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THE MENNINGER FOUNDATION Dr. Elmer & Alyce Green Menninqer Foundation Topeks, Kansas.

ABC BIOFEEDBACK CORP. 60 Sutton P1. so New York, N.Y. (212) 371-3174

ASSOCIATED BIOFEEDBACK MEDICAL GROUP 71-36 110 Street Forest Hills, N.Y. (212) 263-3535

BIOFEEDBACK CONSULTATION SERVICE 310 Madison Ave. New York, N.Y. (212) 687-0180

BIOFEEDBACK BY CRANE CORP 257 Hunterbrook Road, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. (914) 962-4644


CENTER FOR BIOFEEDBACK APPLICATION INC. 277 Mest End Ave. New York, N.Y. (212) 787-8270

BIOFEEDBACK SOCIETY OF N.Y. 115 East B7 Street New York, N.Y. 10028

MEDITATION S MENTAL DEVELOPMENT CENTER OF N.Y. 400 East 59 Street New York, M.Y. 10022 (212) 755-4363

THE EXECUTIVE HEALTH EXAMINERS 777 Third Ave. New York, N.Y. (212) 486-8926

BIOFEEDBACK INSTRUMENTS 255 West 98 Street New York, K.Y. 10027 (212) 222-5665


Franklin Park. N.J. 08823



The legal aspects of using meditation and relaxation in clinical medicine is of interest to the licensed physicians, registered nurses, other licensed professionals who are not licensed to practise medicine, and unlicensed health professionals. Licensed physicians want to know about this legal aspect because they do not want to have their medical licence suspended for professional misconduct. Licensed professionals and unlicensed professionals also want to know about this legal aspect so that they don't get caught for practising medicine without a licence. The licensing of physicians, nurses and other health professionals is under the jurisdiction of individual State Education Departments. While the details may vary from state to state, the basic legal principles governing the practice of medicine should be quite similar. The editorial staff have therefore asked the Chief Editor, Lawrence Young M.D., and his legal counsels to check out the New York, State Education Law regarding the use of meditation and relaxation in medical practice. Readers should start with Section 6521 of the Education Law reprinted below, and then study the opinion of the Education Department in a letter to the legal counsel, on page 54 of this Report. Lastly the reader can study the comments by the Chief Editor regarding this whole matter, in the final section of this article.

New York State Education Law Article 131 Section 6521

Compiled by the Chief Editor Lawrence Young M.D. in collaboration with his legal counsel, H. Reid Shaw Esq..

The practice of the profession of medicine is defined as diagnosing, treating, operating or prescribing for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition. (Section derived from former Section 6501 of Education Law of 1947 )

Notes of Decisions

1. Practising medicine within the meaning of the former section 6501 does not consist in merely administering drugs or in the use of surgical instruments, but the term includes broadly the making of diagnosis and other recognised practice of physicians. People v. Allcutt.

2. One who holds himself dut as being able and offers to diagnose, treat, operate or prescribe for any human diseases, etc., practices medicine within the meaning of subdivision 4 of former section 6501. To read into that section a requirement that actual therapeutic or surgical treatment be given before the practice be considered completed would frustrate the results sought to be achieved. People v. Mastiomarlno.

5 Under subsection 4 of former section 6501, defining the practice of medicine as including diagnosis, the practitioner's conclusion itself rather than the procedures upon which the conclusion is based constitutes " diagnosis " per se, and no particular language need be used and no disease need be mentioned, since the diagnostician may make or draw his conclusions in his own way. People v. Zinke.

12. Where corporation maintained a center "dedicated to the conservation of human health, body, mind and spirit" such purposes did not of themselves constitute the practice of medicine. Schorrvv. Bernarr MacFadden Foundation Inc..

Where plaintiff, incorporated ''to establish, maintain and operate an institution in which persons may obtain accommodation for rest, physical exercise, bathing, massage and hygienic treatment," advertised to treat by physical exercises, etc., diseases and physical conditions of patients, it was not engaged in the practice of medicine within the meaning of this section. Samuel v. Hams.

Comments by the Chief Editor based on the New York State Education Law and Informations in "The Legal Aspects of Meditation and Relaxation" on Page 54.

Providing instructions in meditation and relaxation is not defined nor regulated by any New York State Law at this present time. So long as the meditation and relaxation instructor does not perform any act constituting the practice of medicine, he is not violating New York State Law. He may give instructions in meditation and relaxation for the conservation of human health, body, mind and spirit because such purpose does not constitute the practice of medicine. A licensed physician can legally refer his patients to a meditation relaxation instructor prov.ided that all three of them, the physician, the instructor and the patient, understand that the purpose of meditation and relaxation, is the conservation of human health -------------- and not the diagnosis, treatment, operating or prescribing for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition as defined in Education Law Section 6521. The above view-point is quite consistent with existing evidence on the clinical effects of meditation and relaxation --- the clinical effects are quite non-specific and gen-eral;it appears to act by enhancement of general physical and mental health; and there is no evidence that its function can be narrowed down to treat a specific disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition. Through continued research and monitoring, the proper applications of meditation and relaxation can be widened further and better defined.



Readers having health problems can follow these practical steps to utilize meditation for their health. ( The following suggestions do not apply to readers wishing to study meditation for self-improvement and spiritual advancement.)

1. Discuss with your private doctor that you want to take up meditation and relaxation practice as a health adjunct. Ask your doctor whether he/she can supervise you end monitor you in regard to the practice of meditation. If not, would he/she recommend you to another doctor or nurse who can. Also ask your doctor if he can recommend you to a meditation and relaxation teacher or program.

2. If your doctor cannot recommend you a meditation S relaxation teacher, you can probably find one by looking up the Yellow Pages of your local telephone directory under meditation, yoga or biofeedback. The National Directory in this book, or one of the new age magazines, such as : New Age, Yoga Journal, etc. can probably supply you with some names and addresses. Go and talk to one or more of these teachers and programs, and then report back to your doctor or nurse who has agreed to be your counsellor in clinical meditation s relaxation. Some counsellors might agree to supervise you as you study and practise according Co Dr. Herbert Benson's book: Relaxation Response or Dr. Norman Shealy's book: Biogenics, 90 days to self-health, etc., without requiring that you join a formal meditation program.

3. If you cannot find a doctor or nurse in your locality who would supervise and monitor you, you can request The Clinical Relaxation Counselling Project to provide you counselling in clinical meditation S relaxation.Done in this manner, the counselling and monitoring is by correspondence only and is therefore not a very satisfactory set-up. However, in the absence of local counsellors, readers can give this set-up a try until '"he local professionals can take over the counselling.

4. When counselling is provided by the C.R.C. Project, the reader still need to find a local meditation teacher. If there is none available locally. The C. R. C. Project can supervise the reader while he/she learn meditation S relaxation by studying a book, such as Dr. Herbert Berson's Relaxation Response. However, please note that studying under a meditation teacher or program is much more desirable than learning from a book.

A Reminder:

Patients are again reminded that they should get the OK of their private physician before starting to practise meditation & relaxation If it is intended to be part of the management program for their illnesses. Choice of teacher and program has many facsts to it and the prospective student should consult with their doctor and other professionals before embarking on the new venture.


Lawrence Young M.D. Is an internist in active clinical practice In New York City. He is an attending physician on the staff of New York Inflrmary-Beekman Downtown Hospital and Cabrlnl Medical Center. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, the New York County Medical Society, the New York State Medical Society, the American Holistic Medical Association and the American Society of Internal Medicine. In his clinical practice, he is a typical conventional doctor, adhering to all the established methods of diagnosis and treatment. Since age twelve, he had been interested in meditation, especially in the health-related aspects of meditation. He has met with numerous teachers in meditation and has seen numerous "health improvements" brought on by doing meditation. Now, with many years of clinical experience behind him and a wealth of first-hand knowledge on meditation. Doctor Young is leading a venture to integrate meditation into clinical medicine, trying to make meditation a simple and practical, and at the same time, a legal and ethical mode of therapy for use by doctors and nurses, at the right time and foe the appropriate Indications.



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