Practicing your Healing Profession in Oregon without a License Legally and Ethically

Practicing your Healing Profession in Oregon without a License Legally and Ethically

Oregon State Massage and Counseling Laws and Relevant Code

The first thing I want to point out is that the state of Oregon does not require any licensing for ministers, clergy, pastors, reverends, priest, medicine man or woman.

Senate Bill 298

(4)(a)“Massage,” [or] “massage therapy”or “bodywork”means the use of pressure, friction, stroking, tapping or kneading on the human body, or the use of vibration or stretching on the human body by manual or mechanical means or gymnastics, with or without appliances such as vibrators, infrared heat, sun lamps or external baths, and with or without lubricants such as salts, powders, liquids or creams, for the purpose of, but not limited to, maintaining good health and establishing and maintaining good physical condition.

Oregon Massage Board Website

Opinion: As Native American Indigenous Church, Tribal Organization 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 Oregon (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 Oregon. 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 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 Oregon.

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 OREGON BOARD OF LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS & THERAPISTS LICENSE REQUIREMENTS (see below).

Clergy – Penitent Privilege in Oregon Law:
Confidential communications between authorized NAIC ministers and providers/ practitioners and other members during the course of their duties and responsibilities are private and privileged under Clergy-Penitent privilege.

Definition of Member of the Clergy: “Member of the clergy means a minister of any church, religious denomination or organization or accredited Christian Science practitioner who in the course of the discipline or practice of that church, denomination or organization is authorized or accustomed to hearing confidential communications and, under the discipline or tenets of that church, denomination or organization, has a duty to keep such communications secret.”

Oregon officials, Boards, Law Enforcement, Governmental agencies may not have access to, ask for details of practices nor interfere with our practices under RLUIPA, Title 18 provisions.
It is….

From Oregon Massage Therapy Board Website FAQ:

Q: I practice reflexology.  Do I need a license in the State of Oregon?

A: Effective January 1, 2008, there has been a specific exemption for the practice of Reflexology in Oregon.  The exemptions is as follows per ORS 687.031 (1)(i): Practitioners of reflexology who do not claim expressly or implicitly to be massage therapists and who limit their work to the practice of reflexology through the application of pressure with the thumbs to reflex points on the feet, hands and ears for the purpose of bringing the body into balance, thereby promoting the well-being of clients.

Opinion: Good example of a spiritual and or energy based healing method with a patent exemption under Oregon Massage Therapy law. Our core modalities for healing used among our members and clergy, providers, medicine persons are all spiritual and or energy based.

Other Exemptions:
Education Exemption:
Oregon Law at ORS 675.825(4)(a)  states in part… (4) Nothing in ORS 675.715 (Application) to 675.835 (Injunctive proceedings) limits or prevents the practice of a persons profession or restricts a person from providing counseling services or services related to marriage and family if the person:
(a)Does not meet the requirements of ORS 675.715 (Application) (1)(b);

Technically, it states that to get a license you have to have a relevant and or appropriate degree such as a Masters in Counseling, Family Therapy and or Counseling. However, if you don’t have the education and degree required to have the license then you are free to practice as a counselor, family practice or family therapist! This definition is sooo broad that it will cover just about anything you can define as “counseling-ish” such as EFT, BET, TFT, NLP, SomaTic therapy, meditation, Yoga Therapy, Native American Therapy etc. The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapist (OBLPCT) recognizes this giving the term “alternative counselors and therapist” to it. (

Psychological Counseling:
This category of exemptions is defined and explained on the Counseling Boards Web Site:
“The OBLPCT distinguishes between “licensed”, “unlicensed”, “exempt”, and “alternative” counselors and therapists. The Board has authority over licensed and unlicensed counselors and therapists as defined below. The Board has no authority over exempt and alternative providers as defined below….
:Unlicensed professional counselors and unlicensed marriage and family therapists are those who qualify for licensure, practice professional counseling or
marriage and family therapy, and have chosen not to become licensed.

Those who may have counseling-related training and provide similar services as licensed counselors and therapists but do not meet the educational requirements to qualify for licensure as an LPC or LMFT. Alternative providers do not assess, diagnose, or treat mental disorders.”

Diagnosis: treating mental disorders refers to the diagnosis of conditions found in the DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)

We recommend that NAIC Members, Providers, Practitioners, Healers, Ministers, Clergy, Medicine Persons etc. when practicing in Oregon do the following:
1) Keep all NAIC Membership documents handy for reference including membership cards and or Authorizations and Ordinations.
2) Disclose that your authority to practice is from NAIC. Use the name, the official logo, and have all clients sign the consent for and waiver for services BEFORE offering your service.
3) Only work or offer services to NAIC Members. Use the APM sign up for new members.
4) Refrain from using contentious words such as Massage and Massage Therapy as well as Bodywork and Psychotherapist!.
You can find guidelines for how to talk or what words to use in describing your practice in our Legal Guidelines for NAIC Practitioners book and on the Psychology Boards Unlicensed Practice FAQ:
The footnote under item (f) in the FAQ states: A person may not advertise or provide services for a “disorder” listed in the most current revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (e.g., DSMIV-TR). Lay terms such as abuse, overeating, trauma, and addiction, as well as lay terms for depression and anxiety (e.g., grief, moody, fear, worry etc.) are not considered diagnoses and are too general to treat as the specific practice of psychology. The footnote (f) is the most important part of the FAQ!
5) Along with using correct words and disclosures in representing your healing practice, do not mis-represent your practice and or qualifications.
6) If queried by an investigator, record the conversation if possible. There is no legal requirement to speak to an investigator without a lawyer present. Most investigations are “fishing” expeditions usually promoted by some jealous “Licensed” practitioner and 99% will evaporate once they know who you are, your NAIC tribal org member minister practitioner and that you know your rights. These rights include not allowing non members to consult with you (under cover investigators are NOT NAIC members!).

Final Opinion:
Oregon State Laws and code strictly specify that they are to protect the “PUBLIC”. That means in the secular or public domain. NAIC SomaVeda Integrative Traditional Therapies®: Thai Yoga/ Thai Massage members are part of a Native American tribal organization and a legitimate recognized church. Services are between members and between our sacred medicine persons and members and no services are performed on the public. That means the healing services, therapies and private counseling we do is not under the jurisdiction of the State of Washington. This goes for other states as well.

Communication and exchange of confidential information and spiritual counsel within the context of our Native American Indigenous Church and the practice of our ceremonies is clearly confidential and protected activity by State of  Washington statute and by other relevant Federal Law, Code and precedent. (AIRFA, RLUIPA, Boylle Decision, 42 USC Chapter 21B, more legal…)

NAIC Native American Ministers in Washington State do not offer the practice of medicine, massage and or massage therapy. We do offer Native American Church authorized Pastoral, Clerical, Ministerial, Priestly Counseling and therefor are not compelled to apply for similar but secular licensing. The Thai Yoga and other healing modalities we practice are by definition and church/ tribe doctrine Chirothesia and not “practice of manipulation of soft tissue”. All contact with other church members is an extension of divine hand of God and Spirit as an ct of expressing practically our love.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that NAIC Church member Pastors, clergy, ministers and medicine men and women only perform sacerdotal and or ceremonial indigenous, traditional healing/Chirothesia in the context of their regular “pastoral care and duties” as authorized and according to our recognized practices to avoid confusion.

Based on a review of relevant Orregon State Massage Law and other relevant statute we find that the free exercise of Native American Religious Practices including indigenous, traditional, natural and spiritually based healing practices as authorized by NAIC are clearly permitted. It is very clear that Oregon state has intention to honor, respect and to protect the free expression of religion and religious practice as well Personal Rights, Right to Assemble and Freedom of Speech. Our practice of Religious expression is equally if not more so a genuine expression of our religion as marriage is to others. The expression of our Spirit and God ordered sacerdotal duties to perform ceremonies including healing ritual, sacred medicines and remedies, counseling and healing the sick and dieting, and the sharing of the spiritual values of love, compassion, joy and equanimity in honor of all sacred things and all sacred beings is healed as some of our core religious values and expressions thereof.

NAIC Sacred Medicine persons in the regular course of their sacred duties administering to the needy, sick and poor as well as while sharing, participating and or otherwise exercising their religious rights and responsibilities are protected as Native American religion practitioners and church members, as clergy and as practitioners of healing arts.

Do Not Advertise for “Massage, Massage Therapy, Bodywork” or any specialty or words that infer a restricted modality that infers that it is a practice of the aforementioned terms unless you have a Washington State Massage License in hand! Ignorance of the law is no defense! You must disclose your a minister as the basis for any and all services being rendered!

Please Note: Even if you have a Oregon State Massage License it does NOT protect you from practicing outside of your scope of practice! For example if you are not a religious practitioner of conscience such as an NAICAuthorized Practitioner and if you market services using any of the above proscripted words such as “Massage”, “Bodywork” etc. Such as generic “Thai Massage”

Please note: Just because we allow Licensed Massage Therapist to participate or to gain Certification in SomaVeda® Thai Yoga or Thai Massage (slang), does not make or redefine our sacred medicine and or healing practices into the practice of massage!

Furthermore, NAIC member ministers, medicine men and or woman are restrained from advertising or promoting prohibited services such as massage, massage therapy, bodywork etc. to the public. It is recommended the following statement be prominently displayed on all advertising “Please note: [ NAIC Authorized Member Name] does not see or provide services to the Public. Private specialized ministerial services and or counseling provided exclusively by and to NAIC Authorized members. Active NAIC APM membership required for any and all consultations and or services, exchanges etc. (Any and all titles displayed under religious privilege unless otherwise indicated)”  We understand that uneducated persons may misconstrue, misunderstand or be confused by the legal jurisdictions, principles, rights and responsibilities that we hold as healers. So it is in every one’s vital interest to to learn the legal basis for their practice and follow all NAIC directed procedures in their particular ministry.

All NAIC ministers are directed to include laying on of hands, Chirothesia, energy and spiritual, ceremonial and sacramental modalities, natural healing, Yoga Therapy and or any other NAIC authorized healing / wellness generative and supportive modality as part of their regular duties.
There limits to what NAIC Member Practitioners can practice!

NAIC Religious, Spiritual, Alternative and or Chirothesia Healthcare Practices are not the Practice of Medicine as defined by State Law!
•[Practitioner/ Member] does not diagnose or prescribe for medical or psychological conditions nor claim to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure such conditions.
• [Practitioner/ Member] does not provide diagnosis, care, treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles.

You have constitutional rights which are listed in the legal section of this web site. Please read and understand them as law enforcement and competing secular therapist in most cases will be unfamiliar with them. Laws vary from state to state and it is important for you to understand your legal right to participate in the sacraments of the NAIC. NAIC does not support violation of the law. The NAIC does not have a legal fund to defend you but does have all of the documentation to support you in your earnest desire to participate as the spirit dictates so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others and is in accordance with the NAIC mission statement and Authorized Participant Rules. For specific legal opinions regarding the above issues we recommend that you contact our NAIC Legal Advisors and or Counsel.

We do claim the right as the Native American Indigenous Church (Brooksville, Florida), Member of NAIC Parent organization (Priory of Saving Grace) to freely, practice, express and manifestation all sacred faith, beliefs, practices and expressions of our Indigenous, Native Tribal Organization and Church in the State of Oregon. We declare the right to freely practice express and manifest all of our religious practice as we self determine under our religious and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. We restrict and forbid any agency from any interference in our expression of our protected indigenous and traditional faith, beliefs, religion and the expressions and manifestations thereof. We claim these rights granted to us under Federal and International law and by treaty convention in this Oregon State and in all individual states and jurisdiction and or territories of these united states.

NAIC Members desiring a Formal Certificate of Ordination, please contact the office directly.

Wiki: American Indian Religious Freedom Act Article:

Native Religious Rights upheld by 5th Circuit Court of Appeals: Supports Native American Religious freedoms extend to members of “Non- Federally recognized” tribal organizations.

State of Oregon recognizes the Government does not have  a compelling interest standard necessary to deprive members of Non-Federally recognized tribal organizations of religious freedoms necessary to practice Native American Religion.
Case: 13-40326 Document: 00512752300 Page: 1 Date Filed: 08/29/2014, IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

OWRFA [ORS 659A.033] requires all Oregon employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious practices.

Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors requirement:
Section: Who Does Not Need A License 4) Are recognized member of the clergy if acting in a ministerial capacity;

Oriental healing arts practices not regulated by Chapter 677 — Regulation of Medicine, Podiatry and Acupuncture
ORS 677.761 : Persons and practices not within scope of ORS 677.757 to 677.770.
Nothing in ORS 677.757 to 677.770 is intended to: (3) Limit the activities of any person who engages in the business of providing Oriental massage, exercise and
related therapeutic methods or who provides substances listed in an Oriental pharmacopoeia, or vitamins or minerals or dietary advice, so long as the activities of the person are not otherwise prohibited by law. (

Best Article on Practicing Your Profession in Oregon Without a License, Legally and Ethically by Robert Plamondon (

In conclusion: 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!

Federal Code and Native American Religious Practices Acts Apply

Of course Oregon NAIC minister practitioners and healers are also protected under all relevant Federal codes and statutes:

NAIC Federal Legal Compliance and Protections

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.