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October 23, 2014

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Complaints about reflexology clinics could result in closer oversight

Clark County commissioner Mary Beth Scow

Clark County commissioner Mary Beth Scow

Chris Giunchigliani

Chris Giunchigliani

Complaints about misleading advertising and hidden charges at reflexology clinics around the valley have drawn the attention of Clark County commissioners, who decided Tuesday to consider tighter regulations on the health establishments.

There are about 700 reflexology businesses in unincorporated Clark County offering a variety of services.

Reflexologists generally apply physical pressure to the feet, hands or ears to achieve a range of purported health benefits, including relieving neck and back pain, improving circulation and enhancing the immune system.

Despite specific limitations on what procedures can be performed at these clinics, many still advertise full-body massages and other services, Commissioner Mary Beth Scow said.

Constituents have complained — many about a few specific establishments — that they’ve been overcharged or misled about the price of services, Scow said.

“They’re doing things they’re not licensed for,” she said. “Customers think they’re getting one thing, end up with another and they end up paying a lot more.”

Scow and Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani are pushing for tighter rules on the clinics by regulating them the same way the county handles massage parlors.

Under a proposed ordinance discussed during Tuesday’s commission meeting, businesses offering reflexology services would need to obtain a massage business license from the county and receive certification from the Nevada State Board of Massage Therapists.

The new license would come with a number of new requirements, including background checks for employees, limited hours of operation and clear posting in the business of the amount charged for services.

“Every time you think you close one loophole, another one pops up,” Giunchigliani said. “It’s not that people are anti-reflexology or anti-massage, it’s just that that part of the industry needs to be properly regulated.”

Similar ordinances regulating reflexology clinics already are in place in Las Vegas and Henderson.

After Tuesday’s discussion, county staff will begin reaching out to affected businesses to develop a business impact statement. Once that’s done, a formal ordinance will be introduced and a public hearing held, meaning it could be several months before any changes are made.

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