MLN Vol.8.No.2

Massage Law Newsletter

Vol. 8, No . 2                                    ISSN 1073-5461                                      March 1999   



Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

What's a matrushka doll?

In 1958, when I was in the Soviet Union, I bought  a matrushka doll, a balalaika, an  abacus, and several other things. A matrushka doll is a round, hollow doll, usually made of thin wood, When the top half is removed, at the waist, the doll contains a smaller doll that is similar to the original in all respects, except size.

When the second doll is taken out of the original doll, and its top half is removed at the waist, one sees a third doll that is similar to the second doll in all respects, except size. There are five, six, or seven dolls, depending on the size of the original doll,

The last matrushka doll, which is the smallest, is different from the other dolls because it is solid wood and cannot be taken apart at the waist.

Why I was in the Soviet Union

I spent several weeks in the Soviet Union as a member of a group of about 70 teachers and others educators  who visited Moscow, Lenningrad, Kiev (in the Ukraine), and Tashkent (in Uzbekistan).

This visit was arranged  by the Comparative Education Society so that U.S. and Soviet teachers, on the primary and secondary school levels, and college professors could meet and discuss matters of mutual interest.

We also met and talked with officials in the Ministry of Education of the Soviet Union and of the Republics we visited. We spent time in schools, teachers colleges, and institutes which did curriculum research and development.

Why is state licensure

a matrushka doll?

 To find out why we have state licensure, we begin by asking questions. But each question leads, not to the answer we want, but to another question, just as each doll leads to another doll. Here are the kinds of questions we ask:

1. From what well-documented harm, that has actually occurred, is state licensure of massage therapists allegedly needed to protect the public?

2. What well-documented evidence tells us that state licensure does indeed protect the public from harm?

3. What well-documented evidence tells us what an adequate training for massage therapists is,and why is that training adequate?

4. What well-documented evidence tells us which massage therapists are allegedly inadequately trained?

5. What well-documented evidence tell us that

test scores on the written National Certification Examination indicate the competence of massage therapists?

6. How is the competence of a massage therapists defined and objectively measured?   

The last matrushka doll

The end of the questions is different just as the last matrushka doll  is different. The questions end when we find information which answers the original question: "Why do we have state  licensure?"

Here's the answer.

It seems that proponents of licensing are hopeful that a state license would mean more money, status, and power. - Jerry A. Green, Attorney  for the California Coalition on Somatic Practices.

 I think the move toward licensure is regrettable. I believe licensing 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. - Don Schwartz.


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