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

URGENT APPEAL Regarding the State of Reiki in Massachusetts

☆☆ Urgent Appeal ☆☆

Thank you to the work by those from the Celebration of Reiki Conference on researching this

Massachusetts Senate Bill S2461, which is moving quickly through the Massachuetts legislature. Legislators are very concerned about human trafficking and do not want to appear in any way “soft” on it. The Bill has been through two votes in the Senate without a single “No vote” and is moving to the House for consideration in Committees there before a floor vote.

If this Bill passes, Reiki practitioners will not be able to practice Reiki in Massachusetts without first having a license from the state.

The following modalities are affected by Bill S2461:
  • Feldenkrais method; reflexology; Trager Approach; AyurvedicTherapies; Rolf Structural Integration, Polarity Therapy; Asian bodywork therapy; acupressure; Jin Shin Do; Qi Gong; Tui Na; Shiatsu; body-mind centering and Reiki.  These modalities are being placed in the category of “Bodywork”.

The Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing will be taking testimony via email from interested parties; the committee has only until August 27th to move this through- there is a very good chance that they will not take the full time to review this bill.

That is why we are calling for a Call To Action TODAY.
First, some more background on Bill S2461:
  • All practitioners listed above will need a license from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in order to practice.
  • This Bill classifies Reiki as a “bodywork therapy.”  This bill is based on a misunderstanding of Reiki and a misunderstanding of “Bodywork”.  There is no such profession as “bodywork” or “bodywork therapy”.  Further, many Reiki practitioners define Reiki as a mind-body-spirit healing practice and not “bodywork” at all.  “Bodywork” is just a catch-all term for a broad field containing many disciplines, some of which are full professions that already have their own bodies of knowledge, educational programs, codes of ethics, standards of practice, etc. as well as professional organizations to administer these.
  • According to the Bill, all practitioners, including Reiki practitioners, must pass “a course of study consisting of at least 500 classroom hours or an equivalent number of credit hours of supervised instruction in a nationally accredited bodywork therapy program”.  As you know this is not applicable to Reiki practitioners, as we do not have a “nationally accredited program”, nor does Reiki training require “at least 500 classroom hours.”

This bill would harm our practitioners and the citizens of Massachusetts who benefit from their services.

Citizens of Massachusetts receiving services from these practitioners would no longer be able to continue receiving the benefits these modalities have to offer.
You can make a difference by using your voice to educate lawmakers on the consequences of their actions.
PERSONAL NOTE:
Something for reiki practitioners to consider, and hope I voice this correctly and clearly.
However, speaking as someone who has worked with survivors of abuse, as a reiki professional, speaker, advocate, and reiki teacher, this bill will also prevent victims of sex trafficking from gaining access to qualified reiki professionals to help them with long term healing without draining taxpayer funded economic resources or dept of public health resources or health insurance costs.
 The start up Massachusetts Survivors Outreach that I helped launch for survivors of abuse in Massachusetts will fail before off the ground as direct result of this bill. So this could also potentially negatively affect organizations providing care to abuse victims. Something I’ve been outspoken about as benefits of reiki on a much under served community.
The idea that it’s used in hospitals etc … may or may not be seen as relevant to this bill since it’s about two things we are discussing
1. Sex trafficking
2. Reiki.

Food for thought

HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP THIS BILL
Become informed and read the Bill itself.

Please send an email ASAP to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing [email protected] and include the following:

1. Salutation: Dear Representative So and So

2. Subject: Opposition to S24613. Your name and address
4. State that you are a Reiki (and/or other) Practitioner
5. Say you oppose the passing of S2461
6. State the reasons why you oppose S2461. This is an impact statement of how this Bill would adversely affect you and your business personally. Be sure to personalize your letter:

  • If you are a Reiki practitioner, state the negative consequences the bill would have on your practice, e.g., the bill would put you out of business, create unnecessary expenses, the bill does not understand what Reiki is and does not understand what bodywork is. 
  • If you are a Reiki recipient, please state the negative impact the bill would have on you and your loved ones, e.g. you would no longer be able to receive the services/benefits of (include the name of the modality). 
  • Please do not wait to send this. The email does not have to be long or complicated. Take a few minutes and send it out today. Everything depends on everyone taking action now.
  • It is very important to follow up your email with a phone call and be sure to ask them to officially log your call in opposition to the bill.
  • Reach out to your loyal clients for them to write an impact statement to send to the committee, as well. 
  • Please volunteer, even if you do not reside in Massachusetts. We need help getting the word out. If you can spare time to make phone calls, send emails, etc.

For more information, please visit the Celebration of Reiki Conference Email.

There are additional ways to help–writing to house and senate members of the Healthcare Finance Committee and volunteering to help us get the word out.

I am grateful!
Laura

 


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 © 2015-2018 Laura Joseph. All Rights Reserved. This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns. This article does not share the opinions of Healing With Spirit or its affiliates.  Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.