Bill would remove licensing for reflexologists

Reflexologists would no longer have to be licensed with the state of Nebraska under a bill considered by the Health and Human Services Committee Jan. 27.

Sen. Dave Murman
Sen. Dave Murman

LB211, introduced by Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil, would remove a current requirement that reflexologists be licensed under the Massage Therapy Practice Act. Instead, the bill would create a registry for reflexologists and require certification by a national board. Practicing reflexologists would have to register with the state by Oct. 1, 2021.

Current law is onerous, Murman said, and creates an unnecessary burden.

“The practice of reflexology is different and distinct from the practice of massage therapy,” he said. “Most of the country does not regulate reflexology.”

The Platte Institute’s Nicole Fox testified in support of the bill. She said reflexologists in Nebraska must adhere to the same licensing requirements as massage therapists even though much of the training does not apply to them.

“The state of Nebraska has the most burdensome licensing requirements for massage therapy in the country: 1,000 hours at a cost of nearly $20,000,” Fox said. “The curriculum provides very little, if any, instruction on reflexology.”

Becky Ohlson, a reflexologist and president of the American Massage Therapy Association’s Nebraska chapter, testified against LB211. She said her organization does not support what would be a change in scope of practice for reflexologists and disagreed with the bill’s certification provision.

“[Licensing] is especially important in emerging professions gaining recognition because the industry-accepted certification can change quickly,” Ohlson said.

Steve Carper of the Nebraska Massage Therapy Board also spoke in opposition to the bill. Reflexology is a modality that massage therapists use, he said, and not a separate practice.

“As a board, we don’t think there’s a need for the bill,” Carper said.

The committee took no immediate action on LB211.

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