Reflexology Exemptions in Laws

Compiled by Barbara & Kevin Kunz, Reflexology Research Project

Arizona (2003)

Massage therapy is "The manual application of compression, stretch, vibration or mobilization of the organs and tissues beneath the dermis, including the components of the musculoskeletal system, peripheral vessels of the circulatory system and fascis, when applied primarily to parts of the body other than the hands, feet and head."

Illinois (2003)

"(e) Exempt bodywork methods include those that involve energy techniques only with intentional soft tissue manipulation of any kind, movement education and re-education, and somatic education, addressing awareness, posture and action by verbally and physically guiding the student in the discovery of existing and alternative postures and actions. Specific modalities included in this exemption are Zen Therapy, Rolfing, Alexander Technique, Reiki, Polarity, Feldenkrais, Trager, Therapeutic Touch, OrthoBionomy, Reflexology and approved Asian bodywork modalities." (

Iowa (Temporary exemption until July 1, 2004)

"The Iowa department of public health, with input from the (massage therapy) board, shall conduct a study regarding the modalities associated with the practice of massage therapy. The study shall be conducted with the input of licensed massage therapists, reflexologists, and unlicensed persons practicing modalities related to massage therapy. The objective of the study shall be to determine which modalities shall be included under the definition of massage therapy and require licensure, and shall include, but not be limited to, a recommendation regarding the licensure of reflexologists. The study shall focus on the health, safety, and welfare of the public regarding each of the modalities reviewed. The department shall submit a report summarizing the results of the study and making recommendations regarding modality inclusion to the general assembly by January 15, 2003.… "The bill provides that an individual who is engaged exclusively in the practice of reflexology or an unlicensed individual who is practicing a modality related to massage therapy, but whose professional practice does not incorporate aspects that constitute massage therapy as defined in Code section 152C.1, shall not be subject to the licensure provisions of this chapter for a one-year period beginning July 1, 2002, and ending June 30, 2003. Beginning July 1, 2003, these individuals shall be subject to licensure unless permanently exempted based on the results of the modalities study." (

New Mexico (2000)

"Nothing in the Massage Therapy Practice Act shall be construed to prevent: ...

D. sobadores, Hispanic traditional healers; Native American Healers; reflexologists whose practices are limited to hand, feet and ears; or other healers who do no manipulate the soft tissues for therapeutic purposes from practicing those skills. Healers who use these practices and who apply for a license or registration pursuant to the Massage Therapy Practice Act shall comply with all licensure requirements of that act."

Maine (1991)

Chapter 127; Massage Therapists (Heading: RR1991, c. 2, @124 (cor)) 14307. "Exemptions to registration or certification 2. Other exemptions. This chapter does not apply to the activities and services of individuals who practice other forms of tissue work exclusive of massage therapy, such as rolfing, Trager, reflexology, Shiatsu, Reiki and polarity if those practitioners do not use the title "massage therapist" or massage practitioner," unless they choose to meet the requirements of this chapter."


Maryland (2001)

"Massage Therapy DOES NOT include the laying on of and consisting of pressure or movement on a fully clothed individual to specifically effect the electromagnetic energy or energetic field of the human body."


Chapter 324 Occupations and Professions General Provisions

Section 324.2657. The following practitioners are exempt from the provisions of this section upon filing written proof with the board that they meet one or more of the following:

(1) Persons who act under a Missouri state license, registration, or certification and perform soft tissue manipulation within their scope of practice;

(2) Persons who restrict their manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body to the hands, feet or ears;

(3) Persons who use touch and words to deepen awareness of existing patterns of movement in the human body as well as to suggest new possibilities of movement;

(4) Persons who manipulate the human body above the neck, below the elbow, and below the knee and do not disrobe the client in performing such manipulation.

Washington (2002)

"Persons who limit their practice to reflexology. For purposes of this chapter, the practice of reflexology is limited to the hands, feet and outer ears. The services provided by those who limit their practice to reflexology are not designated or implied to be massage or masage therapy." (Effective date: 6/13/02) (

Tennessee (Now superseded by enactment of Reflexology Registration Law)

"An Act to Amend Tennessee Code Annotated Title 63, Chapter 18, Part 2, relative to massage therapists. Be it enacted by the General assembly of the State of Tennessee: Section 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-18-204, is amended by adding a new subsection thereto, as follows: The practice of reflexology shall not be subject to the licensure requirements of this chapter. For the purposes of this chapter, "reflexology "means the application of specific pressures to reflex points in the hands and feet only. Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring."

Reflexology Exclusions under Board of Massage Therapy Rules and Regulations

North Carolina (2000)

"Section 90-624 Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prohibit or affect ... (6) The practice of movement educators ... (7) The practice of techniques that are specifically intended to affect the human energy field ... "Such persons are solely practicing techniques which are defined by a recognized national professional organization which meet the criteria set forth in either G. S. 90-624 (6) or (7) and such persons hold current certification from the national professional organization which has established standards for the practice of those specific techniques ..."


New Mexico (1999) (Now superseded by Exemption in Law)

"Title 16, Chapter 7, Part 1 ... The practice of Massage Therapy DOES NOT apply to the activities and services of individuals who practice; Tui Na, Rolfing, craniosacral, Feldenkrais, Jin Shin, Polarity Therapy, Reiki, Foot and Hand Reflexology (without the use of creams, oils or mechanical tools), and Trager.

Reflexology Not Included in Massage Licensing Due to Definition of Massage Therapy

Texas (2001) (Change in Rules and Regulations)

"Concerning the definition of massage therapy, 19 commenters stated opposition to the inclusion of reflexology in the definition of massage therapy" and 10 other commenters stated opposition to shiatsu, Trager, Rolfing and/or a combination of the 5 practices. The document further states: "As a result of meetings with stakeholders and comments received during the comment period, the department (of Public Health) determined that including specific modalities in the definition is not appropriate because some of the techniques and modalities may not involve the manipulation of soft tissue for the purpose of body massage and the types of advanced techniques and modalities are too numerous to provide an inclusive list. Additionally, the definition of `massage therapy' in the Act does not include a list of specific modalities. The department will continue to study alternate techniques and modalities on an individual basis to determine whether each constitutes the manipulation of soft tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose of body massage. The definition of massage therapy has been modified to delete reference to specific techniques or modalities."

ŠKunz and Kunz 2003
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