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Legislative Position

APTA seeks to be a positive influence in complementary healthcare, and to protect our members’ right to practice.  Learn more about the work we are doing to ensure fair regulation of Polarity Therapy.

APTA’s QUALIFICATIONS 

As the organization that launched the profession of Polarity Therapy and which oversees the training and certification of practitioners, APTA is uniquely qualified to address regulatory issues related to our practice.   APTA has:

  • A 32 Year Track record of Self-Regulation
  • Not a single complaint or legal action taken by consumers against our schools or practitioners
  • Comprehensive Standards for Education and Practice
  • A Code of Professional Conduct
  • Board Certification for Practitioners administered by an independent regulatory council

Our educators are internationally-acknowledged leaders in the field of Energy Medicine and Holistic Healthcare; they include MDs, Naturopathic Doctors, PhDs, research scientists and published authors.  Collectively we define APTA’s Standards which have governed the education and practice of Polarity Therapy for over three decades.

POLARITY THERAPY & REGULATION 

We believe APTA is the appropriate organization to determine who is qualified to practice Polarity Therapy, and that APTA should be consulted on all legislative action related to Polarity Therapy.  APTA’s Standards for Practice should be the basis for any regulation; anything less would be contrary to public interest.  APTA unequivocally opposes regulating Polarity Therapy as a form of massage or requiring a massage education or license to practice Polarity Therapy.  They are entirely different professions, with different training, scope of practice, and intended outcome.  To conflate the two is misleading to the consumer. Polarity is a complete system unto itself and should not require any outside education or license to practice.

PROTECTING OUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE

APTA’s highest priority legislatively, is the protection of the rights of Board Certified Practitioners to practice and teach Polarity Therapy.  APTA recognizes that this goal may be accomplished either by inclusion within the law, or by exclusion from the law.

Inclusion within the Law… If a State wishes to regulate Polarity Therapy, APTA advocates that the only basis for one’s right to practice Polarity Therapy should be active BCPP (Board Certified Polarity Practitioner) status through APTA.

Exclusion from the Law…  APTA advocates that Polarity Therapy be exempted from Massage Education and Licensing requirements for a number of reasons, which are explored in greater detail below.  APTA recommends the following exemption language be included in any Massage Legislation:

Legislative Exemption Language for Energy Therapies

Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prevent or restrict the practice of any person in this State who uses touch to affect the energy systems, acupoints, or Qi meridian (channels of energy) of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics, provided that their services are not designated or implied to be massage or massage therapy.  Such practices include, but are not limited to, Polarity Therapy, Asian Bodywork Therapy, Acupressure, Jin Shin Do, QiGong, Reiki, and Shiatsu.  Practitioners must be recognized by or meet the established standards of either a professional organization or credentialing agency that represents or certifies the respective practice based on a minimal level of training, demonstration of competency, and adherence to ethical standards.  

Why should Polarity Therapy be regulated separate from Massage?

1. It Misleads the Consumer 

A person coming to a Polarity Therapy session enters a mental-emotional-spiritual healing process, which can have a profound and lasting impact on one’s life.   It is not something to be entered into casually or without a conscious intention to heal.  This level of expertise is outside the scope of massage; Massage generally aims to promote relaxation, circulate blood and lymph, relieve tension in the muscles and soft tissue, and improve structural balance.   Polarity Therapy has a very different aim: it balances the life energy (also known as chi / qi / prana), and encourages personal growth, self-awareness and higher consciousness; it is a comprehensive system of holistic healing that also includes nutrition, energy exercises (similar to yoga or tai chi), and verbal communication.  To call it a form of massage diminishes its true scope and intent and misleads consumers about what kind of therapeutic process they are entering.

2. It Authorizes Unqualified Persons to Practice Polarity Therapy

When Polarity Therapy is regulated as Massage, it authorizes a Licensed Massage Therapist to practice it, even if an individual has little or no training.    This becomes problematic in particular if a Massage Therapist has taken a weekend workshop or elective course in Polarity Therapy.   “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is a saying that applies here:  the dilettante jeopardizes public welfare by attempting to practice a therapy he is not qualified to practice; he also diminishes the reputation of Polarity Therapy as a whole, misrepresents it to the public, and likely mixes it with other modalities that obscure the true nature of the practice.  Not a single Massage School in the U.S. or Internationally offers a complete Polarity Practitioner training.  Why?  Polarity Therapy is not a form of massage.

3.  It Places an Unfair Burden on Polarity Practitioners  

Board Certified Polarity Practitioners already undergo extensive training – 800 hours, more than most Massage Schools (which are typically 500-750 Hours).  Polarity Practitioner Training includes significant attention to Anatomy & Physiology, Ethics, Clinical Supervision, and other measures to insure safe practice.  It’s a significant investment of time, energy and money for an individual to train to become a Polarity Practitioner, usually about 3-4 years.    To then require an individual to return to Massage School, and pay tens of thousands of dollars to study something they do not even want to practice, is an unfair burden on Polarity Practitioners.

Polarity Therapy vs. Massage

Here is an exploration of differences between Polarity Therapy and Massage, and why they should be regulated separately.

Polarity Therapy

POLARITY PRACTITIONER TRAINING:

  • includes 800 hours
  • Requires passing Board Exam
  • Sensitizes Student to Subtle Energy fields, currents, & zones
  • Works with 5 Element Balancing (based on Ayurvedic system of India), the Chakras, and universal energy dynamics

SCOPE OF PRACTICE:

  • Polarity Therapy facilitates an awakening of spiritual and health-consciousness within a client, similar to meditation, tai chi, or yoga; it also promotes a better circulation of vital energy (chi/ ki/ prana).
  • As such a variety of techniques are used besides touch, including verbal communication, energy exercises, vocal exercises, dietary and lifestyle changes.
  • Interpersonal dynamics/boundaries between client & therapist are vital to healing in a larger degree than massage

ENERGETIC TOUCH TECHNIQUE:

  • tends to be of lighter pressure than Massage
  • can include long periods of stillness, with no little or no pressure
  • is performed with client clothed
  • requires no lotion or oil
  • involves no gliding strokes
  • involves no kneading of musculature
  • is in service of energy balancing alone, not manipulating structure or tissue
  • Is often accompanied by verbal communication
  • guides a client to greater self awareness and through any emotional process that arises

Massage Therapy

MASSAGE THERAPIST TRAINING:

  • includes 500-750 hours in most states
  • may or may not require a certification exam (such as NCETMB/ MBLEx)
  • is oriented primarily around the physical body / structure and physical issues alone

SCOPE OF PRACTICE:

  • Assesses and responds to physical patterns primarily
  • Does not include Nutrition, Yoga/ Exercise or Verbal Communication
  • Includes Relaxation, Recreation, Structural Balancing, Better Circulation of blood and lymph, Relief of Tension in Muscles and Soft Tissue
  • Interpersonal dynamics/boundaries between client & therapist are less important … a person can have an excellent massage from an anonymous therapist without regard for developing a therapeutic relationship

MASSAGE TECHNIQUE:

  • Always involves some degree of pressure
  • Tends to involve movement or manipulation of the physical structure
  • is often performed with client disrobed
  • often involves lotion or oil
  • can involve gliding strokes or work directly on surface of skin
  • often involves kneading of musculature
  • can involve manipulating structure or soft tissue
  • may include some verbal communication but this is not the primary focus of massage
  • does not consciously include working with emotions of the client

APTA’S CONCERN FOR PUBLIC WELFARE & SAFETY

Polarity Therapy is a compassionate practice that upholds the dignity and worth of each human life.   APTA strongly opposes Human Trafficking, Sexual Harassment, and other abusive practices sometimes affiliated with the Massage & Bodywork Industry.  Most Polarity trainings address trauma and working sensitively with individuals who may be traumatized; Polarity Therapy is an advocate for healing, and helping individuals overcome the effects of abuse.  APTA Code of Professional Conduct compels its practitioners to work with the highest regard for the client’s safety and public welfare.  APTA has a 32 Year History of consumer safety, with no ethical complaints or legal action taken towards our schools or practitioners.