Introductory Articles on Certification & Licensing

Thank you for taking part in this important conversation. A downloadable compendium of 6 Introductory Articles on Certification & Licensing are below.

These articles have been carefully curated by members of the CHI Licensing and Certification Working Group, which was created via the CHI Healing Practitioner’s Council. These articles were reviewed and approved by the entire Healing Practitioners Council prior to publication.

The certification and licensing of energy healers, Indigenous healing traditions, and unlicensed complementary and alternative healthcare practitioners has come to the forefront of conversation amongst groups and organizations dedicated to preserving the integrity and dissemination of these practices and traditions. Here we lay out several articles on these issues highlighting unique perspectives and considerations from thought-leaders in various communities and practices.

Articles on Certification & Licensing

Policy Forum, Licensure of Complementary and Alternative Practitioners

by Michael H. Cohen, JD, MBA, MFA, and Harry Nelson, JD

Attorneys Michael H. Cohen and Harry Nelson, approach licensure for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners from a legal perspective with historical context, terminology definitions, and key considerations on this topic. (Article originally published in Virtual Mentor, American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, June 2011, Volume 13, Number 6: 374-378)

Midge Murphy, a professional liability consultant on ethics and legal principles in energy healing methods, discusses licensing energy healing practitioners from a legal and regulatory perspective, including how licensing statutes have been interpreted through the last 100 years, and how energy healing practitioners must operate under the current regulatory framework. This article also touches on the connection of sex trafficking to energy healing regulation.

This article lays out an alternative method to licensure, regulation, and certification of unlicensed healthcare practitioners in the U.S. The National Health Freedom Coalition (NHFC). It defines “Safe Harbor” practitioner exemption laws with examples from multiple states and highlights their practical and safe use. Practitioner Safe Harbor laws have been successfully adopted in eleven states so far. Additional information can be found here.

Rev. David R. Comings, Ph.D., BCPP, Chair of the Certification Governing Council of the American Polarity Therapy Association, defines the issues around national certification for organizations. He offers the most-recognized national and international organizations tasked with governing certifications, and the responsibility of being recognized through such organizations.

Kenneth Cohen lays out an argument against regulation for Native American healing traditions and the issues that arise from this notion. He also touches on qigong licensure and the Healer’s Law in Hawaii. (Article originally published as a Guest Editorial in Explore, July/August 2013, Vol, 9, No. 4, 203-205)

Massachusetts holds a unique place in this movement toward regulation. Between 2016 and 2020, the state made four unsuccessful attempts to regulate complementary practices. During the 2021-2022 legislative session, the Attorney General’s (AG) office put forth a fifth bill, introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate to ensure swift passage.


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