It is the responsibility of the ARCB Legislative Committee to work in conjunction with the Reflexology Association of America (RAA) to nationally monitor legislation; to work for an exemption from massage and other restrictive state laws; to provide aid with strategies to local reflexologists in opposing a bill; to write position papers as needed; to attend/testify at committee hearings if warranted; and to work within state and national non-massage coalitions, if necessary, in order to safeguard the rights of reflexologists to work as a discipline separate from all others. Currently reflexology is exempt from 28 of the 40 massage laws and has three state reflexology laws of their own. For a current list of states with massage laws, refllexology exemptions and reflexology licensure see the Reflexology Association of America (RAA) website. Click here to access the RAA website state chart.
ARCB has always been, and will be opposed, to any legislation that would require reflexologists to become a massage therapist, or to be licensed under any other law (i.e., cosmetology) to practice.
In many states reflexology is thought to be governed by an existing massage law or through the rules and regulation designed by the massage board of a state to implement the massage law. It is ARCB’s contention that reflexology does not constitute the practice of massage and therefore should not come under the jurisdiction of massage when it is not specifically mentioned in the law and if it does, and there is interest, it should be changed.
Due to the unique and widely varying political climates across the nation specifics cannot be given about how to deal with governmental bureaucracy. It is essential ARCB and RAA be contacted to discuss the situation in a particular state before reflexologists become involved in any legislative activity.
Realistically, getting a reflexology law passed at the state level can involve a great deal of money, time, and needs a strong state organization with a large membership. On the other hand, a challenge to the liberal view of the definition taken by the Massage Board can be made by an individual or an association of any size.
It should be noted that a law is not a panacea for the challenges a profession faces. With any kind of law you give up one thing to get something else. In this case reflexologists could give up a certain amount of creative freedom to determine how they practice for censorship from a licensing board and the possible ability to receive insurance reimbursement (insurance companies as a general rule will only reimburse licensed professionals on prescriptions issued by a licensed professional).
Before deciding on licensing we must ask ourselves why we want it and what we hope to accomplish by licensing (power, money, status, establishment of an identity separate from other modalities, credibility, self-esteem, to receive insurance payments, etc.?). Laws are designed to protect the public, not the profession. However many times they are turf wars and legislators see this right away and send the parties out to meet and come back with their own solution.
Today, reflexologists around the country are working on many governmental levels to change the licensing situation. An individual, as a citizen, has the right to challenge any massage law/ordinance. Fighting a restrictive massage law will mean first starting a state reflexology association if none exists and developing a coalition with other touch therapies to establish strength in numbers. Legislation on any level is not to be taken lightly as it is not easy to have a law or ordinance passed and the mood at most governmental levels is not to create any new licensing boards, but to combine or eliminate them as a way of appearing to reduce spending. The usual time frame to create change is 3-4 years of work, and can run into tens of thousands of dollars if a lobbyist becomes involved. However, it is possible for you and your association to do all the work yourself and save money. ARCB is here to assist you. But, there is never any guarantee of success. In any situation there are no short cuts and change at any governmental level is a time consuming process.
As you consider legislation you are encourage to contact the ARCB office and purchase the book: ARCB Legislative Work & Guidelines, which is a quick course in Legislation 101 to aid you in your decision making process.