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If you go here you can sign up for regular email updates on Naturopathic law at the national level, or by state:

Last I heard Schwarzenegger was threatening to cut the budget of an office in CA government that is integral to California's licensure of Naturopaths. If this happens, many working naturopaths will suddenly be unlicensed in their state. And if California falls from the list of states that license Naturopaths we're likely to loose the battle in other states, in the short run at least.

So this is worth keeping up with, if you have an interest in regulation and licensing for naturopaths. I certainly do. Though I have not yet decided if I will practice in a state with licensing or without. If I work in a state where I may not prescribe, then I will be required to work in conjunction with an MD who will prescribe when such meds are indicated. I do not plan to limit myself only to food, herbs and exercise. All options are on the table in the attempt to heal or cure.

Interestingly, for me at least, is that one of the constituencies that adamantly opposes licensure of Naturopaths is the Libertarian crowd, many of whom greatly respect Ron Paul. The Libertarian argument goes along the lines that the government should not be involved in deciding who is fit to practice medicine at all, and so not even MD's should be licensed by the state or fed. The unfortunate thing about this stance is that its adherents don't do anything about removing the licenses from the already licensed, they just block new licensures. This leaves us stuck in a system that is dominated by insurance companies and medical suppliers, not by patients or doctors. It's hard enough to get decent care already.

At some level I agree with the Libertarians, that the market can and should be allowed to decide who is a good practitioner, and who is not. Unfortunately, this market knowledge can be very costly for the people in the unfortunate position of discovering that someone is a quack. The arguments are strong on both sides.


Feb. 9th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
The chiropractor I used to work for (and see) had Edison's quote hanging up. She was very anti-medicine. Although I believe some medicines have their place, I do believe America is highly over medicated and the pharmeceutical companies run this country more than we know.

That being said, I see the conundrum in the CA proposal. Getting through government "standards" (and I use the term lightly) for naturopaths and healers of alterative medicine could be a trick. But I don't want to see MD's standards dropped and not overseen.

Thanks for posting this. I'll keep my eye on it.
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
While I am quite clear on how overmedicated American are in general, I would dearly love to have the right to use all the possible tools for each situation, as opposed to being limited to dietary and lifestyle changes. There are times when the right drug CAN save a life.

A Naturopathic Doctor (with the 4 or 5 year ND degree and extensive clinical experience) has as thorough a background in primary care as an MD. The education begins with the same science foundation (biochemistry, histology, anatomy, physiology, etc) as MD school, and includes basic science and clinical boards on the same schedule. ND's are currently licensed in 13 states with laws pending in several more. With licensure, the ND scope of practice includes prescribing pharmaceuticals and minor surgery. Without licensure, I could get into trouble if I diagnose someone (even if my diagnosis is correct, and my non-pharmaceutical treatment works). This is unfortunate, as my education is training me to be a superb diagnostician.

There's a big gap between the training undergone for an ND, and that of those who practice alternative medicine/healing via intuition or based on short programs or online coursework. But lots of people don't know that there are any "alternative medicine" practitioners who are rigorously trained in the science and rationale of conventional treatment as well as in the alternatives.

The question in my mind is when will the public mind shift, and the Naturopath with the ND gain some measure of public recognition? I don't know if it will happen. There are many unlicensed wholistic healers who would not like for it to happen. I don't know where you fall on this issue. Whatever happens, it will be interesting to watch.



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