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Editor's Note: Despite the age of this document it shows some of the struggles reflexologists have been through.

Kunz, Kevin and Kunz, Barbara, Reflexions, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer/Fall 1997, p. 1

Examples of Definitions Adopted in the US

1. Kunz and Kunz, 1983:

"Reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure the feet (and hands) with techniques that do not utilize cream, lotion or oil, assessed on the basis of zones and areas with the premise that such work effects a physical change."

 

2. California Conference of Reflexologists, 1989

Foot and hand reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to reflex areas and zones in the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger and hand techniques performed without oils, lotions or creams; with the premise that a physiological change can take place in the body."

 

3. North American Reflexology Conference, 1989

Foot and hand reflexology is a scientific art based on the premise that there are zones and reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all body parts. The physical act of applying specific pressures using thumb, finger and hand techniques performed without oil, lotions or creams results in stress reduction causing a physiological change in the body."

 

4. American Reflexology Certification Board, 1991

"Foot and hand reflexology is a scientific art based on the premise that there are zones and reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all body parts. The physical act of applying specific pressures using thumb, finger and hand techniques results in stress reduction causing a physiological change in the body."

 

5. Reflexology Association of America, 1996

"Foot and hand reflexology is based on the premise that there are zones and reflex areas which correspond to all glands, organs, parts and systems of the body. The physical act of applying specific pressure using thumb, finger and hand techniques to these reflex areas results in the in the reduction of stress which promotes physiological change in the body."

Kunz, Kevin and Kunz, Barbara, Reflexions, Vol. 19, No. 1, Summer/Fall, 1998, p. 1

A legal log jam has been broken. Assistant attorney generals in two states have agreed that in order to regulate reflexology, massage boards must find in "proof of fact" that reflexology is a part of massage.

Reflexologists successfully defended reflexology as a separate practice at a September 28 meeting of the Tennessee Board of Massage.

Reflexologists successfully defended reflexology as a separate practice at an October 1 New Mexico Board of Massage meeting.

Reflexologists and other bodywork practitioners have won business licensing as "somatic practitioners" in the city of Sacramento separating them from a city "adult entertainment" licensing with requirements on par with pornographic bookstores.

Reflexologists in Ontario province have created a non-profit registration system for reflexologists. The non-profit group hopes to represent reflexologists as a whole in encouraging the Toronto City Council to create licensing for complementary therapies including reflexology. Currently the city considers reflexology in the same business licensing category as "erotic body rubbers."

Wisconsin: 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.)

Pennsylvania: Members of the Pennsylvania Reflexology Association find their bill to create reflexology licensing stalled in legislative committee.

Florida: Neither Diane and Paul Breeding nor their attorneys have heard from the state of Florida since their April letter. The attorneys had argued that reflexology was not specifically mentioned in the massage bill and therefore the Breeding's reflexology activities did not fall under the auspices of the Massage Board.

New Jersey: Members of the New Jersey Reflexology Association have withdrawn their support from a legislative proposal creating a general bodywork practitioners license.

New York: 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.

Sacramento: 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.)


Regulatory Issues - 30 MARCH 1999

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