With plans for greater integration in Europe in 1992, and pressure mounting from different sides against complementary medicine, it was felt necessary by reflexologists in Europe to have ‘one voice’ to protect their future.
Work was started to make reflexology available to everyone and also to make reflexology recognised as an official therapy by European governments. This was decided in Brussels during a New Age fair (Live²) where Reflexologists from different countries met each other. At this fair where present Mo USHER (GB), Cecily MILLS (Scotl.), Anneke VAN ’t WOUT (NL), Henk HOMBERG (NL), Josef HACKENFORT (DE), Philippe SIMON (BE) and other Reflexologists.
In Newcastle, UK in 1994 the first European Conference of Reflexology was organised to discuss various subjects and the result was a unanimous vote to continue a biennial conference.
At the same time the European Commission asked Paul Lannoye to prepare a report on the state of complementary medicine in Europe. In this report reflexology was not mentioned. After a meeting in Brussels in 1995 of organisations and schools of reflexology in RiEN, a submission was prepared for Paul Lannoye with the following points:
- Reflexology is a complementary therapy
- Reflexology is a harmless and non-invasive method
- Reflexology is a non-medical approach; it helps to release toxins from the body and improves circulation. It may help many health problems to decrease
- Reflexologists do not diagnose or prescribe any pharmaceutical or other products
- Reflexologists do not promise to cure illness
- This submission resulted in inclusion of reflexology as a therapy in the updates of Lannoye’s report. For more information on Lannoye’s report, click here.
In order to stimulate official recognition of reflexology as a therapy and as a profession, contacts were established with several Members of European Parliament, representing the task force of public health in various European countries. Participation was also sought in meetings in Brussels of the Working Group on Complementary & Natural Medicine, part of the Health Inter Group of the European Parliament.
In December 2004, the European Forum for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (EFCAM), part of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), was created to promote integrated healthcare in Europe, and RiEN-took membership. Quarterly meetings are held in Brussels where RiEN is represented.