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
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.