Why license traditional Naturopathic Practitioners at all? Haven’t Traditional Naturopaths been teaching wellness for many, many years without licensure? Well, there are two main “drivers” for such licensure among the states considering it.
One, an organization, founded and primarily composed of one group of so-called “Naturopathic Physicians” have been attempting to “stir up” U.S. state legislatures with “dire warnings” of the practices of “unlicensed health practitioners.” They cite examples of so-called “Naturopaths” that have recommended that individuals go off their insulin, or other medications, with, of course, tragic consequences. They incite fear and use the good will of men and women in positions of influence in state governments to “drum up” the call for licensure. The second reason stipulated as a driver for licensure is to control the practice of Naturopathy because the advocates of licensure liken Naturopathy to Medical Practice. Which, by definition, Naturopathy IS NOT!
But what is the real reason the these so-called Naturopathic Physicians are doing this? In this author’s opinion it is to “co-opt” the term “Naturopath,” “ND,” and “Naturopathic” as their own. to the exclusion of classical, and traditional definitions of Naturopathy. This group, led by an organization called the “AANP” (American Association of Naturopathic Physicians) go from state to state, and, in so many words, say that THEY are, in fact, the only TRUE Naturopaths, and that THEY are the ones that should define what Naturopathy is. This has led many states to acquiesce to their demands and one-sided proclamations and pass laws that, in effect, “shut out” the Classical Naturopath from using the term “Naturopath,” or “ND,” when referring to themselves. In effect, if one didn’t go to the AANP’s “approved school list,” then one can’t use the term “ND!”
First, let’s examine some definitions. A “Naturopath” is historically simply a teacher of wellness, that by traditional definition DOES NOT use surgery, drugs, or other harsh, or invasive methodology in their consulting. In fact, the acknowledged founder of American Naturopathy, Dr. Benedict Lust, told Naturopaths, “Remember: Naturopaths are Doctors – minus Materia Medica and Surgery”. The “materia medica ” Dr. Lust was referring to was prescription drugs. The AANP, and those of their ilk, have attempted to re-define Naturopathy to be a “poor man’s medicine” INCLUDING the use of surgery and prescribing drugs! If one wants to be an Allopathic Doctor (MD), then they should go to medical school and get an MD! It is folly to re-define the traditional, classic Naturopathic practices to include that which was never a part of the practice to begin with! They have begun calling themselves “NMDs” or Naturopathic Medical Doctors, and they wear white lab coats to help foster the notion that they are “medical men and women.” And they are attempting to re-define a traditional practice of teaching wellness, and are, at the same time, “cutting out the competition,” if you will, in one fell swoop!
Unfortunately, on the surface, this plan to “steal” the term “Naturopathy” appears to be working! The Traditional Naturopath is a simple teacher of health practices and wellness, they are not organized and backed by large organization that are lobbying state legislatures. and they are being overrun!
The AANP even has a special web site that lists how to approach state legislatures, gives “talking points” to introduce licensing (favorably) to them, and then proceeds to “educate” their people about getting a state to invoke licensure!
Have there been extremes and bad advice given by so-called “Naturopaths” that has been a detriment to individuals in the past? Yes, of course. There are “bad apples” in any profession, and there are laws in place to deal with such problems. My heart (and prayers) go out to anyone that has received bad health information or counsel. However, the vast majority of Traditional Naturopaths would NEVER counsel anyone to go off their medicines or go against a doctor’s advice! The common statement heard by reputable Naturopaths is to “check with your doctor about any recommendations made or supplements suggested.” Our tradition is non-evasive and is guided by the simple admonition of Hippocrates, “Above all, do no harm.” This, from a man who was himself a true Naturopath. One that recommended nutritional therapies such as herbs to remedy conditions of sub-health.
Now, let’s consider the question of using the term “ND.” An “ND” is one that has entered a field of study and earned a doctorate in the field of Traditional Naturopathy. The AANP would assert that only their short list of “approved schools” (approved only by this one group) can award an “ND.” They have even set up their OWN accrediting organization to this end, the CNME. In this way, they are an “authority” unto themselves! This is the equivalent of, say, North Carolina State University suddenly declaring, “Only our BAs (Bachelor of Arts) are real degrees! Any other school is a sham!” If I had received a BA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. would I still have a “real” BA? (Of course I would!) What if NC State petitioned the NC Legislature to legally bar the use of the term “BA” by University of NC at Chapel Hill alumni? Oh, there would be a hew and cry! But in fact, simply because people such as the AANP have made an effort and have the financial backing that allow them to co-op the term “ND” to be theirs and theirs alone, and have misled well meaning legislators to support these efforts. they have helped pass laws that bar other legitimate school’s alumni from even using the term “ND” after their name, they have effectively “closed out” anyone that would claim an “ND” and practice Classical Naturopathy! This is a shame, and is a sad turn of events!
I, personally, am one of those that have studied Traditional Naturopathy and reject the idea that a Naturopath would EVER perform surgery, or prescribe medication. I have earned my Doctorate in Naturopathy from the Trinity College of Natural Health (not one of the AANP’s so-called “approved schools.”) I also have a Ph.D. in Theology, and I am a Certified Natural Health Professional. I am also a Board Certified Traditional Naturopath, certified by the American Naturopathic Certification Board. However, if the law pending in North Carolina is passed, I will be LEGALLY UNABLE to use the degree I have worked so hard to earn! By “use,” I mean I will be unable to use “ND” on a business card. and I am not even clear if I will be able to hang the degree on the wall of my home! This, in my opinion, is a tragic injustice to those of us who are studying the true, non-invasive, non-medical Traditional Naturopathy!
For more information, here is a link to a VERY enlightening article concerning the truth behind the licensing issue, written by Consumer Health Advocate Tim Bolen (ARTICLE )