By: David Comings, Director of Legislation
And the beat goes on… Kansas is the next State working to implement licensing. They are working specifically to license massage therapists, however, once they get started in their fight against “human trafficking” it can be difficult to get them to constrain themselves.
It is important to remember something that was brought up to a group of us this week by a woman with extensive experience working on behalf of her organization to preserve and protect their right to practice. She reminded us all that there are multiple approaches, and we need to be careful which approach we advocate – because we just might get what we ask for!
When the massage industry is working on licensing within a State – like Kansas – we, as Polarity Therapists, have three fundamental possibilities:
- We can fall within the Massage Board and be licensed within their framework;
- We can be licensed by a Board other than the Massage Board – ideally one better suited to what we do;
- We can seek exemption from the massage law.
Licensing within the framework of the Massage Board is the worst possible option for energy practitioners. Massage does not differentiate between what they do and Polarity Therapy or other energy work. In this case, it is often required that everyone (even energy practitioners) obtain massage training and a massage license to practice in the State. Examples of this include Florida, Texas, New York, and Rhode Island. Currently, Ohio requires a license to practice “therapeutic” massage but not “relaxation” massage. Since the State’s definition of massage includes what we do as Polarity Practitioners, we are technically doing massage in Ohio. However, as long as we advertise that it is done for relaxation and is not a therapeutic practice, we can stay “technically” legal. Be aware, there is an effort underway in Ohio to change the law to require a license for ALL massage, which will eliminate the loophole we are currently using to be able to practice.
Licensing by a Board other than the Massage Board is far preferable, particularly if the Board understands and is aligned with energy work. This is the essence of the framework that the Alliance is working to establish. The Alliance’s certification would work in a similar fashion to a massage certification, by becoming the designation that establishes a practitioner has received the proper training and has met a specified set of standards – as demonstrated by their having obtained the certification. That certification then becomes the basis for the licensing program within the State. There will still likely be a State Board, however, they are far more likely to understand energy work and far less likely to attempt to relegate all touch therapies to the bucket of massage.
Our third option is to seek exemptions from the massage law in each State. This has historically been the option we have focused our efforts on and has been somewhat successful. The problem with exemption is that the fight for exemption needs to be waged every time the massage law is rewritten, which can be surprisingly often. In addition, there are organizations – like the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office – that see the exemptions as loopholes that human traffickers can and will exploit to ply their trade. While the Attorney General’s Office may not be able to show that rubmaps[dot]com, and similar sites, contain listings for Polarity Therapy (or a number of other exempt practices), they will assert that they have seen such listings and that they change on a daily basis – which is why we cannot find our practice listed today.
APTA is still a strong proponent of the work we are doing with our partners in The Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Practice Organizations (The Federation), which works diligently to obtain exemptions for our practices. Their work is unending and is of tremendous value to APTA and all of our Polarity Practitioners.
APTA also supports The National Alliance of Energy Practitioners (NAOEP), and its associated organization, the National Certification Center of Energy Providers (NCCOEP). The Alliance, as the organizations are collectively known, is working as mentioned above to create a certification program whereby energy practitioners receive a NCCOEP certification, which for Polarity Practitioners is largely based on having earned and obtained certification as a Board Certified Polarity Practitioner (BCPP). The Alliance’s certification is intended to become the energy worker’s equivalent to a massage certification – one of the keys to licensing through the programs established in the States.
There is no way to tell with certainty what the future will bring. As a result, APTA is working with both the Federation and the Alliance to cultivate and support our two best options for establishing, or maintaining our right to practice. While many States are working towards licensing, Maine last year became a Health Freedom State. By working within the two best options and clearly differentiating ourselves from massage therapy, APTA is working on your behalf to prevent Polarity Therapy from being absorbed within the umbrella of the massage industry, and working to ensure our right to practice as a separate and distinct discipline. Massage therapy is a great practice. Polarity Therapy is an amazingly effective practice – and they are different. Let’s celebrate the d