Issues in Natural Medicine -
Freedom of Choice


Current concerns in natural medicine are both technical, in terms of the availability and use of treatments; and regulatory, in terms of legislative reforms affecting the provision of health care, and facilitating choice and insurance coverage of individuals seeking treatment. Recent developments aimed at empowering specific groups of specialists require particular attention. Doctors of Traditional Natural Medicine respect boundaries in health care and do not condone the practice of so-called "medicalized naturopaths," who are actually allopaths practising under the guise of Natural Medicine.

Health freedom is about consumer choice, expanding the scope of existing practice laws, and obtaining holistic insurance coverage. Regulating "naturopathy" restricts access to trained holistic consultants. Inferior medical attention is not synonymous with natural health or common sense healthcare reform.

Legislating the licensing of "Modern naturopathic physicians" (NP's) and dietitians, for example, will detract from the quality and affordability of health care. In the United States, dieticians and NP's are pursuing licensure on a state-by-state basis in order to monopolize the fields of nutrition and natural medicine, respectively. Advocates of traditional naturopathy and traditional natural medicine oppose licensure for the following reasons:

· Modern Naturopathic Doctors and physicians seek the status of primary care physicians through licensure, and they mix naturopathic and allopathic medicine, without sufficient medical training, hospital experience, or trauma education.

· Dietitians seek the status of nutrition counselors without sufficient education in holistic nutrition.

· Modern Naturopathic Doctors, physicians and dietitians advocate diagnostic care, while traditional naturopaths (Doctors of Natural Medicine) and holistic nutrition counselors emphasize healthy lifestyle choices and wellness care.

· Consumers will no longer have access to traditional natural medicine consultants. Choices will be increasingly limited to special interest groups and low-tech, insufficiently-trained medical doctors.

· Licensing dietitians as nutrition counselors will severely limit public access to personal choices such as macrobiotic foods, vegetarianism, organic and whole foods diets, and Ayurvedic nutrition.

It is in the public interest to clarify both the standards of training of these professionals, and their commitment to a philosophy of natural healing. A Natural Medicine education is accredited academically, not by the medical profession and their accrediting body, the American Medical Association's Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Elevating Modern Naturopaths to primary care status will distort the practice and philosophy of true natural healing, and will increase the cost of consultation and natural substances to that of conventional medical pricing. In the absence of clear advocacy on their behalf, licensing makes the practices of traditional natural medicine and holistic nutritional counselling illegal. BDNMP-NA continues to advocate on behalf of Doctors and Practitioners of Natural Medicine.