UPDATE ON NJ ASSEMBLY BILL 2461: The bill was dropped from the agenda for the public hearing on March 20 just as suddenly as it was added. We’ve not gotten any straight answers about what’s happening, but the flood of emails in opposition was noted. WELL DONE, REIKI COMMUNITY! And we can’t assume it’s died.
The Massachusetts licensing attempt has showed up in 5 iterations, and the same could happen in New Jersey. Please join my Protect Reiki list to stay informed. Read the original post below to be prepared for next time. Even better, write emails to the Health Committee using the suggestions and contacts below. The more emails in opposition they get, the better.
Your immediate help is needed to protect NJ Reiki. The legislature has scheduled a public hearing for Monday, March 20. That’s very short notice and it would be SO POWERFUL for the Reiki community to SHOW UP BIG.
We need your oral or written testimony to oppose NJ Assembly Bill 2461
Your participation matters, and I’ll walk you through how you can help protect NJ Reiki. The time is NOW.
Please show up to Protect NJ Reiki by emailing written testimony or by appearing in person at the public hearing in Trenton on Monday, March 20.
Before we go into the details of how you can do that, let’s back up a step in case you didn’t read my earlier article.
What is New Jersey Assembly Bill 2461?
NJ Assembly Bill 2461 establishes a “Natural Health and Vitality Task Force.” Let me be clear: that’s not a good thing.
Why not? Because it’s the first step toward New Jersey defining what Reiki practice is, how you have to practice, what you have to teach (and not teach). That’s what happens when a state decides to require a license to practice. That’s what we need to protect NJ Reiki from.
A license won’t enhance the credibility of Reiki practice. Rather, it will strip the deeply personal, spiritual roots of the practice and create soulless, sterile, homogenous rituals.
2 ways you can protect NJ Reiki
You can share your opposition to NJ Assembly Bill 2461 by showing up in person in Trenton on Monday, March 20.
Or you can register to submit written testimony.
Both options to protect NJ Reiki are effective, so if you’re not able to drop everything and attend live, please take the time to write out your opposition (guidance for composing oral or written testimony below).
Details of the live public hearing
DATE: Monday, March 20, 2023
TIME: 10:00 AM ET
LOCATION: State House Annex, 145 W State Street, Committee Room 11, 4th Floor, Trenton, NJ
REGISTER HERE TO ATTEND AND SPEAK (your testimony is limited to a few minutes). After registering, scroll down for suggested points. Be sure to prepare your testimony in advance. Don’t wing it.
How to submit written testimony to protect NJ Reiki
REGISTER HERE TO SUBMIT WRITTEN TESTIMONY. Fill out the form. If you’re not a resident of NJ, change the default state to yours. Look below the form and check the box that says “oppose.” Then tap the “Submit” button to email your opposition.
If registration has maxed out and you cannot send an email through that link, please email your opposition directly to the Assembly Health Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can email the individual committee members as well. You can get their contacts here. Scroll down to Assembly Health.
Your email can be as simple as “I oppose Assembly 2461,” or continue reading for suggestions for writing more detailed comments.
Preparing your opposition testimony (oral or written)
Keep your comments succinct and respectful, while clearly stating your points. This is not the time to educate about Reiki practice, and I encourage you to speak of “Reiki practice” rather than “Reiki energy,” which would likely discredit you. Even liberal legislators are somewhat conservative, and they might be prejudiced against the New Age use of “energy.” It shouldn’t matter, but why risk it?
Remember, your elected officials want your vote, so they’re interested in your position. Nonetheless, it makes sense to make it easy for them to not just register your opposition, but to understand your concerns.
Even if you’re a Reiki professional, it’s best to speak as a consumer or home practitioner. The legislators are more impressed by what regular constituents want than by what could be seen as commercial or guild interests. If you ask them to protect your profession, they might decide your profession should be regulated.
You can, however, point out that unnecessary government regulation hurts an already weak economy, and that the hardship is borne mostly by already marginalized populations such as people of color and single mothers.
Other points to consider making:
- The proposed task force would not include Reiki practitioners and teachers.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website states clearly, “Reiki hasn’t been shown to have any harmful effects. The only reason for licensing is to protect the public, which doesn’t need to be protected from non-invasive holistic practices.
- Reiki is a spiritual practice traditionally passed directly from master to student.
- No other spiritual practices are specified in the bill. Why is Reiki practice being singled out?
- No one knows how many different styles of Reiki practice there are but common estimates fall between 100-150. Each style has its own lineage and practice forms, none of which would be represented on the task force.
- No one on the proposed task force has the requisite expertise to set or recommend licensing standards for Reiki practice. How can there be licensing without representation?
- Reiki professionals are often boot-strapped solopreneurs. Unwarranted occupational licensing is known to dampen the economy by forcing qualified solo practitioners out of business, depriving their families of needed income. The result is that there are fewer qualified Reiki practitioners, which reduces public access at a time when we want to empower citizens in terms of health and well-being. Those Reiki professionals who able to pay the increased costs of licensing would need to pass those costs on to their clients and students in the form of higher fees, further restricting public access to care.
Reiki master Rita Glassman led the opposition to the licensing attempt in Massachusetts. I’ve lightly edited her sample email below.
Subject Line on Email: Written Testimony in Opposition to A2461
To: The Assembly Health Committee
Re: Opposition to A2461 “An Act to Establish a Natural Health and Vitality Task Force”
Dear Chair Conaway, Vice-Chair Lampitt, and Members of the Committee:
I am a Reiki practitioner and reside in New Jersey (or other state – please name.)
I urge you to oppose A2461. I have great concern about how this bill could negatively affect my health and well-being, and reduce the holistic healthcare choices that support me and my family.
This bill empowers the proposed Natural Health and Vitality Task Force to set standards for the education, qualifications and training for Reiki practitioners and teachers, and to recommend legislative action.
INSERT: Complete your letter with statements from the points shared above. Ideally, include a personal story. Say why the issue is important to you and how it affects you, your family member, or your community. Personal stories have the greatest impact on your legislators. Keep your letter to one page.
Please vote against A2461.
I greatly appreciate a response. Thank you for your time and consideration of my concerns.
Your name and credentials
City, State, Zip code
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO PROTECT NJ REIKI. PLEASE EXERCISE THAT POWER NOW, AND SHARE WHAT YOU’VE DONE, OR ASK A QUESTION, IN A COMMENT BELOW.
Sign up here to be on my Protect Reiki list. I’ll only email you when there is a legislative update or action to take, such as this Protect NJ Reiki initiative. If you’re looking for more credible Reiki support, I email my ReikiUpdate list weekly. You’re welcome to join either or both lists.