MLN Vol.19, No.2

Massage Law Newsletter

Vol. 19, No. 2                                   ISSN 1073-5461                                      March 2001




To: Retta Flagg, President, PA Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Associa-tion (AMTA)

From: Rev. Albert Schatz, AMTA member and President of the Church for Spiritual

Healing and Health

I am writing to you, in your role as President of the PA-AMTA Board, because of a statement in the November 28, 2000, memo distributed by the PA-AMTA Board, and addressed to "Dear Colleague." The statement, which is on page 3 of that memo, includes the following comment: "... we will ... make sure that the language of the bill excludes any modality that does not wish to be a part of the bill."

I am writing  to request that Spiritual Massage HealingSM be listed as a specific exemption in any bill the PA AMTA Board promotes to regulate secular massage therapy.

Spiritual Massage HealingSM

differs from secular massage therapy

Interest in Spiritual Massage HealingSM is widespread and growing.1,2  Many Spiritual Massage Healers are ministers. Spiritual Massage HealingSM is a religious ceremony and a form of worship based on the biblical "laying on of hands."3  It is therefore legally different from secular massage therapy.4,5

An Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation of the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health (a nonprofit Pennsylvania corporation) explains why Spiritual Massage HealingSM is very different from secular massage therapy.5,6 This Amendment reads as follows: The "Purpose of this Amendment" is:

"(a) to more clearly identify and define spiritual massage healing, which is an integral part of the religious purpose of the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health, and

(b) to more clearly differentiate spiritual massage healing, legally and otherwise, from secular massage therapy and other kinds of secular bodywork."

Numerous reports in the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork, the Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter, and the Massage Law Newsletter also explain how and why Spiritual Massage HealingSM differs from secular massage therapy. All these reports are available on our web site   <>.

Spiritual Massage HealingSM

should not be regulated by the state

The only legal justification for the state to regulate an occupation and profession is to protect the  public safety, health, and welfare.7  Spiritual Massage HealingSM, which involves the biblical laying on of hands, does not harm people. Consequently, there is no need to regulate Spiritual Massage HealersMS to protect the public from harm.  Therefore, any bill which the PA AMTA Chapter promotes to regulate secular massage therapy should exempt Spiritual Massage HealingSM.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice

William O. Douglas

Several of our reports discuss the separation of church and state, which we believe applies to Spiritual Massage HealingSM. For example, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote;

"No license may be exacted by the state for the performance of any religious exercise, nor a tax imposed on it."8

The Constitution of the

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Article 1, Declaration of Rights. Religious Freedom, Section 3, reads as follows:

"All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences: ... no human authority can, in any case whatsoever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishment or modes of worship.

The Medical Practice Act

of Pennsylvania

Section 2 of the "Medical Practice Act" of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Act of 1985. P.L. 457, No. 112) excludes "healing by spiritual means or prayer" from the practice of "Medicine and Surgery."

Service marks

I have registered the service mark Spiritual MassageSM and seven other service marks (all of which include the two words Spiritual Massage) with the Pennsylvania Department of State.9 These service marks are my personal property, which I use in my practice.

A bill that regulates secular massage therapy cannot legally restrict my right to commercial speech;14,15 that is, my right to use my service marks which refer to the  Spiritual Massage HealingSM that I do in my  practice. 

Will  the PA-AMTA Board do

what it said it will do?

I am therefore requesting that any bill, promoted by the PA AMTA Board for the regulation of secular massage therapy, include an exemption for Spiritual Massage HealingSM that is similar to the above-mentioned exemption in the Pennsylvania Medical Practice Act.

Please let me know, at your early convenience, whether the PA AMTA Board will honor its above-mentioned commitment in its November, 28, 2000, memo? Will it list  Spiritual Massage HealingSM as a specific exemption in any bill it promotes to regulate secular massage therapy?

Also, please give me permission to publish your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter on our web site <>.

I welcome AMTA's recent interest

in Spirituality and Bodywork

In the December, 2000, issue of The Balanced Body (the PA-AMTA Chapter newsletter), Helen Traglia commented on AMTA's recent interest in Spirituality and Bodywork. She referred to a Special Interest Group that discussed Spirituality and Bodywork on September 21, 2000, at AMTA's National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.10  I am pleased that AMTA has finally recognized the importance of Spirituality and Bodywork

Seventeen years ago, Schatz and Carlson introduced massage students to "the spiritual nature of massage."11

The Church for Spiritual Healing and Health has been involved with spirituality and bodywork since it was established in 1995. The Journal of Spiritual Bodywork and the Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter have been publishing information about spirituality and bodywork since 1994. For information, see our web site <>.

Touch is a form of prayer

The Church for Spiritual Healing and Health considers touch, by Spiritual Massage Healers, to be a form of prayer.

"Prayer need not be of the silent or the verbal type. It may be an action, such as the laying on of hands, the process that passes energy on to another individual, which brings about some degree of healing."12

"Touch raised to the art of

anointing, the art of prayer and

the sacrament of caring"

"I am awed that the most wondrous of all the massage strokes is that of simply 'resting' - resting my hands, resting my intentions, resting my heart as one would rest in contemplative prayer. Compassionate massage, then, is also embodied contemplation. Silently, I am here, sheltering you through my hands with my own vulnerable and wounded loveliness. This is touch raised to the art of anointing, the art of prayer and the sacrament of caring."13


1. Brewster, M., and Schatz, A. Interest in  Spiritual Massage Healing is widespread and growing. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 4(1):1-6. 1999. (1650-1661. March 7. 1996.

2.  Articles of Amendment - Domestic Nonprofit Corporation. .Entity No. 2615349. Micorofilm No. 9617. (1650-1661). Pennsylvania Department of State. Corporation Bureau. March 7, 1996.

3.  Schatz, A. The Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. Spiritual Massage Healing. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 1(1):1-53. 1994.

4. Schatz, A. Massage therapy and Spiritual Massage Healing are legally different modalities. Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. 1(1):1-4. 1995.

5. A third amendment to the Articles of Incorporation of the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 3(2):7. 1998.

6. Articles of Amendment  - Domestic Nonprofit Corporation. .Entity No. 2615349. Microfilm No. 9787. (250-386). Pennsylvania Department of State. Corporation Bureau. December 1,,1997.

7. Schatz, A.  Should the Tucson, Arizona, Committee of Massage Examiners be abolished? Massage Law Newsletter. 4(1):1-8, 1998

8.  Mendez, A. J.  and  Doerr, E. The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom. Centerline Press. Long Beach, California. 1991.

9. Schatz, A. Registered Service marks for spiritual massage are now available in Pennsylvania. Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. 4(2):1-3. 1999.

10. Traglia, H. M. Phoenix 2000 "Changes." The Balanced Body (PA-AMTA Chapter newsletter). page 6. December. 2000.

11. Holistic massage and spiritual healing. Holistic Massage. Newsletter of the International Academy of Massage Science.Vol. 1. No. 1. June 1984.

12. McGarey, W. A. The Edgar Cayce Remedies. Bantam Books. Rochester, NY. 1983.

13. Finch, M. A.. In praise of hands. Massage as contemplation and compassion. Unpublished. Personal communication. 1995.

14. Schatz, A., York, B., and Brewster, M.  Minnesota does not need House Bill 685 to regulate massage therapists. Massage Law Newsletter. 7(1):1-12.1999.

15. Schatz, A., and Brewster, M. Has the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) provided evidence that state regulation is illegal? Massage Law Newsletter. To be published.


cc: Clarence D. Bell. Chair. Pennsylvania Senate Committee for   Consumer Protection and Professional  Licensure.

Alexandra Matthews, Esq. Legal Counsel for the above-mentioned Senate Committee

PA-AMTA Board members:

Nancy Porambo

Cheryl Callahan

Kathy Bustard

Dee Thompson

Marcia Shaw

Nick Claxton

Helen Traglia.

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