JSB Vol.2 No.4

Journal of Spiritual Bodywork

        Vol. 2, No. 4                                 ISSN 1079-8390                       December 1996    



 The italicized comments in this article are reprinted with permission of Perelandra. For information about Perelandra publications and flower essences, call 540-937-2153 for a free catalogue.

From the Overlighting Deva of Flower Essences.1I am part of what might be called "the healing devas," in that I am a part of a group of overlighting intelligences in nature who focus specifically on the various healing dynamics within and throughout the kingdom of nature on planet earth.

When the human soul chose to inspirit physical matter on the planet, we of nature consciously accepted a partnership with humans that related to the development of their physical form and all matters relating to what may best be described as the upkeep and maintenance of that form in every way.

In present-day terminology, you may say that we have a "contractual agreement" with you humans which was initiated prior to the human soul coming to the planet and was fully activated the very instant the first souls entered the planet's atmosphere. Nature has been completely at your disposal as you took on matter and developed your form. All that comprises human form is extracted from the three kingdoms of nature.

But form development and its maintenance through food, shelter, and clothing is only a part of our agreement. In light of the universal law of horizontal healing, we also took on the responsibility to balance the human form during times of dysfunction, So, in these areas we have overlighting devas who establish the patterns in nature that respond to human form in healing ways and integrate those patterns into the specific blueprint of individual plants, animals, and minerals to be recognized, unlocked, and used appropriately  by humans when needed.

I say to you now that there is contained within nature a pattern of healing that responds and relates to every specific dysfunction within  mankind. It is an ever-changing area of service, in that when specific diseases or dysfunctions are eliminated or released as part of the human experience, we devas who work in this area release the complementary healing pattern that has been held in custodianship within nature. Conversely, when humans introduce and take on a new dysfunctional pattern, we respond immediately and infuse the appropriate balancing pattern within the blueprint of one or more members of the kingdom of nature.

What you call the "ecological problems" that you now face play directly into the very area of service to which I have been speaking. Simply put, we devas infuse the specific healing patterns in nature on their corresponding devic level. Those patterns are fully integrated. As humans have dissociated themselves from the life balances of nature solely for their own ends, they have interfered with the successful fusion of that blueprint into form. Consequently, the healing patters, although still available, have become cloudy, unfocused, and less accessible to humans.

From Universal Light.The healing process that occurs on the horizontal level ... is a universal principal.

On a personality level, one finds a healing experience when he relates to a person of like mind and feels, during this communication or interchange, a sense of ease, balance, healing, and understanding. Similarly, the flower essences relate to the body or to form - one might say they are of like mind; they are horizontally connected and related.

Many flower essences practitioners and many people who use flower essences feel that the essences are successful because they respond  to the soul, respond beyond the level of form. To put it bluntly, this is not true. Man understands neither the level of form nor the expansiveness within his own level. Flower essences respond from the level of form to the level of form and are highly successful for that reason. The same holds true in any natural healing process throughout the history of herbs, plants, and healing.

The mountain doctor or mountain woman who heals through the use of plants, the witch doctor in Africa who heals through the use of plants and minerals, and the Indian who uses plants, minerals, and crystals have all touched into their "brothers" (all of which are form). They have found a friend of like mind who is able and eager to come to and into them for the purpose of healing, balancing, and reestablishing stability.

From Perelandra Paper No. 4.2The fusion of the body and soul can be seen as symbolic of the sacred contract that exists between humans and nature. In order for the human soul to experience life within the band of form, it is essential that the soul combine with form and function as a working unit. Nature is the dynamic in reality that creates, orders, organizes, and adds life vitality  to all form. It is from the nature dynamic itself that form is created. For the human soul to function within the band of form, it must unite with nature - in essence, form a partnership with nature. This partnership is at the very core of the sacred contract that nature has accepted with human souls as well as with spirits from all dimensions of reality that wish to experience life within the band of form. Nature has agreed to work together with soul dynamics in order to create and establish functioning body/soul units. The soul initiates and inspirits the partnership, and nature supplies the appropriate combination of form elements through which the soul functions. The soul initiates and nature responds accordingly.


1.  Wright, M.S. Flower Essences. Reordering Our Understanding and Approach to Illness and Health. Perelandra, Ltd. Jeffersonton, VA. 1988.

2. Perelandra Paper No. 4. A Flower Essence Process for Newborns, Infants, Older Children and Adults. erelandra, Ltd. Warrenton, VA. 1990.



Albert Schatz and Mary Brewster

It is possible that human emanations exist that are still unknown to us. Do you remember how electrical currents and "unseen weaves" were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy. - Albert Einstein

We live in an ocean of energy

We live and move in a vast and complicated ocean of energies. These energies move in and out of our own individual fields in a similar fashion to the process of breathing. Each individual seems to have his own selective process for taking in various types of energy. Certain activities or stimuli key in or give access to this ocean of energy. Other activities or emotional states may decrease the access to surrounding energies. Grief or self-centeredness, for example, appear to greatly diminish the individual's access to this energy supply... Within a group of people there is often a stimulating exchange of energies between and among individuals. 1

We are energy

Every individual living organism can  be described both as a physical entity and as a system of energy fields that are constantly interacting with the environment, which includes all other organisms. These fields (like all those known to science) permeate space. Each individual is a localization  (concentration) of energy within these universal fields. Moreover, these individual local fields interact with one another, being part of one whole, dynamic, and interdependent system... An energetic approach to human interaction may explain how individuals unknowingly affect each other.

The application of such a perspective may have outcomes that change our perception of human relationships, since every thought or emotion is an energy that may affect the energy field of others... Every thought, action, and emotion  can thus be seen as an energetic pattern with distinct characteristics - a pattern which we may unconsciously radiate or deliberately direct at another person. In fact, illness and health have characteristic  patterns of energy flow within each individual. Such dynamic patterns of energy may be likened to the ripple formation caused when a pebble is dropped into water. 2

What is energy from nature's

 point of view?

This report is concerned with subtle energy. To understand what subtle energy is and why it is important, we have to know what energy, matter, form, consciousness, intelligence, and nature are. All these are intimately involved in self-healing and the healing we do for others. Our understanding of health involves our sacred covenant with nature (see the previous article). Our basic understanding of energy, matter, form, consciousness, intelligence, and nature comes from Perelandra where information about these areas and about our sacred covenant with nature was obtained directly from nature.3,4,5

All energy and all matter are form. All form is nature. Nature is one of many universal consciousnesses. Nature and the other universal consciousnesses all have intelligence.5 Therefore all form has intelligence. There are two kinds of consciousness. One is the consciousness of nature which all form has. On Planet Earth, form is associated with another kind of consciousness - the consciousness of the soul. This consciousness is "the working state of the soul" in form.4

Through our soul consciousness, we make decisions about the purpose and direction of our lives. Nature provides the order, organization, and life activity of our bodies (our form). Nature as a  consciousness and an intelligence, is involved in how our bodies develop and function. This includes health and healing.

Each of us, when we are in form, is a body/soul unit. We can also refer to this as a form/soul unit and a nature/soul unit. When our body and soul are together, our soul consciousness is "the working state of the soul" in form. This consciousness can also exist independently of form.4  During life, when we are in form, we live simultaneously in different dimensions and on different levels of reality.5 These concepts will be discussed in subsequent publications.  

Subtle energy is important

Subtle energy is involved in our regaining and maintaining health, our personal relationships, and how we relate to other forms of life and everything else on our planet and in the universe.

Our material bodies and subtle energy fields (our energy bodies) are intimately interrelated and influence one another. When a Therapeutic Touch practitioner works on an individual's energy field without touching her material body, changes occur in her material body. Conversely, when a Swedish Massage practitioner works on an individual's material body without working on her energy field, her energy field increases.6

When a healer does a contact healing or a distant healing, the energy field of the person she works on is increased and balanced (symmetric). Some health problems appear as an imbalance or asymmetry of the energy field before symptoms appear in the material body. Conversely, balancing an individual's energy field often precedes the diminution and/or disappearance of a health problem.

Our mind, which may be viewed as one or more energy fields, consciously and unconsciously influences our health. This occurs because our thoughts and feelings are subtle energy patterns which affect our material bodies. Feelings of confidence and determination help us recover from illness. Feelings of hopelessness and despair are conducive to our developing illness. This means that You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought7 because Your Body Believes Every Word You Say.8 Our thoughts are also involved in the placebo effect, which is more important than previously acknowledged.9   

 Subtle energy is easy to

demonstrate and measure

Lauterstein reported that, "It is easy to test for origins and insertions. Equally important and far more neglected is the energetic quality of touch, which is considerably harder to teach and test for."10 Because Lauterstein does not clarify his use of the term "energetic,"  one does not know what kind of energy he refers to.

Schatz and Carlson, who discovered that subtle energy is involved in Swedish Massage, showed that it is just as easy to teach students how to demonstrate and measure the subtle energy in massage as it is to teach them how to do manipulations.6 The simple procedure their students used demonstrated, dramatically and convincingly, that massage affects both the material and subtle energy bodies.

Research results. Table 1 reports research in which 67 massage students (in the third month of a 6-month course) measured the subtle energy fields of 86 individuals immediately before and after they practiced manipulations. The students used L-rods, which are made from sections of wire coat hangers bent in the shape of the letter "L." These are well-known dowsing devices which can demonstrate the human energy field.6 Table 1 presents results obtained with two groups of subjects on whom the students worked. The two groups consist of 32 and 54 individuals whose energy fields initially extended one foot and two feet, respectively, from their material bodies. Others, whose energy fields initially extended greater distances, are not included.  

All energy fields increased after manipulations. Thirty-four of the 86 energy fields increased less than 100%; 20 energy fields increased 100%; and 32 energy fields increased more than 100%. A total of 52 energy fields increased 100% or more than 100%. The increases were greater than normal fluctuation over the same period of time it took to do the manipulations.

Discussion of the results. The increase of the energy fields is definitely associated with the manipulations. It is also associated with the intent of the practitioner and the interaction of the energy fields of the practitioner and client. The increased energy fields contribute to and reflect the feeling of well-being which massage induces. This feeling of well-being includes relaxation which counteracts stress. Therapeutic Touch also increases (and balances) the energy field and reduces stress. 

We include the intent of the massage practitioner because her intent is qualitatively expressed as much in her subtle energy field, as it is in the kinetic energy of her manipulations. Many individuals learn massage because they want to help people Some say they are spiritually motivated to do massage, and view massage as a spiritual communication. Intent, which is also important in Therapeutic Touch, is a form of subtle energy.

Some students reported that a complete massage often increases the energy field to a greater extent than a few manipulations do. Other students have reported that their own energy fields increase after they practice manipulations or do a complete massage. This synergistic energy effect in massage has its counterpart in Therapeutic Touch where enhanced well-being may be experienced by both the practitioner and the client.

Subtle energy and health

Our physical bodies consist of energy and matter. We are as much energy as we are matter. When people who see auras look at the human body, they see both the material body and its subtle energy field. Those of us who do not see auras see only the material body. When people do Therapeutic Touch, their hands feel the subtle energy field around the material body.

The energy  field consists of subtle energy which is the energy we are primarily concerned with in this report. The term subtle  is used because subtle energies are less obvious to us than other energies with which we are ordinarily familiar.

Examples of well-known energies are light, heat (e.g. the temperature of our body and the room we are in), sound (e.g. our voice) and kinetic energy which keeps our hearts beating. We use kinetic energy to stand erect, shout and breathe; and to push, pull, lift, carry, and throw things.

Subtle energies are what our thoughts and feelings are made of. These include anxiety, fear, determination, frustration, anger, hope, exultation, emotional pain, worry, excitement, etc.  Spirituality also involves subtle energy because it consists of our values, how we feel about them, and our feelings associated with what we do about them. 

Our energy bodies and our material bodies are intimately interrelated and influence each other. The comment He worried himself to death. recognizes (whether we are aware of it or not) how intimately interrelated our (subtle energy) mind and our (material) body are. He worried himself to death. also illustrates how profoundly subtle energy (thoughts, in this case) can affect the material body.

An individual's material body is comparable to a magnet. His energy field is comparable to the magnet's energy field which we call the magnetic field. A person's material body, like a magnet, has a fixed volume and occupies a well-defined space. 

An  individual's energy field does not occupy that kind of well-defined space. When we play with a magnet, we detect only that part of its field which is strong enough, within a certain distance, to pick up a nail, move the needle of a compass and produce an electrical current. But the magnetic field fills the universe, as radio waves do when they are transmitted from a broadcasting station. Because our energy fields fill the universe, each of us is literally as big as the universe itself. As a material body in the universe, each of us is smaller than a speck of dust ion our planet.

A person's mind may be considered a unique kind of subtle energy that is part of his overall energy field. In this sense, the mind occupies his entire material body and the rest of the universe.

We do and we don't end at our skin. Our material bodies end at our skins. Our energy fields, which are within and without our material bodies, have no skins and no ends. Each person's energy field occupies the entire universe. This includes his material body. Even though one does Therapeutic Touch only on a person's energy field, that person's entire material body is influenced because his energy field fills his entire material body. These considerations also apply to massage. Even though massage moves only the soft tissues, it influences a person's energy field. Therefore, the massage practitioner works on the entire physical body. This includes the whole musculoskeletal system, every other system, and the energy body.  

We connect with other people in two ways: (1) Our material bodies are connected only when they touch one another. (2) Our energy fields (our energy bodies) are connected all the time, no matter where we are.

Each of us is literally "all over the place." We are also connected with everything else on the planet and throughout the universe. Because our energy fields occupy and fill the universe, each one of us is simultaneously everywhere in the universe. Everybody's energy field continually touches, overlaps, penetrates, fills and occupies everybody else's energy field and material body. Thus, each one of us is in a very intimate energy relationship with everybody else on this planet whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not!

Health refers to the state or condition we are in physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Subtle energy fields are involved in all four areas. Because we each have a material body and an energy field, we influence health on the following two levels. 

(1) On an individual basis, each person's material body and energy field are intimately connected and continuously influence one another. It is therefore not surprising that they  both influence an individual's health.

(2) Collectively, we are all connected with one another through our energy fields. We therefore continuously influence each other's health directly and indirectly, consciously and unconsciously. 

We are also made of

stardust and sunlight

We are all related to the universe in different ways. We all live in an ocean of energies that fill the entire universe. Our own energy fields are part of that ocean. The universe contains many other kinds of energies with which we interact. These include radio waves, micro waves, gamma rays, the light and heat of our sun, and the light of other suns that we call stars.

Some of the starlight energy in the ocean of energies that bathes us is 15 billion-year-old fossil light  It is fossil light because it was emitted by stars which became extinct long before our planet was born. The stars which emitted the starlight we now see no longer exist. This is a ghost story because their starlight is a ghost.

We come from the stars because some of the elements that make up our material bodies are made of star dust. They literally came from the stars eons ago.11

We also come from the sun, which is a star in our galaxy,  because the energy on which our life processes depend comes from the sun. We obtain that energy from fruits, vegetables and grains produced by plants which stored sunlight energy in a form we can use. The energy in the meat we consume was originally sunlight energy stored in plants that were eaten by animals. "We are what we eat." "All flesh is grass."   

Energy fields connect massage

practitioners and clients

"A massage practitioner and her client are interconnected through their energy fields before manipulations bring them into ... "material" contact. This subtle energetic interconnection may be responsible for bringing them together for the massage. Therefore energy fields influence massage and massage influences energy fields."12 It is a reciprocal action. It works both ways.

"It is therefore no longer" only "a matter of how well a massage practitioner administers manipulations. How her energy field influences her client, and whether she is aware of that influence is also important. Thus, the massage she gives may be significantly affected by her thoughts and feelings ... which are forms of" subtle "energy ... as much as by her manipulations" which involve kinetic energy. "This new concept of massage has much in common with Therapeutic Touch where the intent of the practitioner is of primary importance."6

Energy fields connect healers and

other health care providers

 with those they work on

The interaction we have  described between a massage practitioner and her client, and how the two relate to massage calls to mind "the relationship of" flower "essences to the practitioner something not often considered" and the "necessary relationship between the practitioner and the patient, Patients tend to gravitate to a practitioner of like mind. In order for the healing process to work most efficiently, one might say that the meshing of the practitioner and patient must be 'on.'

"In order to work efficiently, anything (any tool device, product or help) that the practitioner may bring to facilitate a healing process must respond to that meshing not just to the patient, but also to himself. With flower essences, the patient and practitioner are in a give and take situation. The practitioner's groundedness, his attitude, the development of his own emotions, and the condition of his own body all play into the communication process between him and the patient."13

What others have done

Other  researchers have observed and measured energy fields at a distance from the human body. Valerie Hunt in the United States used an electronic monitoring device to measure changes in the frequencies of subjects' energy fields induced by Rolfing.14 The frequency changes, in Hunt's research, correlated with color changes in their auras observed by Rosalyn Bruyere who reads auras.14  Hiroshi Motoyama in Japan worked with individuals who were able to direct energy out from their bodies through their chakras. He measured increases in the intensity of energy fields above areas on the skin where the chakras are located.14


1. Karagulla, S. Breakthrough to Creativity. DeVorss & Co. CA. 1967.

2. Kunz, D., and Peper,  E. Fields and their clinical implications. Spiritual Aspects of the Healing Arts. pp. 213-261. The  Theosophical Publishing House. Wheaton, IL 1985.

3. Wright, M.S. Why Earth? Or Time Out on the Spiritual Path to Recognize the Importance of Physicalness. Jeffersonton, VA. 1978.

4. Wright, M.S. Perelandra Garden Workbook II. Perelandra, Ltd. Jeffersonton, VA. 1990

5. Wright, M.S. What is Nature Intelligence? Perelandra Coning Session. Perelandra, Ltd. Jeffersonton, VA. 1996.

6. Schatz, A., and Carlson, K. The integration of Swedish Massage and Therapeutic Touch. Swedish Massage increases the human energy field. Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. 10(2):51-55, 1995.

7. McWilliams., P. You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought. A Book for People with Any Life-Threatening Illness - Including Life. Prelude Press, CA. 1995.

8 Levine, B.H. Your Body Believes Every Word You Say. The Language of the Body-Mind Connection. Aslan Publishing. 1991.

9. Benson, H. Timeless Healing. The Power of Biology and Belief. Simon & Schuster. New York. 1996.

10. Lauterstein, D. The Art of Massage. (Reflections). Massage Therapy Journal. pp. 119-120. Spring. 1996.

11 Dossey, L. Space, Time & Medicine. New Science Library. Shambhala. Boston. 1982.

12. Schatz, A. I.A.M.S. massage is the massage of the future. Holistic Massage (magazine). Spring. 1989.

13. Wright, M.S. Flower Essences. Reordering Our Understanding  and Approach to Illness and Health. Perelandra, Ltd. Jeffersonton, VA. 1988.

14. Gerber, R. Vibrational Medicine. Bear & Co. Santa Fe. NM. 1988.



Albert Schatz and Mary Brewster

The following information was obtained from the September, 1996, Special Report Why this is not the time to go to Sacramento  by the California Coalition on Somatic Practices. For a copy of this report and the 1995 report, write to the Coalition, P.O. Box 5611, San Mateo, California. 94402-0611. Phone 415/637-1233 or 909/659-9751.

"In May 1996, The California  Coalition on Somatic Practices approved its intent to 'dissuade individuals and groups from seeking California legislation at this time by educating them as to the difficulties and potentially negative repercussions of such actions; and to propose  alternative ways of achieving professional recognition and the benefits possible.'

"Unfortunately, state licensing can actually produce additional hindrances.... There is the very real possibility that more problems will be created [by state regulation]; the cure may be worse than the illness."

The Sunrise Process

"The California  legislature continues to be opposed to new professional regulation. The recommended path in preparation for such an effort is called 'Sunrise Process.' This Sunrise Process involves completing an extensive  questionnaire to prove that:

1. The unlicensed profession is a serious danger to the public health and safety;

2. State licensing will adequately protect the public health and safety; and

3. No other means can also protect the public health and safety.

"The good news is that we injure very few clients. As a result ...we will have difficulty meeting the Sunrise criteria without manipulation of the data." (italics ours)  In other words, the Coalition refused to falsify data to meet the state legislative requirement for evidence that unlicensed massage practitioners endanger the public."

The Coalition's members are to be commended for their refusal to falsify data. In order to comply with the requirements of the California Sunrise Process. The California state legislature is to be commended for its Sunrise Process. It makes perfect sense and is a model of what all states should have.

Alternatives to state regulation

"State licensing is not the only way to achieve recognition. The attitude of the public toward somatic practices is becoming more positive and accepting as time passes. By educating our own clients, we are gradually communicating the advantages of somatic practices. Media coverage in mainstream newspapers, magazines, and television is becoming more prevalent.

"Other forms of regulation combined with public education can be just as effective in [our] achieving recognition as competent, legitimate professionals. No matter what we do, educating the public and other professions to the value of our work is crucial. Without clients who experience the value of our work, no regulation is going to help us make a living. The fact that so many of us have been able to succeed without a state license and despite obstacles such as local regulations, also demonstrated that our work will be judged on its own merits... The trend in California is clearly toward private regulation."


"The primary goal of the California Coalition on Somatic Practices is to support the field of somatics in California. Seeking state licensing at this time is not in the best interest of all somatic  practitioners. An attempt to force this issue would, at best, produce legislation to satisfy one group at the expense of others and, at worst, create a license that will do more harm than good. By working together, we will strive to find a regulatory solution that will produce the highest good for all involved." 






 Albert Schatz and Mary Brewster

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others  or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope; and, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest  walls of oppression and resistance. - Robert Kennedy

Why is licensure promoted?

According to Jerry A. Green, Attorney at Law and Advisor to the California Coalition on Somatic Practices, "Legislators are currently disinclined toward licensing of new professions [because they] have learned that the old arguments about protecting the public more than likely really mean 'secure me a vested interest.' ... The desire for 'money, status and power' are other reasons why state licensure is promoted... It seems that proponents of licensing are hopeful that a state license would mean more money, status, and power."1

According to Dr. David Reed, President of the California Massage Therapy Association (CMTA),1 "The California Chapter of the AMTA is the major driving force for massage in California."2 "Dave puts his first priority as putting more money into CMTA members' pockets and suggests continuing education in the realm of business and marketing classes as well as computer classes to help members become computer literate as a means to that end."2

According to Don Schwartz, Ph.D., Administrative Director at the Trager Institute, "Licensure creates state-sanctioned monopolies with the explicit goal of 'protecting the public, but with the real effect of protecting those who hold the monopolies' respective entitlements, reducing information to the public, and restricting competition,"3

The Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition (PALC)

promotes state licensure to protect the

public from harm 

PALC has defined its objective and rationale as follows:

1 "Licensure is first and foremost to protect the public from harm."4

2 "State licensing will ... create educational requirements for that public protection."4

3. "We are working to create a bill which protects the public from harm."5

These statements are in two PALC documents. One is a report in the form of a July 25, 1995, letter4 signed and distributed by Dinnie Pearson, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition (PALC). We shall henceforth refer to this letter as the PALC report. The other document is what the PALC letter refers to as a brochure.5

The brochure lists three officers: Bill Harvey (Rolf) PALC Chairperson, Dinnie Pearson (Upledger and ABMP) PALC Secretary, and Barbara Mikos, (APTA and AMTA-PA Chapter) Treasurer.

Why doesn't PALC reveal what

harm it is concerned about?

1. The PALC report states "All of us statewide need to be informed about licensure activities whether we are for or against licensure."4

2. Albert Schatz wrote each of the three PALC officers several letters requesting information about what evidence PALC which indicates that the public has been harmed by bodyworkers.

3. He received no reply.

4. "How can 'all of us statewide ... be informed" about [PALC's] licensure activities if PALC does not provide information that is requested about its 'licensure activities'"?

5. Why doesn't PALC tell us what harm it is concerned about?

What is PALC?

The  brochure tells us that PALC consists of the following organizations: "Zero Balancing®, International Association of Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapists, National Association of Trigger Point Myotherapists, Body Synergy Institute, Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, American Massage Therapy Association (Pennsylvania Chapter), Trager Institute, American Polarity Therapy Association, Hellerwork®, American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association, Upledger Institute, Rolf Institute, St. John Neuromusculature Therapy, Pennsylvania Reflexology Association, The Feldenkrais Guild®, Rubenfeld Synergy.®

California vis-a-vis Pennsylvania

In 1995, the California Coalition on Somatic Practices distributed to members of the California bodywork community and others a 39-page report Survey - Your Choice to Determine Your Future. 6 This brochure provided 33 (81/2 x 11) pages of detailed information about important issues involved in state regulation, and a 6-page questionnaire. This questionnaire was the Coalition's survey of the California members of the somatic practices community. The 33-page document is a comprehensive report of what the Coalition had seriously considered since 1991. The Coalition's 81/2 x 11 page 1996 Special Report consists of a title page and five pages of detailed explanation of why the Coalition decided to reject state licensure, based on the survey and other considerations.7

It is interesting to compare PALC's one-page letter4 and one-page brochure5 with the  39-page and 6-page reports of the California Coalition. The PALC letter has writing only on one side. The PALC brochure is an undated, single 81/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper with three columns on each side giving a total of six columns. One column has the title PALC, Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition. Another column is completely blank. Only four columns present information. The letter and brochure were distributed after PALC had worked for two years.

PALC's report and brochure do not present any evidence which supports PALC's undocumented allegation that people are harmed by massage and other bodyworkers, and that the public needs to be protected from that harm. Nor do they provide any evidence that the bill PALC drafted, supposedly to protect the public, will indeed provide that protection. (Simply saying that educational requirements will do so is not acceptable.) Nor has PALC distributed copies of the bill, which it drafted and submitted to a lobbyist, to members of the Pennsylvania bodywork community. Contrast PALC's procedure in this respect with the California Coalition's widespread distribution of its two reports to the California bodywork community.

This openness reflects the California Coalition's democratic modus operandi.  The Coalition "was founded on the principles of genuine community. Its organizer Betty Shultz May was inspired and influenced by the Foundation for Community Encouragement, which was  founded by Scott Peck, M.D. (author of The Road Less Travelled  and The Different Drum)."6 The California Coalition is an outstanding example of how organizations can work together to do research, discuss and evaluate issues, arrive at conclusions, and make comprehensive and detailed reports readily available to members of the  bodywork community.

The California Coalition is therefore a model for how committees, representing bodyworkers, should consider the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of state regulation versus private, non-governmental, self-regulation. We respectfully suggest that PALC consider adopting the  modus operandi  of the California Coalition.

Contrary to what PALC alleges,

"Licensure is" NOT "a fact of life."

According to the PALC report,4  "Licensure is a fact of life in nineteen states." However, not all 19 states have licensure which is required by practice acts. Some have title protection which is very different.6  Therefore, contrary to what the letter alleges, "Licensure is" not "a fact of life" in all 19 states which regulate massage. PALC does not differentiate between practice acts and title protection acts.

PALC's also does not differentiate between self regulation  and state regulation.  The brochure reports that PALC is promoting self regulation.  The PALC report informs us that PALC is promoting state licensing  which is state regulation. The two are clearly differentiated in the California Coalition's 1995 and 1996 reports. Moreover, "The trend in California is clearly toward private regulation" as opposed to state licensing.7

Two excellent articles on state title registration and practice acts were published by Raymond L. Beck in Massage.8,9 Beck is a reflexologist, a massage therapist registered in Florida, and an attorney who "served as an administrative prosecutor for the state of Illinois Department of Professional Registration for three and a half years."8 His personal experience as a massage therapist and a reflexologist and his legal work in Illinois,  reveal his unique qualifications to write about state massage laws.

Beck's two reports should be read by state legislators concerned with regulation of massage, and others who are interested in this subject. We do not know of any other publications on this subject written by anyone as professionally qualified as Beck. He also analyzes the Florida law and reports on litigation involving that law, which he describes as a hybrid because it is a practice act for one purpose and title protection for another.9

Additional evidence that "licensing is" not "a fact of life.." is provided by the California Coalition's rejection of state regulation. Licensing is not is "a fact of life" as typhoons, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are. The ten commandments have not been amended to include "Thou shalt have state licensing of thy bodywork." State regulation is therefore not inevitable. It is man-made. It happens because special interest groups make it happen.

Finally, the literature of the California Coalition of  Somatic Practices states: "California is being watched and will be an example for licensing  for the rest of the country."10 What the Coalition decided is that self-regulation is appropriate, but that licensure is not.6 All this evidence proves that the claim - "Licensure is a fact of life." - has no basis in fact. 

Memo to PALC: Where's the harm?

If there is no harm or only negligible harm, state regulation is not needed to protect the public. If there is harm, state legislators have to know how many people are injured and how serious the injuries are in order to decide whether state regulation is needed to protect the public. Those who claim state laws are needed to protect the public, as PALC does, have an obligation to provide that information. If they don't, nobody knows what harm they are talking about. And nobody should accept PALC's claim of harm "on faith."

In 1993, Schatz and his colleagues published their first two research reports which, among other things, questioned the undocumented allegation of harm11,12 Since then, no research has provided satisfactory evidence that there is sufficient harm and that the harm is sufficiently serious to require state regulation of massage to protect the public.

There is no evidence that more people are injured, proportionally, in states which do not regulate massage than in states which do. Our latest publication summarized the overwhelming evidence that there is no need to protect the public from harm because the likelihood of such injury is negligible. Furthermore there is no evidence that state regulation of massage could protect the public from harm if that protection were needed.13

What makes us tick

We feel an obligation to do what THE RUB is attempting to achieve.  THE RUB hopes to provide enough information so the decision [about state regulation] is based on knowledge, and give that information to enough people so a decision is [made] by consensus as opposed to the desires of a few.10

Where we stand on

state regulation of massage

There is no need to protect people from harm by massage therapists. There is a need to protect massage therapists from state massage laws that allegedly protect the public from harm because there is no such need.

We are not unequivocally opposed to all kinds of regulation of massage. We are opposed to practice acts because the low risk of harm does not justify that kind of regulation.13 We don't understand why massage therapists, who do no harm, should have to pay tribute to the state for the privilege of earning money by helping people in a way that is not injurious. We are opposed to all state regulation that is based on an alleged need to protect the public from harm unless that regulation meets the requirements of the California Sunset Process.7  We favor private, non-governmental, self-regulation.

We also favor title protection acts because they protect massage therapists, who want that protection, form turf battles and border wars13 - provided that:

1. Such acts are voluntary. This means that those who want state certification can get it, but others who don't want it may do massage without it. The public need have no problem is distinguishing between those who are state-certified and those who are not. Only the former would be permitted to use the title state-certified massage therapists. The latter could call themselves massage therapists  or use some other title that does not imply they are state-certified. We believe this is how democracy should work.  

2. Even individuals who are self-taught are permitted to do massage, which they are presently permitted to do in states which do not regulate massage. This is justified because there is so little risk of harm.14 Steve Eabry has pointed out that some who do massage, with no specialized training, are very helpful to people.15 All people should have the right to earn money by contributing to the health and well being of others in a way that is honest and causes no harm. 

Our letter of inquiry

We are sending a copy of this issue of the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork to the three officers of PALC. We shall publish whatever replies we receive if the respondents give us written permission to do so.

To:      Bill Harvey, Chairperson, PALC

            Dinnie Pearson, Secretary, PALC

            Barbara Mikos, Treasurer, PALC

From: Albert Schatz and Mary Brewster.

             Editor and Associate Editor 

A report in the form of a letter dated July 25, 1995, signed and distributed by Dinnie Pearson, PALC secretary, states, "All of us statewide need to be informed about licensure activities whether we are for or against licensure."4

We are therefore requesting information about PALC's position on harm which PALC has defined as follows:

1. "Licensure is first and foremost to protect the public from harm."

2. "State licensing will ... create educational requirements for that public protection."

3. "We are working to create a bill which protects the public from harm."

We would appreciate your providing us with the following information for Pennsylvania. This information, which we are requesting from PALC, is the information that the California legislature's Sunrise Process requires to justify any bill submitted for regulating bodywork.7 Specifically, what evidence does PALC have that:

1. The unlicensed profession is a serious danger to the public health and safety

2. State licensing will adequately protect the public health and safety.

3. No other means can also protect the public health and safety.

If  PALC is unable to provide convincing evidence that the public needs to be protected from harm, what justification does PALC have for promoting state licensing to protect the public from harm?

If you think any comments in this report about PALC are inaccurate, please let us know in writing what these comments are and explain why you feel they are inaccurate. Finally, please give us your written permission to publish your reply in the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork.

Thank you.


1. Green, J.A. Money, status & power: by licensure or affiliation. The Rub 1(1):4, June 1996. (The Rub is a newsletter by and for those giving or receiving the benefits of massage or other somatic practices. It is published by Rob Mullog Enterprises. P.O. Box 459. Berkeley, CA 94701.)

2.  CMTA elects new officers. The Rub. 1(1):5. June 1996.

3. Schwartz, D. Guest Editorial. The tragedy of skilled touch and movement in the United States. Massage. Issue 64. pp. 8-9. November/December 1996.

4. Pearson, D. Letter Report dated July 25,1995, and signed by Dinnie Pearson, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition (PALC). This letter reports what PALC has been doing and refers to an information brochure that  PALC is preparing.

5. PALC Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition. The undated PALC brochure which is undated and consists of a single 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

6. Your chance to determine your future. California Coalition on Somatic Practices. 1995 Survey. (California Coalition on Somatic Practices. P.O. Box 5611. San Mateo. CA. 94402-0611.

7. Special Report. California Coalition on Somatic Practices. September, 1996.

8. Beck. R.L. What's in a name? Title registration vs. practice act. Massage. Issue 57. pp. 94-98. Sept/Oct 1995.

9. Beck, R.L. An interpretation of Florida's massage law. Title registration vs practice act. Massage. Issue 55. pp. 116-117. May/June 1995.

10. From the desk of the editor.  Cover Letter for The Rub. 1(1): page 2, column 1. June 1996.

11. Carlson, K., Barbara, R.A., and Schatz, A. Is state regulation of massage illegal? Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. pages 42-52. Fall 1993

12. Carlson, K., Barbara, R.A., and Schatz, A. The public doesn't need state regulation of massage. So who does want it and why? Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. pages 83-86. Fall 1993.

13. Schatz, A., Tillotson. A., and Brewster, M. Since massage does not cause harm, why license massage therapists to prevent harm? Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter 2(2):1-5, 1996.

14. Schatz, A., and Brewster, M. An appropriate examination for massage competency. Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. 2(2):7-8. 1996.

15. Eabry, S. Guest Editorial. Kindling a tradition of touch. Massage. Issue 63. p. 8. Sept/Oct 1996.

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