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Massage Magazine, Issue 97, May/June 2002

Reiki freedom in Utah
By Brandi Schlossberg

Reiki is no longer considered a method of massage in Utah.  A recent review by the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing defined reiki as a "spiritual healing art," not subject to regulation by the Utah Board of Massage.

"Reiki practitioners will no longer be required to hold a massage license in order to practice reiki in the state of Utah," said Timothous Seaton, director of operations for the Utah Reiki Foundation.  "We have the freedom to establish reiki clinics, reiki outreach programs and reiki shares throughout the state."

Gaining freedom from regulation was the driving force behind the September 2001 formation of the Utah Reiki Foundation.  "Reiki practitioners were being denied a business license based on the fact the Utah Board of Massage required that all reiki practitioners hold a massage license to practice reiki in the state of Utah," said Seaton.  "These individuals were denied the right to open a legitimate business, thus earn an income, based on this regulation."

The development of the foundation was a move to unite the state's reiki practitioners on a quest to deregulate the technique.  A letter-writing campaign and petition ensued.

"With the date, time and place of the next (massage board) meeting in hand, I began writing letters to every reiki practitioner, master, master teacher and organization I could find," said Seaton.  "Every time I received a new letter, I forwarded it to the Utah Board of Massage for inclusion as part of public record."

About a month later, at the Nov. 13 meeting of the massage board, the issue of reiki was addressed.  Although a decision was not made at that time, representatives from the Utah Board of Occupational and Professional Licensing agreed to investigate the modality to determine whether it fit into the realm of massage.

"The issue was referred to the attorney general's office to render a legal opinion as to how reiki relates to the Massage Therapy Practice Act," said Scott Thompson, public information officer for the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

The state's massage practice act was developed in 1997, and reiki has been regulated as a modality of massage since that time.

In an announcement issued in February 2002, the division stated its position on reiki: "Reiki is defined as a 'spiritual healing art' that is performed on an individual, by a Reiki  practitioner by 'transmitting healing life force energy,' through the hands.

"It is the position of the Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing that to the extent that Reiki is used as a 'spiritual healing art' and does not involve the use of any of the methods outlined in the scope of practice of Massage Therapy, then Reiki is not considered a modality of massage.:

"As long as [reiki practitioners] are not massaging soft tissue, they won't need to be licensed," Scott Thompson explained.

Kami Hall, a reiki practitioner in Salt Lake City, said regulation by the massage board had not stopped her from performing the energy technique, but that she's glad to be exempt from regulation.  "It's a huge relief not to worry about something this ridiculous when all you're trying to do is help people," said Hall.

The above article appears with permission from Massage Magazine.

 NOTE: For further information on the official position of the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing please click here.


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