U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS
"Religious liberty includes not only the conventional methods of worship but the unortho-dox as well, such as distributing religious literature from door to door.
"No license may be exacted by the state for the performance of any religious exercise, nor a tax imposed on it.
"Although the matter has not been authoritatively decided, it would seem that religious liberty extends to atheists as well as to theists, to those who find their religion in ethics and morality, rather than in a Supreme Being.
"What may be pagan exercises to one person may be a devotional to another. In general it is no business of the government what rite or practice a person selects as part of his religious belief; and he may not be punished for practicing or avowing it"
From The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom Compiled by ALbert J. Mendez and Edd Doerr. Centerline Press. Long Beach, California. 1991
We have received many comments by people who are interested what we call Spiritual Massage Healing.SM We have previously published some comments, but will no longer collect them because the following adequately represent the widespread interest in Spiritual Massage Healing.SM
Many of those who are involved with Spiritual Massage Healing are formally ordained ministers. Others believe they have been ordained directly by God. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you. John 15:16.
They also believe they are ministering spirits , sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.. Hebrews 1:14.
Some have a non-denominational approach, comparable to that described by Ron Roth at the Celebrating Life Institute for Spiritual Healing, Peru, IL:
I believe that God is the creator of all people and therefore all people are welcome at my spiritual healing workshops and seminars. All I ask is that the people attending will "leave their denominations" out in the parking lot before entering the lecture hall.
Massage is spiritual communication.
Massage is sacred. It is dance, life, and breath; souls touch.
Thank you for your spiritual vision.
I feel strongly about the spirituality of my work… I have been leaning more and more toward this [spiritual] avenue of approach… I'm writing to applaud this most recent effort [for networking and communication].
I am a Christian [massage therapist] who truly believes that God has blessed me with the opportunity and vehicle [with] which to minister to others through touch… I have found myself attracted to the concept of healing the whole person, or body, mind and spirit. In my practice and personal life, I have come to realize that without spiritual and mental healing, anything I do in the physical realm in only a temporary fix. The tools I lack is the knowledge base to back up these concepts as shown in the Word of God… I would like to offer my appreciation for your effort and devotion in this area.
When I am giving a massage, I feel a power working through me that does the work. I am merely the vehicle for the energy to flow through and "touch" the client's deepest true self.
I would like to strengthen the spiritual side of my massage and emphasize spiritual healing of mind and body.
Jesus heals with love and was always tender [in] touching those who needed His love. Because He is, I am.
I feel that I am already practicing spiritual massage. Prayer is always included in my massage session, and I feel motivated by spirit much more than by my knowledge of anatomy and physiology. Thank you so much for creating this organization so that like-minded people can connect and feel supported in our pursuit of God-centered healing and living.
In 1975, I had a Near Death Experience which ended with the "light" telling me "it was in my hands." It took 12 years for me to go to Esalen for some massage training 'cause "nice girls don't do that." … At Esalen, the resident spiritual healer … accepted me as a sister.
We are interested in membership in the Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry to ministry. Our approach to massage encourages students to begin the journey of healing themselves, while learning a way to share their love and gifts with others.
[I want to be a member of the Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry] because my higher self said "yes" when I asked the question.
Over the past three years, I have undergone a whole spiritual transformation of my life… During this healing time, I was led from the inside to take the training for Reiki and Therapeutic Touch, and am… interested in the network you are establishing that relates bodywork as a spiritual modality.
I am a Catholic … massage therapist. I am already doing [spiritual massage] just by my own "inner call." I know I am moving in the direction that God calls me for my vocation and my life's work.
I am a full time massage student who is interested in the connection between the mind and the body - specifically the spiritual aspects of healing. I recently decided to learn more about massage therapy as I have known for a long time that I was a spiritual healer, but didn't quite know how to use my talents in a materialistic society… Hopefully, once I graduate from massage school, I will be able to incorporate what I have learned regarding the physical aspects of healing with the spiritual aspects. I am sure there are many massage therapists and professional health care workers, in general, who connect with their clients and patients, not just on a physical level but also in a spiritual way as well.
I'm interested in … the spiritual nature of massage. My partner and I have been in business for about seven and a half years and are both aware that this subject is not given enough attention.
I am a massage therapist… As a Christian, I find massage the perfect situation to care, pray, and listen to people.
As a massage therapist delivering … energy, my work is very spiritual in nature. My studies have taken me through the "Healing Touch" program… Both modalities originated in generations past. I am … considering theology training as an addition to my current work.
I have been a [massage] therapist since '93… People say I'm a natural. Lots of people get healed. I quit going to church … after going to Bible College for a year. It seems that the more religious people get, the less spiritual they become. I have found massage to be a priestly profession. Depression, suicide, stress, etc. are what I understand and can deal with through massage. I do lots of physical therapeutic massage, but I think a real "Biblical Priest" should be an anointed massage therapist.
I am a bodyworker, having spent the past three years as a self-employed massage therapist. I'm a devout Episcopalian, and have been called a "healer" when I work on people. I was called to do this work by God.
I am a newly certified massage therapist, a Christian who embraces the Full Gospel of the Bible, which includes the practice of anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I don't yet know how my spirituality will affect my massage practice.
It was great to read your letter in Massage magazine about the religious origin [of massage]… Since my interest in massage came to me at a very difficult time in my life, … I feel that the massage training was a gift from God. My life had already been changed … when I gave my life to Jesus and in massage school… I started asking Him for the Gift of Healing through my hands. I really believe He wants to give us gifts, and if I didn't ask I wouldn't receive. So, I asked.
I am a true believer that bodywork and spirituality go hand in hand, and I am excited at the possibility of joining a network group to expand on this aspect of massage.
I feel very strongly about the spirituality of my [massage] work.
I am a Franciscan woman, religious, working 7 years in the ministry of massage. I'm always interested in deepening the spiritual level of massage.
I'm so glad the spiritual basis of massage is being recognized and reestablished… I long ago recognized that massage is of God and that the 'anointing with oil and laying on of hands" mentioned in the Bible must have been massage. I enter each massage session by giving it over to God for His healing through me and my Christ. It is beautiful… I use … Swedish techniques which have evolved into my own unique massage… Since I open it with prayer … and keep the prayer open through the session, it usually takes off on its own much to my and my client's … delight… It is always a beautiful confirmation to learn others have been led by the same guidance within relatively the same time period. Those called will, I hope, come together in work, around the country and the world… for massage and its yet undiscovered gifts to manifest themselves in spiritual healing. I am not highly educated in the formal sense. Nevertheless, God has called me … to do this work at this particular place and time… I believe massage is included in "his sun" in Matthew 5:45.
Massage is clearly a tool, a technique, a path for spiritual awareness… altering our mind-state, shifting our consciousness, and gathering in spirit.
I am [the] owner of a 3-year-old [massage] practice. This has been in many respects a ministry as I share Bible verses of encouragement and hope (when appropriate) and silently pray for people while working with them. So, yes I am interested in being a part of your network.
I am anxious to make contact with others doing God's healing work in these difficult times. I believe we need to support each other in legal and Spiritual ways; especially as the Government and the AMA exert more and more control over people's lives and choices.
We would appreciate any information you have on Christianity and massage. We are planning to start a group here … to promote massage, and lend each other support, all with Christian emphasis. I wrote the two other groups that were mentioned in the Massage magazine, and we will see if these groups are one with God. Let us know your goals and if we can help. I am a massage therapist and also a free-lance writer and can offer help with writing, marketing and promotions. We were in the process of praying about starting a Christian group of massage therapists when we saw your letter in the magazine. We're anxious to get together and share ideas and encourage.
I am a practical nurse who also has studied Therapeutic Touch and Reiki… Although this work helps people with physical problems, I have always felt it helps them even more with reconnecting themselves to their souls, and even helps develop their relationship with God.
I [am] pleased to learn that there are others who do massage with a spiritual background.
I truly believe that massage is a sacred act of unconditional love and energy sharing.
I have often wondered how I might tie massage to my increasing spirituality and religious beliefs. What can I do that might help others and myself grow in these areas? I have little interest in monetary gain from this endeavor. As the area and church I am from are fairly conservative, I am a little shy and naive about what I might do to contribute.
I know we have a similar path in life and I want to commend you for your views expressed in Massage magazine. It saddens me … that there is so much emphasis on technique; that is, until I read comments such as yours… I believe I was put on this planet at this time to hold a place for the truly magical healing experience that massage and touch can hold for us all. I entered massage after heading down the medical path because there was an intense knowing that something mysterious and powerful existed at the core of the massage experience. Without asking why or how, I answered the call of my path and will continue … for the mystery of massage to be honored without explanation of how [or] why … it works… If there is anything I can do to support you … let me know. I would like to become a member of your new spiritual healing group.
I am interested in your ministry… Although [my work] helps people with physical problems, I have always felt it helps them more with reconnecting themselves to their souls and even helps develop their relationship with God.
I am interested in learning about everything you offer.
I am a recently-graduated massage therapist who is very interested in the spiritual aspects of bodywork.
I am most interested in your publications as well as any other information you can send me about your work in spiritual massage healing.
I have been practicing a combination of massage techniques since 1976 and have found myself moving steadily in the direction of prayer work and invocation. I am delighted to witness the expansion and recognition of Spirits' presence on so many levels in so many people's lives as they endeavor to create [the] right [kind of] livelihood.
I am a massage therapist working with women recovering from traumatic touch … in a Christian Counseling Center. I would like to network with others doing spiritual work and massage.
We … are very interested in learning about the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health … Newsletter and Ministry. It sounds so wonderful… My husband and I would like information as soon as possible.
I represent a newly formed association … that is dedicated to the service of the Lord through the business of massage. At … present … our focus is just in reaching Christian therapists… I'm sure … [that] whatever information you care to share would be most beneficial to us.
I have been drawn to working with more people facing life threatening conditions and those dealing with much physical, emotion and spiritual pain. In addition to my private practice, I work one
day a week offering massage at a residence for individuals who are HIV positive and also volunteer at a hospice.
I am already a minister so I can do various forms of spiritual hands-on healing
I am interested in joining your organization as a spiritual Healer bodyworker.
I feel … that finding your organization has been an answer to [a] prayer… Please send me … information that relates to the work you do, your beliefs, and any literature that will help me better understand your work.
Thanks so very much for the information… What you're doing is just fantastic.
What I would like to do is become active within my own church … and other churches in [my] area… I believe if I can present my services with a spiritual aspect, many will be open to seeing the benefit of bodywork.
The Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry … sounds exactly like what I have been looking for.
I am so glad to know that there are others out there who are putting the spiritual aspects of massage first in their practice without necessarily being aligned with a particular religion. Your publications will be eagerly awaited.
I am a practicing massage therapist who recognizes [that massage] goes far beyond the traditional medical views. The work is spiritual.
I am a retired minister [and] will pray for your work. I cannot afford your annual dues.
The climate of massage has changed so much [that] I'm not that much interested in participating in it [anymore]. The massage profession seems to be heading toward inclusion in the medical model, with much emphasis on insurance clients, large practices - focus on business. I can talk the line but it isn't what I love. I realized yesterday, while talking to my friend …, who was expressing much the same discontent, that I want to take massage back to the people as a way of loving connection and personal discovery instead of training professionals. I have become discouraged about [doing] what I love to do and do well.
I have been a giver as well as a recipient of healing through massage, and was very pleased to learn that there are others who do massage with a spiritual background.
As I approach any person for massage, it is with the intent of both physical and spiritual healing. -
I have been a massage therapist for [several] years and my work seems to be touching people at many levels. I feel I need support as I don't know too many massage therapists who work at the spiritual level.
I worry about the requirement [that] massage shall be ... medical in nature. It bothers me that it seems to only be OK to be touched if we are sick. It just seems that to be touched for health and wholeness and as fellow members of the human race is a much healthier approach.
I am ... an ordained minister. I always bring prayer and spiritual conversation into each and every healing touch meeting. I am totally committed to bringing the word forth with good cheer to those who will and need to hear... I feel we should have an association for massage that is spiritual- The Laying on of Hands.
Most of the work I do is geared toward a Spiritual Approach. I've noticed that all roads lead to Rome, and "Rome" is indeed the spiritual center of our lives.
I've been doing energy work/laying on of hands in a hospital ... for the last five years. I'm a Psychotherapist, healer, ... minister, and artist; and am interested in connecting with others in the same work.
I am currently with the ... Church ... and am in my intermediate year in the ... School of Massage. Through my own research and reading of the Bible, I have become interested in the oil and laying on of hands, and am very interested in whatever you have to offer in terms of literature or just research.
I am a 51-year-old 'child of the kingdom' burnt out data processing executive who is comtemplating massage therapy - spiritual healing as a second career - avocation/ministry. I pride myself on being your basic undenominated 'off-the-'shelf' generic Christian. I've studied what I consider to be the best parts of the Bible (don't we all) and have an increasingly clear (if personal) understanding of the healings Jesus ministered, and the 'signs,' we as believers, were called to materialize in our own lives. Mark 16:15-18.
The Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry ... sounds just like what I have been looking for.
[I am] a Bible believing Christian massage therapist... I do believe this work is my gift from God. I'm very interested in what you might be doing.
I seem to have been born with a natural gift for laying-on -of-hands healing which I've been studying and practicing for twenty years, and have successfully combined it with massage therapy.. Your association ... seems to be something I may be interested in.
Having shared bodywork, we have touched souls.
Thank you so much for providing me with information about [the] Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry. I'm positive it's through the work of God that you reached me. I've been practicing massage for a few years, and initially used the term Healing Touch; how interesting.
Thank you so much for your words. I am sure it was God-given, but you were listening. That's what I've been doing... I'm going to massage school... I felt the Lord's calling, am waiting for further direction from Him... Please let me know how I can share with the blessed Ministry. I want to start to be a clear vessel or channel for the LORD to use me and my hands. His will not mine [will] be done. I have much to learn, or let God show me.
I was very appreciative of your article on [the] Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry in [the} AAMP [Arkansas Alliance of Massage Practitioners] massage update. I have felt for many of my 13 years as a licensed ... massage therapist that my work was a gift from God and that I am only a channel of His Light and Love, and that the main focus of my work is that it is spiritual in nature... I read your article the same day I had shared [it] with a client... I am in agreement with you... I am interested in the Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry... Thank you for speaking out on a very important subject... God bless.
Thanks ... for sharing your publications with me which I am enjoying. I am familiar with your work, and I appreciate the boldness you bring to the issue of professional regulation. I wish you and yours good fortune, and I'll be looking our for more articles by you in the touch media.
I am excited about the correlation between spiritual massage and nature. I have had powerful experiences with plant energy... I am developing a ... garden with the nature spirits and am happy to learn of your ministry.
I want to thank you so much for you tireless efforts on behalf of the Spiritual Massage Ministry newsletter. Your research and your dedication to religious freedom are very precious to me. I have practiced what I call Transformative Massage for ten years now and have found your words to accurately describe my experience.
I think it's wonderful that you care [about] what's happening in massage and are willing to "take a stand." ... I have put my trust in the spiritual power of massage to overcome whatever "materialistic" overtones it takes on as a profession. There will [always] be those gifted people [who] will touch with love wherever they are.
I truly enjoy the Journal and Newsletter. I learn so much and agree with so much in them.
I particularly like the September 15th  Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter, [especially] the paragraphs one through four [in the first article].
As I ... [read] the latest newsletter and journal ... I find myself marking passages... So much of what you are saying is so terribly, important to try to help people understand and then want to change their whole way of doing things. We must ... if extinction (in more than one area) is to be halted.
I've really gotten a lot out of your last two newsletters. This current one is really great. I have personally chosen to detach from the category of massage therapist. I ... pray before my sessions, and do ... all that goes along ... mentally and spiritually with ... the physical movement... After reading your current newsletter, I ... realized that I am not the only one who has questioned certification... I have all the qualifications ... and come highly recommended by three chiropractors and my clients, but ... I have a reading comprehension disability and dyslexia. No way does that affect my work capability. For, you see, I do His work and His healing by His grace. He works through me and that cannot be tested, no way! I prayed for God's Will and a healing ministry out of my own pain, and He blessed me abundantly.
Just finished reading [the] current issue of the Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. Even after having been licensed for 20 years and [teaching] for 15, I have to agree that ultimately it is the work itself - person to person/soul to soul - that legitimizes, certifies, validates whether the work it beneficial or not. I always taught that licensure does not guarantee clients. It simply gives permission to practice in a state that requires it... I enjoy your logic... You are certainly able to raise the question and answer it proficiently. I also appreciate that you care enough to take a stand and make a statement. If anything needs to be supported and applauded, it is the passion that makes someone stand up for their beliefs. You could even qualify as a evangelical minister - to bring the "word" to the world. I thank you for that.
Thanks for all you do for those of us who love ministering with massage. The newsletters are filled with useful information. I am passing some on to [others]. The feedback has been positive. The last newsletter for not regulating massage proved useful in a letter to our new governor. I wrote him a long letter suggesting he look into the feasibility of abolishing [licensure] of Massage Therapy. I gave him lots of reasons why [that] would be better for the state, the public and us [massage therapists]. I backed it up with information from your newsletter.
I became a member of the Spiritual Massage Ministry last fall. I want to let you know how much I have been enjoying the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork as well as your various humorous publications.
I love Mary's humor.
I have myself, for several years concluded what you have confirmed in your last couple of newsletters... I've experienced and witnessed much healing through massage in myself and my clients, and it goes way beyond a licensing or certifying piece of paper, or testing. .. Our work is above and beyond. There is a spiritual force and power at hand here... I personally have asked God, my Father, to allow me to be a vessel to heal as Jesus healed. I know that God has truly blessed me with a ministry and that it is my purpose in life to help heal others. .. My hat is off to you, Albert, in your research and documentation of the information in your newsletters. May God continue to bless you in your inspiration and health.
I want to share ... my finding solace in your [last] newsletter 'cause I've had lots of training but I'm one who doesn't want to take NCE (National Certification Examination], nor would I probably do well. At Esalen, the first day, my teacher stood behind me and whispered in my ear "I don't have to teach you anything." Most of the classes since then have been attempts at vocabulary - trying to communicate to folks who want to learn... I was happy to find you... Thanks so much for doing this work that I so desperately need.
I've appreciated the info in your newsletters so much. Thank you.
My visual picture since childhood and even after theological education is of Jesus touching a cheek, a head, a shoulder; praying to His Father and healing. As a massage therapy student and an RN and a born-again believer in the infallible Word of God, I do not have the "gift" of healing. But, as directed and lead by the Spirit, I can help manipulate soft tissue and thus be attentive to my clients physically and emotionally [and] ultimately bring them to a spiritual experience where body, soul, and spirit can become one as they seek the ultimate healing or New Birth. I am accumulating research/information regarding spirituality (not NEW AGE in origin) and massage therapy.
Thank you for this crucial and empowering service.
I ... want to again thank you with the utmost heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for all you have done about this issue [of state regulation]. Thanks for taking an extraordinary leadership role.
I am not a massage practitioner, but do laying on of hands and massage as I am led to do [it] by spirit, and use oils, herbs, and prayers. So I am interested in your information.
Thank you., Thank you, Thank you! I am so appreciative and grateful that you did all this work to help us."