Complementary & Integrative Medicine Providers (Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Healers)

Complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine is one of our national specialties.

Michael H. Cohen is the premiere legal scholar in the U.S. on complementary and alternative medicine and integrative medicine legal issues.  Author of six books on legal issues in integrative health care, Michael cares about advancing the law affecting complementary and alternative health, in all its dimensions, and advising healthcare practices, facilities, and companies that are pioneering in the field of complementary, alternative, integrative therapies, whether these involve such arenas as:

  • Acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine
  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Breathing techniques
  • Chiropractic
  • Dietary supplements and natural products
  • Energy healing and energy medicine
  • Guided imagery, hypnosis, and progressive relaxation
  • Healing touch, therapeutic touch, Reiki
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Integrative cardiology
  • Integrative oncology, integrative pediatrics, integrative pain management
  • Massage therapy and manual therapy
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Nutrition and lifestyle approaches to health
  • Osteopathic medicine
  • Yoga and meditation

Michael’s book, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, set the bar for legal work in the field of complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine.  Michael taught Complementary and Alternative Medicine Health Law & Policy at Harvard School of Public Health.  He has given talks on complementary and integrative medicine to medical doctors and other audiences including at:

  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Banner Health Systems
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • California Society of Addiction Medicine
  • Connecticut Hospital Association
  • Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Community Memorial Hospital of San Buena Ventura
  • Harvard Law School
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Hastings School of Law
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Kaiser Hospital
  • Lawrence & Memorial Hospital
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • McGill University
  • D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System
  • Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medical Examiners
  • Seton Hall Law School
  • Society of Air Force Physicians
  • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • UCLA School of Medicine
  • University of Arizona Health Sciences Center
  • University of California, Irvine College of Medicine
  • Veterans Administration
  • Whittier Law School
  • World Health Organization, Gulf Cooperation Council, and Saudi National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

And he served as a Consultant to the report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the U.S.

Beyond Michael, our team of healthcare legal experts takes seriously the integration of mind, body and spirit as a focal point of our professional work and personal lives.

Licensing and Scope of Practice Issues Applicable to Complementary and Integrative Medicine Practitioners

Every state has legal rules that restrict practice boundaries (scope of practice) for non-medical health care professionals, such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, nurses and psychologists. Practitioners and health care entities have to ensure they do not run afoul of these scope of practice legal rules. Our complementary and alternative attorneys and integrative medicine lawyers advise a variety of health care providers and business entities concerning compliance with credentialing, licensure and scope of practice rules.

Some states, such as New York, spell out clearly who can offer health care practices and the legal definitions for and boundaries of these practices. Other states have more amorphous legal definitions. Some states, such as California, have medical freedom laws that allow non-licensed healers to provide services. Such states still have prohibitions though on the unlicensed practice of medicine, and it takes careful drafting to create appropriate office policies and forms for practitioners.

Our law firm has represented and given legal advice to a broad array of health care practitioners and healthcare facilities, including:

  • Acupuncturists and Doctors of Traditional Oriental Medicine
  • Chiropractors
  • Energy Healers and Shamans
  • Homeopaths and Homeopathic Physicians
  • Hospitals with an Integrative Medicine program or department
  • Integrative Medicine Centers
  • Integrative Oncologisss
  • Massage Therapists, Bodyworkers, and Somatic Practitioners
  • Naturopathic Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Physicians (MDs and DOs)
  • Practitioners of Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists and other mental health counselors
  • Spiritual Healing Practitioners
  • Veterinarians using CAM (complementary & alternative medicine)
  • Yoga Teachers and Yoga Studios

Our healthcare lawyers will address many legal issues of concerns to our complementary and integrative medicine clients, including:

  • unlicensed medical practice
  • malpractice
  • professional discipline
  • informed consent
  • scope of practice
  • practice guidelines
  • disclosure and other legal requirements pertaining to non-licensed CAM and other health law professionals; and
  • other health care legal issues.

In addition, our health care and business law attorneys advice on legal issues for in specialty areas such as:

  • Anti-Aging Medicine
  • Functional Medicine
  • Imaging Centers
  • Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilities (IDTFs)
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
  • Medical Tourism
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R)
  • Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Sleep Medicine
  • HCG for Weight Loss

Our complementary & integrative medicine lawyers understand these niche practice areas and the importance of focusing legal attention on the relevant issues.

For example, in addition to advising scores of integrative medicine practitioners and centers, we also advise conventional medical facilities, hospitals, medical groups, and treatment centers that wish to incorporate complementary and alternative medical approaches or providers into their suites of healthcare service offerings.

Among others, we advised an IOP, which typically includes a half-day of treatment (for treat mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders), as an initial point of entry into care, as a step up from less intensive outpatient services, or as a step down from acute inpatient, residential care or a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Creating an IOP outside the typical hospital setting can involve legal issues including:

  • Corporate (and unlicensed) practice of medicine
  • Corporate (and unlicensed) practice of nutrition or dietetics
  • Corporate (and unlicensed) practice of psychology
  • Employment Issues
  • Fictitious name permit
  • Liability (negligence)
  • Management (MSO) Agreement
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Rules governing professional corporations
  • Self-referral, anti-kickback, an fee-splitting concerns
  • Staffing & Scope of practice limitations on providers
  • Standard of care
  • Third-party insurance reimbursement

Our legal and regulatory advice is geared not only toward malpractice liability risk prevention and management, but also toward medical board defense and prevention or mitigation of professional discipline, and management of risks related to other enforcement activity.


Ancient Wisdom & Modern Technology: Legal Issues in Online Health, Mobile Health, E-Health, and Future Medicine

Healthcare and FDA lawyer Michael H. Cohen spoke on “Ancient Wisdom & Modern Technology” on ExitCoach Radio. Today, there are many healthcare and wellness related businesses popping up

Complementary & Alternative Medicine in Alternative Medicine in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

“Complementary & Alternative Medicine in Alternative Medicine in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry” by Michael H. Cohen, Suzanne R. Natbony, and Ryan B. Abbott was published by Child and Adolescent […]

How Telemedicine, Mobile Medical App Laws, Anti-Aging Medicine, and Integrative Medicine are Shaping Our Future

Attorney Michael H. Cohen, President of the Michael H. Cohen Law Group, was interviewed on LA Talk Radio’s Legal Help Desk by cyber-lawyer Salar Atrizadeh on the future of health care.

How can you organize a Massachusetts medical spa or integrative care center legally without fee-splitting?

Unlike California, which provides clear guidance regarding legal and enforcement hot buttons for medical spas and integrative care clinics, Massachusetts law requires more digging.

Integrative medicine standard of care: an evolving legal rule

Kudos to integrative medicine consultant Glenn Sabin for his bold post on integrative medicine standard of care – suggesting that integrative health should be the standard against which […]

Michael H Cohen participates in Leadership Program in Integrative Health

Michael H Cohen will be presenting Legal Issues In Integrative Healthcare for The Leadership Program in Integrative Healthcare at Duke University.


When you practice integrative medicine, do you worry about standard of care? Perhaps you’re developing the latest and most beneficial approach. How do you handle liability risk […]

Should Integrative Medicine Legal Standards Drive Physicians’ Risk Management Practices?

Physicians who incorporate complementary and alternative medical (CAM) modalities into their practice, or brand themselves as using integrative medicine, functional medicine, or similar […]

These 3 integrative medicine legal trends can make or break your integrative medicine practice

Integrative medicine is morphing from an extension of complementary medicine and/or intrusion into conventional care, into everyday prevention and wellness. Find out how three integrative […]

The Future of Medicine: From Physical to Online to Mobile to Wearable to Implantable

Just as the silicon “ink” dried on Telemedicine: The Future of Medicine, someone, somewhere, pronounced that there is a future for medicine beyond the future. This was no sweat for me, since I’m […]

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