Two bills have been introduced the in the Massachusetts legislature, SB 905 and SB 907, which, if passed, would require a state license for the practice of "bodywork" and "bodywork therapy." The bills define 'bodywork" and "bodywork therapy" as:
[T]he use of touch, words or directed movement to deepen awareness of patterns of movement in the body, or the affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or Qi meridians of the human body including, but not be limited to: the Feldenkrais method; reflexology; the Trager approach; Ayurvedic therapies; Rolf structural integration; polarity or polarity therapy; polarity therapy bodywork; Asian bodywork therapy; acupressure; Jin Shin Do; Qi Gong; Tui Na; Shiatsu; body-mind centering and Bowenwork; provided, however, that bodywork or bodywork therapy shall not include massage as that term is defined in section 227, nor the practice or instruction in yoga or Reiki; and provided, further, that bodywork therapy shall not include diagnosis of illness or disease, the prescription of drugs or medicines, spinal or other joint manipulations, electrical stimulation, application of ultrasound or any services or procedures for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy or podiatry is required by law.
The bills are titled as efforts to "prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation in bodyworks establishments," and the express purpose of the bills is to try to combat human trafficking by licensing bodyworkers. ABMP is formally opposing these two bills on the basis that bodywork is a legitimate and valuable healthcare profession which has nothing to do with human trafficking, that licensing bodyworkers has no effect on combatting human trafficking, and that conflating bodywork and human trafficking in a state statute harms the bodywork profession. Click here to read ABMP's formal opposition letter.
The bills are set for hearing tomorrow in the Joint Judiciary Committee. If possible, please contact the state legislators representing your district, as well as the following bill sponsor and committee members, today to voice your opposition.