By: David Comings, BCPP
APTA Director of Legislation
We all have an idea of what protections “Health Freedom” laws provide. My understanding was that they provide broad protections to unlicensed health-related modalities. I was partially right. They do provide protection – until the licensing laws change.
Minnesota is in the process of working to enact a new massage law. I had not realized this could be done in a “Health Freedom” state – it can.
Limitations of Health Freedom Laws
Health Freedom Laws work very well… until the next licensing law is enacted. A poorly written massage law can eliminate our right to practice without a massage license (or another professional license) with the stroke of a pen.
Fortunately, the Minnesota law is being crafted by our Federation partner the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), which is working to ensure this is a well-written law that protects its Federation partners.
However, the massage industry (minus the AMTA) is not the only threat to our right to practice. The anti-human trafficking industry targets all “touch therapies” – massage, reflexology, Asian Bodywork, Polarity Therapy, and the like. In their eyes, we are all fronts for “human trafficking,” more specifically, prostitution.
While I believe that the anti-human trafficking lobby has good intentions with respect to protecting the legitimate victims of human trafficking – Polarity Therapist members of APTA are not human trafficking victims or prostitutes!
States enact licensing laws for several reasons:
- Bring in revenue
- Protect the public
- Establish “quality standards”
All of these are worthy goals for a state to pursue. The trade-off can be a reduction in the diversity of health maintenance options.
APTA’s partners, the Federation and the Alliance, are both working to ensure our right to practice. While each has a different approach, both share a common goal – the right of their members to practice their healing arts with few to no limitations.
The Federation has historically pursued exemptions to massage laws so that member organization’s practices are not categorized as “massage,” which would then require us to obtain a massage license to practice.
While the Federation has been successful in many states, there are several exceptions. For example, in Florida, Texas, New York, and Rhode Island Polarity Therapists require a massage license (or another professional license) in order to practice.
In addition, the exemptions the Federation has relied on have started being misrepresented by the anti-human trafficking industry as legal “loopholes” that need to be closed to deter prostitution.
The Alliance is working to establish an energy healing licensing system at the state level. That means in states that have these licensing laws, energy healers would be required to be licensed. While there are additional fees and hurdles to go through to obtain a license, licensed practices receive good legal protections from the state. Licensed practices are also commonly payable through insurance.
While Health Freedom laws are excellent for as far as they go – they are not perfect. They are only as good as the next licensing law that chips away at the protections they once provided. There are only eleven states that have such laws, and changes can happen quite quickly.
Remain alert to changes in your state’s laws. If you hear about a proposal that will change your right to practice Polarity Therapy in your state or commonwealth – let us know! We are doing the best we can to ensure our rights are preserved and we need your help. Be our eyes and ears in your state, let us know about proposed changes – and if we ask for your calls and letters to your legislators, take action!
Your Legislative Committee is doing our part to ensure every Polarity Therapist has a legal right to practice in every state – stand by us while we work together to make it happen across all 50 states.
David Comings, BCPP
APTA Director of Legislation