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How to Contest Massage Licensing

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

If you decide to probe into official sanctioning of reflexology in your area, be prepared to do some research into any applicable massage law. You'll be looking for what we talked about in the preceding article -- definition, public safety concerns, and educational requirements. In getting the regulatory system to define itself, you can engage in a dialogue about whether or not the system has acted appropriately in regulating reflexology.

I. Get a copy of the state law or city ordinance and study it.

1. Is reflexology specifically mentioned? If not, go on to the following section II.
2. If it is mentioned, is it mentioned as a part of a long list of therapies included in the massage definition? This may be a catch-all touching ordinance. See the following Section III.
3. Does the law include a list of licensed profesions exempted from the massage act? If so, you can legally practice any modality listed or effected by the law.
4. If it is a title bill and you do not call yourself a massage practitioner, you are not regulated.

II. Write the attorney general (if a state law is your concern) or the city's attorney (if it's a city ordinance). Ask for a finding on the licensing situation for the practice of reflexology. Send the letter by registered mail. If you're not currently required to be massage-licensed, you can thus establish a history of exemption through the finding by the attorney or city attorney. Be aware -- if the finding requires massage licensing, you will be stuck with it.

III. If it doesn't work and you are told you need massage licensing, study the massage law for word for word. Look for definition, public safety issues, and educational requirements. Look for inconsistencies. (Massage practitioners in Ohio found the word "therapeutic" defining services with in the state massage law. They successfully argued that their services were for relaxation purposes and they should not be required to be massage licensed.) Ask for a definition of reflexology with sources cited. Ask what kind of appeals process there is.

IV. Get on the list for any legislative hearing involving body work, massage licensing etc. Start talking to your legislators and educating them to your interests. Be prepared to demonstrate reflexology services to show that safety to the public issues are limited with reflexology practice. The Health Ministry of Ontario studied the practice of reflexology and concluded that it presented no public safety threat.

V. Be prepared to communicate verbally and in writing what's wrong with licensing reflexology as massage. See the following article for effective arguments.

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ŠKunz and Kunz 2003
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