Preserve Wellness Practices in Massachusetts
Your Action is Needed to Preserve Wellness Practices in Massachusetts!
Two bills in the Massachusetts legislature could drastically affect the future of complementary care in MA – one positive and the other extremely negative. If you have ever benefited from a reiki treatment or enjoyed a yoga class in Massachusetts then it is important for you to understand HD3538/S665 and S168. I urge you to take the appropriate action to support HD3538/S665 and to oppose S168.
Massachusetts currently has a robust, varied, and beneficial complementary care environment. Please understand that what happens in the MA legislature over the next few weeks will determine your ability to access all forms of wellness practices such as yoga, tai chi, meditation instruction, reiki, jin shin jyutsu, chi gung, chi gung, eden energy work, feldenkrais – and on and on.
The only thing that will protect complementary care in Massachusetts is our action, now – please get involved. We all need to push our legislators to do what is right for us!
“An Act providing for consumer access to and the right to practice complementary and alternative health care services”
HD3538/S665 would establish consumer protection along with respect and stability for complementary care practitioners. This bill created by complementary health practitioners would be an excellent step to establish consumer protection along with respect and stability for practitioners. Under this bill, complementary practitioners would be explicitly prohibited from such activities as puncturing the skin, prescribing drugs, or representing themselves as licensed health care providers. Practitioners would also be required to provide clients with a written description of the services provided and information about credentials. So long as currently-exempt practitioners take these sensible steps, they would continue to be exempt from licensure.
Currently 10 states have similar exemption laws, and approximately twenty additional states have introduced this type of legislation. The bill is currently in the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. Click here for more information on HD3538/S665.
Take Action to Pass S665/H3660, the MA “Consumer Access and The Right to Practice Complementary and Alternative Health Care” bill, into Law with this quick and easy on line form:
“An Act regulating bodyworks”
S168, on the other hand, is an unnecessarily severe licensure bill for “bodywork” and is currently in the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. It would be very problematic to clients and practitioners of complementary health practices.
Many residents of Massachusetts attend classes in yoga, tai chi, chi gung, meditation, and more. Many seek the help of practitioners of reiki, Feldenkreis, chi healing, Alexander Method, Jin Shin Jyutsu, to name a few, in order to maintain their health and/or ameliorate symptoms. The regulatory structure mandated by this bill would likely limit practice of these methods to an extent that would destroy Massachusetts’ robust complementary care environment. Some care would still be available, but it would be scant, it would be much more expensive, and it would be much less varied.
S168 is being put forward under the guise of anti-human trafficking. The bill will negatively impact all healers and practitioners who use: “… touch, words or directed movement to deepen awareness of patterns of movement in the body, or the affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or Qi meridians of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics;” Read the entire bill here.
Please realize that this bill would affect a broad range of methods, including yoga, reiki, meditation instruction, chi gung, tai chi, Feldenkreis, shiatsu, Alexander method, jin shin jyutsu, eden energy, and on and on and on. These are methods that have previously been exempt from state licensure, because of the unlikeliness of causing harm to a client. S168 mandates a generic form of state education in order to receive licensure; the vast majority of legitimate practitioners in Massachusetts have not received this type of education.
The current bill is so over-reaching that it even restricts volunteer work to venues where practitioners are supervised by licensed practitioners, or to work with immediate family members. This means that a Reiki practitioner, for example, who wants to give a close friend free sessions would be in violation of the law. Anyone who is seeking to help a person improve health and wellness with touch or words would fall under the giant umbrella of this bill. The effect would likely be to shut down many reputable practitioners, thus depriving many clients of needed services.
Take Action to Oppose S168 Now with this quick and easy online form:
Other Ways to Take Action
1) In-Person Lobbying Days
Lobbying day against the licensure bill S168:
Tuesday, April 23 1pm-3pm (orientation at 12:30pm)
Location: Massachusetts State House , Room 222, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133
We urge you to consider joining Rita Glassman and others as they lobby on April 23 against the proposed bodyworks bill, S168.
If enacted this bill would require mandatory costly additional coursework as well as annual licensing fees. Think this doesn’t affect you because you aren’t a practitioner, just a student or client? Think again. This bill would affect all bodyworkers and energy workers as well as anyone “who uses touch, words or directed movement to deepen awareness of patterns of movement in the body.” This could be your yoga teacher, Qi Gong teacher, Reiki practitioner, Ayurveda practitioner and more. If they are not inclined to take the state mandated coursework, they could simply close up shop. This bill has serious ramifications for anyone interested in complementary and alternative health care. Can’t join the Lobby Day? Contact Rita Glassman at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can help.
Lobbying day in support of bill HD3538/S665:
Please continue to show your support for this bill by joining us at the Massachusetts State House for our next Rally Day on Thursday, April 25. RSVP to Carol at email@example.com to confirm how many people to prepare materials for. Please find your legislators ahead of time at this link to expedite our organization into groups that day. If you cannot attend, please consider supporting this effort with a donation at the Health Freedom Action Massachusetts website www.hfama.org.
2) Email and/or call your state senator and representative to ask them to support H3660/S665 and oppose S168. Click here to find your senator and rep.
3) Share and post this information on social media! Remember that anyone who benefits from a wide range of methods (yoga, meditation, chi gung, reiki) will be impacted by what happens regarding these two bills.
4) If you are a member of a complementary care professional organization, a graduate of a training program, an attendee of a holistic center, or a member of a yoga studio, etc, please pass the word along to people at these organizations. Because we are such a decentralized profession, many people who could be tremendously affected by these bills have no idea about what is going on.
5) Contact the legislators in the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, where S665 to preserve access to complementary care is currently being reviewed. This is the first hurdle a bill must clear on its way to becoming law. It is CRUCIAL for us right now to let the 20 lawmakers who sit on this committee know exactly how important holistic health is to us. Let these legislators know, via email and/or phone, that you are hoping for their support for S665.
6) The licensure bill S168 is currently in the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. Email and/or call these legislators to urge them to oppose this bill and explain to them that you are concerned that you will lose your complementary care providers and/or your ability to practice under these poorly-designed regulations.
7) Donate to Health Action Freedom Massachusetts, a small organization of practitioners operating on a shoe-string budget, trying to preserve the practice of complementary care in our state.
8) Sign Petition to STOP S168