- Associated Press - Monday, January 20, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Clark County officials are drafting regulations on reflexology businesses, hoping to weed scammers and prostitution out of the large but minimally regulated foot massage industry.

The proposed changes set for a commission vote next month would add a new chapter in the county code to address reflexology, a practice that involves putting pressure on the feet, hands or ears to achieve a variety of health benefits.

“There are issues within the business. You have good players and bad players,” Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani told the Las Vegas Sun (http://bit.ly/1e71PC1). “What is a reflexologist? What type of training do you have to have? It’s about those types of things. If I’m going to get my feet massaged, I want to make sure it’s by someone who knows what they’re doing and know what the safety precautions are and what the price is.”

Reflexology clinic owners must have a basic business license from the county, but aren’t required to have a background checks or education certifications as they do in the related massage therapy industry.

The new proposal calls for a background check, a certification in reflexology from a licensed school and limited hours of operation - a tenet that takes aim at 24-hour clinics operating as fronts for prostitution.

Some clinic owners, including Wendy Dearborne, support the rules as a way to add legitimacy to her practice. Dearborne studied the practice in England and has worked as a reflexologist for more than 20 years, but told the Sun the low bar of regulation allows anyone to set up shop and call themselves a reflexologist.

Critics of the proposed rules wonder if the limited hours provision will reduce services for casino workers on swing shifts. They also say the requirements would unnecessarily burden business owners.

“The regulations sound realistic on paper, as if all we had to do was get a reflexology license and prostitution would be solved. That’s just a bunch of baloney,” said Heidi Anderson, president of the Nevada Holistic Chamber of Commerce and the Angel Blessings Spa, which houses reflexologists and other practitioners. “Everything they need to enforce prostitution laws is already in place.”

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Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com

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