Hagar is director of Reflexology Academy, an established school which teaches reflexology practitioner training courses and post graduate seminars.
Hagar has been in reflexology practice since 1989 and was originally taught by Tony Porter and later went onto teach alongside him. This solid foundation provided the cornerstone intrinsic to her own personal development and further practical adaptations within reflexology.
Hagar’s passion is in the practical application which fundamentally is about ‘Moving the Energy’ as a transformational tool, leading towards wholeness. She has been a guest speaker at international reflexology conferences in Northern Ireland, Brussels, and Taiwan. Hagar has had the pleasure to teach her reflexology seminars and workshops extensively, both nationally and internationally for many years.
Article words by Kelly Hainsworth and Hagar Basis
I spoke with Hagar to learn more about her work as a reflexologist, tutor and founder of Reflexology Academy.
(1) Could we start by you sharing a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Israel and moved to north London with my parents in 1966. Much of my youth was gloriously misspent! I went to art school for a while and then in 1987 discovered reflexology. I am married with 3 children, now all young adults of whom I am immensely proud of. I recently moved with my husband Nick, and our adorable and rather crazy Irish Terrier, to a village in the Tamar Valley close to Dartmoor in Devon.
(2) What was your first experience of reflexology and what inspired you to train as a practitioner?
As a young person I was interested in alternative medicine and had a natural curiosity for the esoteric. One day a friend came round with a reflexology book, The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology by Kevin and Barbara Kunz. We were fascinated by it, working on each other’s feet practicing the moves from the book. I was blown away, and it was then I decided I wanted to train to become a reflexologist.
Around the same time another friend knew of Tony Porter who had a reflexology practice nearby. Tony was then director for the International Institute of Reflexology (IIR) in London. We both signed up to do the IIR reflexology training, and at the age of 24 I became a reflexologist.
(3) During your career as a reflexologist when did your interest in the treatment of gynaecological conditions, particularly low thyroid function and associated hormonal disorders such as infertility, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome develop?
For years in my reflexology practice, especially during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, I had many clients that came to me with hormonal related disorders, many with low thyroid function, adrenal exhaustion, and fertility issues, including couples going through IVF. I could see that they responded extremely well to reflexology, which naturally made me more curious and deepened my interest. Through a reflexology seminar I met Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield, a then specialist in his field in metabolic disorders and the treatment of hypothyroidism. This heightened my awareness and understanding of thyroid function and related disorders which influenced my practice.
During the same time, I was lucky enough to have referrals from the late Consultant Gynaecologist and surgeon, Lindsay McMillan. Most of the patients referred were women with severe endometriosis, which the reflexology treatments were able to ease the symptoms of with great success. Lindsay understood that in the management of chronic pelvic pain, reflexology was invaluable.
In 1994 he had conducted a reflexology trial pilot study, which he worked closely throughout with Tony Porter at Whipps Cross hospital in London. The trial evidenced that the reflexology (Tony’s specific ART reflexology techniques) was successful in alleviating severe dysmenorrhoea for 85- 90% of the patients. I was in an exceptional position at that time, teaching these techniques alongside Tony Porter at his seminars. In more recent years my own peri and post-menopausal journey has highly influenced my own interest in reflexology for women’s health and the influence of stress on the body-mind.
(4) What advice would you share with members of the Love Reflexology community who would like to specialise in these areas?
My advice would be to learn and gain as much experience in what interests and inspires you the most. It is important to follow what calls you! Every reflexologist has their own unique personal reflexology journey of discovery. Continuing Professional Development courses and workshops can open the door to a deeper level of understanding, and most importantly help reflexologists develop and acquire the required skills to broaden their practice.
My own Reflexology for Women’s Health workshop covers all the areas I have mentioned, I teach practitioners the way I work with my own clients. Be curious and willing to test the boundaries of your comfort zone – and in the words of Joseph Campbell “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living”.
(5) During your career as a reflexologist, at what point did you decide to become a tutor and how did you go about this?
I had not thought of becoming a tutor, it came to me through a fortunate stroke of serendipity! During my reflexology training my father had reflexology treatments from Tony Porter to help him with his chronic back pain. After I graduated, I suggested to my father that I could now treat him instead. My father was unconvinced that I could do a good job! He made an appointment for me work on Tony’s feet to test my level of skills. That meeting was the turning point, Tony asked me to come and help him at his forthcoming seminar in Ireland and become his assistant tutor.
(6) Can you tell us more about Reflexology Academy?
I founded Reflexology Academy in 2012 after leaving my role as the IIR UK London regional course director, which I had enjoyed for over 16 years. I wanted to create a school of my very own – to be able to provide the very best of what reflexology has to offer for both the beginner and the experienced therapist.
I feel proud with what I have achieved so far through Reflexology Academy, the school offers a range of post graduate workshops as well as Reflexology Academy’s own premier professional training course, the Practitioner Diploma in Clinical Reflexology. This fully accredited course has been lovingly developed by me and the inspired Melissa Softley (RA’s anatomy, physiology & pathology tutor) an incredible therapist in her own right and whose collaboration has provided greater enrichment.
Reflexology Academy also has the privilege to host leading reflexologists from around the world to educate in their specific specialisms, both online and face-to-face. It is wonderful watching Reflexology Academy grow and develop, and I am looking ahead to many more new and exciting ventures!
(7) Having created a successful business, what advice would you share with a reflexologist who is feeling stuck within their business?
Talk with a good friend and seek help from your reflexology community. Remember what it feels like after sharing a good time with someone that makes you laugh and raises your spirits? Talking things out helps us to see the truth of who we are and what we can achieve, rather than believing the minds perceptions of impossibility!
Everyone experiences this feeling at times throughout their life and career, it is an invitation for growth. Perhaps it may be time a to re-ignite your passion by going on a course, learning new techniques, with an opportunity to meet other like-minded people. Whatever you do, allow yourself time out to reflect and recharge – this gives space for any underlying issues or fears to emerge, and is your chance to focus and identify any help you may need.
(8) What has been your greatest achievement in your business?
In 2017 I was presented with a special award in recognition for my significant contribution to reflexology in the field of education from the International Council of Reflexologists (ICR) at their International Conference in Taiwan, which I was invited as a guest speaker. It was a total surprise and a great honour to receive.
In 2019 I was also invited as a special guest to give a talk on ‘Reflexology for Reproductive Health’ at the Hospital de Clínicas José de San Martín in Buenos Aires, to both the doctors and in house reflexologists. The lecture theatre was packed, and the talk was incredibly successful. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the hospital staff and the Association of Argentinian Reflexologists. These moments felt like a true recognition of my personal and professional achievement in reflexology.
One of the most important achievements for me are the reflexologists I have trained – I am incredibly proud of them. I know that I have made a significant contribution to their lives as reflexologists, and this is what makes my business successful.
(9) What exciting plans do you have for the rest of 2022? Any exclusive news?
In September and October, I will be returning to Lyon and then to London to teach my Reflexology for Women’s Health, which is always a joy. In November I have been invited to teach this, and my Reflexology for Stress Workshop, at a reflexology school in Switzerland. I hope to take some time off in-between workshops to enjoy the mountain air!
I am delighted that I will be hosting Spiros Dimitrakoulas once again at the end of September to teach his unique and inspiring Orthopedic Reflexology at Reflexology Academy – this is truly a great CPD opportunity!
I have my new intake for Reflexology Academy’s Practitioner Diploma in Clinical Reflexology starting in the Autumn, looking forward to meeting the new students and welcoming them on their new journey.
My exclusive news is that I am working on a brand-new workshop that I will be teaching next year- Reflexology for Immune Health – I am not sure exactly on the title, but the content is all there and looking forward to releasing the details very soon.
(10) As a busy business owner how do you organise your week and make sure there is also time for self-care?
I love walking and am very lucky that I have moved to such a beautiful part of the world, I try and go out for a walk every day to enjoy it. I have found a good yoga class nearby, which is a blessing. I am still in the process of seeking out some regular reflexology- it is too far to pop to London to see my reflexologist! I need to receive some type of bodywork at least every other week to really look after myself.
I spend time painting, which is an important part of my life, and I am planning to convert the garage into my very own art studio.
Quick Fire Questions – Get to Know Hagar More.
(1) What is your favourite place to go on holiday?
That’s difficult to answer, there is still so much to discover. When the children were younger for many years we used to go camping in Pembrokeshire, and we loved it. We also had a few magical holidays in Europe. I would love to spend more time with my husband travelling to beautiful and interesting destinations around the world. Maybe a road trip one day!
(2) Kombucha or wine?
Coffee – Lavazza to be precise.
(3) Paper or online diary?
Definitely a paper diary. It feels so much better.
(4) Instagram or Facebook?
I would rather not either, but both is a necessity for my business. I started with Facebook and got quite good at posting content. It has served my business very well. Now I post to Instagram which automatically posts to Facebook, so that saves me time.
(5) What is your favourite well-being book or podcast of all time?
I do not have one favourite. I have a whole stack that I love and return to time and time again for reference and inspiration. Books by Robert A Johnson, Joseph Campbell, Marion Woodward, are only a few that have been part of my own inner journey and development.
Hagar’s Business Tips
- Listen to and follow your intuition;
- Feel the fear and do it anyway – you are stronger than you think you are;
- Show others how passionate you are about your work;
- Get out there and network through social media and live events;
- Be willing to step out of your comfort zone;
- Ask for help when you need it;
- Do not let other people’s views determine the outcome;
- Take time out to look after yourself.
Hagar Basis is director and founder of Reflexology Academy, established in 2012. Reflexology Academy is a forward-thinking school committed to providing a high standard of training and continuous professional development (CPD) in the field of reflexology.
Hagar’s wealth of experience spans over 32 years as an established reflexologist and reflexology educator. In 2017 she was presented with a special award in recognition for her significant contribution to reflexology in the field of education from the International Council of Reflexologists (ICR).
For more details about the training opportunities available at Reflexology Academy please visit the academy website.