Public Hearing: Why MA Bill S. 168 Matters to ALL MA Residents


In this post:

  • A synopsis of MA Bill S 168
  • Why This Matters
  • My Views on WHY I oppose
  • Public Hearing Information
  • Issues list
  • Addresses for Legislators
  • References

A Synopsis of MA Bill S 168

A hearing date, OCTOBER 28TH, has been announced for Mass bill S 168
“An Act Regulating Bodyworks” under the guise of preventing sex trafficking.

Who will be joining me at the public hearing on Monday, October 28th in Boston, MA? This is not just about reiki. This bill affects:

  • yoga
  • meditation centers
  • Buddhist centers
  • martial arts
  • thai chi
  • psychic mediums
  • spiritual centers
  • wellness professionals
  • reiki
  • reflexology
  • professional caregivers
  • indigenous shamanic healing
  • death doulas
  • hospice volunteers
  • vulnerable populations – homeless, those face with addictions, senior citizens, low income, victims of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, terminally ill, immigrant populations dependent on THEIR own cultural practices.
  • basically ANYONE who does ANYTHING that alters chi using word or touch. That is the entire population!

S.168 Summary:

S.168 is a bill that has been filed in the Massachusetts legislature by Senator Montigny under the guise of a solution to end human trafficking.  

The bill, if passed, would require professional licensure for more than 200 alternative and complementary holistic modalities, and offers no direct route to licensure.  

There is NO grandfather clause for seasoned well established practitioners in any of these modalities

In addition, S.168 would dramatically reduce healthcare options for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Considering that I have personally witnessed healing in people where our broken healthcare failed except driving up immense healthcare costs to those individuals including myself into the $100,000’s and creating a culture of addiction.

The bill redefines holistic healthcare occupations as bodywork and affects all modalities that direct movement or work with energy aka “chi” (1).  The bill proposes a Board of Massage Therapy and Bodywork that would have 3 massage therapists and two bodywork professionals on it.  

These two body workers would have to set the educational requirements of more than 200 holistic disciplines and spiritually based practices that are the religions for many in the Commonwealth.  

In addition, you can only become licensed if you take courses at “state licensed schools“.  There are currently no state licensed schools that offer courses in the majority of these disciplines.

How You Can Help SAVE:

REIKI & OTHER spiritual based healing and/or holistic health modalities in Massachusetts:

Why This Matters

If this bill were to pass, it would become ILLEGAL for anyone to practice Reiki, any spiritual or professional practice that can alter “Chi” without a license.

Those receiving volunteer services through hospice, hospitals, non-profits, elder care, etc will NO longer be able to provide these services for a variety of reasons as listed in this post.

LICENSES ARE EXPENSIVE and Practitioners including volunteers need to start your education AGAIN FROM SCRATCH. Considering the MAJORITY of practitioners are VOLUNTEER, this would be devastating to those receiving as mentioned earlier.

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP THIS HORRIBLE BILL!  

Not enough practitioners and/or receivers/benefactors of these modalities have taken the time to contact their legislators.

It is CRUCIAL FOR YOU TO ACT NOW.

EVERYONE COUNTS.  

Laura Joseph, Health Care Lobby Day, June 2018

My Views

Speaking as a survivor of rape and domestic abuse who was subsequently diagnosed with CPTSD taking decades to reclaim my life as well as someone with years doing advocacy work in Massachusetts for victims, SADLY THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX TRAFFICKING AND WON’T STOP IT.

I’ve met personally with several state senators and representatives who agree that this bill will NOT do as promoted. It is a shame that the propaganda sold to Massachusetts residents is that if you do not support this bill, then you are harming victims of sex trafficking. THIS IS FAR FROM THE TRUTH.

I have worked with survivors in varying capacity for over 14 years. Yes, there needs to be better laws to protect victims, but how do we legislate bad behavior, colonization mentality of women, young girls, and children when the laws currently on the books are NOT enforced?

This is a regulatory bill to regulate “Chi”(1) through the use of word or touch. How does one regulate “chi”? Really? When we think about this, this is frightening to me and very triggering to someone who is a trauma survivor who depended upon these very practices to SAVE MY OWN LIFE when our traditional healthcare model almost killed me and caused more harm.

In my opinion as a survivor of abuse and rape, advocate, and healer, this is a slap in our faces. This is a gross form of systemic abuse to every victim who has ever been abused or raped.

I have personally dedicated the last 14 years of my healing Journey and helping other survivors of abuse to heal in a variety ways where AGAIN our system FAILED.

I see predatory behavior quite easily AND THIS BILL is PREDATORY.

The state does not have the expertise to set the curriculum of more than 200 disciplines that derive from various “culturally appropriated indigenous and non-colonized foreign cultures” . The American collegiate system is NOT a leading authority in these practices. Those with bloodlines from these cultures who apprenticed students into teachers over YEARS of dedication and training ARE the leading authority.

This in my view is also another attempt to “COLONIZE” sacred teachings further causing irreparable harm to many spiritual based, indigenous, and immigrant cultures not to mention it is racist when you look at the origins of these modalities and who their real targets are.

Issues List   

S.168 would arbitrarily and inaccurately redefine hundreds of holistic occupations as bodywork. The broad definition of bodywork affects more than 200 diverse disciplines and professions and many thousands of practitioners (many of whom are women) who now provide for their families working in this field.  

Due to the restrictive standards set forth in the bill, many will be forced to close their doors, adversely impacting their household and children and increasing unemployment claims and WELFARE assistance increasing the burden on taxpayers.

S.168 would dramatically reduce citizen options for tens of thousands infringing on freedom of choice.

The proposed board of massage therapy and bodyworkers only has 2 bodyworkers to represent more than 200 holistic professions.

You can only become licensed if you take courses at state licensed schools. There are no state licensed schools that offer training in all these disciplines.

The state does not have the expertise nor are the leading authorities to set the curriculum of more than 200 disciplines as stated above earlier.

Why bodywork licensure is not a viable approach to addressing human trafficking:

Contrary to the Massachusetts Interagency Human Trafficking Policy Task Force recommendations, S.168 seeks to reduce human trafficking supply through occupational licensure rather than reducing the demand for human trafficking through enforcement of existing “John laws” or the
promulgation of sensible new laws.

Occupational licensing has not been recommended in the Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2013; or by the US Department of State (see ’15 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking’}

The National Human Trafficking database reports only 4 cases of human trafficking in Massachusetts at illicit massage spas.  There is no accurate data on the number of human trafficking cases at illicit massage spas in MA as many counties combine prostitution cases with human trafficking cases when reporting data.

What YOU Can Do:

LEGISLATORS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU NOW.

The fate of Reiki and ALL spiritually based integrative healing, holistic health, spiritual practices, martial arts is in YOUR hands.

  1. Attend the Public Hearing and give support to the individuals testifying. (We need a very large crowd to attend to show a strong opposition)   
  2. Give oral testimony which is limited to three minutes in length in opposition to S.168.  (See attached Giving Testimony Instructions and Testimony Worksheet)    
  3. Prepare written testimony and submit it at the Public Hearing.
  4. Prepare written testimony and email it to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure (email addresses  below):


Email addresses of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection &
Professional Licensure:

[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ;[email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ;[email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ;
[email protected]

You may also include the bill sponsors:

[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ;[email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ;[email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ; [email protected] ;
[email protected] ;[email protected] ;
[email protected]

Hearing Information:

Hearing Date:             Monday, October 28
Hearing Time:            11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hearing Location:     Gardiner Auditorium

LOCATION:

Boston State House
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA  02133

References

  1. Chi definitionMerriam Webster Dictionary ; Noun (often capitalized); “vital energy that is held to animate the body internally and is of central importance in some Eastern systems of medical treatment (such as acupuncture) and of exercise or self-defense (such as tai chi) “ – Chinese (Beijing) , literally, air, breath

Why Pending Legislation MA Bill SD1840 Matters & How It Affects YOU

It is back with a vengeance … if you live or work in MA, please take a moment and hear about this pending bill that needs our collective immediate attention.

In my personal and professional opinion, it is sadly a misguided bill under the guise of anti-human trafficking that will have a greater negative affect than good and ultimately hurting those they are trying to protect.

We will address the following:

  • What is MA Bill SD1840?  How will practitioners be affected?
  • How will MA Bill SD1840 Affect You, the Consumer?
  • Current MA Laws
  • A Personal Note: Regarding how these practices SAVED my life, reiki, predatory behavior, training, pending MA SD1840
  • Urgent action is necessary
  • How you can help

What is MA Bill SD1840?
How will practitioners be affected?

MA Bill SD1840 has been introduced AGAIN by Senator Montigny for the third time. If passed, SD1840 would negatively affect all Reiki, Meditation, Yoga, Martial Arts, Thai Chi, and the like in Massachusetts.

Under current MA law, Reiki is exempt from massage licensure in MA, but this law attempts to set up an entirely new licensing process for all types of healers and spiritually based practitioners/facilitators or the like, and mandate they be licensed, receive government endorsed education; and that these modalities can only be taught in state licensed schools.

MA SD1840 bill will negatively impact all practitioners who:
“…uses 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;”

How does one regulate ones own Qi … something that we all have that is innate in each of us?

Click HERE for more information and action to take through the National Health Freedom Action.

 

How will MA Bill SD1840 Affect You, the Consumer?

If allowed to pass, this bill will also negatively affect our human right to access to holistic, complementary alternative medicine, and spiritually based therapies.

If allowed to pass, SD1840 will also:

  • result in increased cost burdens to the consumer and practitioner,
  • reduced or eliminated access to much needed services especially those in the under-served marginalized communities, end of life care, those fighting chronic illness or cancer, elderly populations, and trauma survivors.
  • will NOT end or reduce sex trafficking as it is proposed it will do as it is written.
  • restrict or alter practices such as reiki, yoga, thai chi, meditation under the SAME training requirements without understanding the fundamentals or roots as well as the cultural and spiritual traditions of these practices that are non-western and attempts to westernize such concepts by legislature with no comprehension or involving experts in these fields is detrimental.
  • may also fringe upon many sacred spiritual practices used in churches and religious places of worship throughout the state. 

Requiring all practitioners to be licensed and trained through a state licensed school is currently impossible as these programs do NOT exist and would instantly put thousands of taxpaying practitioners out of business over night and halt all volunteer programs, and consumers access to care.

Current MA Laws

Massachusetts already has very good massage laws that protect bodyworkers exempting them from licensure requirements:
“including but not limited to……Feldenkrais Method; Reflexology; The Trager Approach; Ayurvedic Therapies, Rolf Structural Integration, Polarity or Polarity Therapy; Polarity Therapy Bodywork; Asian Bodywork Therapy that does not constitute massage as defined in this chapter; Acupressure; Jin Shin Do; Qi Gong; Tui Na; Shiatsu; Body-Mind Centering and Reiki”

Click HERE for more information and action to take through the National Health Freedom Action.

 


Laura at the MA State House in 2018 Lobbying For Survivors of Abuse BUT Against Proposed Bill

A Personal Note: A Message From Laura

Regarding how these practices saved her life, reiki, predatory behavior, training, and pending MA SD1840

Why MA SD1840 Affects Me Personally?

In search of “healing the broken me” as I would like to call it from years of abuse that resulted in complex C-PTSD or complex post traumatic stress disorder, I originally delved into the traditional American Healthcare System in hopes I can quickly return to my unbroken self. Like many others, I have felt that I was not getting better and band-aids were being applied to my mental, emotional, and physical symptoms that were not getting better and began to spiral out of control.

I realized there had to be more to all this and began looking into the spiritual aspects of my issues that the healthcare system couldn’t figure out.

I started reconnecting to my spiritual path. I began meditating. I eliminated inflammatory foods. I sought out reputable teachers and healers. I started connecting with the divine within me and my divine team. I learned and studied multiple holistic health modalities and spiritually based practices THAT would NEVER have been possible if this bill becomes law..

These practices saved my life and has been allowing me to reclaim my life in ways to defy all logic. I was fortunate in who I sought out as healers and other professionals to help guide me.

However, abusers and predators are still very skillful at their tactics, which is what leads me to the next point …

My 2018 Lobby Efforts

Many of you know I went to the MA State House last year and spoke to legislators about this bill as a survivor of abuse, an advocate for survivors, and as a spiritually based holistic health practitioner opposing this bill last year as I feel it will NOT address the sex trafficking problems and not only create unrealistic burdens on spiritually based therapies, but put most of us out of business.

There are current laws to address sex trafficking already on the books that are NOT being enforced. We see this clearly in the lack of enforcement in the massage industry with many sex trafficking massage parlors in plain sight allowed to operate and remain open. 

Many of you also are aware of my work against predatory practitioners in this state. Even though this is a problem, this particular bill is NOT the answer.

Unfortunately, to some of you it may be a surprise that I am in support of some kind of regulation until our westernized mindset shifts the bastardization of many sacred arts in the name of fame, greed and predatory behavior.

The kinds of spiritually based practices that should be respected are NOT as it should be, and our own communities have failed to self regulate ourselves in the name of “inclusivity” without prioritizing safety first and healthy boundaries, while indirectly contributing or being complicit to predatory behaviors, scrupulous unethical behaviors, greed, egoic bases out of fear.

Many of us in the community have started to address these serious issues, but is it too late? I guess that all depends on YOU, me, us and how we respond to this bill.

Personally I have invested in over $14,000 in studying with the appropriate reiki studies and certification programs with an accreditation process to teach as it was taught by the founders in Japan, completely free of the westernization that quelled its magic … AND now the state of Massachusetts wants to say this training is inadequate and I must relearn through their school of their choosing who has NO invested interest in these sacred original direct teachings in Japan.

THIS would make our founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui Sensei, and his student who was responsible for bringing Reiki to the west, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, very sad.

This bill if passed, will set up an entirely new licensing process for all types of healers and bodywork vocations under ONE educational program, mandate licensing, receive government endorsed education; and these regulated spiritually based modalities can only be taught in state licensed schools.

How is that possible?

What I Know and Why I Stand By My Statements

So much has changed over the years in the modern reiki world … at least in the United States of America. With the varying schools of reiki training, the growing legislation by some states to regulate many spiritually based practices and healing modalities such as reiki, and predators invading spiritually based communities to seek out their next grooming victim, it is important know how this affects you, how to find the right reiki practitioner and/or teacher to help you, and how to navigate all these changes.  I wrote a couple of posts (links below) to help guide you.

As a whole, when we disregard the care and sacredness of sacred arts and teachings such as reiki, we not only lose the magic, we open ourselves up to state regulation.

When we LABEL anything that involves some sort of energy healing or use of crystals or Christian ideology or other new age concepts that did NOT originate from Japan … although nice in their own right (this is NOT a reflection of lack of value of those arts) … we lose the meaning and magic of reiki in its pure form.

As a result, how do we define reiki, LEGALLY, with all these added non Japanese reiki elements that dominate our western culture?

I do not know the exact answer to that, but I do know this may cause legal issues if the sacred pure form of reiki is lost due to westernization.

Click here to read MA Bill  SD1840

Here are two other posts for further reading:

Click here to read “12 Tips and 10 Questions to Ask a Reiki Practitioner and/or Teacher When Healing Trauma”
and/or
Click here to read #TimesUp Healers & Reiki Practitioners” where we will explore the following to address perceptions, boundaries, trauma, predatory behavior, healing, and healers.

My goal is two fold for these two posts:

  • to awaken reiki practitioners and healers to their full optimum potential while understanding their ethical responsibilities to their clients and/or students,
  • and to help guide those seeking healing services for themselves or a loved one.

Click HERE for more information and action to take through the National Health Freedom Action.


Urgent action is necessary

Inaction on this or thinking someone else will take care of it is misguided on our parts. Thinking we do not have the time it takes to address this issue, will hurt all of us. This bill was barely defeated over the last 2 years.

This will REQUIRE ALL of us to stand up against this bill.

This will take a community.

Will you join me?

How You Can Help

Click Here to automatically send a message to your personal Senator and revisit this link throughout the coming weeks for updates on the bill’s status (i.e., whether it is scheduled for a public hearing and when).

Click HERE for more information and action to take through the National Health Freedom Action.

In the meantime, I am here to help you. Don’t forget to pause, breathe and take a moment for yourself.

For more information about my work with trauma, please visit:

Trauma Services

Healing Trauma Blog

With love and appreciation,

Laura
Healing With Spirit
Spiritual Medium, Speaker, and Healer
Providing Spiritually based integrative holistic health enrichment