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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.

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