MLN Vol.3.No.2

Massage Law Newsletter

          Vol. 3, No. 2                                    ISSN 1073-5461                                      March 1998

PENNSYLVANIA SENATE BILL 1171 IS UNREAL

The more proponents try to justify Senate Bill 1171,

the more convincing evidence they provide that

Senate Bill 1171 is not needed.

Why does Senate Bill 1171 require a 200-hour training

for reflexologists to massage people's feet?

The Red Cross requires only 4- and 9-hour trainings

for cardiopulmonoary resuscitators to treat people

 with acute, life-threatening problems.

To:       Judy Dobbs, President, Pennsylvania Reflexology Association

From:  Albert Schatz

Although reflexology is done on hands and feet, it most frequently involves only feet. I refer to reflexology as massage of the feet because that is what some people call it; others call it foot massage. 

Although the manipulations of the hands and feet are different in massage therapy and reflexology, practitioners of both modalities work on their clients' soft tissues manually.

I am writing to you for information for the following reasons:

(a) The Pennsylvania Reflexology Association has been a component of the Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition which has promoted licensure "first and foremost to protect the public from harm."

(b)  Senate Bill 1171, which would license reflexology, requires "a minimum of 200 hours of non-correspondence, post-secondary course instruction."

I shall discuss the issue of harm first, and then the 200-hour training for reflexology.

The issue of harm

I would appreciate your providing me with well-documented evidence of harm caused by reflexologists with less than 200 hours of training.

If you do not have well-documented evidence of that harm, would you please explain:

(a) Why the Pennsylvania Reflexology Association has been supporting the Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition in promoting licensure "first and foremost to protect the public from harm"?

(b) Why reflexologists, regardless of their training, should be licensed to protect the public from harm?

(c)  Whether the 200-hour training would protect the public from harm twice as effectively as a 100-hour training, and eight times as effectively as a 25-hour training - if the public did indeed need that protection?

Why does reflexology need

a 200-hour training?

On what rationale and  logic, does the 200-hour training rest?

In other words, why does Senate Bill 1171 require a training of 200-hours, instead of a training of, let us say,  300, 250, 150, 100, 50, 25 or 12 hours?

I believe the Pennsylvania Reflexology Association has an obligation to justify the need for a 200-hour training

(a) to state legislators concerned with consumer protection and professional licensure,

(b) and to those who will have to pay for the 200-hour training. 

A comparison of training for massage

therapy and reflexology

Senate Bill 1171 requires "a minimum of 500

hours of in-class, post secondary course instruction for massage therapy, which involves the  whole body, except genitals and womens' breasts.

Reflexologists massages only a client's feet, not her whole body.

WHY DO REFLEXOLOGISTS NEED 40% OF THE 500-HOUR WHOLE BODY MASSAGE TRAINING TO MASSAGE A PERSON'S TWO FEET WHICH ARE SUCH A SMALL PART OF HER WHOLE BODY?

A comparison of training for cardio-

pulmonary resuscitation

and reflexology

The American Red Cross provides 4- and 9-hour trainings for cardiopulmonary resuscitation which is done on many people when they are experiencing acute, life-threatening health problems.

Reflexologists, like massage therapist, should not be treating people when they have acute, life-threatening health problems.

WHY DO REFLEXOLOGISTS NEED 2,100% TO 4,900% MORE TRAINING THAN PEOPLE WHO DO CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION?

Why isn't a 12-hour training

for reflexology adequate?

Some people, who have taken a 2-day, 12-hour reflexology weekend workshop, have been doing   reflexology for several years. Throughout that time, they have had many satisfied clients, and have not harmed anybody.

Two-day  weekend trainings in reflexology are presently being offered.

I would appreciate your providing me with well-documented evidence which explains why  a 2-day 12-hour training in reflexology is not adequate.

In your reply, please give me permission to publish your letter. 

SENATE BILL 1171 IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF

 WHY

PENNSYLVANIA NEEDS A SUNRISE LAW

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

 Senate Bill 1171:

Will be detrimental to the public, especially to low-income women.

Will benefit only those to whom it gives monopoly control.

Will not protect the public from harm because there is no harm.

Is not supported by consumer protection agencies.

       WHAT IS A SUNRISE LAW

A Sunrise Law requires that those who promote licensing a profession (which involves treating people) must provide well-documented evidence showing that:

(a) The unlicensed profession is a serious danger to the public health and safety;

(b) State licensing will adequately protect the public health and safety; and

(c) No other means can also protect the public health and safety.

IF PENNSYLVANIA HAD

A SUNRISE LAW

Senate Bill 1171 would not exist because unlicensed massage therapists and other bodyworkers have not harmed people. On the contrary, massage is safe.

More people are STRUCK BY LIGHTNING  than are harmed by massage.

It has been estimated that there is one possible case of harm in every 19,240,000 massages. Is licensure needed to protect the public from so little harm?

Previous massage licensure bills, which had been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature years before Senate Bill 1171, were not enacted. Despite that, people have not been harmed by massage therapists.

This is convincing evidence that licensure of massage is not needed to protect the public from harm.

   SENATE BILL 1171 WILL HARM

THE PUBLIC, AND ESPECIALLY        

     LOW-INCOME WOMEN

The public will be harmed by the monopoly control that Senate Bill 1171 will establish. Licensure,which is monopoly control, limits the number of practitioners, decreases competition, raises prices, and restricts  information which the public gets.

Without Senate Bill 1171, massage and other bodywork will be open to anybody who wants to do that work, just as it has been for decades, WITH NO PROBLEMS.

Monopoly control will be especially detrimental to low income people, especially women, for whom massage has been providing  a supplemental income which enables them to support themselves.

Many of these people cannot afford to pay for the training which Senate Bill 1171 requires - a training which is completely unnecessary for the massage work they have been doing.

Senate Bill 1171 will make these people financially dependent on family members and friends.

SENATE BILL 1171 WILL THEREFORE ELIMINATE JOBS AND INCREASE UN- EMPLOYMENT AT A TIME WHEN OUR SOCIETY IS TRYING TO CREATE JOBS AND DECREASE UNEMPLOYMENT.

 Since practitioners of massage and other bodywork professions - regardless of training - have not harmed anybody, it is not necessary for them to meet the educational requirements of Senate Bill 1171.

Some practitioners (including those who are self-taught) have been doing massage for many years, and have had many satisfied clients, WITH NO PROBLEMS.

This is precisely what has been happening here in Pennsylvania for several decades, WITH NO PROBLEMS.

Why change something that has worked very well for Pennsylvania consumers for several decades, WITH NO PROBLEMS?

WHERE'S THE HARM?

The Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition was created in April, 1994, "to assert the legitimacy, professionalism, and value of our various modalities by creating and working for the passage of licensing legislation."

The Coalition also began "working [in 1994] to create a bill which protects the public from harm."

However, the Coalition has NEVER provided information about the harm from which it wants to protect the public - despite its unequivocally clear allegation that the licensure it was promoting was "first and foremost to protect the public from harm."

In December, 1997, three years and eight months after the Coalition was established, Barbara Mikos (who was listed as Treasurer of the Coalition) began looking for harm.  

The December, 1997, issue of The Balanced Body - the newsletter of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) - included a questionnaire.

This questionnaire solicited  information about harm and "instances in which the safety of the public has been jeopardized."

The questionnaire is to be filled out and sent to Barbara Mikos whom the newsletter listed as the Second Vice President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of  AMTA, and its officer in charge of Government Relations and Fundraising.

WHO WANTS

SENATE BILL 1171?

The answer to this question tells you who will benefit from Senate Bill 1171.

Consumer Protection Agencies are not lobbying for Senate Bill 1171.

Only special interest groups, which will benefit from Senate Bill 1171, are lobbying for this bill.

The December, 1997, newsletter of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has eight articles about Senate Bill 1171 and the need to support this bill. One article, by Nancy M. Porambo, Eastern District Representative of AMTA, tells us that Senate Bill 1171 "would protect the interests of the therapists."

Let us first consider the therapists' interests and then the alleged need to protect their interests.

WHAT ARE THESE

INTERESTS?

According to Don Schwartz, Director of the Trager Institute:

I think the move toward licensure is regrettable. I believe licensing creates state-sanctioned monopolies ... with the explicit goal of  'protecting the public,' but with the real effect of protecting those who hold the monopolies' respective entitlements, reducing information to the public, and restricting competition.

According to Jerry A. Green, Attorney for the California Coalition on Somatic Practices,

It seems that proponents of licensing are hopeful that a state license would mean more money, status, and power. 

WHY IS THERE A NEED TO

PROTECT THESE INTERESTS?

Why don't the proponents of  Senate Bill 1171 explain:

(a) Why the licensure they want is not monopoly control?

(b) Why the therapists need Senate Bill 1171 to protect their interests?

(c) How Senate Bill 1171 will benefit the public, in view of the fact that people have not been harmed throughout all the years during which there has been no licensure?

WHY IS THERE A NEED TO

PRESERVE THE FUTURE OF

THEIR PROFESSION?

The above-mentioned article tells us that  Senate Bill 1171 would "preserve the future of our profession." However, the article did not explain why the future of the profession needs to be preserved.

Why don't  the proponents of  Senate Bill 1171 explain:

(a) Whether their profession is really in danger of becoming extinct; and, if so, why?

(b) If their profession is not in danger of becoming extinct, why do they now need licensure to "preserve its future?"

Their profession has not only survived, but has actually flourished in Pennsylvania for many decades without state regulation. Why do they suddenly now need Senate Bill 1171 to preserve its future?

WHY IS THERE A NEED TO

 PROTECT THE PROFESSION

FROM UNSCRUPULOUS

PRACTICE?

The article tells us that one benefit of state regulation is that it "protects our profession from unscrupulous practice."

Why don't the proponents  of  Senate Bill 1171 explain:

(a) What that unscrupulous practice is?

(b) How widespread and how serious that unscrupulous practice is in Pennsylvania?

(c) How and to what extent, if any, has that unscrupulous practice actually harmed the public and the profession in Pennsylvania?

(d) How effectively has regulation in other states protected the public and the profession from that same unscrupulous practice?

Reference

Schatz, A. Follow the money trail to find out why scare tactics tell us secular massage is harmful. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. Special Issue No. 4. 1997.

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