Connecticut Massage and Counseling Law Exemptions

Posted by on Sep 4, 2016 in Native American Liberties, Press Release, State Massage and Religious Law | 0 comments

Connecticut Massage and Counseling Law Exemptions

Connecticut Massage Law Act: http://www.ct.gov/dph/LIB/dph/practitioner_licensing_and_investigations/plis/massagetherapist/MSG_Statute.pdf(d)
“Massage therapy” means the systematic and scientific manipulation and treatment of the soft tissues of the body, by use of pressure, friction, stroking, percussion, kneading, vibration by manual or mechanical means, range of motion and nonspecific stretching. Massage therapy may include the use of oil, ice, hot and cold packs, tub, shower, steam, dry heat, or cabinet baths, for the purpose of, but not limited to, maintaining good health and establishing and maintaining good physical and mental condition. Massage therapy does not encompass (1) diagnosis, the prescribing of drugs or medicines, spinal or other joint manipulations, (2) any service or procedure for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, natureopathy, physical therapy, or podiatry is required by law, or (3) Thai yoga practiced by a person who is registered as a yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance Registry and has completed two hundred hours of training in Thai yoga.Yoga Alliance defines Thai Yoga as an act of physical manipulation and now as an Ayurveda, Indigenous Traditional Thai Massage (Thai Yoga). ITTM is NOT “Thai Yoga” as defined by Yoga Alliance as it is an Indigenous, Traditional discipline of Indigenous Traditional Thai Medicine (Thai Ayurveda) which is a spiritual practice based on faith in unseen forces and principles such as Prana (Sacred breath/ Vital Life Force) and which is facilitated with the use of prayers, visualization, mantra (Om Namo SHivago), and energy balancing. Thai Ayurveda has been practiced in Thailand since the 11th Century as the primary form of Buddhist medicine which it is still today. The Connecticut Medical and or Massage boards do not have any legal jurisdiction over any spiritual practice and or the expression thereof.Obviously as Yoga Alliance failed to pass a law regulating the indigenous, traditional spiritual heritage of Yoga. They are trying the back door of controlling the term Thai Yoga etc. As “Thai Yoga is also a form of Yoga traditional as older and at least as genuine spiritual tradition as any of the Eight Limbs of Yoga and other named Yoga traditions such as Iyengar it is equally exempt from all registration requirements. In spite of the private company Yoga Alliance opinion. As they are not part of our spiritual tradition they can not speak for us.Paragraph d) clearly specifies that the only Thai Yoga practitioners who are mandated are ones certified by the private company Yoga Alliance. In addition to the above statement regarding jurisdiction, this last statement clearly indicates that persons NOT certified by Yoga Alliance would not be addressed under the law.

Additionally, there are two other issues here. First is that “Thai Yoga” is literally Yoga Therapy. It is a slang or short name for the hands on therapies derived from Thai and Classical Indian Ayurveda.

Yoga Alliances official policy (Updated January 25, 2016) Titled “Policy on the Use on Yoga Therapy terms states “While some members of the yoga community have chosen to advertise themselves as offering “yoga therapy” services or training in “yoga therapy” techniques, Yoga Alliance Registry’s standards for Registered Yoga Schools do not include any instruction in yoga therapy techniques or other methods of diagnosing or treating a mental or physical injury or illness. Therefore, no Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School or Registered Yoga Teacher may rely on or use their RYS or RYT designations to hold themselves out as qualified to work as a “yoga therapist” or to train others in “yoga therapy” methods.

Question: as Thai Yoga/ Indigenous Traditional Thai Massage are in fact traditional Yoga Therapy, practiced by Thai and Indian Yoga Reishi and Vidya (Mo/ Ma Nuad: Indigenous Traditional Doctors) and as Yoga Alliance clearly does not offer any training and or certifcation in Thai Yoga/ Yoga Therapy = Thai Yoga Therapy, and that they actually ban the use of the terms by members…  how can they represent to Connecticut or any other state the authority to practice? In fact further on in the policy statement if you do market yourself as practicing Yoga Therapy without a license in something completely unrelated such as “Physical Therapy” they will ban you and revoke your membership! “Yoga Alliance Registry will revoke a registrant’s right to use the RYS and RYT Registry Marks for violating this policy.”

Question 2. Yoga Alliance does not certify schools or teachers (See For Schools) “Yoga Alliance does not certify teachers or accredit schools. Yoga Alliance’s credentialing system is a Registry, not to be confused with other types of credentialing systems (such as certifications, accreditations, licensure, etc.). ” Yoga Alliance states in their educational requirements (Spirit of the Standards – RYS 200) that Reiki, Thai Yoga and Yoga Therapy is “Unrelated” to Yoga i.e. “‘N/A – Supplemental Training’ when they include content that does not fit in the Educational Categories”

If Yoga Alliance neither trains, nor claims to teach, practice nor set standards for Thai Yoga/ Yoga Therapy and will BAN your for doing or advertising these practices, then how can the government require certification or registry with this antagonistic organization as a criteria to practice?

Question 3.  As there are several professional organizations (NAMA, AAPNA, YTA, THAI, ONACS/ NAIC) that do issue certification and professional recognition’s of standards of practice for Thai Yoga (Thai Massage) , contrary to Yoga Alliance, how can the Connecticut Gov’t PREFR one over the others and the one preferred categorizes it as “Unrelated” in their own policy?

It is unconstitutional in both Federal and State to prefer one business over another in the creation or attempt to create a monopoly for the business over others. also it places an incredibly unfair burden on would be practitioners to be required to obtain unrelated registration at their expense in order to have permission to practice.

How can the Connecticut Massage law require a registration from a company which will ban you for advertising or offers these services in the first place?

Answer, They can’t.

(e)
No person shall use the title “massage therapist”, “licensed massage therapist”, “massage practitioner”, “massagist”, “masseur” or “masseuse”, unless the person holds a license issued in accordance with this section or other applicable law.

Since Thai Yoga is not “massage and or massage therapy ” we can only recommend that practitioners do not use any of the above legislated contentious terms in any marketing, advertising or references to their practice at any time.

20-206g. Advertising by massage therapists. Requirements and prohibitions.

(a) As used in this section, “advertise” includes, but is not limited to, the issuance of any card, sign or device to any person; causing, permitting or allowing any sign or marking on or in any building, vehicle or structure; advertising in any newspaper or magazine, or the placement of any listing or advertisement in any directory under a classification or heading that includes the words “massage”, “massage therapist”, “massage therapy”, “massage therapy establishment”,
“shiatsu”, “acupressure”, “Thai massage”, “Thai yoga massage” or “Thai yoga”.

As stated above, our use of the term “Thai Yoga” refers exclusively to ITTM? Ayurveda/ Yoga Therapy practiced and expressed as an indigenous, traditional, native (aboriginal), expression of Sacred Healing and Medicine. ITTM is not a practice of manipulation and is a religious and spiritual practice sacred to indigenous peoples and as such protected by both international treaty (UN WHO; DESA, UDHR etc. and by US Federal Code (AIRFA and RLUIPA). Additionally if practiced by authorized and or ordained ministers, clergy, medicine persons of a cognizable Tribal organization and or church as a sacerdotal duty and obligation to facilitate healing and or a healing ministry it is exempt from these requirements.

(b) No person, firm, partnership or corporation shall advertise any of the services included in the definition of massage therapy in any manner using the term or title “massage”, “shiatsu”, “acupressure”, “Thai massage”,”Thai yoga massage” or “Thai yoga”, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section,unless such services are performed by a massage therapist.

See comment under “a)” above…

(e) A person who does not hold a current license as a massage therapist but who is registered as a yoga  teacher with the Yoga Alliance Registry and has completed two hundred hours of training in Thai yoga may advertise “Thai yoga” services.

Where can I start? As Thai Yoga is Yoga/ Ayurveda/ Indigenous, Traditional, Spiritual Medicine and not “Massage” and or “Massage Therapy” and as Yoga Alliance is a private company with no knowledge or authority to represent the tradition at all, it is an abuse of law and and unconstitutional act to require a person to obtain a permit from a private company to practice and or express a religious, ecclesiastical, and or spiritual faith and or belief. It is furthermore a human rights violation to attempt to curtail the communication, practice and expression of indigenous, spiritual beliefs and practices under at least two federal laws and numerous international treaty which the US is signor and party to such as UDHR etc.

Connecticut Medical exemptions to mandatory Vaccinations:http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/student/health/religious_exemption_immunization.pdf

Connecticut Religious Freedom Act

Connecticut General Statutes section 52-571b
Sec. 52-571b. Action or defense authorized when state or political subdivision burdens a person’s exercise of religion.
(a) The state or any political subdivision of the state shall not burden a person’s exercise of religion under section 3 of article first of the constitution of the state even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) The state or any political subdivision of the state may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(c) A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened in violation of the provisions of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against the state or any political subdivision of the state.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the state or any political subdivision of the state to burden any religious belief.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect, interpret or in any way address that portion of article seventh of the constitution of the state that prohibits any law giving a preference to any religious society or denomination in the state. The granting of government funding, benefits or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the constitution of the state, shall not constitute a violation of this section. As used in this subsection, the term “granting” does not include the denial of government funding, benefits or exemptions.
(f) For the purposes of this section, “state or any political subdivision of the state” includes any agency, board, commission, department, officer or employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state, and “demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

The State of Connecticut has no mandate to burden unfairly the practice of any religious practice or expression. By referring to a private company as exclusive arbiter of the legitimate spiritual expression of the indigenous healing practices we call Thai Yoga (ITTM) it is exactly placing an unreasoned burden on the individual and corporate body of practitioners in the state in essence preferring a religious point of view. Namely preferring Yoga Alliances view point that the practice is NOT religious.
This not only violates Connecticut law but US Constitution and Federal Code as well. The State of Connecticut has no compelling governmental interest in burdening legitimate religious expression.
First Amendment: The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, in relevant part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” U.S. Const., amend. I.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, in relevant part, that “[n]o State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1.
Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (AIRFA) states that “[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law . . . .”

Opinion from HOWARD M. WASSERMAN (Professor of Law, FIU College of Law): PRESCRIPTIVE JURISDICTION, ADJUDICATIVE JURISDICTION, AND THE MINISTERIAL EXEMPTION: “The ministerial exemption is a specific application of the broader freedom of the church doctrine —also styled as the church autonomy doctrine —which recognizes the constitutional liberty of religious organizations to manage their institutions and limits the reach of secular or civil authority into their internal workings. Church autonomy re-quires that secular authority keep its “hands off” matters of faith, religious doctrine, theological pronouncements, the structure and internal governance of religious institutions, and other matters of the spiritual domain. The doctrine previously manifested itself in a series of Supreme Court decisions involving disputes over church property. As the Court recognized in Hosanna-Tabor, these cases confirm  that there are limits on the government’s power to interfere with a church’s determination of who can minister.

The church autonomy doctrine’s limitations on state authority en-sure a structural balance separating church and state as competing sovereigns within American society, each with irreducible authority in its own “sphere.”

The First Amendment ensures the “penultimacy of the state,” and the ultimacy of the church, in those areas in which the church must predominate,as well as the converse in those areas in which the state should predominate. It reflects the injunction to “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” ( http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2012068)The Connecticut Massage Law can not supersede or require a license to do what other wise is an exempted practice under the Connecticut General Statutes.

It is my opinion that without doubt the intent of the Connecticut law is to constitutional and statutory rights of freedom of speech, free exercise of religion1 and the guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Exemptions and or Right to Practice:
Opinion: As Native American Indigenous Church Tribal Organization (NAIC) and or Native American Indigenous Church Tribal Org. (NAIC) members who are authorized to participate and to practice and or provide indigenous, traditional healing arts as a sincere expression and firmly held conviction of their Native American Religious practices, our traditional practices are not under the legal jurisdiction of the state of Connecticut (or any other for that matter). We have and hold dearly many ceremonial and spiritual/ religious ceremonies and healing practices some or all include touching the body. The fact that we may or may not touch the body while manifesting our religious practices is of no compelling interest or lawful consideration of the state of Connecticut. Many religions and religious practices incorporate touching in ritual, ceremony and healing services. Commonly called “Laying on Hands” and or Chirothesia. The fact that our “laying on of hands” performed by and among our members are more elegant and or more sophisticated than those practiced by other religion does not make them less a genuine expression of our Indigenous, Traditional, Mother Earth Based Native American Religious practice. What substances and or tools we use as sacrament also is of no concern for the state and the use of substances and methodologies derived from nature traditional to the practice of our beliefs also does not meet the compelling interest standard to be included under the state jurisdiction. We do declare our healing practices to be exempt from any requirements for reporting, licensing and or regulation by State of Connecticut.

Furthermore, all of our Native American Indigenous and Traditional Healing Ceremonies and Practices are Counseling and therapy provided by authorized seminarians in training and or graduates, ordained and or authorized to conduct healing sacraments under authority of the church. As such are duly authorized and under authority and only between church members we are exempt from regulation under the Connecticut BOARD OF LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS & THERAPISTS LICENSE REQUIREMENTS (see below).

CONNECTICUT GENERAL STATUTES CHAPTER 383c PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS
(c) No license as a professional counselor shall be required of the following: (1) A person who furnishes uncompensated assistance in an emergency; (2) a clergyman, priest, minister, rabbi or practitioner of any religious denomination accredited by the religious body to which the person belongs and settled in the work of the ministry, provided the activities that would otherwise require a license as a professional counselor are within the scope of ministerial duties.

Indigenous Traditional Thai Yoga (ITTM) is provided by trained, certified and or Licentiate authorized Ministers, Lay Ministers, Practitioners, Medicine Persons as an expression of the Native American Indigenous Traditional Religious practice, expression and philosophy. It is a form of religious, pastoral, ministerial counseling which is performed with or without compensation as a sacerdotal and or ministerial duty and obligation.

The Connecticut Code as stated above in provision (CONNECTICUT GENERAL STATUTES CHAPTER 383c PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS) Duly accredited  and or authorized practitioners, so long as they are practicing provided the activities that would otherwise require a license as a professional counselor are within the scope of ministerial duties.” applies to a practitioners of all recognized religious practitioners as the state cannot issue a legal exemption in favor of any one religion over another!” Yoga Alliance can not and does not specify for the practice of any form of Indigenous Traditional and or Native Medicine or Therapy which is practiced as a ministry by duly authorized ministers, medicine persons.

Final Recommendations:

NAIC Opinion/ Conclusion:
Clearly, NAIC Authorized ABM, AFM, CHT ministers practicing in accordance with their appropriate authorization, actual training and scope of practice and NOT claiming or advertising inappropriately that they are specifically Licensed  “Medical Doctors”, “Massage Therapists”, “Counselors” and or “Psychologist” are not required to obtain or hold a State License for the practice of Native American and or Indigenous Traditional Healing of any kind. Bottom line? Don’t claim, offer or advertise to be practicing a “State Licensed” specialty of any kind unless you hold that license.
Because the wording as included in the statutes referenced above is so misleading and inaccurate in describing what we do or do not do, I suggest either using the full name “SomaVeda Integrated Traditional Therapies® Thai Yoga”, “SomaVeda® Thai Yoga”, “SomaVeda® Thai Yoga Therapy”, “SomaVeda® Sacred Thai Yoga”, “SomaVeda® Yoga Therapy”, “SomaVeda® Counseling”,
Additional suitable names: “SomaVeda® Ayurveda Wellness Consultant/ Counselor (AWC only)”, “SomaVeda® Ayurveda Health Counselor (SomaVeda® AHC or Above Only)”, “SomaVeda® Yoga Therapy/ Therapist (SomaVeda® AYT only)”, etc. If in doubt or brainstorming for good names contact the office.
Only represent those practices and expressions of your sincere and firmly held religious convictions for which you are trained to practice and express.
We can reasonably assume that the Spiritual, Religious, Ceremonial, Sacredotal, Ministerial, Clerical, practices of Chirothesia, Indigenous, Native and Traditional and or tribal/ familial counseling and healing as ordained tenants authorized by the Religious Institution Native American Indigenous Church (NAIC) Organizations are exempted from the professional regulation of the State of  Connecticut. This applies to the full scope of practice and training as authorized by NAIC.
Important! Offer NO public services! We do not work or offer religious / services or therapeutic ministries to the public.
In addition to the previously mentioned legal exceptions, as NAIC members do not offer or perform services on the public, only on or for other church members. All conversations and legitimate exchange of communications, energy and or services in this context are private and not under the states purview under Expressive Right of Association, Freedom of Speech, Right to Privacy and Private contract law.
Our sacred healing, practices, ceremonial and/ or counseling services offered exclusively to church members are not any of the above Connecticut State “Licensed” specialties and are by definition legitimate activities not under the jurisdiction or oversight of the state.

If you are practicing in Connecticut we recommend you print this article and either post in your office of keep handy with your NAIC Credentials should there be some query about why you might or might not have a State License. If you need or have not received an Ordination and or Authorization to Minister, contact the office and we will issue one.

DO have your clients join NAIC as fellow Authorized Participant Members and DO have them sign the NAIC Consent form! Then Pray and make them well!

The above provided information is not intended as legal advise and is furnished to assist NAIC Members to make informed decisions about their exercise of religious freedoms guaranteed under Federal and State Code and Law.

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