Current Facts about Thai Yoga and Thai Massage Certification and Licensing
- What’s a Thai Yoga and or Traditional Thai Massage certificate?
- What’s a massage license?
- How are they different?
- When and where do you need them?
- How do you get them?
- What do you need to know to practice Thai Healing Arts legally in the US?
You will find all the answers right here! Forwarned as the subject deserves a good answer this post is a long one and you may need to read it more than once.
Thai Yoga/ Thai Massage legal aspects
There are many therapists, especially in the US, who passionately argue for licensing. However this article is not about opinions and preferences, but strictly about facts and the legal side of massage vs. Thai Yoga Massage/ Thai Yoga/ Traditional Thai Massage and spiritual/energetically based healing arts in general.
Every practitioner of a healing art needs to be clear and to know the legal basis for the art they are practicing. We here at NAIC: Thai Yoga Center can not only answer the question but can provide a legal basis for you to practice anywhere!
Certification versus licensing
The first thing we need to understand is that there there is a difference between certification and licensing.
Certification Definition: the action or process of providing someone or something with an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement: a fundamental requirement for organic certification | the certification of teachers.• an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement:graduates who want to gain industry-recognized certifications. – certifies all or part of the following:
- You are qualified to practice Thai Yoga/ Traditional Thai Massage
- You possess the necessary understandings (knowledge) and competencies (skills)
- You have had a certain amount of training: i.e. minimum standards apply.
Certification is only about qualification, skills and training. It does not automatically give you the legal right to practice ANY healing art Thai or otherwise.
Licensing Definition: “a permit from an authority to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade (especially in alcoholic beverages): a gun license | [as modifier] : vehicle license fees.• formal or official permission to do something: logging is permitted under license from the Forest Service. • Medical and or Allied Medical and or Massage License etc.
Many people believe incorrectly that you can only do healing work IF you are “Licensed” by the state! First of all NOT TRUE! This is a myth often perpetuated by “Massage Therapist” and or State Massage Boards. Massage is legally defined as “Rubbing for Money” regardless of perported benefits. Massage is apparently very dangerous and practitioners need to be restricted and licensed by the respective states! Please not all states have these wacky rules.
Thus a Massage License gives you the legal right to practice massage, IF your jurisdiction has licensing laws (not all do). A license is generally issued by a legal entity like a state licensing board, for example. However, this Massage Therapy practice is defined strictly an has statutory scope of practice rules and conditions!
Let me reiterate that there are still some states which do not have licensing requirements for massage at all! Please note however, they may have local jurisdictional codes or rules by county, city etc. which may have the same effect as a massage ordinance.
Additionally, all those laws change frequently.
The Fly in the Legal Ointment!
- Certification means you are qualified to practice massage or any indigenous traditional healing art such as Thai Yoga or Traditional Thai Massage.
- Licensing (if required) gives you the legal right to practice massage.
The issue is that Thai Yoga / Traditional Thai Massage is NOT Massage and or Massage Therapy as defined by law!
There are Special Rules for Thai Yoga Therapy and or Traditional Thai Massage
In the case of Thai Yoga there are special considerations to consider. It depends on how massage and or bodywork is defined. Thai Yoga is quite different from massage and or massage therapy it is an entirely different animal. It is Ayurveda from Thailand. It is the manipulative discipline of Thai Traditional Medicine and Ayurveda (Marmacikitsa). For a deep discussion on What Is Thai Yoga, please read my earlier post on the subject. What is Thai Yoga Part 1, What is Thai Yoga Part 2.
Consider State of Florida
Florida State Medical Board Exemptions
Consider the massage definition of the state of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Massage Law (If you want to read the entire law, click on the link)
“Nothing in this section shall prevent or restrict the practice of a person who uses touch, words or directed movement to deepen awareness of patterns of movement in the body, or the affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or Qi meridians of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics, but such services shall not be designated or implied to be massage or massage therapy.
Such practices shall include, but not be limited to, the Feldenkrais Method; Reflexology; The Trager Approach; Ayurvedic Therapies, Rolf Structural Integration, Polarity or Polarity Therapy; Polarity Therapy Bodywork; Asian Bodywork Therapy that does not constitute massage as defined in this chapter; Acupressure; Jin Shin Do; Qi Gong; Tui Na; Shiatsu; Body-Mind Centering and Reiki. These exempt practitioners may use the terms ”bodywork”, ”bodyworker” and ”bodywork therapist” in their promotional literature.“
In the first example if your a religious practitioner meeting the qualification required you not only do not have to have a license your expressing exempted from them!
In the Massachusetts example, under the secular rule you can imply an exception but it is not stated… furthermore as it is a secular law it can be changed at anytime!
Not only is this confusing it still does not answer the question about whether or not you need a license to practice Thai.
Maybe we are asking the wrong question. The question is NOT whether you need a license or not but under what legal basis can you practice regardless of having a license or not.
Because we are a Native and Indigenous Tribal community we have been researching this issue and question for years. Many bright legal minds and legal experts have weighed in on our legal rights to practice. The question of “Thai” comes from our community adopting Ayurveda of Thailand and Thai Yoga (Traditional Thai Massage) as an authentic traditional , spiritually based healing method or system suitable for our tribal organization to practice. We pass this wisdom on to you now!
First thing is if you define or call what you do Massage or Massage Therapy then GET A LICENSE!
Once you have that license follow the ethics and scope of practice, don’t cheat and don’t violate the restrictive scope of practice and you’ll be fine.
However, if you want to practice Thai Yoga/ Thai Massage legally in the US you don’t need a license but you do need a legal AUTHORIZATION! Remember the Florida Code and the exemptions I listed above? A religious exemption to practice is “on the books” in every state. There are conditions which determine if you personally meet the criteria for exemption however, we can show you the in’s and outs of this process.
NO Loopholes! Don’t put your self and your family at risk by working under loopholes and “under the table” etc. Come out into the light and develop your healing practice and career in the light.
Time to make the shift to NAIC
- Was your healing and natural medicine training apprentice style?
- Did you learn your Thai Yoga or Thai Massage practice in Thailand and now want to practice legally in the US?
- Was your training in Native American and or Indigenous Medicine?
- Do you have a current license but are having issues with your full scope of practice?
- Do you practice Ayurveda, Yoga, Yoga Therapy, Thai Yoga and or Thai Massage?
- Do you practice Reiki, Pranic healing, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Spiritual Massage, Crystal healing?
- Do you counsel and or give advise on nutrition, food, diet, eating lifestyle, supplementation, nutrients or other regimen to enhance wellness or address illness?
- Do you practice detoxification programs such as Pancha Karma?
- Do you practice emotional healing, energy psychology, traditional naturopathy, holistic psychology or psychotherapy?
- Want to get out of the Massage Therapy licensing/ Taxed therapy Gerbil wheel?
- Do you use or recommend Herbs, sacrament and or unconventional herbal therapies for healing?
- Need legal protection and freedom from expense liability insurance issues?
- Do you practice Homeopathy, Radionics, Rife or other energy based healing?
- Do you carry or use Native American Sacrament, Birds of Prey feathers in your healing work for your self or for others?
- Do you believe healing is a Human Right, as well as a constitutional right?
- Are you concerned about laws and governmental authorities limiting you and your families access to health care?
- Are you concerned about mandatory Vaccination issues for yourself or your children?
- Have you been hiding your healing work? Keeping it on the “Down Low”, avoiding marketing or advertising because of fear?
State and National Massage Therapy Scope of Legal Practice do NOT include many CAM practices and therapies such as Ayurveda, Pancha Karma, Detox Programs, Assessments, Psychological and Emotional Therapies, Thai Yoga, Thai Massage, Yoga Therapy, Spiritually based Massage, Food, Eating and Supplement strategies, personal and spiritually based Psychological Counseling etc. In fact they may specifically prohibit you from doing them! (Read your Scope of Practice State Massage Law!) More than this, if your practicing out side your Legal Scope of Practice as defined in your particular state your Liability Insurance is not covering these practices in the event of an accident or claimed injury! Most Massage Liability Insurance programs such as AMTA, ABMP etc. specifically state that in your practice outside your SOP the policy is “null and void” in the event of a claim!
Recently, we have received reports that unlicensed, out of scope of practice healers are being prosecuted, fined, censured and literally shut down because they did not have the forsight to plan ahead and establish a legal basis for their healing work. Both the Federal Gov’t and all Licensing States have hired additional investigators specifically to track down, investigate and prosecute/ persecute so called “Unlicensed” practitioners. They have every legal right and mandate to do so.