4 Ways You Can Help Keep Holistic Medicine Available In Massachusetts

Attend or send your written testimony for the public hearing October 28 to oppose S168 and the mandatory licensing all holistic practitioners. This is the first of two bills* (see below)

Keep your Reiki, tai chi, meditation and other holistic practitioners free from the unnecessary expense and burden of licensing by the state!  Licensing is for professions that pose a danger to the public. Holistic medicine does not!

1. Attend the public hearing on October 28 and give support to the individuals testifying. (We need a very large crowd to attend to show a strong opposition)

2. Give oral testimony at this hearing in opposition to S.168, which is limited to three minutes in length. (See Giving Testimony Instructions below)

3. Prepare written testimony and submit it at the public hearing on October 28. (See Written Testimony instructions below)

4. Prepare written testimony and email it today to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure via the email addresses below

Hearing Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hearing Location: Gardiner Auditorium, Boston State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133


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 that direct movement or work with energy in the body, which the bill defines as bodywork. Licensure would require training at state-approved schools, for which no courses of study are currently available for these 200+ modalities, offering no direct route to licensure for many of these practitioners. S.168 would dramatically reduce healthcare options for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by forcing practitioners out of business due to these additional educational requirements and annual licensing fees.

Sample Email Testimony

(send and cc to all emails below)

Subject: Please Oppose S.168
To: The Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
Re: Opposition to S.168 “An Act Regulating Bodyworks”

Dear Chair Feeney, Chair Chan, and Members of the Committee:

I am a Reiki (yoga, meditation, EFT, etc) practitioner (or client/student/patient) and I reside in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I urge you to oppose S.168. I have great concerns about how this bill will affect my livelihood, profession and holistic healthcare choices. Under this bill, Reiki practitioners and teachers would be required to become licensed body workers, and the bill provides no direct path to licensure. There are no state approved schools that teach Reiki. In addition, it requires licensure fees, which would hurt me financially.

(Include a personal story. Say why the issue is important to you and how it affects you, your family member and your community. This is extremely important. These personal stories resonate with legislators.)

(You can complete your letter with statements from the “issues” list below) Please vote against S.168.

I would greatly appreciate a response. Thank you for your time and consideration of my concerns.


Your name (and credentials if applicable)
Street address, City, State, Zip code
Phone and Email

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.
  • S.168 would dramatically reduce citizen healthcare 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 approved schools, yet there are no state licensed schools that offer training in all these disciplines.
  • The state does not have the expertise to set the curriculum for more than 200 disciplines, nor would two representative body workers on the proposed board have the expertise to set the curriculum of more than 200 disciplines.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

You may also include the bill sponsors:

* There are two bills this fall that will protect holistic healthcare in Massachusetts. Bill S168 is the first one. Stay tuned for the hearing date to be announced this month on S665 safe harbor bill to protect holistic practitioners from charges of practicing medicine without a license.


Giving Testimony

Testimony can be given in person or in writing.

Written Testimony

Bring 17 copies of your written testimony to the hearing if you wish to submit it. It will be read by most Committee members and their staff after the hearing. It is very important to keep it brief. If it is more than two pages, start with a one-page summary. If you wish to avoid printing out 17 copies of your testimony, email it to the addresses above.

Oral Testimony

Personal testimony is limited to three minutes per person. They may use a timer and cut people off, so practice your key points and stick to the limit.

State your name, where you are from, and what group or organization (if any) you may be representing.

State your position “against” the proposed bill, S.186, An Act Regulating Bodyworks.

State or list the reasons for taking your position. Legislators are not always aware of how a particular piece of legislation will affect specific groups – the elderly or disabled, women, etc.. Include any facts, figures, statements, and experiences to support your position. You are trying to give lawmakers some insight as to the effects the legislation will have on their constituents. Keep it personal. You can either choose to tell your own story (my personal experience) or address how the will would affect your family, colleagues, or the public in general (what the bill would mean to me.) Ask yourself the following questions. Why is the issue important to me? What do you want to change about this issue? How would your life or those you might represent be different if this issue were to change?

Be prepared to answer questions from committee members about your testimony or your position on the bill. These are designed to gain additional information. If you do not know the answer to a question, be honest and do not answer the question.

Please be prepared to arrive at the Hearing Room at least a half-hour before it begins and to stay until it ends.

The Committee Chairs pride themselves on being fair and neutral. Always address them and the committee directly and respectfully, never address anyone in the audience and do not address opponents in the audience even if they have been inflammatory in their own testimony.

Finally, this is your chance to tell your story or the story of someone important to you. In this case, you are the expert – the Committee will learn from you and most will be very receptive to hearing from you. Use the few minutes wisely, be brief, be open and honest.

See also:
Support Safe Harbor Bill S665, Stop The Bodyworker Bill S168