Insurance for Energy Healers

Monday, June 6th, 2011

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Another nuts and bolts post on creating an energy healing business. Today: Insurance.

I just want to do energy healing. Not handle paperwork. But paperwork is the difference between a hobby and a business.

If you know what you’re supposed to do, paperwork is easy. It’s the feeling that you’re missing something that demands your attention and tires you.

I went with the Healing Touch Professional Association. $100 to join, $140 for a year of liability insurance.

2 Kinds of Liability Insurance

Slip Trip and Fall: You spilled some water, your client slipped and broke something. The studio you rent space at has their own accident insurance, but if it’s directly your fault, they probably won’t cover it.

Errors and Omissions (E+O): Malpractice insurance. You do a healing session, the client gets worse and sues you. Much less likely scenario for an energy healer than, say, a doctor, but that’s why it’s only $140/year.

Accident insurance is easy to find. Most big insurance firms (like Allstate) offer it.

E+O is specific to your field. You need a firm focused on energy healers. Large firms won’t know what to charge.

Most firms that offer E+O package it with accident insurance. You can’t buy E+O on its own. So if you buy accident insurance from Allstate, then hunt down your E+O, you just wasted money.

Why I Chose HTPA

HTPA is affiliated with the NIH-approved energy healing method nurses use. So they’re big enough that, if I ever do need to use the insurance, I’m pretty confident they’ll still be in business and have the cash to pay. (That’s the whole point, right?)

If you go with another company, ask about their password policy. I’d initially signed up with another company before I found HTPA, and once I signed up, I found out you logged in with your email and a 9-digit client number printed on your certificate. The terrible security made me wonder what else about them was terrible. But they refunded my money, so they shall remain nameless.

Here’s the link to HTPA’s insurance page.

Filling Out the Forms

There’s one thing you need to know for HTPA’s forms.

They’re designed around established energy healing styles (Reiki, Barbara Brennan, etc), and they want to see your certification from your training.

I developed my own style, so no I don’t have a certification. When I called, they said to check “energy field work” and send a writeup of my style (I sent my faq) so they can make sure you’re not kneading tissue (massage) or piercing the skin (acupuncture), since both require licensing. It worked, I was approved.

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Starting a Healing Business: Where to Practice

Monday, May 9th, 2011

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Another “nuts and bolts” post on starting a healing business.

Today: Finding a space to practice. It’s pretty straight-forward, but it’s another thing that gave me an excuse to procrastinate. And I want to help you start, so I’m removing your excuses.

The simplest option: Practice in your home. You set up a room with a massage table, soft lighting, music, whatever. A lot of massage therapists do this to keep costs and commute time down.

But there are drawbacks:

  • Looks not quite professional. For an established practice, like massage or Reiki, this probably isn’t a big deal. For someone starting his own style of healing, appearances matter.
  • Liability. I’m no lawyer, but it seems like you have more liability in your home than renting space that someone else maintains.
  • Safety. Do you really want people you don’t know in your home? And ladies, you’re not the only ones worried about being alone with a stranger. As a guy, I like having other people around so no one can later claim I touched them inappropriately.

So, I’ll be renting space. Here’s what to do:

  1. Use google maps to search for massage businesses.
  2. Based on the name and website, look for a multi-person business that seems open to energy healing. Pick “Center for the Healing Arts,” not “Mary’s Massage” or “Asian Massage.”
  3. Call, explain that you’re an energy healer starting a professional practice looking to rent space, ask what their rates are.

You want one that rents by the hour, since it will take a while to build up a client base. In Albuquerque, you can get space for $10/hour. Your city might be more expensive.

Also, ask about liability insurance (sometimes called “slip trip and fall insurance”). They should have some. It will cover injuries you can’t control, like a fall caused by wet floors from the janitor.

Now you’ve got one fewer excuse to not start your business.

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Avoiding Jail For Energy Healers

Monday, April 25th, 2011

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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.

I found Justia, a site covering US laws, with a section for New Mexico Professional and Occupational Licenses.

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).

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