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"Bad" NY State Bill To Regulate Reiki Healing
"In The Name of G-d," Confiscate Healer's Property--
Including Grandma's Chicken Soup
                                            by Ellen Louise Kahne

A8704 (and S4857) Are a Prime Example of
Unnecessary Government Regulation

    Reiki does no harm.  It is spiritual laying on of hands healing.  We do not do the healing (regarding laying on of hands healing), we are the instrument through which Higher Power does the healing.  Furthermore, the only claims which can be made for Reiki in the state of New York is that it: "de-stresses and relaxes."  According to the state of NY, we do not "diagnose or treat" illness, nor can we make claims of healing or "cures" in print or to our clients, or students.      Otherwise, we could be accused of "practicing medicine without a license."  We were specifically warned of this by Kathleen Doyle, Secretary of the NY Massage
Board, on Feb. 23, 1999, when we won a reversal of the Massage Board policy, when the board voted that Reiki is "not massage."
    There is no apparent evidence of complaints or suits regarding Reiki which require the disciplinary measures specified in this bill or indicate abuse by practitioners or Reiki Masters.  Therefore, there is no justification for this bill, especially and particularly as regards Reiki healing. 
    Any complaints of "abuse" or "practicing medicine without a license" can be adequately pursued through laws already on the books (and/or through litigation).  Any complaint which may come up does not regard Reiki healing per se, but criminal or abusive behavior by a practitioner (which is already punishable under existant laws).


    This poorly drafted legislation would be not only a nightmare to administer, but an inexcusable waste of taxpayer dollars!!  Already strained state personel would have to "drown" in paperwork administering all spiritual healing modalities, an unmanageable and unwieldy "catchall" of healing categories which are left deliberately vague and undefined by A8704 and companion S4857. 
    Categories and modalities are both named and "alluded to" in the bill(s) with which state Health Department administrators have no familarity, no experience, while unlicensed alternative healers would be overwhelmed and intimidated by draconian regulation requirements which they are untrained and ill equipped to satisfy, and terrorized by enforcement agencies with the powers to subpoena for criminal prosecution (including felony), invade the privacy of both clients and healers, levy fines and confiscate property!! 

A8704 and S4857 are badly drafted and written
(healing modalities are not defined)

    This bill and its NY Senate companion are bad bills.  If you read them, you will see that the healing "modalities" which are mentioned are not even defined or specified.  There is so much "catch all" lumped into this bill designed to "net" everything which may come up in unlicensed healing, that your grandma's chicken soup could be considered as subject to regulation and possible violations subjected to subpoena, the NY Supreme court, discovery proceedings, confiscation of grandma's records or property etc. (so, now we go after grandma because, as serving the soup, she said "eat your soup, bubbeleh, you'll feel better"?  Should grandma, too, be required to post a "client bill of rights" in her kitchen before she serves the soup and be required to keep records on your condition before, during and after you eat  the soup?  One would think so, from A8704 and S4857!). 
    So, how does the "New York State Health Commissioner" determine if a practitioner has been practicing an "alternative" art improperly?  And what does the health commissioner know about "culturally traditional healing practices," "chi gong," "energetic healing," "folk practices," "healing practices utilizing food, food supplements, nutrients, forces of heat, cold, water, color, touch and light," let alone Reiki, none of which are legally defined in this bill??!!!  If a father tells his adolescent son who confesses he has "lustful" thoughts about his girlfriend that he should "take a cold shower" as a remedy, it looks like this bill covers it, regulates it, and the health commissioner and the court system is in charge of enforcement, in case son files a complaint!!!  

A8704 Violates Native American Treaty Rights, and U.S. Constitutional First Amendment Guarantees to Freedom to Worship and Spiritual Practice
and the Right to Privacy
of All Spiritual Laying on of Hands (Reiki) and Faith Healers

    The bill seeks to regulate and invade the privacy (and in the process violates the sanctity) of native American treaty and other cultural (spiritual, and religious healing) rights to heal the "spirit" through sweat lodges and other folk or native practices, through Christian Science, etc.  The Health Commissioner and Supreme Court have no business regulating, exercising subpoenas or enforcing disciplinary actions regarding native American healing rituals!! 
    What business does the NY legislature have in passing legislation which seeks to do the same regarding your rights and mine to spiritual laying on of hands healing, as is practiced (and has been practiced) by ministers and lay faith healers around the world, healing which was revealed in biblical scriptures and through the sacred Buddhist scroll and spiritual enlightenment which revealed Reiki healing to ascended Master Dr. Mikao Usui, in 19th century Japan, and which still powers our enlightened Reiki laying on of hands healing!!!!

Why we Cannot Expect Unbiased Enforcement
The History of Prior Enforcement
According to a Supporter of the Bill

    The orientation of NY State regulatory bodies is toward the practice and regulation of malpractice of traditional allopathy, and not (traditionally) in favor of the practice of alternative healing methodologies.


1.  Several years ago, an Ohashi Institute graduate, a professional dancer who was certified following a three year course in these techniques, was arrested in a "sting" operation in by New York City police.  She was arrested on a prostitution charge, booked, taken to jail and held until her 2:30 a.m. arraignment.  The terrified Ohashi practitioner (without benefit of counsel) gave up to her right to practice her healing art (signed a legally binding document), in order to be released from her terrifying experience in jail!!  This incident was reported in the Village Voice.  The aftermath caused a terrifying chill in the NY healing community!!

2.  According to Caroline Rider, an attorney who is a member of the "NYNHP" organization which is pushing this bill, to amend the education law and social services law to cover all "unlicensed alternative health care," the "track record has not been very good" for the alternative-complementary practice of medicine, as administered by the State of New York.  At the beginning of January, Ms. Rider told me that the original bill concerning alternative and complementary medical practice which previously passed the NY State legislature (which was "intended" to cover and permit the practice of "alternative and complementary" medicine by physicians and licensed health providers) was being "interpreted" in a way that she said did not "reflect the intention" of the (former) bill.  Rider admitted that the enforcement agencies of NY State "continue to be used to discipline physicians who practice "non standard" (alternative) treatments," as she put it "in spite of the provisions and intent of the (former) bill."  Ms. Rider said that this bill, A8704, and its Senate companion S4857 are intended to be an "extension" of the original alternative-complementary care bill for unlicensed modalities!


    When questioned about the inalienable right of a person to do laying on of hands healing "in the name of G-d," Ms. Rider stated that in her opinion, "licensed ministers" would have the "right" to do laying on of hands healing in the name of G-d, but "lay" faith healers would not "except under the terms" (and as subject to the disciplinary actions and provisions) of this bill, not as a guaranteed right, as covered under the provisions of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution!!!  
    When this Reiki Master asserted the following:
"As G-d is doing the healing, during all laying on of hands healing, would the State of NY presume to subpoena G-d, as the responsible party, in the case of a complaint, according to the terms of your (organization's) bill and is G-d subject to or the subject of this legislation?!!!"
    Rider admitted that licensed "clergy" would be able to do hands on healing but compared the rights of non clergy to teach and practice laying on of hands healing to that which was denied to her historic ancestor, Ann Hutchinson, who asserted the right to preach G-d's word as a lay person in (historic) Puritan New England.    


    So, where does that leave us?
    If the bill didn't work to protect and allow for alternative medicine, as practice in a professional setting, what chance do practitioners of unlicensed modalities have at receiving a "fair shake" from a regulator such as the NY State Health Commissioner, who is not predisposed or oriented to be "open" to spiritual healing?


    Shortly after our successful battle with the NY Massage Board in February of 1999, I began receiving calls from a "so-called" psychiatrist who called me several times over a three month period from a "city of NY" telephone number, as registered on my caller ID.  This "psychiatrist" had noted in my ads and materials that I teach "focused, grounded, intuitive" Reiki healing.  He told me that he had a wife and daughter who were both "seriously clinically depressed and had been for years" and were on prescription antidepressants.  He said he was "interested in getting them off prescription drugs" and "would Reiki help do that?"  He wanted to know if I could "make a clairvoyant medical diagnosis, as a Reiki Master" and claimed he wanted an appointment for his "wife" whom he put on the phone extension to listen to our conversations.  This man never made an appointment, nor did his so-called "wife."  He never gave me his mailing or email address or home phone number, though I asked for these.  He wanted to pay me "for your time to have a telephone conference" with unspecified others, which I refused. 
    I tried to call his "city of New York" number which popped up on my caller ID at all different times of the working day (weekdays), and my secretary tried the number from 4 different phone numbers, but no one ever answered this number.  I told him repeatedly that "I don't prescribe, I don't treat illness, as I am not medically licensed to do so.  Reiki is for the purposes of de-stressing and relaxation.  It is G-d's energy.  G-d is intuitive and He knows all of our healing needs. As healing takes place, this is the result of focused intent of G-d's beneficent, spiritual energy." 
    Also, I told him "I do not do 'phone conferences.'  I am a Reiki healer.  If you want an appointment, if your wife wants an appointment, if you want to study Reiki, that's what I do.  We have spoken several times, and in that time, I have given you the best understanding of what I do, short of demonstrating Reiki hands-on healing to you.  Are you ready to make an appointment or to sign up for a Reiki class?"  At that point, the so-called "psychiatrist" dodged my inquiry and asked the following:  "under what circumstances (or) would you recommend a physician, or other licensed health care practitioner to treat a client of yours who came to you with specific medical illness?"  I told him "of course, I have always told people with a medical condition or health concerns to go to the licensed health care practitioner (MD, dentist, etc.) of their choice."  The man hung up the phone and I haven't heard from him since. 

        Confiscation of Property, Criminal Prosecution, etc.
    The penalties specified in this law include confiscation of our property, fines, criminal procedures, et al.  The enforcement is regulated by an agency or agencies not predisposed to favor alternative healing modalities or forms of spiritual healing (note:  Christian Science is mentioned here, as well).    
    Furthermore, those of us who practice Reiki, which is essentially Japanese "faith" healing from a 19th century perspective (as the "Rei" is intelligent energy from Divine (universal) source which flows through and to our personal energy, or "ki"). 
    We are guaranteed the right to spiritual practice by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  This bill constitutes a violation of our right to practice our spiritual heritage, discipline and calling.  It violates and interferes with the guaranteed first amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution!

No Protection For the Reiki or Alternative Healers In A8704
This Bill Facilitates
Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment and Intimidation
of Alternative Healers by Disturbed Clients

    While the bill purports to protect the "consumer" of alternative, unlicensed modalities, it does nothing to protect unlicensed practitioners from specious claims by dysfunctional, angry or possibly vindictive clients! (there aren't many of these, thankfully, but anyone who has practiced Reiki or other alternative modalities for a while has encountered a few).  The bill makes it "easy" for any person to threaten or harass a practitioner, protects and insulates the privacy of a complainant, while violating the rights and privacy of other clients and the healing practitioners, as record seizures are sanctioned by the state. 
    The passage of such a bill will force the practitioner to take out expensive malpractice insurance, and possibly necessitate huge legal fees. 
    It only takes one specious (false) action promulgated against a decent and honest teacher or practitioner to ruin that teacher's reputation and/or to bring about his or her financial ruin.
    Many body and energy workers (both licensed and unlicensed) have faced sexual harassment and intimidation by disturbed clients.  Even after we carefully prescreen our clients, this can happen (unfortunately) to anyone in the healing profession, as many of us have found while working in private space, or in our homes giving "one-on-one" sessions. 
    Historically, there was one such person who tried to abuse and harass Hawayo Takata (the "mother" of modern Reiki in the western hemisphere) and Dr. Chujiro Hayashi (her teacher) early in Mrs. Takata's career, as is detailed in one of her autobiographies.  If Mrs. Takata could be harassed by a disturbed person, then it could happen to any of us!
    We are fortunate, indeed, that Reiki spiritual healing energy is protective of us (as is prayer), because that's about the extent of the "coverage" we'll get in NY State, if A8704 and S4857 passes and are signed into law!
    This legislation invites abuse of the practitioner, sets up a climate for an adversarial relationship between all non traditional healers and their clients and students in a very litigious society.

Provisions For Records Keeping
Requirements Are Deliberately Vague (Missing) from A8704

    Although records keeping is expected by the practitioners, and seizure of these records (computer hard drives, etc.) can be enforced by agencies which have subpoena and disciplinary powers and are required for modalities for which none of the "unlicensed" healing practitioners are trained in record keeping, nor does the bill specify what should be included in these "records" (what constitutes a legal record for any of these modalities?), how long these records must be kept, etc.  None of this is specified.  How would the Health Commissioner of NY State presume to tell a Reiki Master, "energy worker," or native American shaman how to keep records??!!!  Our deliberately vague "catch all" categories are undefined, unfamiliar to the specified regulatory agency.  So, innocent practitioners may be condemned to disciplinary actions and criminal proceedings for anything up to and including "felony" charges for failure to keep and turn over records which are neither defined nor specified.
    The bill is a prelude to setting up regulatory boards for Reiki, energy work, and the rest of the "catch all" which is mentioned, but not defined in the bill.


    The bill will drive up the cost of Reiki healing and empowerment (classes) to make them less affordable or unaffordable for many people who are entitled to the right to self empowerment, to relieve their stress, to heal using
G-d's life force energy.  Many of us will be unable to practice Reiki, because of the expenses involved (records keeping, malpractice insurance, possible legal fees, paperwork, etc.).
    So, Reiki may be "available" but not affordable to the average client or student. 
    Or, students and/or clients may not be able to receive Reiki from the teacher or practitioner of their choice, because that teacher may be driven out of practice/teaching by the added burden of costs related to records keeping, malpractice insurance and other requirements (or licensing and fees planned for the "next" piece of legislation) as specified by NY State!!
    I was told by one alternative health care practitioner who directs a healing center in Manhattan that one of her patients was hospitalized in Presbyterian Hospital Center (formerly, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital).  Her patient wanted a Reiki Master to travel to the hospital for a session, because, although the hospital would provide a Reiki session "given by a hospital nurse," the session would be billed at $250.00 per hour and this exorbitant fee was "unclaimable on the patient's insurance." 
    As both practitioners, teachers and consumers of alternative, unlicensed (certified) and licensed healing modalities, it behooves those of us who appreciate affordable spiritual healing, training and empowerment to see to it that this bill does not pass the legislature! 


    Where this type of legislative regulation was attempted in Texas, two Reiki organizations tried to monopolize (in restraint of trade) and force out the independent teaching of Reiki in that state.  These two organizations, both of which charge $10,000 for Reiki Master level, would have price-fixed and exclusively controlled the teaching (and content) of Reiki courses and controlled the practice of Reiki through licensure and through a "Reiki Board" set up according to the terms of the proposed Texas bill.   Thankfully the Texas Independent Reiki Masters and Practitioners Association (TIRPA) was formed to fight against this bill.  Praise G-d, they won!
    In Nevada, where Reiki is regulated, in a state where prostitutes are permitted to touch their clients, Reiki Masters and practitioners are forbidden to heal through touch and are required by the state of Nevada to teach and practice Reiki without "hands on" healing (unless the practitioner has a massage or other state license).  Reiki is a hands on healing art which is penalized for what licensed prostitution is permitted by law!


Monopoly and Control vs. individual rights!!:
    This battle is about power and control of the state and monopolistic private interests over the individual's right to empowerment and stress relief, and the right of every person to select the teachers and/or practitioners of Reiki and other healing modalities of our choice.  It is about who can control Reiki and other unlicensed alternative healing modalities (here in New York and as a "trial balloon" which is being carefully watched in legislatures and by health monopolists and by the traditional insurance-health care industry) in many parts of the U.S. and around the world. 
    Also, it is about our response to expensive and unwarranted, unnecessary regulation of public empowerment and healing in a climate of economic recession. 
    The state wants our money, which it can gain through regulation, fines and confiscation of personal property and eventual licensing and limitation of all of our healing arts!! 
    The hospitals, the massage school industry want control and exclusivity of providership, as they are seeing a hemorrhage of dollars from traditional (allopathic) treatments by consumers who are willing to shell out (of pocket) for alternative methodologies!! 
    This legislation is the (proposed) next step in disempowerment and limitation of affordable self-empowerment and self healing through spiritually balancing alternative modalities!! 
    The Massage school industry (as it has shown by its history in NY, in Florida) and health care industry want the exclusive rights to teach (monopolize and price fix tuitions and fees) and act as  "gatekeeper" to control of all healing practitioners for directing the referral of all non massage modalities, including Reiki. 

1.  One of the NY massage school heads circulated a letter to his professional massage school organization (just before our Feb. 1999 victory regarding the NY Massage Board) proposing that the "definition of massage" should be altered in NY State to include all "energy" work. 

This would have enabled the massage schools to become the exclusive providers of instruction and would have forced all of us to spend $17,000 or more and 2-3 years of time doing unclothed body work to obtain massage licenses, in order to practice Reiki!!
2.  Medical professionals who testified last spring at the hearing of the White House Committee on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (WHCCAM) insisted that they wanted legislation so that they could become the "gatekeepers" directing and controlling the dispensation of all alternative healing modalities, just as they do for allopathic medical modalities!!
    Recipients of Reiki healing have never needed a medical "gatekeeper" to limit and control our empowerment or rights to laying on of hands spiritual healing or other modalities of "energy work" or self empowering techniques, such as yoga, and chi gong, as covered by this ill conceived, poorly written bill!!
    A8704 is (one) legislative response to the victory which we won in Feb., 1999, when the NY Massage Board finally recognized (by majority vote) that Reiki does not fit the "definition" of massage under NY State law.


    Reiki is about empowerment and allowing G-d's energy to flow.  We are engaged in a battle which will take all of our efforts and energy, just to stay ahead.
    And, this bill (and its ilk) must be defeated.  The legislators of the State of New York, the governor, the media, et al, must hear from every one of us in a massive letter writing campaign, by phone calls and through visits to Albany and to their local offices. 
    The passage of this bill is imminent, a well organized campaign has been funded, a professional lobbyist has been hired to influence our legislators (according to Caroline Rider). 


    It is important that the will of the people (of all of us) be heard, through letters to NY State Senators, and Assemblymen, to Governor Petaki, by group visits to their offices in our districts and in Albany, by petition, otherwise, we may lose the right to affordable healing, and/or the right to practice laying on of hands spiritual healing in the name of G-d, through the many beautiful doorways of spiritual and cultural understanding which we enter to the "one house" of our Creator.

with peace, blessings, and healing, Ellen
Ellen Louise Kahne, founder
Reiki Peace Network and Reiki University