History of Legal Requirements for Reflexology Practice: State by State

Drawn from Reflexions, Journal of the Reflexology Research Project, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Current Laws

Table of Contents

Overview

Alabama

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Los Angeles

Modesto

Sacramento

San Diego

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Idaho

Illinois

Iowa

Maryland

Massachusetts

Minnesota

Montana

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Texas

Washington

Wisconsin

Overview

March, 2003

Fact Sheet: Massage Regulation of Reflexology (May 2003)

Since 1998, reflexology has been removed from massage regulation in the states of Washington, Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, North Carolina, Maryland, Arizona, and the city of Chicago. Should pending massage licensing legislation be enacted this year in Idaho, Montana, and Pennsylvania, reflexology will be excluded in the resulting laws.

Massage licensing requirements continue for reflexologists in the states of Oregon, Delaware, Hawaii, Alabama, Nebraska, New York, and Florida as well as under anti-prostitution ordinances in the cities of Los Angeles, Denver, and Colorado Springs. The San Diego City Council will vote to establish separate licensing for reflexologists (March 2003).

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Reflexology is Clearly Different than Massage

Reflexology is clearly different from massage in its origins, technique applications, safety issues, and assessment. The modern-day practice of reflexology is a direct descendant of medical research into the reflex at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe. A variety of therapeutic methods was created to influence the body through the reflexes. One resulting therapy was the work of Dr. William Fitzgerald of Connecticut who created zone therapy, application of pressure to all parts of the body, following a visit to England. His work was gradually developed by Dr. Riley and Eunice Ingham into the foot work known today in America as reflexology.

An established standard of practice has been accepted by the reflexology profession as represented by the professionals organizations, Reflexology Association of America and the American Reflexology Certification Board. It is: "Reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques that do not utilize cream, lotion of oil, assessed on the basis of zones and reiterative areas with the premise that such work effects a physical change in the body."

Ramifications of Massage Regulation of Reflexology

• Abridgment of Reflexologist's Fourteenth Amendment Rights

Massage laws are arbitrary and unconstitutional, failing to demonstrate that restraining reflexologists from entry into their profession is rationally related to legitimate public health and safety objectives.

While the national standard of the reflexology profession is 200 hours of education, no reflexology education is required of massage licensees. Over-regulation becomes no regulation as massage licensees with little or no reflexology training provide reflexology services. As a result, consumers are mislead as to the competency of state-approved reflexologists. In addition, reflexologists are required to obtain education that is not relevant to their profession.

As noted in case law: "California law used to require that African hair braiders spend 1,600 hours in classes, costing at least $5,000, at state-approved cosmetology schools and pass a licensing examination in order to legally practice their craft. California's cosmetology schools teach hair-straightening and chemical use but absolutely nothing about braiding. …The federal court held in Cornwell v. California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology that the licensing law was arbitrary and unconstitutional. This was an important victory for economic liberty &emdash; the right to earn an honest living free from excessive government regulation."

• Prejudicial treatment

Massage laws and their enforcement are arbitrary and prejudicial. Of the many alternative health practices where pressure is applied, not all are required to obtain massage licensing.

Existing laws are not enforced for other professionals. "Massage" is offered by clerks selling make-up at counters in department stores with no penalty. Licensed massage therapists offer services tantamount to the practice of medicine with impunity. For example, providing reflexology services and selling herbs in a single session to a client, raises the issue of diagnosing a problem with reflexology and then prescribing an herbal remedy.

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• Public Safety

Public safety issues are met by the assurance that, when licensed, practitioners practice within the legally defined, legislatively-mandated and licensed scope of practice, "confining their work to those (activities) that they are trained to do."

• Fair Practices Act

Fair Practice Acts in each state maintain that the consumer receive goods or services as promised. No massage law, ordinance or rules includes a definition or scope of practice for reflexology. Consumers cannot be assured of what services are to be received or if reflexology services provided are within professional boundaries.

• Abridgment of Consumers' and Reflexologists' First Amendment Rights

The Constitutional, First Amendment Rights of reflexologists have been abridged by massage regulation of their profession. Under such laws, individuals are not allowed to provide or receive health services or their belief choice. In order for such abridgement to take place, it must be shown that there is an over-riding public safety issue.

Ocotber 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Legal Practice in the US

The legal situation for reflexologist's in 1998 could only be described as grim. A reflexologist in Tennessee and another in Florida were issued cease and desist orders, requiring that they cease business because they did not possess their state's massage licensing. At that time, some 33% of the American population was mandated by law to receive reflexology services from massage licensed individuals. Reflexologists have expressed concern about the appropriateness of regulation by massage licensing because: (1) the focus of massage licensing is to discourage prostitution due to professional problems not shared by reflexologists, (2) the consumer is not protected in the purchase of reflexology services since no reflexology training is required, and (3) reflexology is an idea and profession separate from massage.

What a difference four years have made. Reflexologists rallied and have contested licensing, winning in state after state. With the most recent success, Chicago, reflexologists have changed legal requirements for providing services to 35.5 million Americans. Reflexologists in three states and one city are no longer required to obtain massage licensing. Officials in Texas (population, 21 million) removed reflexology from massage licensing following participation by reflexologists at public hearings. An exemption in law was signed into law in Washington (population, 6 million) in March 2002. The state of Tennessee (population 5 million) now has a legislatively mandated registration system for reflexologists. Chicago residents (3 million) will have (August 2003) access to reflexology services from non-massage licensed individuals thanks to the enactment of a new Illinois state massage law that exempts reflexologists.

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In other states, newly enacted massage licensing brought response by reflexologists. Reflexologists in North Carolina.were granted an exclusion from massage licensing by the state's newly created Board of Massage. Reflexologists in Maryland obtained an exemption in law from massage licensing. Reflexologists in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Montana and Arizona will be granted exemptions should legislation be enacted to license massage in those states. In addition, reflexologists in New Mexico obtained an exemption in law following a change in the state's massage licensing. (May 2003 up-date: Arizona massge licensing signed into law with massage defined as services not primarily applied to the head, hands and feet thus excluding reflexologists. Montana massage licensing sttempt failed.)

Massage licensing (but no reflexology training) is still required of reflexology service providers to some 20% of the American population including those in: New York, Florida, Oregon, Delaware, Hawaii, Alabama, Nebraska, Denver, Colorado Springs, Los Angeles, San Diego and a few other cities. A change in state regulation is under study by New York state officials. (March 2003 up-date: San Diego City Council will soon vote to create reflexology licensing thus ending massage liccenisng requirements for reflexologists.)

Winter 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Regulatory Turn Around

The year 2001 marks the year that reflexologists turned the tide of regulation in their favor. Three years ago reflexologists faced massage licensing requirements in states and cities representing one-third of the American population. Today, culminating years of efforts and active participation in legislative and regulatory processes, reflexologists are changing laws, ordinances, and regulations effecting millions and in place for ten and twenty years. The regulatory systems have been reviled by reflexologists for belittling the practice and the practitioner. Current Chicago regulations, for example, require massage training of reflexologists, no reflexology training, and subject reflexology practitioners to anti-prostitution regulations such as VD and AIDS testing. Reflexologists are now free to practice in some areas, control their own destiny in others, and have potential for freedom in still further areas.

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Reflexologists have learned how to create change by working within the regulatory process. Reflexologists have learned that:
· Rules regulating licensed professions are reviewed and changed periodically. Reflexologists in Texas attended hearings and wrote letters pursuant to Rules changes in October 2000. Following review of their comments, Rules requiring reflexologists to obtain massage registration were changed in February.
· City ordinances are reviewed and changed. Muff and Bobbi Warren participated in a hearing and contributed comments to improve reflexologist's licensing requirements in San Diego.
· Participation in the legislative process can change, create or modify law. Reflexologists in New Mexico obtained an exemption through legislation (pending signature of the governor). Reflexologists in Tennessee are creating a reflexology registration law through legislation (pending completion of legislative process). Reflexologists in Illinois became part of the exemption clause in a proposed Illinois state massage licensing law (pending in the legislature).
· Other alternative health practitioners and, in some instances massage therapists favor regulatory change. Coalitions of reflexologists, alternative health practitioners and/or massage therapists created change in Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee and, potentially, Pennsylvania.

Millions of Americans are impacted by the changed regulations: Texas and its population of 20 million, San Diego and a population of 3 million. If the Illinois massage therapy licensing law is enacted, the long-time Chicago city massage ordinance will fall, freeing reflexologists to practice in the city of 5 million. (Effective date of change: August 2003.)

The roles of individual reflexologists cannot be understated in this achievement. Not all efforts succeed but those who work for the good of reflexology while spending their own time, money and effort in the sometimes mind-numbing boredom of the governmental process are to be congratulated for their contributions to the future of reflexology.

Winter 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists have learned that professionals faces a clear and present danger with the enactment of state massage therapy laws. Legislation passed in recent years in Alabama, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Maryland included no mention of reflexology. Subsequent findings by attorneys general, and decisions by newly created Massage Therapy Boards, however, have raised the issue of requiring massage licensing of reflexologists in these states. These laws are seen to be "practice" laws. Thus, the Boards are legally entitled to define "massage" as including reflexology (and other) practices and to require massage licensing. (The issue has been resolved in New Mexico and discussion continues in Tennessee.) Reflexologists in Maryland were unaware that massage legislation was working its way through the legislature. Reflexologists in New Mexico were told the legislation was a "title" law, impacting only massage therapists, at the time it was passed. (It is not clear whether language in the original law was not appropriate to a "title" law or whether changes in the law over the years changed the Massage Practice Act to a "practices" act.)

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Winter 1990, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Beginning in the 1970's city officials attempted to stem the use of the word massge as a cover for prostitution. Especially noticeable were massge paror ads under the heading of "Masage" in the "Yellow Pages" of telephone books. Since anyone in a bodywork profession was required by the phone company to list under "Massage," the heading icluded lisstings from an array of body wokers beyond the troubvled massge designation.

In respoinse to the situatioon, many cities adopted so-called "touching" ordinances requirein that anyone who "touched" another for money under any job title would puchase a massage license.

Even though reflexologists sought and were granted a "Reflexologist" heading to avoid the confusion of their business with prostitutioon, the profession was ensnared by the cities' simples solutioon to the problem of prostitutioon and massage.

Alabama

Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

House Bill 90, exempting reflexologists from the states massage practices act, has failed. A previous attempt two years ago failed.

Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists find themselves living in the eleventh state to require massage licensing of reflexologists as the legislative session in Alabama ended before any change was made in the recently enacted massage law.

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Winter/Spring 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists in Pursuit of Legislation: Work in four states

• A packet of information about reflexology will be hand-delivered to state legislators by reflexologists in Alabama. The reflexologists are seeking an exemption from the state's massage law. It requires massage licensing of reflexologists. (Alabama Reflexology Association, P. O. Box 4715, Huntsville, AL 35815, Barbara Musso, 205-650-0447)

Winter/Spring 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A packet of information about reflexology will be hand-delivered to state legislators by reflexologists in Alabama. The reflexologists are seeking an exemption from the state's massage law. It requires massage licensing of reflexologists. (Alabama Reflexology Association, P. O. Box 4715, Huntsville, AL 35815, Barbara Musso, 205-650-0447)

Arizona

May 2003, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Massage therapy licensing became law in Arizona after a bill passed in the legislature and was signed by the governor on May 12, 2003. It defines massage therapy as "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." Arizona reflexologists achieved their goal of avoiding licensing as massage therapist (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/legtext/46leg/1r/bills/sb1103o%2Easp)

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Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A coalition of hands-on practitioners is meeting next on July 29 to consider legislation that would create licensing.

Arkansas

Fall 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

While "Reflexology" has been deleted from language relating to the authority and responsibility of the State Board of Massage," massage therapy licensing requirements remain in effect for reflexologist.

California

Los Angeles

Spring/Summer 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Los Angeles area reflexologist Cheryl Matthews was recently denied a license to practice by the city of Los Angeles because her education was not obtained from a massage school on the city's list. The city of Glendale has volunteered to issue a "Bath and Massage Technician" license with the inclusion of "Reflexologist" on it if Matthews submits five reference letters, a doctor's statement of no communicable diseases, TB test and fees. She had completed a 210 hour program in reflexology taught at an accredited university.

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Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

For the first time in twenty years, long-time practitioner Jim Ingram of Mission Hills, California was refused the Los Angles city massage license required of reflexologists in March. Orange County south of Los Angeles is moving to implement a county-wide massage ordinance to replace the existing hodge-podge of local licenses.

Modesto

"Practitioners who present to the Police Chief proof of satisfactory completion of two hundred hours of reflexology classroom instruction in reflexology related subjects dealing with feet, hands or ears and reflexology practice from a reputable school of reflexology. The practitioner must submit proof of attendance, including certified transcripts or other documents acceptable to the Police Chief."

Sacramento

Spring/Summer 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Sacramento, California reflexologists were once subject to the city's "adult entertainment" licensing requirement. Aside from the $5,000 per year fee, few areas of the city were zoned appropriately for such zoning requirements. A particular distance from schools, residences and schools was required. It was virtually impossible to rent office space that qualified as meeting zoning requirements. Reflexologists lobbied with other hands-on professionals to create an improved licensing and zoning arrangement.

 

May 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Following two years of negotiation and a unanimous vote by the City Council, reflexologists and others in the city of Sacramento may now apply for a "somatic practitioners" license. For years practitioners in the city had practiced underground to avoid the $4,000 business licensing fee as an "adult business" required of them and businesses such as pornographic bookstores. Such licensing also confined practitioners to a few limited commerically zoned areas of the city. Now, "therapists must provide proof to city police that they have a diploma from an accredited massage therapy school, and that they have 120 hour of classroom instruction (That increases to 250 hour on Jan. 1.)... "They also must be a member of a national professional massage organization, and must receive 12 hours of continuing education each year." (Bizjak, Tony, "Massage therapists freed from 'adult business' label," Sacramento Bee, May 20, 1998, p. B8) (Thanks to Adrienne Elliott for the article.)

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Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Legitimate massage practitioners and a coalition of "healing-arts" professionals are seeking a new ordinance in the city of Sacramento. They are campaigning for an ordinance that would separate health professionals from other masseuses. Currently massage practitioners are licensed as "adult entertainers" and massage establishments are zoned to one small part of the city with other "adult related" businesses. Permits cost $4000. The proposed ordinance would require a $260 initial fee and $100 annual fee with the right to practice anywhere in the city where business zoning is permitted. The "somatic practitioner" classification would require of practitioners a minimum of 250 hours of professional education and a personal background check. Some practitioners complained about the requirement of membership in a professional association for certification of competency. (Thanks to Adrienne Elliott for contributing "Coalition seeks separate law for certified massage therapists" by Ted Bell, Sacramento Bee)

 

Aug. 27, 1989

Sacramento Bee, p. 1, "Massage-parlor sex sneaks back into capital" by Marje Lundstrom and Chris Bowman, Reflexology is used as a dodge by prostitutes to avoid the city's strict massage law.

San Diego

April 2003, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Bobbi Warren is one step closer to seeing her dream come true - seeing reflexology out from under the massage licensing ordinance in the city of San Diego. At a public hearing on March 26, 2003, a sub-committee of the San Diego City Council recommended that reflexology be regulated separately from massage. The full City Council will vote on the measure.

In October 2000, the City Council held a public hearing to review its massage licensing ordinance. At that time, the city required of reflexologists and others regulation by the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Vice Squad with two levels of licensing: (1)110 hours of training of those receiving a massage technician license; (2) 500 hours for a massage license. Those with 1000 hours of training practiced as a holistic health practitioner (HHP), unregulated by the SDPD. From 1989 to 2000, 27 individuals with HHP status were arrested for prostitution. Following the public hearing, the San Diego City Council appointed a task force consisting of alternative health practitioners to explore the issue. The task force deadlocked by a 6 to 6 vote on its recommendation to include reflexology in massage licensing requirements - 500 hours of massage education with no reflexology training.

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At the March 2003 hearing, a Kunz and Kunz legal argument and strategy faxed to Bobbi caught the attention of Councilors: (1) A recent Federal court case found that hair braiders should not be subject to cosmetology licensing because required educational hours had nothing to do with their craft and (2) Under its plan the city would license individuals, guaranteeing safety and competency to the public to practice many alternative modalities, following 500 hours of massage training. In point of fact, meeting educational requirements established by each of the professions would require thousands of hours of training.

Before 1998, some 33% of the American population was covered by such licensing mandates. If the measure makes it through the full City Council, the 3 million residents of San Diego will join some 35.5 million other Americans who are now free to purchase reflexology services from someone other than a licensed massage therapist who has received no mandated reflexology education. Thanks to efforts of reflexologists since 1998, residents of Texas, Tennessee, Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Chicago have seen changes in laws and Massage Board Rules removing reflexologists from massage educational requirements.

Lesson learned over the years: City councilors, state legislators, and state officials take a common sense view of licensing requirements for reflexologists that include no reflexology education. Massage Board members (who are frequently massage school owners) and others with such economic interests will vote with their economic concerns to maintain or establish massage education requirements for reflexologists.

Massage licensing is currently required of reflexology service providers to some 20% of the American population including those in: New York, Florida, Oregon, Delaware, Hawaii, Alabama, Nebraska, Denver, Colorado Springs, Los Angeles, and a few smaller cities. A change in state regulation is under study by New York state officials.

March 2003, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A public hearing will be held to receive public comment about changes in the city's Massage and Holistic Health Ordinance. The Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee of the City Council will be held March 26 at 2 pm at the Council Committee Room on the 12th floor of the City Administration Building loacted at 202 C Street in Dan Diego.

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Winter 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologist Bobbi Warren is continuing work as a task force member to designate reflexology as separate from 1000-hour massage education requirements and anti-prostitution regulatory system in the city's soon-to-be changed massage ordinance. The city council held a public hearing to consider changes in the massage ordinance. Under the current ordinance, twenty-eight individuals had been arrested for prostitution while holding massage licenses over a ten-year period. Chair massage practitioner were the only other hands-on practitioners to request differentiation from the massage requirements. Reflexologists will be required to obtain licensing but in terms of reflexology standards, 200 hours of training rather than 1,000. Licensing will be separate from the anti-prostitution massage ordinance.

Summer 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

San Diego-area reflexologist Bobbi Warren continues work toward the goal of avoiding the placement of reflexology under Massage licensing requirements in the city of San Diego. A Task Force named by the City Council was unable to agree on a recommendation for Council action. A sub-committee of the City Council meets next to consider the issue. If included in massage licensing, reflexologists would be required to obtain a 1,000-hour massage education in order to practice in the city.

Fall 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologist Muff Warren found a powerful ally in her presentation to the San Diego City Council - the mayor. In response to Muff's remarks about the inclusion of reflexologists in massage therapy licensing by the city, Mayor Golding noted that she had received reflexology services and "everyone knows" reflexology is not massage. The San Diego City Council then decided to exclude reflexology from the massage ordinance it has been subject to since 1989.

The Council held a public hearing on October 23 to receive comment about the city's massage ordinance. In the past, the city has required regulation by the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Vice Squad with two levels of licensing: (1)110 hours of training of those receiving a massage technician license; (2) 500 hours for a massage license. Those with 1000 hours of training practiced as a holistic health practitioner (HHP), unregulated by the SDPD. Since 1989, 27 individuals with HHP status have been arrested for prostitution. City reflexologists had been concerned that the new 500-hour education standard would be applied to reflexologists. A task force has now been created to consider solutions ranging from total exemption for reflexologists to licensing requiring fewer than 500 hours of education

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Modesto, CA
Winter 2001
The city has enacted a reflexology licensing procedure: "Practitioners who present to the Police Chief proof of satisfactory completion of two hundred hours of reflexology classroom instruction in reflexology related subjects dealing with feet, hands or ears and reflexology practice from a reputable school of reflexology. The practitioner must submit proof of attendance, including certified transcripts. or other documents acceptable to the Police Chief."

Connecticut

Spring/Summer 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Providencia Morilla of Connecticut inquired about and received notice from the state Board of Massage Therapy that she may practice reflexology as long as she does not infringe on the scope of practice of massage therapy.

Delaware

Fall 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The Rules and Regulations of the Board of Massage and Bodywork now include "Reflexology" as a part of the definition of the "practice of massage and bodywork."

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Florida

Summer 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The Executive Director of the Florida Massage Therapy Board has requested examples of exemptions and exclusions from Dwight Byers, International Institute of Reflexology in St. Petersburg. Kunz and Kunz track such information and supplied the examples.

Summer 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The state Board of Massage Therapy has deleted language mentioning reflexology from its Rules and Regulations. Previously it had been stated that "The following acts shall constitute gross negligence in the practice of massage for which the disciplinary penalties contained in Sections 455.227 and 480.046, Florida Statutes may be imposed: ... (e) engaging in the practice of reflexology without a current massage license." While the significance of the deletion to reflexologists is unclear, the change may spell the end of a long-standing controversy in Florida. Some reflexologists had been issued cease and desist orders and continued reflexology practice only after action had been taken by their attorneys.

Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

In an on-going effort to regulate reflexology as massage, the state of Florida has acted to enforce a state Massage Board decision requiring that "reflexologists" obtain massage licensing. During a January meeting of the Florida state Massage Board, reflexologist Diane Breeding made a public statement during the meeting on behalf of the eighteen reflexologists present. Following the statement, she was asked by a Florida assistant attorney general if she was a reflexologist. Diane replied, yes. She was served a cease and desist order by an enforcement officer from the Department of Health in March. At one point, a charge of practicing medicine without a license, a felony, was under consideration. Her husband Paul was subsequently issued a cease and desist order. Attorneys for the couple have responded to the state's order. During a series of interviews by Kevin Kunz with massage officials it was noted that reflexologists who can show two hundred hours of education and have them approved by a massage school as meeting educational standards can be issued a state massage license.

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Spring/Summer 1995, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists were almost licensed in the state of Florida but Governor Chiles vetoed the bill at the eleventh hour. The legislation had been passed by both houses of the Florida legislature and would have become law at midnight on June 19, 1995. The governor vetoed the bill at ten minutes to midnight.

Florida reflexologists had worked for years to bring the legislation to the governor's desk. The St. Petersburg-based International Institute of Reflexology, owners Dwight and Nancy Byers, reflexologists Diane and Paul Breeding, and reflexologists Harold and Gayle Charleston had donated time, money, and effort to the goal of creating a separate licensing for reflexologists. The reflexologists had hoped to establish themselves as a profession separate from massage.

If passed, the law would have created a reflexology license, regulated under the Massage Board. The requirements of licensing would have included certification by the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB). ARCB requirements include 100 hours of classroom instruction, work on a certain number of feet, testing, and practice within a particular scope of practice.

Diane Breeding notes, "A Florida Licensed Massage Therapist may practice reflexology and never (have) taken a course or read a book. This would not have changed if the new law had passed. However, only a licensed reflexologist would be able to teach if the new law was in effect."

As a result of the governor's veto, the established law continues. According to the Florida state Massage Board, reflexologists are required to be regulated by the Massage Board. Reflexologists in Florida contest this interpretation of the state's law. (See "At Issue in Florida") The net result has been a 10-year stand-off between the Board and reflexologists.

History of the Legislation

In 1985, the Florida state Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) received a query regarding reflexology. It was forwarded to the state attorney general's office which issued a finding that the practice of reflexology was a part of massage practice therefore it should be regulated under the Massage Board

In 1987, cease and desist orders were being prepared against several reflexologists by the attorney general's office. The International Institute asked that its practicing reflexologist, Diane Breeding be issued a cease and desist order as a representative of the group.

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At meetings with the DPR and the IIR, both sides agreed that it was an injustice. Subsequently the DPR asked the Massage Board why reflexology should be regulated especially without a grandfathering-in provision.

Several years of legal limbo followed, when reflexologists were not challenged legally. Unable to be separately licensed under the Massage Board, Florida reflexologists looked to other Boards in the state to take them in. Any such move would have required an exemption from the Massage Board and the Massage Board would not grant the exemption.

In 1991, a cease and desist order was executed against reflexologists Diane and Paul Breeding. IIR attorneys raised the issue of the vagueness and, therefore, the constitutionality of the law. See "At Issue in Florida."

In 1993, the IIR hired a lobbyist. The first year the lobbyist acquainted legislators with the reflexologists and their situation. In 1994, legislation was introduced but failed to.

In 1995, the legislation passed the House creating separate licensing for reflexology under the Massage Board. No sponsor was found in the Senate until one sponsor tacked it onto another bill. The bill involved construction workers and unions. Governor Chiles vetoed the bill because of his opinions about this portion of the bill.
At Issue in Florida

Questions about the Florida Massage Practice Act center around the claim of domaine over the practice of reflexology by the Florida State Massage Board. Does the Florida Board of Massage really have the legal right to regulate reflexology?

Issue 1: Massage is defined as the manipulation of "superficial tissue" in the Florida state law. Reflexologists raise the question of why their practice should fall under this definition. No known dictionary includes "superficial tissue" as a term. The two words appear to be joined for the convenience of Florida state massage legislation. It represents no apparent body of knowledge including massage.

Issue 2: "Reflexology" is not included in the Florida sate massage law. Reflexology is included, however, in the regulations of the Florida Board of Massage. At issue is vagueness and constitutionality of the law. Specifically: If the state of Florida has seen it necessary to regulate a profession, such as reflexology, why is it not in the statute? Or is the Florida Department of Professional Regulation interpreting the state statute to create its own meaning? (Raymond Beck, "Commentary: An Interpretation of Florida's Massage Law," Massage, May/June, 1995, pp. 116-7.)

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Issue 3: Attorney/reflexologist Ray Beck argues that the Florida law is a hybrid act - both a "title" act and a "practice" act. The law states that those who use the title "massage therapist" or who manipulate superficial tissue or apply to the body any herbal or chemical preparation are required to be licensed for massage therapy by the state. At issue: If a reflexologist does not claim to practice "massage therapy," does not apply preparations to the body, and does not work with the intent to manipulate superficial tissue, can he or she be regulated by the Board of Massage?

Idaho

Reflexologists working to be exempted when and if massge licensing is enacted. (February 2003)

Illinois

October 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Chicago For the first time in mote than a generation, Chicago reflexologists will be free to practice without massage licensing. The state of Illinois has enacted a state-wide massage law that exempts reflexology. It supersedes the city's long-time ordinance requiring massage licensing of reflexologists. The law impacts Chicago in August 2003.

The exemption states: "Exempt bodywork methods include those that involve energy techniques only without 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."

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The Chicago city massage ordinance was an anti-prostitution measure. 500 hours of massage training from a state-approved school were required of license holders as well as membership in a major professional association, such as the AMTA. Further requirements included VD and TB tests. The licensed individual was required to work for an establishment with a massage establishment license. Facilities were required to include separate facilities of showers and changing rooms for males and females. Board of Health, Building Inspector, and Fire Department representatives paid surprise periodic visits to the establishment. The total cost of licensing was $600 per year. (Nurses in Illinois pay $10 per year for licensing.)

Spring/Summer 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Illinois legislators sought to license massage therapy throughout the state during the spring session for the purpose of unifying the many municipal ordinances regulating the massage profession as separate from prostitution. House Bill 2211 was tabled by the Rules Committee of the Illinois Legislature. Had it passed and received the governor's signature, reflexologists in that state would have been required to obtain licensing under a Massage and Somatic Practices Act. While reflexology is not specifically mentioned, massage licensing has eventually been required of reflexologists in other states under similar circumstances.

Ironically, a long list of modalities would have been specifically exempted in the bill but not reflexology. This is the exact opposite of the situation in New Mexico where reflexology was the only modality exempted in law and other modalities are subject to the massage therapy practices act (but excluded under Rules and Regulations adopted by the Board of Massage Therapy). Legislation will be presented in the next legislative session to license massage therapy.

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Iowa

June 2003, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Years of efforts spear-headed by Pat Barrants has resulted in a temporary exemption in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Public Health will conduct a one-year study to determine if reflexologists (and practitioners of other modalities) should be requirred to obtain massage therapy licensing. "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." (http://www.legis.state.ia.us/GA/79GA/Legislation/HF/02300/HF02390/Current.html)

Oct. 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists are once again seeking legislation to be exempted from the state's massage licensing law. In the previous legislative session an exemption bill was defeated in legislative committee. Legislators were swayed by a legislator who was also an osteopath. He successively argued that reflexology was not a therapy and should not be included with licensed massage therapy.

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Jul. 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

An exemption from state massage licensing for reflexologists failed in Senate committee after passing a House of Representatives committee and the House (by a vote of 92-0). The Bill sought to exempt reflexologists for two years during which time the Department of Health would study the issue and decide whether or not reflexology is indeed a part of massage and thus subject to regulation by the massage board. An Osteopath testifying before the Senate committee stated that reflexology is not a therapy and, thus, should not be considered for regulation as a massage therapy. Ironically, reflexologists had originally sought total exemption from the massage practices act. The Bill as presented was a compromise measure sought by the massage board. Defeated along with the reflexologists' exemption was a provision sought by the massage board creating a limited-time grandfathering-in for massage practitioners.

June 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

An exemption from state massage licensing for reflexologists failed in Senate committee after passing a House of Representatives committee and the House (by a vote of 92-0). The Bill sought to exempt reflexologists for two years during which time the Department of Health would study the issue and decide whether or not reflexology is indeed a part of massage and thus subject to regulation by the massage board. An Osteopath testifying before the Senate committee stated that reflexology is not a therapy and, thus, should not be considered for regulation as a massage therapy. Ironically, reflexologists had originally sought total exemption from the massage practices act. The Bill as presented was a compromise measure sought by the massage board. Defeated along with the reflexologists' exemption was a provision sought by the massage board creating a limited-time grandfathering-in for massage practitioners.

 

March 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Exemption from massage licensing for reflexologists met with unexpected complications in the Iowa legislature. Sponsoring legislator Jeff Elgin had suggested an informal review of the massage law by a member of the Attorney General's staff. The assistant attorney general informally noted that reflexology was indeed a part of massage as defined in the Iowa law. The Iowa law, defining massage as "soft tissue manipulation," is typical of state massage laws - written with a definition vague enough to exclude possible acts of prostitution. If it passes, the exemption for reflexologists currently will include a two-year exemption for reflexologists. During the time period, the Iowa Department of Health will study the issue and determine if reflexology and other alternative health modalities are in point of fact a part of massage.
Attorney generals in Texas and New Mexico had previously issued official findings stating that it was up to the Department of Health (Texas) and the Board of Massage (New Mexico) to make such "findings in fact." After examining the issues, both neither body found that reflexology was a part of massage.

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Summer 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Quick action by Patricia Barrance of Marion, Iowa and others provided prompt relief from the possibility of massage regulation of reflexology. When minutes from a recent state Board of Massage showed that Board members considered changes that would require the state's reflexologists to meet massage licensing qualifications to practice reflexology, reflexologists got on the agenda to present their objections at the September 4 Board meeting. Kunz and Kunz have provided what-to-do information gleaned from successful encounters in New Mexico and Texas. An agreement was reached and reflexology will not be included in massage regulation. Legislative action for a reflexology exemption in law at the January, 2002 session is under consideration.

Letter to the Editor "Thank you so much for the information about our Massage Therapy Board. I will be putting the form letters to good use this week. I plan on attending the meeting on the 4th along with Patricia Barrance. I have to thank you for all of your hard work you have done for all of us. Just got off the phone with Kay Thomas and she had talked with you earlier. She mentioned that you have been fighting for our rights for over 20 years. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Without your help we would not be doing our work this well. Sincerely, Marcia Lenning, Humboldt, Iowa"

Maryland

Fall 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Following more than a year of efforts by members of the Maryland Reflexology Association and members of a coalition of other impacted practitioners, an exemption for reflexologists and other practitioners has been signed into law by Governor Glendenning. Senate Bill 194 had passed the Senate by a vote of 46 to 1 and the House of Delegates by a vote of 138 to 70. It states "Massage Therapy DOES NOT include the laying on of and consisting of pressure or movement on a full clothed individual to specifically effect the electromagnetic energy or energetic field of the human body."

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Winter 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists in Maryland are lobbying the state legislature to provide an exemption to the Massage Practices Act for reflexologists.

Fall 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A coalition of bodywork practitioners has formed to question state massage licensing requirements.

Winter 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Under a law that took effect October 1, 1999, reflexologists and others who "knead, stretch, tap, rub, stroke, or compress soft tissue in any manner or degree" are subject to certification or registration as a massage therapist or practitioner. The requirements for a waiver available until 2002 include (1) proof of three hundred paid hours of massage, (2) proof of passing the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork examination, and (3) completion of the Maryland Jurisprudence Examination. After 2002, requirements will include completion of a 500-hour course of study at a state-approved and COMTA accredited school or accredited by a certification society approved by the U.S. Department of Education or a school program equivalent to that approved by COMTA. State investigators will refer alleged violators to the state attorney general's office. Violators are subject to a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.

Massachusetts

Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists are attempting to hold in legislative committee a massage therapy bill until an exemption for reflexologists is included.

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Spring/Summer 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Janice L. Lucht of Worcester, Massachsett's is the first and only reflexologist granted a business license separate from other modalities by the city's Department of Public Health. In Lucht's own words: "I was told I needed to have 500 hours of massage school to get a license to practice reflexology. I told them I was not a massage therapist and wanted a license to practice reflexology and that I was prepared to fight for it. I sent a large packet of information, a long cover letter and a legislative packet from ARCB (American Reflexology Certification Board) and about a month and a half later, I received a call saying that I would be issued a license to practice reflexology. I said so I've paved the way for other reflexologists and he said yes, you have!"

Summer/Fall 1996, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Massage therapists in Massachusetts had hoped that a state massage law would provide for relief from a hodge-podge of local ordinances. Passage of a legislative bill establishing a state massage ordinance was defeated in late July. A group of physical therapists helped lobby against it.

The bill had been considered by some to be an example of enlightened legislation. It included a provision to create a separate board of massage therapist and somatic practitioners.

A common complaint about the typical massage law is that many other therapies are encompassed by laws with no specific educational requirements or clear definition. The holder of a massage license is thus legally allowed to practice any of a number of alternative practices with no training or experience. At the same time, an alternative practitioner with training and experience in a single therapy such as reflexology cannot practice without meeting licensing requirements for the profession of massage.

Massage therapists complain about the difficulties of practicing in Massachusetts under current laws. Local ordinances vary widely. Many are based on "regulations that come from an era when massage was considered akin to prostitution." One town requires a window in massage rooms. One requires an open window in a massage room. One requires testing for syphilis. "In Revere, massage therapy is listed in the municipal code under `offenses against public decency.' Cross gender massage is prohibited."

Physical therapists defended their position, stating that massage therapists do not have sufficient training to be health care providers and therefore pose a serious risk to the public. Others contend that physical therapists compete with massage therapists for business.

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The bill will be reintroduced later this year. ("Mass. Laws Irk Massagers," Associated Press, AOL News Profiles @aol.net, Sept. 9, 1996)

Minnesota

Practitioners Need To Comply with MN Statute 146A. For information seehttp://www.minnesotanaturalhealth.org/

Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A legislative conference committee is working out differences between House of Representatives and Senates bills for the "Complementary and Alternative Health Care Freedom of Access Act." The law would "establish an office in the state Health Department to investigate complaints and disseminate facts about alternative treatment. ... The bill under consideration would not attempt to license or set training standards for alternative practitioner, but rather to oversee their work when necessary." While reflexology is not specifically mentioned in the bill, reflexologists would be included.

The bill creates an office to investigate complaints against "unlicensed complementary and alternative heath care practitioner," disciplining them and providing information on complementary and alternative health care practices. The bill requires the reporting of "certain conduct" of the "unlicensed complementary and alternative heath care practitioner" by governmental entities, health care institutions, professional societies, health care professionals, insurers who provide professional liability insurance, court administrators.

The client must be made aware of the "alternative health care client bill of rights." The bill includes a full and fair disclosure system with informed consent making the client aware of theoretical approach utilized by the practitioner and his or her educational background. Also included are (1) a description of the procedure for filing complaints, (2) client rights to information concerning practitioner's assessment, recommended course of treatment, including duration of treatment, (3) client confidentiality, and other provisions.

"Current law fives the state's medical practice board authority over anyone who practices medicine without a clinics. That would still be illegal, but most alternative health practices would no be construed as `practicing medicine' in the same way as physicians do." ... Dr. Paul Sanders, chief executive officer of the Minnesota Medical Association, said the proposal is `something we can live with, given the clamor to do something.'"
(O'Connor, Debra, "Bill focuses on alternative medicine: Massage, acupuncture among targeted treatments," Minneapolis-St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 26, 2000)

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Fall/Winter 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The Minnesota legislature will be presented with a bill from a coalition that believes no licensing is needed for alternative practitioners. According to "Working long draft 21A," the bill will propose a system of informed consent:

"`Informed consent' means that an individual has been informed of the nature of the health care practice including:

1. The contents and methods of treatments;

2. The anticipated benefits of said treatment; and

3. Any reasonably foreseeable side effect that may result from such treatment."

 

"Prior to the provision of any service the client or the client's legal representative, must sign a written statement attesting that the client has received a written statement of the complementary and alternative practitioner's education, experience, and credentials relating to the complementary or alternative health care practice offered to them by the practitioner ..."

The practitioner is also required to provide to each client in writing:

1. "a statement in capital letters which reads as follows: `THE STATE OF MINNESOTA HAS NOT ADOPTED UNIFORM EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS STANDARDS FOR ALL COMPLEMEENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER. THIS STATEMENT OF CREDENTIALS IS FOR INORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY."

2. "a statement in capital letters which reads as follows: TO PROVIDE COMPLEMENTARY OR ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE PRACTICES DOES NOT INVOLVE THE OFFERING OF A MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS FOR YOUR CONDITION."

3. "Information regarding the fee schedule and billing practices"

4. "Notice of their right to complete and current disclosure concerning the practitioner's assessment and recommended course of treatment"

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5. "Notice that the records of the client and transaction with the practitioner are confidential, unless release of these records is authorized in writing by the individual or their legal representative."

Montana

March 2003, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Attempt to license massage therapy fails.

January 2003, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists in Montana are working to include an exemption for reflexologists written into massage therapy licensing under consideration during the legislature's 2003 session.

Nevada

Spring/Summer 1992, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Nevada reflexologist Hoss Wylie notes that a June 12, 1992 letter from the Office of the Attorney General has actually been standardly issued to anyone inquiring about reflexology since 1976. In the letter to the City Attorney of Boulder City, the Office of the Attorney General, State of Nevada, advises the city about issuing a business license to a reflexologist. Assistant Attorney General Page Underwood states that "The practice of reflexology, if it involves the treatment of human illnesses and ailments, would constitute the practice of medicine as defined in Chapter 630 of Nevada Revised Statutes.Therefore, in accordance with Boulder City's Municipal Code, a prerequisite to the issuance of a city business license would be a medical license by the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners. "... It must be pointed out that a medical license would not be required and a business license could be issued for an individual who is simply offering massage, which may represent an aspect of the practice of reflexology, but the individual would be required to confine himself to that scope of practice. However, a medical license would be required if an individual exceeds that scope of practice and undertakes to diagnose or treat diseases."

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March 1991, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The Nevada Reflexology Organization, lead by Billie Scott, president, is actively involved in defending their right to practice in the state. As originally introduced, a proposed Nevada state massage law was to include reflexologists among those required to obtain 500 hours of massage training and testing to practice. Action taken by members of the N. R. O. has created questions about the inclusion of reflexologists in the bill. Billie Scott reports that the group wrote to the legislative sponsor of the bill and the massage lobbyist. Members of the group have also contacted their own assemblymen and senators as well as attending sub-committee meetings. This activity helped convince those involved with the bill to take a second and a third look. The bill is currently being rewritten by its sponsors. It has yet to win committee approval or to pass either house of the legislature.

If it is true that politics makes strange bedfellows, then the proposed Nevada law certainly qualifies. Two massage therapists "testified massage practitioners have an image problem caused by people who mistakenly believe they are prostitutes. Telephone companies exacerbate the problem by taking advertisements from masseuses who are actually prostitutes. ... At the same time, George Flint, lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Association, expressed support for the bill because it might weed out illegal prostitution that exists in places that advertise themselves as `massage parlors.' Flint wants legal brothels to be exempted from the massage licensing bill as long as the acts they perform are confined to licensed brothels." ("Massage bill leaves Las Vegas assemblyman tense" by Ed Vogel, Las Vegas Review Journal, March 12, 1991)

(Ed's. note: In one version of the bill, legal prostitutes were exempted from the proposed law while reflexologists were not. Reflexologists, lead by R. R. P., fought for and won a "Yellow Pages" listing for reflexologists in 1981 specifically to avoid telephone book advertisements with prostitutes.)

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New Jersey

Licensing enacted into law for "massage, bodywork and somatic therapist." reflexology is not included.

Winter/Spring 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists in Pursuit of Legislation: Work in four states

Members of the New Jersey Reflexology Association are preparing to meet a new legislative effort to regulate reflexology and other modalities through massage. Assembly Bill #A843 has been introduced for the new session. (Reflexology Association of New Jersey, c/o 187 Whitehead Avenue, South River, NJ 08882. Debra Hinlicky: 732-238-3927)

Fall / Winter 1997, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Attempts to create licensing for the "massage, bodywork and somatic therapist" in New Jersey ended when the House of Representatives of the State Assembly failed to pass the Bill. A reintroduction of legislation is anticipated in the future.

The Bill would not have denied the right to practice reflexology to any individual. It would, however, have created credentialling terms to be used only by those who were state licensed. State-licensed individuals would have been at an advantage in gaining jobs in conventional medicine for the practice of any bodywork modality including reflexology. Conventional medical institutions require that alternative practitioners meet any state licensing laws.

Issues about the legislation included:

1. The creation of the profession of "massage, bodywork, and somatic therapist" without the educational requirements standard to bodywork professions (including all other state massage laws) -- completion of a course of study in the professional practice. Completion of hours of study in various modalities were accepted as adequate to certify the competency of the "massage, bodywork, and somatic therapist."

2. A declaration that "massage, bodywork and somatic therapy practices are designed to effect the energetic system of the body for the purpose of promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of the client."

Precedent-Setting Legislation in New Jersey

A Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Therapist Act, Senate Bill 1866, was introduced to the New Jersey state legislature on March 10, 1997.

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A copy of the legislation is available by calling the state legislative office at 609-292-4840. Our thanks to Alex Menard for this information. District 18 State Senator Sinagra, sponsor of the Bill, can be telephoned at 908-819-7551 and faxed at 908-819-7974.

The Bill creates the licensing of a "massage, bodywork and somatic therapist." The license holder is required to successfully complete five hundred hours of class study in the field of massage, bodywork and somatic therapies or the successful completion of the written examination offered by The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

No one is prohibited from providing massage, bodywork and somatic services. Individuals are prohibited, however, from using the titles granted to license holders: "massage, bodywork and somatic therapist," "registered massage, bodywork and somatic therapist," "licensed massage bodywork and somatic therapist," or the abbreviations "MBT," RMBT," LMBT," LOBT," or "LMY".

Concerns about law

Many reflexologists reacted with alarm to the New Jersey Bill. Concerns include:

1. The law creates a new profession -- massage, bodywork and somatic therapist -- without regard to the standards of bodywork professions. A 1996 Reflexology Association of America Education Committee Report found that certifiers of competency in bodywork professions require the completion of a course of study in a specific curriculum of those who are certified as competent. Thirty-one of thirty-two professional organizations and state boards were in agreement on the issue. Nineteen state laws were included in the assessment.

The proposed New Jersey law requires class study and not completion of a course of study in an approved curriculum.

2. Safety to the public issues are not considered in the proposed legislation. The proposed legislation does not require that licensed individual complete a course of study in his or her future profession including the safety concerns inherent to any profession.

Practitioners of reflexology and meridian-based therapies are aware of the potential public safety issues involved in the mixing of their practices with others. While the Bill states that massage, bodywork and somatic therapies co not include the diagnosis of illness, courts have found that the mixing of bodywork modalities in one client session or the mixing of bodywork services with the sale of ingestible substances has been considered the diagnosis of and prescription for a disease. The Bill creates a system that encourages the mixing of modalities by failing to clearly define each one.

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3. The proposed legislation certifies the competency of the licensed to provide any number of bodywork services. The potential is that the licensed individual is given carte blanche to practice any therapy with no actual education or experience in the bodywork service. The question is thus raised whether or not the state of New Jersey is sponsoring a state-mandated paper mill, creating a situation where certification of competency is granted to individuals who are not qualified.

By contrast, it is rumored that the state of California has recently cracked down on paper mills, organizations that issue certificates to the undeserving. The state evidently now requires that any certification system be tied to a state-approved school.

4. The Bill states that "Massage, bodywork and somatic therapy practices are designed to effect the energetic system of the body for the purpose of promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of the client." The meaning of the statement is unclear. Is the state mandating an energy belief system? Will the New Jersey Bill circumvent efforts to scientifically test alternative therapies?

5. In the state of Washington, the legislature required that insurance companies make available alternative therapy practitioners to policy holders as a benefit. Only state-licensed alternative health practitioners are eligible to receive insurance payments.

As alternative therapies grow in popularity, residents of New Jersey face the future possibility of a state-sanctioned monopoly of licensed alternative health practitioners, eligible to receive insurance payments but untrained in providing the service sought. He or she could not seek insurance payments for the services of a trained and experienced but unlicensed practitioner.

5. Will the Bill live up to its stated purpose -- to identify those individuals who are best qualified to practice massage, bodywork and somatic therapies? A typical response to such laws is a rise in the price of services, a decline in the quality of services, and an increase in the danger to the public. Competition is removed from the marketplace and the Board assumes enormous powers.

6. As alternative therapies struggle to professionalize, the New Jersey Bill serves as an example of the possible granting of official sanctioning credentials without adequate research. The failure to separately license individual therapies will serve only to create confusion in the marketplace.

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Winter /Spring 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

New Jersey reflexologists choose not to be included among modalities regulated under the state's newly enacted "Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Therapist Certification Act." The law, however, does not specifically exclude reflexologists. A Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Therapy Examining Committee has been established within the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety under the New Jersey Board of Nursing.

To be eligible for certification and licensing an individual must complete a minimum of 500 hours of class study in the field of massage, bodywork and somatic therapies approved by the committee or successfully complete the written examination of The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or equivalent exam.

Any state resident may continue his or her alternative practice but only those who meet state certification requirements may use the titles of "therapist" or "licensed."

Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Massage licensing will again be proposed before the next session of the New Jersey Assembly. Under the proposed umbrella law, reflexologists will be allowed to continue practice but not at a therapeutic level.

Winter/Spring 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Members of the New Jersey Reflexology Association are preparing to meet a new legislative effort to regulate reflexology and other modalities through massage. Assembly Bill #A843 has been introduced for the new session. (Reflexology Association of New Jersey, c/o 187 Whitehead Avenue, South River, NJ 08882. Debra Hinlicky: 732-238-3927)

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Fall/Winter 1997, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Attempts to create licensing for the "massage, bodywork and somatic therapist" in New Jersey ended when the House of Representatives of the State Assembly failed to pass the Bill. A reintroduction of legislation is anticipated in the future.

The Bill would not have denied the right to practice reflexology to any individual. It would, however, have created credentialling terms to be used only by those who were state licensed. State-licensed individuals would have been at an advantage in gaining jobs in conventional medicine for the practice of any bodywork modality including reflexology. Conventional medical institutions require that alternative practitioners meet any state licensing laws.

Issues about the legislation included:

1. The creation of the profession of "massage, bodywork, and somatic therapist" without the educational requirements standard to bodywork professions (including all other state massage laws) -- completion of a course of study in the professional practice. Completion of hours of study in various modalities were accepted as adequate to certify the competency of the "massage, bodywork, and somatic therapist."

2. A declaration that "massage, bodywork and somatic therapy practices are designed to effect the energetic system of the body for the purpose of promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of the client."

New Hampshire

A reflexologist reports that a state massage board member has commented that massage licensing is not required of reflexologists in that state. The reflexologist has since obtained a part-time position at a health spa and is continuing her reflexology work. A reflexologist had been previously informed by a state official that massage licensing was required.

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New Mexico

Summer 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A bill to exempt reflexology and health professionals from the massage practices was signed into law by Governor Gary Johnson in April. The bill passed the state House by a vote of 62-0 and the Senate by a vote of 25-0.

Winter 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A bill to exempt reflexology and health professionals from the massage practices act awaits the signature of Governor Gary Johnson. The bill passed the state House by a vote of 62-0 and the Senate by a vote of 25-0. Reflexologists Diane Phillips, Debra Pirtle, and Christine Dawson attended legislative committee hearings and provided reflexology services to legislators between sessions. At one point Christine waited outside the Senate Public Affairs Committee room from 2 p. m. to midnight to testify in favor of the exemption. The Board of Massage Therapy initially proposed the exemption legislation but without the clause for reflexologists. Kevin Kunz worked with the state's former American Massage Therapy Association lobbyist to insert the clause.

While reflexologists had worked in 1998 and 1999 to obtain an exclusion under the Board of Massage Therapy Rules and Regulations, exemption in law will remove the issue from future change by the Board. Kunz and Kunz attended thirty-one meetings over a 15 month period. Debra Pirtle and Erma Sylvester were also active participants.

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Kevin and Barbara Kunz worked to oppose another Bill before the 2001 legislature, spending 15 hours over three days researching and waiting to testify. The Bill was sponsored by an out-of-state naturopathic association. It was not supported by any New Mexico resident except for a paid lobbyist. The Bill was a modification of the Alternative and Complementary Practitioners Law enacted in Minnesota in 2000. The Minnesota law creates a full and fair disclosure system and an exemption from the Medical Practices Act for practitioners but does not allow diagnosis or prescription of regulated drugs. A $10, 000 fine is levied against those who stray. The New Mexico version did not include full and fair disclosure of the theory of the practitioner's work. It created the same exemption with a $100 fine and it created a registration system with the state with no educational requirements mandated. Consumer protection measures occupying two-thirds of the Minnesota law were not included in the New Mexico proposal.

 

The measure initially gained the approval of legislators on the basis of its title alone - Alternative Medicine Clients Bill of Rights. The Bill's sponsoring Senator had agreed to insert language exempting massage therapists from the registration system. Had the Bill become law, all alternative practitioners in the state except for massage therapists would have been exempt from the Medical Practices Act. The proposed change in the Medical Practices Act was not mentioned during the Senate Public Affairs Committee hearing. The measure failed in committee when two Hispanic Senators asked about the inclusion of curenderas, traditional Hispanic healers, in the registration system. (Bernard Balow, a Las Cruces reflexologist, had previously spoken with his Senator, one of the two, voicing his opposition.) Republican Senators then commented on the expansion of government for no real purpose. Lobbyists for the New Mexico Medical Society, Oriental Medical Doctors Association and Association of Physical Therapists spoke against the measure.

 

Lessons learned: (1) Read and decipher every part of a proposed Bill. The section changing the Medical Practices Act did not mention the Medical Practices Act but referred to its number in law. (2) Find out who is behind the legislation. Kunz and Kunz found out who was paying the lobbyist (registering such information is required by law and available through the Legislative Council). Kunz and Kunz then went to the Internet to find information about the Association.

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Proponents of the legislation are evidently to introduce the Bill in other states. The proposed New Mexico Bill and a re-examination of the Minnesota law has sparked questions about the value of the Minnesota law. While the full and fair disclosure system is of value (and under consideration by San Diego officials), the issue arises whether or not the law is good for alternative health practices. The law allows practitioners to mix and match practices and does not require defined practice of any modality. Such anti-professionalism removes future hopes of alternative practitioners for receiving insurance payments for their practices. Insurance companies require licensing. Licensing creates demands for establishment of a legal scope of practice.

Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Attempts to correct a typographical error and return an exemption for reflexology to the Massage Practice Act died with the 2000 legislative session. A last-day filibuster by Senate Republicans prevented voting on a number of bills including the reflexology exemption. The bill had passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 68 - 0. Reflexologists are excluded under Rules and Regulations passed by the Board of Massage Therapy in November 1999.

Winter 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

At its November 1999 meeting, the New Mexico Board of Massage Therapy voted to exclude reflexologists and other bodywork practitioners from its definition of massage therapy as a part of its Rules and Regulations. The vote followed a two-year process of meetings and formal hearings conducted by the Board to up-date its Rules and Regulations. Kevin and Barbara Kunz developed an educational network, letter writing campaigns, and common strategies with reflexologists, Polarity Therapists, Feldenkrais practitioners, and others to address the issue. The two attended 30 hearings, meetings, and meetings about meetings in a 14-month period.

Legislation exempting reflexology in law was passed during the 1999 session of the New Mexico Legislature. At the August Board meeting, however, it was revealed that the exemption for reflexology and other practices is invalid because the bill included a repeal of the exemption clause. Reflexologists are working with legislators to reintroduce the exemption clause to the Massage Therapy Practices Act during the January 2000 legislative session. An exemption in law is being sought by reflexologists since Rules and Regulations can be changed by future Boards.

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Winter/Spring 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The nation's first exemption in law for reflexology became a reality with the flick of a Bic on April 7, 1999. Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico held the fate of state reflexologists in his hands. He had until April 9 to sign into law House Bill 423 that includes an exemption for reflexology. HB423 was passed by both the state Senate and House of Representatives. The legislative session ended March 20 and the governor had 20 days after the session to sign any legislation into law, veto it or fail to take any action.

House Bill 423, "Relating to Licensing, Amending and Repealing Sections of the Massage Therapy Practice Act," "Section 61-12C-6 Exemptions" states "Nothing in the Massage Therapy Practice Act shall be construed to prevent: ... D. sobradores, Hispanic traditional healers, Native American healers, reflexology which is limited to hand, feet, and ears or other healers who do not manipulate the soft tissues for therapeutic purposes from practicing those skills."

The exemption culminated six months of work by New Mexico reflexologists Kevin and Barbara Kunz, Eva Giggliello, Debra Pirtle, Erma Sylvester, and Representative Lisa Lutz. Reflexologists met, attended Board of Massage Therapy meetings and legislative committee meetings as well as lobbied state legislators.

"Reflexology" vs. "Reflexologist"

The designation of "reflexology" and not "reflexologist" was determined to be an important issue by reflexologists and one which they fought to be included in the law. An exemption for "reflexologists" would have provided an exemption for individuals and not the practice of reflexology. Reflexologists were concerned that without such designation some licensed massage therapists would continue the questionable practice of advertising possession of state licensing for reflexology in the "Yellow Pages" of the telephone book, on business cards and brochures. Reflexologists' were conscious of being put at an economic disadvantage as the consumer perceived these individuals as certified competent in reflexology by the state when no such licensing existed. The massage therapy educated individual in New Mexico typically receives 13 to 33 hours of reflexology instruction at massage therapy schools.

"Body reflexology" proved to be a problem. Owners of registered massage therapy schools had previously argued in Board of Massage Therapy meetings that a designation of "reflexology" would be construed as a right to practice "body reflexology."

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Woman of the hour

Lisa Lutz, long-time reflexology enthusiast, student reflexologist, and member of the New Mexico state House of Representatives, emerged as a savvy, hard-working legislative representative of reflexologists' interests. (Lisa fondly recalls childhood memories of her grandmother's reflexology work on her feet.)

The Board of Massage Therapy was in a position of immanent demise during the legislative session. Like seventeen other state boards, the Board faced "sunsetting" or extinction without legislation to continue it in 1999. Lutz was placed in the position of sponsoring the Board's legislation when no other legislator stepped forward before the beginning of the legislative session. Great confusion arose when the American Massage Therapy Association's (A. M. T. A.) New Mexico lobbyist Lucille Torres also found a sponsor for massage legislation that was described as "having the support of the Board." The A. M. T. A. bill, as it was called, met with an outcry of protests from the state's alternative health community. The Bill called for the licensing of massage therapy and "bodywork" practices. Torres' legislative sponsor later amended her bill to delete references to bodywork and come within three sentences of Lutz's bill.

 

A dramatic moment was created during a hearing for the bills before the House Business and Industry Committee. Co-sponsor with Lisa, Representative James Taylor, both members of the committee, asked Lutz if her bill had the support of the Board as indicated by her. Since Torres' bill was also being presented to the Committee with the support of the Board, the issue was under question. Lisa produced a FAX from the Board to her pre-dating the legislative session detailing the Board's proposed legislation. AMTA lobbyist Torres mis-spoke herself and stated that her bill had been voted on by the Board. New Mexico law requires that regulatory boards hold open meetings. No vote in support of Torres" bill was ever taken at a Board of Massage Therapy meeting. Torres also mistakenly reported that 3200 individuals are licensed to practice massage therapy in the state. The actual number is 2300. The two bills were eventually merged in committee.

 

Ironically, with Governor Johnson signature, the Board of Massage Therapy is the only one of eighteen state boards to escape sunsetting during the 1999 legislative session. The Democratically controlled legislature tied the extension of life for all eighteen regulatory boards to a collective bargaining bill that the Republican governor has vowed to veto. (HB423 included sunrising as well as sunsetting language so it.) The move is seen as purely political, however. All boards will not cease to exist for eighteen months and can be given renewal by the governor at the next legislative session in January 2000.

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Unique exemption

One portion of the exemption clause in the existing New Mexico Massage Therapy Practice Act is unique among state massage therapy laws. Unlike any other states in the union, New Mexico has a population that consists of more than 50% minority members. The clause in the previous law specifically recognized the rights of Native American healers and sobradores (traditional Hispanic massage practitioners) to practice hands-on work. The exemption clause will now also come to include Hispanic traditional healers, reflexology which is limited to hand, feet, and ears or other healers who do not manipulate the soft tissues for therapeutic purposes from practicing those skills.

 

The exemption for sobradores and Native American healers was added to the original Massage Therapy Practice Act in 1991 when Kevin Kunz called his state senator Tito Chavez from the Senate floor during discussion of the bill to ask if sobradores and Native American healers would be included. The result was a specific exemption for them. In 1991, A. M. T. A. lobbyist Torres had assured the alternative health community that the Massage Practices Act was a "title" bill affecting only those who practiced professions titled "massage." The statement was inaccurate. Reflexologists and other practitioners spent 1998 attending Board of Massage Therapy meetings to defend their practices as outside of massage following a ruling by an assistant attorney general in January 1998 that the law was a "practices" law.

 

Charting the future

In spite of hard work and long hours, New Mexico reflexologists are not resting on their laurels. They have joined a coalition of somatic practitioners who will seek state licensing at the legislative session in January, 2001. (While the legislature meets in January, 2000, only fiscal matters are considered and not issues concerning professions.) Reflexologists, Polarity therapists, Feldenkrais practitioners, and Rolfers are already meeting to write a Somatic Practitioners Act.

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Fall/Winter 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

New Mexico reflexologists have been joined by others to voice their concerns about the licensing of massage therapy in the state in an organization titled Citizens Concerned about Massage Therapy (CCAMT). CCAMT members presented information at a December 9 New Mexico Board of Massage Therapy preliminary hearing to determine what practices would be exempted from massage licensing under the state Massage Practices Act. Practitioners of reflexology, polarity therapy, Tragerwork, and Feldenkrais therapy were granted exemptions in the "Rules and Regulations" of the Board of Massage Therapy. Shiatsu and acupressure practitioners were not.
The New Mexico state Board of Massage Therapy will be sunsetted (cease to exist) unless new legislation enabling it to continue is passed during the 60-day legislative session that begins January 19, 1999. The Board is asking that the legislature renew the existing Massage Practices Act. CCAMT members are seeking changes in the Act. Speaker of the House of Representatives Raymond Sanchez has expressed interest in supporting the changes.

CCAMT members include polarity therapists, chair massage specialists, and Feldenkrais therapists. Reflexologist members include Eva Giggliello, Barbara Kunz, Kevin Kunz, Lisa Lutz, Debra Pirtle, and Erma Sylvester. Student reflexologist Lisa is a member of the state's House of Representatives.

Confusion in the law

The New Mexico Massage Practices Act was originally intended to be a "title" act, licensing those individuals who provided massage titled practices. The Act has been interpreted as a massage "practices" act, however, raising on-going questions about what is a massage practice and what is not. For example, the Board has issued 30 letters in reference to acupressure over the years -- 14 noted massage licensing requirements and 16 did not.

One specific provision of the Act has contributed to the confusion. Massage-licensed individuals are required to complete 650 hours of education. 300 hours are required in massage therapy practice and 350 hours in other practices, such as reflexology, decided by owners of registered massage schools. While the owners claim that the practices included in the 350 hours of instruction are "informational," nonetheless schools issue certification of competency over the practices and massage therapists commonly advertise that they are state-licensed for these practices. Without a change in the Massage Practices Act great confusion among consumers, massage therapy students, licensed massage therapists, and owners of registered massage therapy schools will continue.

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Exemption vs. sweeping change in law

Members of CCAMT debated requesting a specific exemption for their practices to be written into the massage legislation versus requesting broad changes in the Massage Practices Act itself. In the end, it was decided to do both. (See page 3.) Specific exemptions are problematic in legislation and difficult to obtain. Also, with only an exemption, members' concerns about being placed at an economic disadvantage in the marketplace would not be answered.

For example, Albuquerque reflexologist Erma Sylvester was recently denied the right to be a provider of reflexology services by the state's largest HMO. The HMO is willing to pay for reflexology services -- provided by either one of two HMO-approved massage therapists. While state law does not certify the competence of massage therapists to provide reflexology services, the HMO evidently views the massage therapist, with undetermined reflexology credentials, as more qualified than a certified reflexologist.

Polarity therapists and Feldenkrais practitioners have also voiced concerns about being placed in similar positions of economic disadvantage.

The concern of chair massage specialists is the requirement of massage therapy training for their profession. It is perceived as costly over-education for those who practice a a clothed service provided to the upper back, shoulders, and arms.

Months and months of meetings

Reflexologists attended Board of Massage Therapy meetings in October, November, and December.At the October Board meeting, Dan Hill, the chairman of the Board and a civilian Board member, emphasized that the state's massage law is not an anti-prostitution measure. He was unaware until told during public testimony by reflexologists that the state's law was preceded by a city of Albuquerque massage ordinance that included a paragraph listing sexual activities that could not be practiced in a massage establishment. He was particularly struck by a provision that did not allow dogs in a massage establishment. At the time the state law became effective in 1992, the Albuquerque City Council allowed its ordinance to be superseded by the state law only when it had no choice. (By law, state laws supersede those of cities.)

After the "preliminary rules hearing" in October, reflexologists fulfilled a request by the Board's administrator Geraldine Mascarenas to provide a reflexology curriculum showing that reflexology education is different from that of massage. An exemption was granted for the practice of "foot and hand reflexology without the use of creams, lotions and oils" at a December 9 preliminary hearing. A "formal rules hearing" will also be held in 1999.

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Licensing in the future

Members of the CCAMT intend to pursue licensing of their professions. Members of a profession seeking to become licensed in the state of New Mexico must first go through the process of the "Sunrise Program." The program requires application in writing by answering a 61-question form, submission of a $1,000 fee, review by the Legislative Finance Committee, a public hearing, and a legislative process.

Learning experience

Learning about state government worked to the advantage of New Mexico reflexologists. Using a multi-pronged strategy to obtain an exemption, they brought their concerns about massage regulation to the notice of all segments of the state government from legislators to the governor's office to the state's attorney general.

Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The New Mexico State Massage Board is seeking to include acupressure and shiatsu in state regulation. Reflexology regulation is possible in the future. The Board is concerned about (1) the increasing liability to massage therapists for practices outside of Swedish massage and (2) consumer safety issues involved in each of the ever-growing number of bodywork professions.

Among issues: how does the consumer know what type of session he or she will receive when purchasing bodywork services? Even when purchasing massage services, he or she could receive one of several different styles of massage practice such as Swedish, Esalen, deep tissue work, or connective tissue work. The consumer is now faced with the choice of more and more bodywork services. The challenge to a regulatory body is to safeguard the interests of the consumer while fairly over-seeing professionals' practice. Kunz and Kunz have been asked to submit a regulatory proposal.

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Summer/Fall 1994, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

While New Mexico with some 2 million residents may not be among the most populated of states, recent discussion within a special committee of the state's Massage Board sheds some light on the future relationships between massage and reflexology regulation.

The Massage Board created a special committee to consider changes in the state's massage law with an eye towards proposing changes to the 1995 state legislature. Individuals from disciplines aside from massage, such as reflexologist Kevin Kunz, were invited to join the special committee. Currently the state law is a "title" law, regulating those who use the word "massage" to describe their work. The concern of the Massage Board was to include under its jurisdiction individuals who are actually provide massage services but label them otherwise. It was the additional intention of the Board to expand its scope to become an "umbrella" board for body work practices with legislation to be proposed before the 1997 state legislature.

During the course of discussions at a series of meetings throughout the late summer and fall, it became clear that an "umbrella" board for the various body works was feasible, but that the label of "massage" was perceived as problematic. The past history of "massage" ordinances being used by cities and states to regulate prostitution was seen to create an unfavorable climate for "umbrella"ing under a "massage" board. In addition, it was noted that many massage therapists themselves now practice something other that traditional Swedish Massage. It was commonly agreed that all participants actually practiced forms of structured touch. "Touch therapies" seemed to be a term neutral enough not to provoke negative response yet broad enough to describe the many varied forms of body work. In reference to the potential for all "touch therapy" practitioners to be regulated at some time in the future, it became obvious that all will be required to obtain some sort of minimal educational hours in their specialty to provide a credible professional image. A 200-hour training period to begin with was considered as a minimal standard of education.

The suggestions of the special committee were presented to the full Board at a late September meeting. It was decided that the chief concern of Board members would be to concentrate on the interpretation and implementation of the current law. No change in legislation will be suggested for the 1995 legislative session. Concerns were expressed that state employees who actually implement the law are doing so incorrectly and giving out invalid information. Because the Board felt that they hands were full trying to implement the present law, the suggestions were tabled.

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Despite the tabling of its findings by the Board, it was perceived by the special committee that progress had been achieved in building a consensus. The special committee members agreed to work towards a future change in the state law with an eye to the 1997 legislative session.

Spring/Summer 1994, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The work of one reflexologist, who also provided massage body work in Raton, New Mexico, has promoted the New Mexico Massage Board to consider requiring state licensing of some sort of reflexologists. Meetings are under way to determine what type of legislation will be introduced to the state legislature when it convenes in January, 1995. Kevin Kunz has been invited to the meetings.

Winter 1992, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The practice of reflexology will be open to all in the city of Albuquerque for the first time in five years as of April 30, 1992. Reflexologists Kevin and Barbara Kunz, the American Massage Therapy Association western regional representative, members of the state Massage Board, the city attorney's office and the city treasurer's office have worked towards this goal for several months. All have written letters to or met with the city councilors urging the repeal of the city massage law. The city law will be out of compliance with the state law on April 30, 1992 when the new state massage law takes effect. After the Finance Committee of the City Council gave a do-pass recommendation for the repeal of the city massage ordinance, the City Council as a whole voted to repeal the law on April 20.

The issue re-surfaced in December, 1991 when Kevin and Barbara Kunz, who had been fighting the city ordinance for five years, were again denied a business license to practice in the city. The city decided that even after the new state massage law took effect that it would continue to require the old city massage license of reflexologists. The Kunzes had reached the decision to file suit when the city asked for arbitration. At a February 7, 1992 appeals hearing the Kunzes presented testimony before the city's hearing officer. The Kunzes presented a copy of a letter from Lucille Torres, A. M. T. A. western regional representative, asking each city councilor to consider the A. M. T. A. request that it be removed from the city law. (The city massage licensing requirement is graduation from an A. M. T. A. approved school.) The representative from the treasurer's office reluctantly went on record with the disclosure that his office had advised the city attorney that the city would indeed need to change its law or face potential law suits. A continuance for the hearing was granted until May 1, 1992 when the city decision would be clear.

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The Kunzes met with city councilor Deborah Lattimore and had scheduled a meeting with the city attorney's office, discussing the future of the city ordinance with both. City attorney David Campbell called on February 21 to suggest a cancellation of the meeting since his office was now leaning heavily in the direction of recommending to the city council that it repeal the city massage ordinance. With the April 20 vote by the City Council, Albuquerque became the first governmental body to repeal its repressive, anti-prostitutiton massage law.

Postscript: On March 2, 1992 Kevin and Barbara Kunz received notification that: "The Legislature of the State of New Mexico, having learned of the Outstanding Achievement and Exceptional Achievement of Kevin (Barbara) Kunz for outstanding community service Does hereby extend its congratulations and acknowledgement; and further While duly assembled in session at the State Capitol in Santa Fe, under the Constitution and the Laws of the State of New Mexico, Does herein direct that this official expression of its pride be forthwith sent on behalf of the people of the State of New Mexico." Signed, Raymond Sanchez, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

March 1991, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Victory in New Mexico

"Free at last. Free at last. Thank god, I'm free at last." There are no words to describe the end of a four year battle for rights, but the phrase from civil rights leader Martin Luther King comes close. After being denied the right to practice reflexology in the city of Albuquerque for four years, Kevin and Barbara Kunz and all reflexologists are now free to practice anywhere in the state of New Mexico. With the passage of a state massage law that exempts those who practice native healing traditions such as reflexology, the city massage ordinance passes into history.

The city anti-prostitution ordinance had required graduation from an American Massage Therapy Association school to touch another human being for money. The local New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics graciously awarded the Kunzes a diploma. The Kunzes made the decision not to use the diploma to obtain a city massage license but to fight for reflexology and walk through the front door with other reflexologists. Past efforts had failed but the 1991 session of the New Mexico state legislature provided another opportunity.

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By the time Barbara and Kevin Kunz learned about a pending state-wide massage law, the bill had passed Senate committee approval and was due on the floor of the New Mexico State Senate for a vote the next day, February 27, 1991. The Kunzes observed the Senate in session discussing other legislation and dropped off a position paper to the senator sponsoring the bill, their own senator and their own representative. From observation of the Senate and a talk with a staff member of sponsoring senator, it became obvious that the only means of citizen comment for a bill already at an advanced stage of the legislative process was a constituent question.Kevin approached the staff of the Kunz's senator, Tito Chavez, Senate majority leader, to request the asking of a constituent question on the floor of the Senate. Kevin submitted his question in writing and was asked to wait. Senator Chavez left the Senate floor just before the bill was coming up for a vote to talk to Kevin. In a quick three minute conference, Kevin outlined his position and the background to the question. The question was "What is the effect of this bill on the reflexologist and other traditional native healers such as the sobradore, shiatsu practitioner and acupressurist? Are they exempted from this act?" The Senator asked Kevin to observe the bill's discussion from the Senate gallery.

Senator Chavez went back to the Senate floor and raised the question during the discussion of the bill. Senator Chavez asked the sponsoring senator if traditional healers such as the sabradora would be included in the legislation. A ten minute discussion followed. It was made clear by the bill's sponsor that the bill was a title bill and that only those who used the title "massage therapist" would be included. Senator Chavez voted in favor of the bill with the stipulation that he was doing so with the understanding that the constituent's question had been answered to his satisfaction. (The Senator thus made the issue a part of the legislation's history. Therefore, any future questions about the bill, if it should become law, would clearly indicate that the traditional native healer was not included.)

The Kunzs' question was based on two factors: one, the fact that Cardozo decision of 1917 established the First Amendment right of an individual to choose medical services on the basis of a belief system, and two, the knowledge that New Mexico's Hispanic population, 38% of the state's total population, has a rich tradition of native healing. The curendera (herbalist) and sabradora (massage practitioner) are a part of Hispanic native culture.

Within minutes of the bill's passage by the Senate, Kevin was approached by the massage therapy lobbyists. The two lobbyists indicated that they would rather see the bill scuttled rather than infringe on the rights of the native healers. Kevin stated that he had been put out of business in the city of Albuquerque by a bill with vague language similar to that in the proposed legislation. The lobbyists were well aware of the Albuquerque city ordinance which prevented the Kunzes from practicing. The bill was created to avoid similar problems on the state level. Kevin also followed the bill through the House of Representative committee hearings.

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Governor Bruce King signed the bill into law. It will take effect June 15, 1991.

New York

March 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Should reflexology continue to be included as a part of massage with a requirement of massage licensing by the state of New York? The issue is currently under review by Margaret Buhrmaster, Director of the Office of Regulatory Reform and Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the New York Department of Health.

December 10, 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Collection of information sent by Kunz and Kunz to Margaret Buhrmaster.

Spring/Summer 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

On May 27 a shiatsu practitioner in New York City was arrested by four vice officers with guns drawn for practicing a licensed profession (massage therapy) without a license. The practitioner was held for 12 hours and released with an "Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal" (A. C. D.). She was informed that she can no longer work in her profession.

The Mandela Health Center in Albany, New York was shut down on June 9 when an agent of the New York state Department of Education notified practitioners of foot reflexology and other practices that they would need a New York state massage therapy license to continue their work. The practitioners complied and closed the Center.

 

In a press release from Ellen Kessler of New York City, she notes "For more than six years the New York Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations has voiced its opposition to this interpretation (that all non-massage practitioners are required to meet massage statutes) of the statue by the State Education Department. The Massage Board is the advisory board to the State Education Department concerning all massage matters. When the Coalition requests to be heard by the Massage Board, we are told to go the State Education Department and/or the Board f Regents, both of which send us back to the Massage Board. ... The Coalition is not opposed to regulation, only to unjust/inappropriate regulation. The state is enforcing regulation without representation!"

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Jack Carrol, attorney for the New York State Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations, has notified participants: "Please be aware that notwithstanding our efforts to clarify our status with the New York State Board of Massage and the NYS Joint Council of Massage Therapy Schools and Organizations, a crackdown took place on Wednesday, May 27, 1999 in New York City. Several non-massage practitioners were arrested by the vice squad and charged with `Attempted Unauthorized Practice Without a License,' a violation of the NYS Education Law. We are unaware of the status of the cases except that one practitioner, received an ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal), and no plea was entered. We believe these charges are unfounded. We will cooperate with those of our colleagues who were unjustly arrested.

 

"For your own protection, please be aware of your standards of practice and be clear that you do not make medical claims for your work and you do not represent your work as massage therapy (as stated in the Definition of Practice of Massage - Education Law, section 7801) which includes the following: `engaging in applying a scientific system of activity to the muscular structure of the body by means of stroking, kneading, tapping and vibration with the hands or vibrators for the purpose of improving muscle tone and circulation.

 

"Please be advised that in New York State it is legal for one party to a call to tape a telephone conversation and use it in a court of law."

Real issues about civil liberties are being raised by actions of officials in New York. Push has come to shove as practitioners are being challenged to defend their rights. Jack Carrol, attorney for the New York State Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations, notes that a warrant is necessary to close down a business establishment such as the Mandela Center. Others note that the A. C. D. issued to the shiatsu practitioner means that the district attorney doesn't think he has a case. Should the practitioner choose to continue work, be arrested again, and the case be brought to trial, it would bring to a head the legal question of whether or not the state Board of Massage Therapy can define any hands-on profession as a form of massage.

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Fall/Winter 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Norma Kesselman, president of the New York Reflexologists Association, has given up her reflexology practice to devote her time to over-coming the state requirement of massage licensing for reflexologists.

A coalition of non-massage practitioners has formed in New York state. A lawyer has been hired and is currently pursuing interests of the group with the Board for Massage Therapy.

Summer/Fall 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

(Correspondence from Feb. 24, 1998 to Aug. 31, 1998 with Dennis Vacco, Attorney genral, state of New York and Kunz and Kunz referred to Kathleen Doyle) Dr. Kathleen Doyle of the New York State Board for Massage has stated that members of seven licensed professions may practice reflexology: massage therapists, physicians, nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, physical therapists, and acupuncturists. A system of self-certification exists. Licensed professionals may practice therapeutic reflexology once they prove to their own satisfaction that they are competent to do so. (Licensed cosmetologists are allowed to practice a "beautification" level of reflexology.)

Dr. Doyle has yet to respond to questions about a legal case included in state law. The case draws massage therapists into a legal arena identified by reflexologists, the practice of medicine without a license. The New York State Educational Law, Title 8, Article 131, Item 7, Note 8, p. 357 states: "A licensed New York City massage operator may practice medicine only to extent of massaging the body by manual or mechanical means, and is guilty of 'practicing medicine without a license' in using treatments other than manual or mechanical massages or making representation of therapeutic value of his massages. People v. Dennis, 1946, 271 App. Div. 526, 66N.Y.S.2d 912.")

In an unusual move, the New York State Boards for Physical Therapy, Podiatry, and Chiropractics have referred any questions about their regulation of reflexology practice to Dr. Doyle of the Board for Massage.

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Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

(Correspondence from Feb. 24, 1998 to Aug. 31, 1998 with Dennis Vacco, Attorney genral, state of New York and Kunz and Kunz referred to Kathleen Doyle) In response to a query from Kunz and Kunz about massage regulation of reflexology, Kathleen Doyle, executive secretary of the New York Board for Massage, states "reflexology is considered a technique that falls within the defined scope of practice of massage therapy and other authorized professions. Those practitioners who claim to be specialists in the area of reflexology must be able to demonstrate they have met an acceptable standard of specialization."

Winter/Spring 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Only massage therapy licensed individuals in the state of New York may advertise reflexology services. This recent ruling by the New York state massage board raises issues about the regulation of professions in that state.

Issue one: Is this sloppy academic work? In the state of New York thirty-eight professions, including massage, are regulated by scholars at the State University of New York. For many years, the profession of reflexology has been regulated by standards that are not acceptable in academic circles. Professionalism is a distinctive area of study with specific thoughts about professions. Any profession, for example, has basis in definition. A state regulated profession has basis in a scope of practice. None exists in New York state regulation of reflexology.

Issue two: Is the consumer in New York protected from harm by a state-mandated professional providing reflexology services? One wonders if the consumers in New York state are aware that their government allows advertising of reflexology services only by individuals who aren't necessarily trained or experienced or practicing legally or ethically. (See page 5.) When licensing a professional, a state certifies the competence of that individual. Since the state maintains no educational requirements for the reflexologist, it is stepping outside the normal procedures for regulating a profession.

Issue three: Is massage regulation of reflexology in the state of New York an example of cultural cleansing for bureaucratic convenience? Consumers in New York City will tell that it's not possible to receive traditional reflexology services -- the state law has been enforced in the City for a number of years and traditional practitioners have been put out of business.

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New York was the first to establish a "touching" massage law encompassing all who touch another for pay to regulate massage and to discourage prostitution. The attempt to do both has given free rein to a state bureaucracy to annihilate a profession of reflexology-only practitioners who follow an idea.

(An idea never really dies though. An Egyptian once told us that we could probably find a practitioner of the ancient foot work in an outlying village somewhere. Similarly, traditional reflexologists practice outside of New York City. The idea will continue but these experienced reflexologists will not receive income from sources such as insurance payments.)

North Carolina

Fall 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists have reached an agreement with the Board of Massage Therapy. The newly formed Board had required that reflexologist obtain massage therapy licensing. Under the agreement, reflexologists were grandfathered-in as licensed massage therapists by applying before November 1, 2000. Reflexologists in the future and those not grandfathered-in are exempted from licensure under the Board's Rules under certain circumstances: "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 ..."

Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists in North Carolina are working with the Massage Therapy Board and a coalition of practitioners toward an exclusion for reflexologists within the Rules of the Board. Reflexologists are currently required to obtain massage therapy licensing under the recently enacted state massage therapy practices act.

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North Dakota

Reflexology is licensed in North Dakota. Requirements: Completioon of a course of study with a curriculum approved by the Board and passing a test administered in the state.

Reprieve in North Dakota

Reflexologists in North Dakota are now exempt from the state massage law, however, the state's massage law stands and, by the recently added amendment, reflexologists must work toward creating a state reflexology board within two years or once again be subject to massage licensing requirements.

The recent interest in the North Dakota law began last year when reflexologist Arlene McHenry received notification that she must adhere to the state massage law to continue her practice. In addition Dwight Byers of the International Institute of Reflexology was told that he could not teach reflexology in the state because of this law thus raising questions about First Amendment Rights. The law requires graduation from an A. M. T. A. school or membership in the A. M. T. A. in order to either practice or teach within the state.

 

Arlene, a sixty-seven year old grandmother whose income is derived from her reflexology practice, appealed to the reflexology community and received an unprecedented outpouring of support. The support included letters, information, phone calls and money.Ultimately, an amendment to the state massage law was introduced by Senator John Traynor. The modality of reflexology is exempt from the law until June 30, 1993. By that time reflexologists are expected to create their own state licensing board.

Pennsylvania

Fall 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The PaLC continues to promote Massage Therapy licensure in Pennsylvania, while cooperating with other bodywork modalities (Reflexology being one of several) regarding appropriate legal exemptions within the licensing legislation. The language used in the Reflexology exemption continues to be of utmost concern to the Reflexology community. We have been instructed to provide wording that includes a very general definition of our practice to insure freedom to practice in the state of Pennsylvania, now and into the future. The PaLC has supported both the naming of Reflexology as an exempted practice and the wording of the legal exemption as proposed by the PRA.

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For more than ten years the PaLC has been active in the pursuit of licensing for body therapies in the sate of Pennsylvania. During our early years the Massage Therapy, Reflexology and Somatic Practices Bill was developed. Many drafts were written with the hope of instituting a license for massage therapists an a separate license for reflexologists. Unfortunately, the two different versions did not make it out of the PPA Senate Committee on Licensure and, in Harrisburg terminology, "died in committee." Our Governor did not want to consider the addition of any new licensing boards. As a result, the PaLC lobbyist recommended the possibility of "hooking up with" a currently existing board in order to expedite liceensure.

After a great deal of research and exploration on the part of the PaLC, the massage therapist made the decision to work toward licensing under the Nursing Board. The PRA surveyed the membership (December 2000) and the decision was made to pursue a legal exemption for Reflexology from massage therapy licensure. The current licensing bill is one that will, upon passage, require a massage therapy license issued by the Nursing Board for those practicing Massage Therapy in our state. Upon passage of the bill, Massage Therapists will be allotted one board seat (possibly rotating with the Dieticians) on the nursing Board. As of the end of July, Reflexology will have its own exemption listed uniquely in the Exemptions section of the Bill. The current version of the exemption is:

Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prevent or restrict the practice of any person in this state while performing Reflexology which is: the physical act of using thumbs, fingers, and hand techniques to apply specific pressure on the reflex areas in the feet, hands and/or ears of the client, and who does not hold herself or himself to be a massage therapist or to practice massage therapy.

The wording is the result of research consultation and hard work on the part of PaLC members, AMTA personnel, and most importantly, your PRA president, Claudia Gilman, and your PRA representative to the PaLC, Jonna Boyd. This exemption will provide more than adequate protection form massage therapy licensing requirements for the practice of reflexology in the state of Pennsylvania. With this wording in the bill, the PRA will support fully the passage of the bill throughout the legislative process. It is hoped that the massage bill will be introduced in the house of Representatives this fall.

"Pennsylvania Licensing Coalition (PaLC) Licensing Update" by Jonna Boyd, The Pennsylvania Pedaler Newsletter, Fall, 2002

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It's taken eight years but reflexologist Jonna Boyd has succeeded in spear-heading the effort to get an exemption for reflexologists in proposed legislation to license massage. An effort to license massage and bodywork under its own board had failed to gain legislative support. Massage practitioners then created a plan to become licensed and regulated under the state's nursing board. Reflexology was the only alternative therapy currently exempted under the legislation to be introduced in the up-coming session. (Reflexions, October 2002)

Jul. 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Pennsylvania Reflexologists are working o, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunzn the wording in an exemption clause for massage licensing. The goal is to include the word "reflexology" in the exemption to legislation being written to license massage therapy under the auspices of the state's nursing board.

June 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists are working on the wording in an exemption clause for massage licensing. The goal is to include the word "reflexology" in the exemption to legislation being written to license massage therapy under the auspices of the state's nursing board.

Summer 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The Somatic Practices, Massage Therapy and Reflexology Act creating licensing for practitioners of reflexology and other modalities continues to be considered by the Pennsylvania legislature. Introduced on November 30, 1999, the bill has been under review of the Senate's Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee since December 1999. All Pennsylvania reflexologists are encouraged to write their Senators to support the bill and help move it out of committee. For information, contact Jonna Boyd at 610-966-2424 or footlady@fast.net.

Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A bill creating licensing of both reflexologists and massage therapists has failed to move out of legislative committee.

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Winter 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Senate Bill 1220 creating a licensing board for reflexologists and massage therapists has been submitted to the Pennsylvania state legislature. Language in the bill creates separate definitions and regulation of the two professions. Committee hearings begin in January. The Governor, who must sign the bill into law if it passes the legislature, is known to be hesitant about creating new professional boards.

Spring/Summer 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Pennsylvania reflexologists were prepared this spring to testify before a special legislative committee appointed by the governor, seeking the passage of a "Massage, Reflexology and Somatic Practices Act" in that state. The state legislature adjourned, however, before the bill was heard. Reflexologists are looking at the next session in September to place the bill before the legislature. Reflexologists are working with massage therapists and other hands-on professionals in seeking legislation. The problem for all practitioners is that reflexologists and massage therapists are being put out of business as municipalities enact anti-prostitution ordinances zoning practitioners into the same category as pornographic book stores.

 

A perusal of the Philadelphia telephone book "Yellow Pages" illustrates the problem. The heading for "Massage" contains numerous advertisements for thinly disguised houses of prostitution - "body shampoo" establishments that are open 24 hours a day. Under the "Massage therapy" heading which follows "Massage, "apparent legitimate massage establishments are listed.

 

Pennsylvania's governor established a special legislative committee to explore the issue of licensing. The issue is not a popular one, as the governor has expressed a desire not to create yet another state regulatory board that would cost the state money. A key issue for reflexologists has been created by the safety of the practice. Because the practice is safe and no law suits have been discovered in a nationwide search, there is no pressing need to regulate the profession.

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Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Members of the Pennsylvania Reflexology Association hope to see a culmination soon of four years work with legislation action on a bill that would create a license for reflexologists.

Winter/Spring 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Pennsylvania reflexologists are responding to new legislative efforts to license massage and reflexology in that state. They are seeking out opinions from state legislators to verify that reflexology is a safe practice. One legislator has written a letter stating that he has never received any complaints regarding massage or reflexology from his constituents. Reflexologists contend that their practice is safe and that regulation is not needed. (Pennsylvania Reflexology Association, c/o Judy Dobbs, 337 Hortter, Philadelphia, PA19119)

Fall/Winter 1994, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Harry Matter reports from Pennsylvania: "The Pennsylvania Reflexology Association (PRA) held their annual Convention Oct. 29, 1994 at the Ramada Inn in Somerset, Pennsylvania. The first PRA Certification tests were held. Thirty-six members were certified. The test was finally completed after 2 1/2 years of work by the certification committee. The Association also presented the PRA certification teat study manual compiled by Judy Dobbs. The members of the committee were Judy Dobbs, Chairperson, Harry Matter, David Jenkins, Vicki Heppe and Maureen Trone. The test will be given at Sharing Days. Pennsylvania may be the first state to have their own certification test. The Pennsylvania Licensing Staff at the State Capitol advised to have our own tests in the event a license is ever required for Reflexology in Pennsylvania. We will do the Certification for Licensure. Of course, we don't want licenses but we're prepared."

The test is the result of a legislative challenge concerning reflexology practice in 1990. As noted in Reflexions, Winter, 1990:

A proposed Pennsylvania state massage law that was to also regulate reflexology will not be presented to the state legislature for consideration. Debra Griffen, research assistant to state representative Lynn B. Herman, the bill's co-sponsor, stated that the bill would not make it out of the legislative committee considering it. Rep. Herman has withdrawn his support form the bill and has "washed his hands of it."

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The proposed law included reflexologists among those required to attend 500 hours of massage curriculum at a school approved by the massage board. No grand-fathering in of currently practicing reflexologists was included in the bill.

Efforts to educate legislators to the reflexologists' viewpoint by Lorraina Ward (Telepo) of Easton, PA and the Pennsylvania Reflexology Association proved to be successful inconveniencing legislators that the proposed bill would be questioned. Mrs. Ward blitzed legislative committee members with letters, information and phone calls. PRA organized a letter writing campaign.

The proposed law in Pennsylvania was sought by massage organizations concerned about confusion between massage as a legitimate profession and massage used as a term to indicate the practice of prostitution. Questions were raised about the success of a state-wide anti-prostitution law. Similar questions have been asked about the results of many municipal anti-prostitution laws around the country. ..." "Victory in Pennsylvania, Reflexions, Winter, 1990)

Tennessee

Summer 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A bill creating a registration system for Tennessee reflexologists has become law. Reflexologists are required to obtain 200 hours of reflexology training. "This bill would require an applicant for reflexology registration to demonstrate or do the following: (1) Certification by the American Reflexology Certification Board, the International Institute of Reflexology or completion of a 200 hour reflexology course; (2) That the applicant is at least 18 years of age; (3) Two character references; (4) That the applicant has not been convicted of a felony; and (5) Pay fees set by the division. ... This bill would authorize reflexologists to hold themselves out as licensed certified reflexologists." Congratulations to Tennessee reflexologists for their efforts.

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Winter 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A state reflexology registration bill for Tennessee reflexologists has passed that state's Senate. If enacted in law, reflexologists would be required to obtain 200 hours of reflexology training. "This bill would require an applicant for reflexology registration to demonstrate or do the following: (1) Certification by the American Reflexology Certification Board, the International Institute of Reflexology or completion of a 200 hour reflexology course; (2) That the applicant is at least 18 years of age; (3) Two character references; (4) That the applicant has not been convicted of a felony; and (5) Pay fees set by the division. ... This bill would authorize reflexologists to hold themselves out as licensed certified reflexologists."

Spring 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

A bill exempting reflexologists from the massage therapy practices act has been enacted. The bill was initiated by a massage school owner who felt his income was limited by teaching reflexology only to the massage therapy licensed individual.

Fall/Winter 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists in Tennessee have received notification from the administrator of the state's Board of Massage Therapy that a committee of massage therapists and reflexologists will be established to pursue licensing interests of both groups.

The announcement followed a September 28 Board of Massage meeting at which reflexologists voiced opinions about existing requirements that reflexologists obtain massage licensing. The action followed an informal comment from a Tennessee attorney general who noted that the existing massage law would not hold up in court if challenged by reflexologists.

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1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

In Tennessee, a licensed massage therapist has asked that the Massage Board issue a ruling about whether or not reflexology should be regulated as a form of massage. The massage therapist's complaint? The cost of her massage licensing is more than it would be if reflexologists who practice without massage licensing were licensed and paid the fee.

After the testimony of reflexologists at the September 28 Board of Massage meeting, the Board decided to delay a vote on a declaratory finding until an unspecified date. Reflexologists emerged from the meeting happy with their testimony, pleased with the delay, and confident that the ultimate resolution will include them. While Tennessee state officials have voiced a decision to regulate reflexology, they have shown an acceptance of the idea that reflexology deserves separate licensing.

The situation in Tennessee is an example of what can be accomplished by reflexologists. A year ago reflexologists were facing cease and desist orders as their livelihoods were threatened by the newly formed Massage Board. Now, reflexologists have a potential for their own licensing.

In the spring, reflexologists were put out of business as state after state imposed massage licensing requirements. While the right of a Massage Board to regulate reflexology can be brought under question, several states have declared intentions to regulate the profession. Reflexologists, thus, must be prepared to defend reflexology as a separate profession and to create legislation for its licensing.

Spring/Summer 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexology was not mentioned in a recently enacted massage law but reflexologists were subsequently required to obtain massage licensing. Following her attorney's advice, reflexologist Sharon Shanafeld had not practiced in six months. In addition, at least one reflexologist was under active investigation by an enforcement officer. In April, Sharon reported a recent article about reflexologists and massage regulation in the state. "According to our (Tennessee) law, `massage / bodywork / somatic means the manipulation of soft tissues of the body with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client.' " ... "The Massage Licensing Board Attorney expressed her opinion to the Board that if challenged in court, such a definition may not stand up to the narrowest judicial standard." ("Important Strategic Issue!" In Touch News, The Tennessee Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, Spring, 1998)

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Kevin Kunz made several calls to verify the statement. Neither the attorney nor the official who quoted her would verify the statement. Kunz and Kunz were asked to submit a regulatory proposal. During a conversation with the chairman of the state Massage Board, an informal agreement was reached that reflexologists could continue work but with discussions about regulation in the near future.

Winter /Spring 1998, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The deadline has passed for the introduction of bills to the Tennessee state legislature and reflexologists are pausing to organize. A proposed change in the state massage law to include reflexology was not introduced by Massage Board members as expected. Tennessee reflexologists plan to work for regulation by bodywork board (massage and other modalities) or exemption from the massage law. (Association forming: Sharon Shanafelt, P. O. Box 325, Newburn, TN 38059)

Texas

Winter 2001, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Texas reflexologists stepped forward when it counted. Attendance and comments by reflexologists at public hearings in Dallas, Austin and Houston in October of 2000 resulted in the changes to Rules for Massage Therapists by the Department of Public Health. The turnout of reflexologists was acknowledged by the coalition of alternative health practitioners working for the changes as a key component in helping five practices (reflexology, shiatsu, Trager, Rolfing, Tellington) avoid or discontinue state registration.

The report resulting from the public hearings states: "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.

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Kevin and Barbara Kunz organized Texas reflexologists, notifying them of hearings and providing materials to make arguments to remove reflexologists from massage registration requirements. Kevin attended the Austin hearing. The hour-long hearing was extended into a two-hour informal discussion with state officials. Diana Oldham of El Paso, who the state had attempted to put out of business twice, flew into Dallas for another hearing. Lorraine Torrance, Opal Kelly, Dianne Phillips, and other attended the Houston hearing.

Fall 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists are hopeful that a January 2001 decision of the Texas Department of Health will free them from massage therapy registration requirements. Reflexologists rallied to voice their opinions at public meetings held by the Texas Department of Health in Austin, Dallas, and Houston on October 23, 26, and 27 respectively to evoke public comment about new Rules and Regulations.

A mailing by Kunz and Kunz notified reflexologists around the state of the impending review of Rules and Regulations. Included was education about making a presentation to state regulators and the issues involving massage regulation of reflexology. Joining a coalition of Trager practitioners, Oriental body workers, and Rolfers, reflexologists Kevin Kunz and Kimlee Lewis attended the Austin hearing, Diana Oldham of El Paso attended the Dallas hearing and Lorraine Torrance, Opal Kelly, Dianne Phillips, and others attended the Houston hearing. Key issues included:

1. Soft tissue manipulation: The state is determined to regulate soft tissue manipulation.

2. Education: By law, Texas massage schools must teach 125 hours of Swedish massage technique application. No other technique application education is allowed.

3. Definition: Texas law states that "`Massage therapy' means the manipulation of soft tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose of body massage and includes effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), compression, vibration, friction, nerve strokes, and Swedish gymnastics."

4. Intent: In conjunction with definition, the intent of the practitioner to work on soft tissue (Swedish massage) was compared to the intent of the reflexologist, to work with reflexes.

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5. Objective criteria: Only 5 of the existing 250 alternative health modalities would be impacted by the new Rules and Regulations. The objective criteria was utilized in the decision was questioned. (State officials were surprised to learn that one of the five, Tellington Touch, is the application of hands-on work - to horses.);

6. Certification of competence: Regulation of reflexology as a part of massage gives the consumer the impression that the state has verified the competency to practice reflexology of massage registered individuals who may or may not be educated in reflexology.

Summer 2000, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The Texas Department of Health is changing its Rules and Regulations for massage therapy licensing. Under the current proposal, the requirement that reflexologists obtain massage therapy registration is put formally into writing. Such a requirement has been in force for several years but not in writing. A coalition of bodywork therapists is working to represent their interests. Other bodywork therapies have been deleted from the Rules and Regulations and thus are exempted from registration requirements in the current proposal. Reflexologists who would like to see a change in massage registration requirements (especially those in the Austin area who could attend Texas Department of Health meetings) should contact the coalition's Pam Ellen Ferguson, fwpb39@sprintmail.com or 512-467-1859

Spring/Summer 1995, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Houston reflexologist Ken Ramsey has been notified by state authorities that a cease and desist order will be issued against his reflexology business. Since an attorney general's ruling in 1992, a massage registration, but no reflexology training, has been required of reflexology practitioners in that state. Reports of "reflexologist bashing" are currently circulating. It is rumored that an individual who meets the massage registration requirement is denied a state registration if he or she notes his or her previous reflexology practice on state forms. It is further rumored that reflexologists are not now allowed to teach reflexology in Texas without meeting massage requirements.

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Winter 1992, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

The eyes of Texas reflexologists are on the Texas State Massage Board following recent statements that a massage license is now required of reflexologists. Ruth Sowell of Houston reported the discovery to Reflexology Research Project. Telephone interviews with the Texas State Massage Board and the public relations officer for the state attorney general's office were conducted by Kevin Kunz on behalf of Reflexions. A doctor had originally placed a query with a State Department of Health official who asked for an informal opinion from the attorney general's office. It was revealed that an informal opinion had been issued by the attorney general's office stating that a massage license is required of reflexologists in the state of Texas.

The Massage Board states that since January 4, 1992 it has required massage licenses of reflexologists. The state of Texas Massage Board has declared the body of knowledge of reflexology to be the manipulation of soft tissue massage. Three hundred supervised hours of course instruction in massage are required or five years of actual practice.

The granting of unlimited domain of one profession over another is not acceptable without some just cause. These laws raise more public safety issues as new job descriptions are imposed on professions such as reflexology without regard to past legal opinion concerning their practice. It is not until the reflexologist refuses to fall prey to such monopolistic laws that any universal solution will be found. Reflexology Research Project is contesting the definition, the standards of Swedish massage being applied to the practice of reflexology and the discriminatory process of selecting one belief system over another.

Texas has become the third of five most populous states in the United States to place reflexology under the umbrella of a massage license. New York, Florida and Texas massage laws are described as "definition" laws. Anyone practicing any body work modality by any name is perceived to be practicing a variation of massage and, therefore, required to obtain a state massage license. A massage license is required in many large cities of the two other most populous states, Illinois and California, including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. With 17 million Texas residents added to those living with such laws, one third of the U. S. population now receives reflexology services from massage license holders only.

It has always come as a shock to body work practitioners whose traditional practices extend back thousands of years that these governmental bodies perceive their work to be an adjunct of Swedish massage which began as a practice in the 1850's. The tradition of reflexology in Texas is one of the strongest in the U. S. Ask almost anyone in a small town in Texas who the local reflexologist is and you will receive an answer that includes several generations of practitioners. Faye Powers of Lubbock and D. R. Blaylock of Houston, both in their 80's, are only two of the many long-time Texas reflexologists.

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Spring/Summer 1992, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Is reflexology facing trial without jury and law without legislation at the hands of attorney general offices? Following an opinion from the Texas attorney general's office, Texas reflexologists are required to obtain a state massage license. The attorney general's office of the state of Nevada has recently issued an opinion that a reflexologist must obtain a state medical license unless he or she is providing "foot massage" services.

Washington

April, 2003 Years of efforts by reflexologists to end massage regulation of reflexology were completed in March 2002 when Governor Gary Locke signed such a measure into law. Reflexologists are also exempted in law in the states of Maine, New Mexico, Maryland, and Illinois as well as excluded under Board Rules in North Carolina. Reflexology licensing exists in North Dakota and reflexology registration in Tennessee. Reflexologists have recently worked to avoided inclusion in proposed massage licensing legislation in Idaho, Arizona and Pennsylvania. A similar effort underway in Montana ended when the Bill to license massage failed.

March 2002, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

An exemption from massage licensing was signed into law by Governor Gary Locke on March 29, 2002.

December 1999, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

In response to propsed legislation and pursuant to the Washington state Sunrise Act, a public hearing was held to determine whether reflexology met the "overwhelming need tor the state to protect the interest of the public by restricting entry into the profession." The Information Summary and Recommendations of the Reflexology Sunrise Review is available at doh.wa.gov.

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Wisconsin

1997, Reflexions, Barbara & Kevin Kunz

Reflexologists are concerned that a new massage law will include them. In a telephone interview, Tammy at the State of Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing, Health Regulation Registry (608-267-7223) stated that the intention of the law is to regulate Swedish massage and Oriental bodywork. Reflexologists in Tennessee, Alabama, and New Mexico, who have seen the spectre of such laws interpreted to include them by the Massage Boards appointed after enactment of the laws, strongly advise reflexologists to seek to have a specific exemption for reflexologists written into any proposed massage law. (Thanks to Bernard Balow for information.)

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