In 2016, the NC Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy had determined that the practice of reflexology is “specifically intended to affect the human energy field” and therefore that “those who practice reflexology are not practicing massage and bodywork therapy.”

More recently, however, the massage board has been considering requiring a massage and bodywork license from reflexologists. That would be a significant obstacle to certified reflexologists in North Carolina. It takes 200-300 hours of training to become certified as a reflexologist, but the massage and bodywork license calls for 500 hours of classroom instruction.

Such a change could not be either demonstrably necessary or narrowly tailored to address a legitimate state interest. House Bill 434 as filed would have the state of North Carolina honor the national certification of reflexologists by the American Reflexology Certification Board and, by so doing, remove the practice from the threat of licensing and regulation by the massage board.

But as I argue in Carolina Journal this week, this issue is yet another obscure licensing turf war— and another indication that North Carolina needs to take bold action against its excessive occupational licensing.