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Legal questions are my main excuse for delaying my healing business. Do I need some kind of license to touch clients? And how can I advertise my healing and consciousness integration without triggering licensing problems?
Eliminating excuses is key to achieving your goals. So today, I’m answering those questions.
Here’s the quick version: Avoid any names owned by professions (“Nurse,” “Psychologist,” etc), tell people you’re not a doctor, and you’re fine. If you want the details, keep reading.
I also learned the value of disclaimers, so here’s mine: I’m not a lawyer. I’m researching this for my own business, and sharing it because it might help you. This isn’t a substitute for talking to a lawyer.
Don’t Use “Nurse,” “Therapist,” Etc
The licensing for nurses basically says “Unless you’re licensed, you can’t call yourself a nurse, RN, etc.” Sounds fair.
For psychology, there’s a broad “practice of psychology” that seems to include any form of helping people do anything, but there’s an exemption under “Scope” that says “Nothing in the Professional Psychologist Act shall be construed to prevent an alternative, metaphysical or holistic practitioner from engaging in nonclinical activities consistent with the standards and codes of ethics of that practice.”
For “Counseling and Therapy,” I learned to avoid the words “mental health” and “therapist.” It also has a holistic practitioner exemption.
Massage therapy has an exemption for “practitioners of healing modalities … who do not manipulate the soft tissues for therapeutic purposes from practicing those skills.”
These laws seem pretty friendly to holistic healers. Just don’t use any established professional titles.
“Not a Doctor” Disclaimer
I don’t intend to practice medicine, and I don’t want anyone to forgo seeing a doctor because of me. Modern medicine works, and if a doctor can cure what ails you, let him do it.
But how do I legally tell people the ways I can help them? Can I say I “heal”? What words must I avoid?
Here’s what I found under the “medicine and surgery” section:
- You can’t “diagnose, correct or treat” basically anything.
- You can’t do anything with drugs.
My read is that, if you say you’re an “energy healer” or something similar, and never talk about curing or treating, you’re fine. I’ll also include a disclaimer that I’m not a doctor, I don’t diagnose, correct or treat anything, and I’m not a substitute for medical care.
Become a Minister
A local RN who practices healing touch suggested becoming a minister as a way to legally touch clients in some states. (She doesn’t particularly know New Mexico laws, though).
This seems like a good idea. Under exemptions for medical and surgical practice, it says that the medical practice limitations don’t apply to:
“The practice of the religious tenets of a church in the ministration to the sick or suffering by mental or spiritual means as provided by law; provided that the Medical Practice Act shall not be construed to exempt a person from the operation or enforcement of the sanitary and quarantine laws of the state;”
I don’t know how much protection being a minister really gives you. But since the Universal Life Church will ordain you for free online, it seems worthwhile to become a minister.
Update: Registering took 2 minutes. I emailed them to ask if there are any extra steps, like registering with the state. They said no, nothing extra to do unless you want to perform weddings. So zero cost, super easy. (For weddings, you need to order a certificate for around $10).Other posts in this series:
- Avoiding Jail For Energy Healers (April 25, 2011)
- Starting a Healing Business: Where to Practice (May 9, 2011)
- Insurance for Energy Healers (June 6, 2011)