Advocates of alternative medicine lobbied at the statehouse yesterday for a “Health Freedom Act.” They want it to give Iowans the right to seek out holistic medicine, and protect its practitioners from being prosecuted, as long as they disclose that they’re not a licensed healthcare provider.

Patricia McHenry of Marion says she’s a master of Reiki but right now cannot practice the Japanese art of restoring proper energy balance for a client. If you have a block in any of your energy fields, she says she moves it to allow your body to heal itself. McHenry explains, “I am basically a vessel.”

McHenry says she isn’t opposed to Western medicine, and in fact goes to a University of Iowa doctor herself. But she says Iowans should have the freedom to seek out alternative medicine as well. To be the healthiest person, she says you’d want every avenue available.

Holistic healthcare advocates offered massages to visitors at the state capitol and even a puff from a Native American sacred pipe. State law prohibits people from diagnosing or treating any pain, injury, or disease if they don’t hold a valid license. McHenry says she thinks people have the right to ask for “the healthiest avenues,” whether that’s a doctor at the University of Iowa, or a Reiki practitioner like herself who’l help you align your body. She says, “That’s not illegal to me.”

At the statehouse she offered some of that energy balancing, while explaining what she was doing is technically illegal in Iowa. “They say that I am telling people and treating them like a doctor would. But I’m not.”

The “Health Freedom Act” the natural healers want would allow practitioners to offer alternative treatments to Iowans as long as they’re up-front about not being licensed in a standard specialty — but even its advocates admit it’ll be an uphill battle in the legislature.