MLN Vol.13.No.2

Massage Law Newsletter

Vol. 13, No. 2                                        ISSN 1073-5461                                      February 2000

655,200 REASONS WHY MINNESOTA DOES

NOT NEED TO REGULATE MASSAGE THERAPISTS

TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM HARM

THERE'S NO HARM IN GEORGIA  AND NO HARM

 IN THE CANADIAN PROVINCE OF QUEBEC. SO, WHY WOULD THERE BE ANY HARM IN MINNESOTA?

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

The 655,200 reasons why Minnesota does not need to regulate massage therapists are 655,200 massages which were given in Minnesota last year. If allegedly inadequately trained massage therapists have caused serious harm, more than half a million massages should have revealed that harm.

Whence cometh

the number 655,200?

The Georgia Chapter of AMTA told their senators there were about 1000 massage therapists in Georgia, and each one did an average of 20 massages a week. The Minnesota Chapter of AMTA has about 400 members, most of whom do massage. But there are other massage therapists who are not members of AMTA

In 1997, the total population of Minnesota (4,685,000) was 37% less than the total population of Georgia (7,486.000). It is reasonable to assume that Minnesota has 630 massage therapists because 630 is 37%  less than the 1000 massage therapists in Georgia.

If each of these 630 unregulated massage therapists gave an average of 20 massages per week, as massage therapists did in Georgia, that amounts to a total of 12,600 massages a week and 655,200 massages a year in Minnesota.

Additional evidence that Minnesota does not need to regulate massage therapists is provided by Coalition for State Regulation of Massage Therapists and Oriental Bodyworkers. This is the Coalition  that has been promoting state regulation.

The fact that  the Coalition has not been  able to provide well-documented evidence that serious harm has actually occurred is good evidence that there's no such harm. And there's no need for state regulation to protect the public from harm which does not occur.

There's no harm in Georgia and

 in the Canadian Province of Quebec

To evaluate whether a profession or business should be regulated, one of the things the Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council has to do is determine "Whether the unregulated practice of an occupation may harm or endanger the health, safety, and welfare of citizens of the state, and whether the potential for harm is recognizable and not remote." 

The Georgia Chapter of AMTA submitted undocumented allegations of harm to support a bill to regulate massage therapists in order to allegedly protect the public from harm. The Georgia senators rejected that undocumented allegations. They did their own research, and found that no harm had actually occurred. They therefore concluded:

"There is no documented danger of actual harm to the public." And "The potential for harm to the public appears to be remote and would not be alleviated by licensing."

The Canadian Province of Quebec conducted a two-year research project to find out if massage therapists caused harm. They found that  massage therapists, regardless of their training, did not harm anybody.

Georgia and Quebec do not regulate massage therapists because massage therapists don't harm people. 

Since there is no harm in Georgia and Quebec, why would there be any harm in Minnesota?

Since Georgia and Quebec do not regulate massage therapists, why should Minnesota regulate massage therapists?

There's no harm in the

states surrounding Georgia

Georgia senators found that there were 626 complaints in Florida for the 3-year period of 1993 through 1996. The nature of each complaint was recorded. None of these complaints involved a client who had been injured by a massage therapist.

In all the states surrounding Georgia, there was only one case of possible harm in an estimated 19,240,000 massages. Do we need state regulation to protect the public from so little harm?

$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$

If the average cost of a massage was $35.00, Minnesota's unregulated massage therapists earned about $23,000,000 last year by doing 655.200 massages . Their clients must have been quite satisfied.

Who wants state regulation

in Minnesota, and why?

Many of those who want state regulation in Minnesota are associated with schools and national organizations that will benefit financially from state regulation. 

The Coalition for State Regulation of Massage Therapists and Oriental Bodyworkers has been peddling the alleged need for state regulation to protect the public from harm. The component organizations of the Coalition are the Minnesota Chapter of AMTA, the Minnesota Chapter of AOBTA, something called the Coalition for Fair Legislation, the Lake Superior College Massage Therapy Program, the Minneapolis School of Massage and Bodywork, the Northern Lights School of Massage and Bodywork, and Sister Rosalind Geffre's School of Professional Massage.

No consumer protection agency has been lobbying state legislators to enact laws to regulate massage therapists to protect the public from harm.

The Minnesota Touch Movement Network (MTMN), formerly known as the Minnesota Therapeutic Massage Network, opposes the Coalition for State Regulation of Massage Therapists and Oriental Bodyworkers. The MTMN supports a bill proposed by the Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Project. This is The Complementary and Alternative Health Care Bill (HF 537 or SF 689) which is concerned with consumer access and protection.

The Coalition for State Regulation of Massage Therapists and Oriental Bodyworkers is allegedly concerned with consumer protection. It is therefore surprising that this Coalition has not been involved with The Complementary and Alternative Health Care Bill, and does not support this bill.

The Coalition's evidence

of harm is worthless

The Coalition for State Regulation of Massage Therapists and Oriental Bodyworkers allegedly has information about complaints against practitioners in regulated states. Their 40 or more complaints per state per year allegedly include physical injuries, emotional harm, and fraud.

The Coalition does not tell us how many complaints were considered justified, and how many were considered unjustified on the basis of the evidence that was submitted.

The Coalition does not tell us how many of the justified complaints involved  physical injuries, how many involved emotional harm, and how many  involved  fraud.

The Coalition does not tell us what disciplinary or corrective actions were taken in those complaints which were considered justified.

The fact that a complaint of physical harm has been filed means only that the complaint was filed. It does not mean that the harm was verified. Even if the harm was verified, that does not mean, in and of itself, that the massage therapist involved actually caused the harm.

Even if the massage therapist actually caused the harm, we need more information to evaluate  the complaint. We have to  know the nature of the harm. Was the harm ephemeral soreness, or was it a serious injury? If it was a serious injury, how serious was it? Did the client require medical treatment? If so, what was the treatment, who provided it, and when?

We also have to know whether the client filed a personal injury claim? If so, was the claim paid with or without litigation. The fact that a claim has been paid without litigation does not prove that an injury occurred, that it was serious, and that the massage therapists was responsible for the injury.  Insurance companies pay some so-called "nuisance value" claims because it is less costly for them to do that than to pay attorneys to litigate.

We need comparable information about the Coalition's complaints allegedly involving emotional harm and fraud.

The Coalition is grasping

at straws

The Coalition for State Regulation of Massage Therapists and Oriental Bodyworkers has not provided any well-documented evidence that any serious harm has actually occurred. Instead it refers to what it calls the "potential for harm." The "potential for harm" is not harm that has actually occurred.

Common sense suggests that the Coalition focused on the potential for harm because it has no well-documented evidence that any harm has  actually occurred. If  the Coalition had well-documented evidence of harm that had actually occurred, it would certainly have presented that evidence instead of the following potentials for harm.

Potential for Physical Harm. The Coalition claims that when practitioners have little or no training, injury may result from the use of techniques in instances when they are contraindicated, from the improper use of techniques, and from the failure to observe and assess problems which should be referred to and evaluated by the appropriate health care provider.

The Coalition gives the following examples: Varicose veins: Working in these areas can loosen a blood clot (embolism). Pregnancy: Incorrect client positioning can interrupt blood flow to both mother and baby. Carotid artery: Pressure by the therapists can damage a mechanism that influences blood pressure and cardiac output.

Potential for emotional harm. The Coalition claims that practitioners with little or no training may be unprepared to respond in a manner that maintains client safety when touch evokes a client's emotions that are related to form sexual abuse or other trauma

Potential for economic harm. The Coalition claims that consumers have had no practical means of determining the extent of preparation of a practitioner and therefore have paid the market price, often without knowing the practitioner's qualification level.

The Coalition did not learn

the Georgia lesson

 The Coalition is concerned with the potential for harm. The Georgia senators were also concerned with the potential for harm. But the two groups  did different things. The Georgia senators decided to find out "whether the unregulated practice of an occupation may harm or endanger the health, safety, and welfare of citizens of the state, and whether the potential for harm is recognizable and not remote."

The senators found no harm had actually occurred, and concluded, "There is no documented danger of actual harm to the public." And "The potential for harm to the public appears to be remote and would not be alleviated by licensing." They therefore did not vote on the bill to regulate massage therapists to protect the public from harm. 

The Coalition, like the Georgia senators, did not find any evidence that harm had actually occurred. But then the Coalition did what the senators did not do. The Coalition decided that state regulation is needed to protect the public from harm, not because any harm had actually occurred, but because there is only a potential for harm.

I asked Gayle Burdick, Sr. Rosalind Geffre, Sheila Sweeney, and Jackson Petersburg, who are promoting state regulation of massage in Minnesota, for well-documented evidence of harm that has actually occurred. They have not replied to my written requests for that information. I therefore assume they have no well-documented evidence of harm which has actually occurred.

All the so-called potential for physical harm, emotional harm, and fraud, that the Minnesota Coalition is concerned about, also occurs in Georgia and in the Canadian Province of Quebec. But there are no well-documented reports of harm which has actually occurred in Georgia and Quebec. If these potentials for harm do not result in harm in Georgia and Quebec, why would they result in harm in Minnesota?

If Georgia and Quebec do not need to regulate their massage therapists to protect the pubic from harm, why should Minnesota regulate its massage therapists to protect the public from harm? 

The inability of the Coalition to provide  well-documented evidence that harm has actually occurred, is good evidence that state regulation of massage therapists is not needed to protect the public from harm.

MORE THAN  HALF A MILLION

 MASSAGES WITH NO HAR

Last year about 630 massage therapists with a wide variety of training gave more than half a million massages  in Minnesota. Surely that is a sufficiently large sample to reveal whether  the potential for harm, which the Coalition is so concerned about, has manifested itself as real harm.

I assume the Coalition looked for harm in complaints filed in other states because it was unable to find any well-documented harm associated with massage in Minnesota, despite the fact that over half a million massages were given in Minnesota last year.

If the Coalition does not have any well-documented cases of harm that has actually occurred, common sense tells us that harm does not occur. So, why is the Coalition promoting state regulation to protect the public from harm which does not occur?

Does the Collation expect

to be taken seriously?

People in Minnesota are more likely to be struck by lightning than harmed by massage therapists.

They are also more likely to be bitten by dogs than harmed by massage therapist

Why doesn't the Coalition tell us how many  allegedly inadequately trained massage therapists have to harm how many people, and how serious that harm has to be to justify the alleged need for state regulation to protect the public from that harm?

Why doesn't the Coalition tell us how many allegedly inadequately trained massage therapists have caused well-documented physical  harm, and the nature and seriousness of that physical harm?

Why doesn't the Coalition tell us how many allegedly inadequately trained massage therapists have caused well-documented emotional harm, and the nature and seriousness of that  emotional harm?    

Why doesn't the Coalition tell us how many allegedly inadequately trained massage therapists have caused well-documented "economic harm," and the nature and seriousness of that   "economic harm"?

How does the Coalition explain why the cost of professional liability insurance is the same in states which do and do not regulate massage therapists?

How does the Coalition explain why the cost of professional liability insurance has decreased? In 1984, the wholesale cost of $1,000,000 coverage for massage therapists was $65.00 a year. In 1998, the wholesale cost for $2,00,000 coverage is only $32.50 a year.

I challenge the Coalition to provide well-documented evidence that massage therapists are more competent and provide better quality massages in states which regulate massage therapists than in states which do not..

I challenge the Coalition to provide well-documented evidence that there is more client satisfaction in states which regulate massage therapists than in states which do not.

A lesson about harm

It is surprising that the Coalition apparently expects its allegations of what it calls the "potential for harm" to be taken seriously. Contraindi-cations are conditions which predispose to harm. However, what is important from a practical point of view is not the predisposition to harm, but whether well-documented harm has actually occurred.

It's necessary to use common sense to identify nonsense in order to understand the compulsive/obsessive promotion of state regulation of massage therapists to allegedly protect the public from harm.

Common sense tell us that harm is something which has actually occurred. If it has not  actually occurred, it's not harm. Conditions that predispose people to harm are not harm.

The risk of harm tells us how likely conditions, that predispose people to harm, may be expected to actually result in harm. The risk of harm is determined by how much harm has already occurred, and how serious that harm has been. The risk of a particular kind of harm ranges from zero to negligible if there is no well-documented evidence that harm has actually occurred.

Obviously there is no need for a law to protect the public from harm which does not occur, or if the risk of that harm occurring ranges from zero to negligible

The real world of massage is

not a Rorschach ink blot

Those who promote state regulation to protect the public from harm see harm in a Rorschach ink blot. They then assume that state regulation is needed to protect the public from that harm. But an ink blot is an ink blot. It is not a massage. The harm they see in the Rorschach ink blot does not occur in the real world of massage. Therefore, the need for state regulation also does not occur  in the real world of massage.

Additional information about harm and state regulation is in reports in the Massage Law Newsletter on the internet <http://www.healingandlaw.com>

THE WORLD OF MASSAGE IS NOT FLAT

THE HELIOCENTRIC ROLE OF STATE REGULATION IN THE

 SOLAR SYSTEM OF BODYWORK IS KAPUT

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

The walls  of Jericho, which support state regulation of massage therapists are cracking.

The battering ram  of common sense reveals there is no well-documented evidence that state regulation assures competence and is needed to protect the public safety, health, and welfare,

The democratic phoenix which will arise from the ashes of deregulation will be modelled on the self-regulation/title protection in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.  

The mistaken belief that state regulation is needed to protect the public from harm is not unprecedented.

People used to believe the earth was flat. Now we know the earth is round..

People used to believe the sun rotated around the earth. Now we know the earth rotates around the sun.

Some people still believe that massage causes harm, and state regulation is needed to protect people from harm. But the fact that this is not true has germinated in many cities and states. And the seedlings of truth have a strong immune system, which resists the virus of propaganda.

The present challenge to the dogma that state  regulation is needed to protect the public from harm has historical precedents.

Aristotelian cosmology

Aristotle (384-322 BC) provided a rational for believing the earth was the center of the universe, and the sun rotated around the earth. Centuries later, the Church adopted Aristotle's heliocentric cosmology because it believed that explained God's creation.

The erroneous belief that the sun rotated around the earth persisted long after well-documented  evidence to the contrary had been  published. It survived because the Pope declared that nonbelievers (dissenters) were heretics, and the church persecuted them for heresy. Giordano Bruno (1648-1600), an outstanding scholar who disagreed with the church dogma, was convicted of heresy and burnt at the stake

 "In the late fifteenth century," while the church was challenging science and common sense, "astrology and magic were orthodox Christian concerns."*

"Let there be light"

"In 1543, ... Copernicus published a book arguing that the earth rotates daily and moves around the sun."* Galileo Galilei ((1564-1642) provided additional evidence that the earth rotated around the sun. He "argued, "Look and see what is there. Do not just argue what should be there based on what the accepted tenets say.'"*

"Galileo heard of an instrument, which had been made in Holland, that magnified distant objects. He constructed such an instrument and, looking through it, saw that the moon had craters. He called his colleagues together and said: "Look through my telescope; you will se that the moon is not a perfect sphere.'*

Lunar lunacy

"Some ... colleagues replied: "We do not need to look; we know it is perfect.' Others looked but refused to believe they saw craters on the moon, saying that the telescope was faulty. Galileo was imprisoned and subjected to the Inquisition for saying that the earth moves, and that the moon and planets were not perfect spheres.

A LESSON FOR PROPONENTS

 OF STATE REGULATION

Ludwik Fleck, the Polish epistemologist and microbiologist, "who inspired Thomas Kuhn's notion of the paradigm ... noticed that when beginning students are given microscopic sections to observe, at first they are unable to do so. They cannot see what is there.

"On the other hand, they often see what is not there. How can this be? The answer is simple, because all perception, particularly sophisticated forms of perception, require rigorous training and development. After a while, all students begin to  see what is there to be seen."

"It is the mind that perceives,

not the eye"

"The mind provides the framework, specific  knowledge and specific assumptions, for the eye to see. The mind constitutes the universe that the eye then sees. In other words, our mind is built into our eyes." (H. Skolimowski)

Claude Bernard (1813-1878) the famous French physiologist, told us: When you meet with a fact which is opposed to a theory, you should adhere to the fact, and abandon the theory even if the theory is associated with the names of people of renown.

*Hayward, J.W. Perceiving Ordinary Science. Science  and Intuitive Wisdom. Shambhala. Boulder. CO. 1984.

PROPONENTS OF STATE REGULATION ARE NOT FUEGANS

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

This story begins in 1520

This story about the Fuegans begins with Magellan. In October, 1520, the Portuguese sea captain Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Portugal with five ships and 241 men to circumnavigate the world. A mutiny soon left him with fewer vessels, one of which was subsequently destroyed in a storm. Magellan was killed in the Philippines. Only one ship with about 18 men returned.

The perilous route that Magellan followed as he sailed through the dangerous, stormy Cape Horn, which is the most southern part of South America, is now called the Strait of Magellan. Magellan's men called the barren, rocky land at Cape Horn Tierra del Fuego. In Spanish, this means Land of Fire..

Who are the Fuegans?

Magellan's men called the land Teirra del Fuego because, at night, they saw the Fuegans' fires. 

They called the indigenous people, who lived on that inhospitable land at Cape Horn, Fuegans.

Why the Fuegans could not see

Magellan's ships

The Fuegans could not see Magellan's ships, even though they were anchored offshore. This is understandable because they had never seen or heard about such ships before. They could not even have imagined them. A verbal description would have meant nothing to them.

The following account is taken from Magellan's logbook.

When Magellan's expedition first landed at Tierra del Fuego, the Fuegans, who for centuries had been isolated with their canoe culture, were unable to see the ships anchored in the bay. The big ships were so far beyond their experience that, despite their bulk, the horizon continued unbroken: The ships were invisible. This was learned on later expeditions to the area when the Fuegans described how, according to one account, the shaman had first brought to the villagers' attention that the strangers had arrived in something which although preposterous beyond belief, could actually be seen if one looked carefully.

We now ask,  "How they could not see the ships they were so obvious, so real?" Yet others would ask, how can we not see things just as obvious?"* 

The wise man's eyes are in his head,

but the fool walketh in darkness.

Ecclesiastes 2:14 

Those who promote state regulation to protect the public from harm see harm which does not exist. They have no proof that such harm has actually occurred. Moreover, they have repeatedly been presented with well-documented evidence that there is no such harm. Nevertheless, they claim that state regulation is needed to protect the public from harm that does not occur!

*Mattingly, J. W.  Foreword to the book The Cancer Cure that Worked, by Barry Lynes. Published in Mexico by Marcus Books. 1987.

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