MLN Vol.20, No.4

Massage Law Newsletter

www.healingandlaw.com

Vol. 20,  No. 4                                   ISSN 1073-5461                                      May  2001

WILL THE PENNSYLVANIA CHAPTER OF

THE AMERICAN MASSAGE THERAPY ASSOCIATION

(PA-AMTA) HONOR ITS COMMITMENT TO

"... make sure that the language of" its ... "new ... bill

excludes any modality that does  not wish to be a part of the bill."

Church for Spiritual Healing and Health

A  not-for-profit Pennsylvania Corporation

 6907 Sherman Street, Philadelphia, PA 19119

To:   Retta Flagg. President, PA-AMTA

From:  Rev. Albert Schatz. Ph.D, President.  Church for Spiritual Healing and  Health, and PA-AMTA member

Will  PA-AMTA  honor

 its commtment?

 

PA-AMTA intends to introduce another bill in 2001 to regulate  massage therapists in Pennsylvania. On November 28, 2000, PA-AMTA notified its members, "We will make sure that the language of  the ... new ... bill excludes any modality that does not wish to be a part of the bill."  But PA-AMTA has no formal procedure for requesting that a modality be excluded from its "new bill."

1. In March, 2001, I notified you (the President of PA-AMTA) that I wanted Spiritual Massage HealingSM  excluded from PA-AMTA's "new bill.." I also asked you to let me know whether PA-AMTA will honor my request. My notification and request for your reply are in the Massage Law Newsletter 19(2):1-3. March, 2001.

2. It is now May 2001. Why haven't you answered my question? How many times and in how many ways does a member of PA-AMTA have to ask a question to get an answer from the President of PA-AMTA?

3 What else, besides simply asking, does a member of PA-AMTA have to do to get information  from the President of PA-AMTA?

According to Article II of AMTA's Bylaws, one of AMTA's "purposes shall be to ... foster the exchange of ideas ... among its members and others who are part of the field of massage."

In accordance with this AMTA Bylaw, I believe that you, the President of the PA-AMTA, have an obligation to reply to an inquiry from a PA-AMTA member about a matter that concerns PA-AMTA's commitment about its "new bill."

PA-AMTA's  commitment

PA-AMTA's commitment to exclude modalities is unqualified and unconditional. PA-AMTA has not listed criteria, with which a modality must comply, in order qualify for exclusion from its bill. I requested that  Spiritual Massage HealingSM be excluded for PA-AMTA's "new bill" because I am president of the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. Spiritual Massage HealingSM  is a major interest of this Church. I am also the editor of and write for the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork and the Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. These two periodicals are available on <www.healingandlaw.com>.

My original request

My request that PA-AMTA exclude Spiritual Massage HealingSM  from PA-AMTA's "new bill" was published in the Massage Law Newsletter.1 I sent you and others (listed in that newsletter) a copy of that issue of the Massage Law Newsletter.  

My request that PA-AMTA exclude Spiritual Massage HealingSM from PA AMTA "new bill" presented well-documented evidence to justify my request.1 I am now submitting the following additional evidence to justify  my request that "Spiritual Massage HealingSM be excluded from PA-AMTA's "new bill."

Evidence from the Pennsylvania

State Board of Medicine

 In a letter of February 6, 1995, April L. McClaine, Counsel for the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, informed me that circumcision, which is a surgical procedure, is exempt from the Medical Practice Act because it is performed "within the context of a religious ceremony." In

Spiritual Massage Healing,SM which involves the biblical laying on of hands, is also performed "within the  context of a religious ceremony."

Because circumcision is not considered the practice of medicine, it is not regulated by the Pennsylvania Medical Practice Act, even though it does harm some individuals.2

 Because Spiritual Massage HealingSM does not harm people, it does not need to be regulated to protect the public from harm or for any other reason.

I have already pointed out that1 Section 2 of the "Medical Practice Act" of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Act of 1985. P.L. 457, No. 112) excludes "healing by spiritual means or prayer."   Spiritual Massage HealingSM is excluded from the practice of medicine because it is healing by the biblical laying on of hands accompanied by prayer.

Evidence from Office of the

Pennsylvania State Attorney General

I have a letter of December 21, 1993, from David J. DeVries, Chief Deputy Attorney General in the Review and Advice Section of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. This letter informs us that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would violate the constitutional separation of church and state if it established an accepted definition of a religion.

DOES PA-AMTA HAVE ITS OWN DEFINITION OF "RELIGION" ACCORDING TO WHICH IT HAS DECIDED THAT SPIRITUAL MASSAGE HEALINGSM  IS NOT A FORM OF WORSHIP AND A RELIGIOUS CEREMONY? IF SO, WHAT IS PA-AMTA'S DEFINITION OF "RELIGION"?

Comments on the separation of church

and state in the U.S. Supreme Court

"Religious liberty includes not only the conventional methods of worship, but the unorthodox as well." U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas 

"No license may be exacted by the state for the performance of any religious exercise, nor a tax imposed on it." U.S. Supreme Court Justice  William O. Douglas 

"Religious freedom is too sacred a right to be restricted or prohibited in any degree without convincing proof that a legitimate interest of the state is in grave danger." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy

 "... the religious liberty protected by the First Amendment  against invasion by the nation is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment against invasion by the states."  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo

"Separation means separation, not something less. Jefferson's metaphor in describing the relation between Church and State speaks of a 'wall of separation,' not a fine line easily overstepped." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter

WILL PA-AMTA  DISREGARD THE ABOVE-MENTIONED JUDGES AND ASK THE PENNSYLVANIA  LEGISLATORS TO REGULATE SPIRITUAL MASSAGE HEALINGSM  EVEN THOUGH IT IS A FORM OF WORSHIP AND A RELIGIOUS CEREMONY WHICH DOES NOT HARM  PEOPLE?

The massage therapy, which PA-AMTA proposes to regulate is a secular modality. Spiritual Massage HealingSM is a spiritual modality, and is therefore very different from secular message therapy.3,4  Practitioners of Spiritual Massage HealingSM are protected by the above-mentioned and other legal decisions which apply to the separation of church and state.

Generic terms  

and commercial speech

The use of the generic word "massage" in Spiritual Massage HealingSM cannot be restricted.  According to the AMTA,5 terms such as "massage therapy," and "therapeutic massage" are generic. "Massage" is also a generic term.5 Because these terms are generic, the state may not arbitrarily restrict their use.

The arbitrary restriction of the use of generic terms violates free (commercial) speech which is protected by the first Amendment to the United States Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court decisions.5

The restriction of the use of generic terms by the state is  justified only if there is enough well-documented evidence that allegedly inadequately trained practitioners (who have used those generic terms) have caused sufficient, serious harm, which has actually occurred. Then there is justification to restrict the use of generic terms to protect the public from that harm.5,6

There should also be sufficient well-documented evidence that the public has been protected from harm in states that have restricted the use of the generic terms to protect the public from harm.

Because Spiritual Massage HealingSM does not harm people. It does not need to be regulated to protect the public from harm or for any other reason.

Will  PA-AMTA honor 

its commitment?

I am therefore again asking you to let me know whether PA-AMTA will honor its commitment, and exempt Spiritual Massage HealingSM from its "new bill." 

Back to 1994 -

Is history repeating itself?

On April 26, 1994, Retta Flagg (who then Chaired the  PA-AMTA Committee on Licensure Qualification) wrote me to express her concern about inaccurate information for which she assumed I had been responsible.

Her letter also said that she respects my right to express my views on licensing and she thoroughly supports an ongoing dialogue about the pros and cons of licensing massage therapists in Pennsylvania.

On April 29, 1994, I sent Retta the following letter because I believe those who approve or disapprove of state regulation should explain and clarify their positions to avoid confusion and misunderstanding,

Dear Retta

"Thank you for your letter of April 26, 1994.

"I welcome this opportunity to establish a dialogue with you which your letter indicates you "thoroughly support." I want to begin my part of our dialogue by correcting four erroneous assumptions in your letter. 

"You are incorrect in assuming that I am the one who "sent out" the 4-page document (which includes my 2-page Action Alert) to which your letter refers.  A large scale mailing of that document was not my original idea, and I am not the one who put it together and sent it out.        

"You are incorrect in assuming that I wrote the statement about state reciprocity of licensed practitioners which you quote in your letter.  That statement is on page 4 of the four page document which includes the Action Alert on pages 2 and 3. I wrote only the 2-page Action Alert. The paragraph on the bottom of the second page of Action Alert, specifically states that Action Alert "comes from Albert Schatz".

"The rest of the 4-page document, including the statement about state reciprocity, does not come from Albert Schatz. In the Action Alert, I do not refer to state reciprocity at all. (I was well aware of the information in the enclosures, which accompanied your letter, about state reciprocity of licensed massage therapists, before I received your letter and those enclosures.)

"Everything on pages 1 and 4 of the document, to which your letter refers, was written by others. Please do not hold me responsible for what others have written. I neither saw nor edited the entire 4-page document before it was printed and sent out.

"Your statement implying that I have been "putting out inaccurate information to other massage therapists" is incorrect.

"I would appreciate it if you would direct me to any inaccuracies in any publication, about state regulation of massage, of which I am the author or a co-author, and provide documentation that the alleged inaccuracies are indeed inaccuracies.

"My objective with respect to state massage laws has been to do research on this highly controversial issue; and document the proverbial "other side," with which many massage therapists are unfamiliar. If I have published anything that is incorrect, I shall not only publish a correction or retraction, but will also cite or refer to the evidence which proves that I was inaccurate.

"I have done research for more than half a century, and have published three books and over 600 or 700 articles. Because I feel a profound responsibility for the accuracy of what I publish, I always have at least one and usually two knowledgeable people edit everything I write.

"You are also incorrect in designating me "a spokesperson for the massage community."  That "community" has never designated me its spokesperson. Nor have I ever represented myself as such.

"Aside from the above, I would appreciate your providing me with the information that Karen Carlson and I requested in the enclosed copy of our Letter to the Editor which appeared in the March/April, 1994, issue of MASSAGE magazine. No one has yet responded.

 "Don't you think that proponents of state massage laws have a professional responsibility to provide the massage community with the information we requested in our Letter to the Editor?

"Also, please tell me how many massage therapists have been prevented, by physical therapists, from doing massage in Pennsylvania, and where and when such incidents took place.

"Finally, I want to tell you once again how pleased I am that you 'thoroughly support an ongoing dialog about the pros and cons of licensing massage therapists in Pennsylvania.'" 

"I am looking forward to the pleasure of your reply."

                                               Sincerely yours,

                                                Albert Schatz

________________________

                     May 20, 2001

Dear Retta:

 In your letter of April 26, 1994, you said you thoroughly support an ongoing dialogue about the pros and cons of licensing massage therapists in Pennsylvania. On April 29, 1994, I replied in detail to your letter of April 26, 1994. In my reply, I said, I welcome this opportunity to establish a dialogue with you which your letter indicates you "thoroughly support."

However, I am still waiting for your reply to my letter of April 29, 1994.

I am also still waiting for your reply to the question I asked you in the Message Law Newsletter 19(2):1-3 in March. 2001

How can we have an "ongoing dialogue" if you don't reply?

           Sincerely yours,

                                               Albert Schatz

References

1. Schatz, A. Spiritual Massage Healing should be exempt from state regulation of secular massage therapy. Massage Law Newsletter. 19(2):1 - 3, 2001

2. Bigelow, J. The Joy of Circumcision. Hourglass Book Publishing. Aptos, California. 1992.

3. A third amendment to the Articles of Incorporation of the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 3(2):7. 1998. (Articles of Amendment  - Domestic Nonprofit Corporation. .Entity No. 2615349. Microfilm No. 9787. (250-386). Pennsylvania Department of State. Corporation Bureau. December 1,1997)

4. Schatz, A. The Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. Spiritual Massage Healing. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 1(1):1-53. 1994. 

5. Schatz, A., and Brewster, M. Are all state laws that regulate massage therapists illegal? Massage Law Newsletter. 20(2):1-9. 2001.

6. Schatz, A.., and Brewster, m. There is no legal justification for state regulation of massage therapists. Part 1: Evidence that massage is safe versus evidence that massage is harmful. Massage Law Newsletter. 17(2):1-9.2001.

________________

cc:  Clarence D. Bell. Chair. Pennsylvania Senate Committee for Consumer Protection and  Professional  Licensure

Alexandra Matthews, Esq. Legal Counsel.  Pennsylvania Senate Committee for Consumer Protection and  Professional Licensure 

Michael Fisher. Attorney General.  Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Tom Ridge. Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Allyson Y. Schwartz. Senator.  Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Steven C. Olson, President. American Massage Therapy Association

Cheryl A. Neeley. AMTA Government Relations Staff Liaison

PA-AMTA Board members:

      Nancy Porambo

      Cheryl Callahan

      Kathy Bustard

      Dee Thompson

      Marcia Shaw

      Nick Claxton

      Helen Traglia

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