to look at their babies’ feet too! Many of my clients struggled with the early months of motherhood and I found my own struggles and experiences helped me to support them.
This then got me thinking…how could I help mums and babies. I approached Wendy and asked if she could train me further in techniques for babies.
I then started running small classes and found mums enjoyed coming and learning techniques to use on their babies’ feet and finding support from other mums who were experiencing the same struggles.
Q: As a busy practising reflexologist, at what point in your business did you develop Tiny Toes Reflexage?
Having trained in Tiny Toes reflexology after two years of qualifying I was running regular successful classes. I wanted to develop tiny toes further and began to wonder how I could combine baby massage and reflexology. I trained in baby massage and quickly saw how I could combine elements with reflexology.
Q: How would you describe the Tiny Toes Reflexage technique?
All mums have heard of baby massage but baby reflexology is still a relatively new concept.
Reflexage combines elements of reflexology with massage. By combining both elements you can get amazing results. By touching their baby’s body with massage you can teach mums how their baby’s body is reflected in their feet! It helps them to understand the principles of reflexology. Baby massage is also an effective tool for us as reflexologists to observe and assess baby’s for areas of tension so we can treat them further with advanced reflexology techniques.
Tiny Toes is also about the parent – baby relationship, we all run small classes so we can support mums and dads through the early months which can be exhausting and difficult. They will learn invaluable techniques to help their baby, this helps them to feel empowered which is a wonderful to see!
Q: You have a clear passion for supporting babies and their parents, but it is evident you also love to help other reflexologists grow. What can a reflexologist expect when their sign up to a Tiny Toes Reflexage practitioner course?
I am passionate about support fellow reflexologists. It’s all about growing together and sharing our knowledge and experiences, together we are stronger. I don’t believe we need to be competitive with other reflexologists or local baby businesses. In Northampton alone there are 5 reflexologists trained in reflexage but we all have a unique style and attract different mums and their babies.
Once you have trained in reflexage you will have enhanced your knowledge of working with babies and feel confident to touch their little feet. You will be given beautiful illustrated sequences that can be used to show parents Tiny Toes Reflexage.
I will continue to support you in whatever way I can and you will join a private group where there is wonderful support from other Tiny Toes Reflexage Instructors.
I regularly create posts and videos for you to share on social media and I will promote your business on Tiny Toes official pages and you will have free listing on the main webpage. I want you to succeed and for your business to expand.
Q: What advice would you give to a reflexologist who is just starting out in their business or feeling a bit stuck?
Believe in yourself! We all have days when we doubt ourselves, days when clients cancel or you are struggling to fill your appointments. But I truly believe if we feel positive and look after ourselves the right clients will find you.
Take time out for yourself burning out won’t help you, if you’re tired and run down you won’t have the energy to treat and support your clients. New ideas flourish when we feel refreshed, positive and strong.
Be passionate… tell people about reflexology and how amazing it is…your passion will be infectious and they will want to know more!
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, you are unique. Create your own image and style. I spent so much time in the early months comparing myself and doubting my abilities.
Empathy for your clients, I truly care about each and every one of my clients, the difficulties I see them go through and the strength they find to come through always inspires me.
Create your own image, as you can see from other tiny toes instructors we all have our own way of promoting ourselves, by being “you” people will see your passion for reflexology.
Q: If you were starting your business today, what would you do differently?
I would have believed in myself more, and understood that small steady steps lead to your business growing steadily.
I spent a lot of money on logo designs, leaflets etc and on reflection I should have realised that image is great but business mostly comes from recommendation. Give someone an amazing treatment and help them to feel better and they will tell their friends. Just believe in the power of reflexology and the rest will follow. Take your time and find the write image, graphic designer, webpage etc.
Q: What is your favourite reflexology book?
I’ve read very few reflexology books, I like to explore the feet and create my own techniques! I like to follow my instinct and treat areas of the feet I feel are out of balance, I am much more of a visual learner.
Jan Williams – Precision reflexology was the first book I read and I loved it !! the power of linking was incredible. Following your intuition and linking areas has such a powerful effect, my treatments are now heavily based on this technique and the results I see in clients is amazing! This gentle form of reflexology is also loved by babies!
Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration in setting up your business?
Wendy and Martyn my ‘reflexology parents”, who have offered so much advice and support about reflexology but also running a business.
My family… without their support none of this would be possible. My husband copes with cooking dinner 3 evenings a week and juggling the children’s social activities so I can work! He copes with my worries and stresses when I’m struggling with the computer (I’m not good with technology). My children who have learnt to tip toe around the house if I have a client or have let me practice on their feet!
My Clients who believe me… without them I would not have a business. Their experiences, stories and struggles have encouraged me to develop all aspects of my business, I have a true passion to help others and with my clients trusting in me I feel so inspired by them.
Q: When you have a day off from the business, how do you like to relax and unwind?
I’ve struggled over the years to find a good balance between work and leisure. Running your own businesses can take over! I now feel I have the right balance. My puppy Harry has given me the perfect excuse to go out walking every day, you can’t beat fresh air to clear the mind! It’s a great way to get fit and chat to fellow dog walkers. Studies have also shown that dogs can lower your stress levels, I love spending time with Harry in between my clients, it can be lonely working on your own and I find he is great company, always happy to see me!
I love my garden, it has such a positive impact on your mood, it stimulates parts of the brain that produce the feel-good hormone serotonin. For me it’s a perfect form of meditation, you are living in the moment, focused on the plants and connected to the earth, it’s also a good form of exercise and good for our immune system.
I have a campervan called Daisy and as a family we escape regularly to the sea, those negative ions really do balance the mind. I like to escape routine and Daisy gives me this and the freedom to be outdoors whatever the weather!
Thank you, Emma, for taking the time to be interviewed, I have loved hearing more about your work.
If you would like to learn more about Tiny Toes Reflexage classes or training for reflexologists please visit Emma’s website Tiny Toes Reflexage.