You Pervert Naturopathy?
By Allison Langbridge
On September 22, 2003 Governor Davis signed Senate Bill 907. This will license “Naturopathic Doctors” in California and allow them to perform medical functions such as prescribing drugs, minor invasive procedures and attending childbirth. On the surface, it seems like a good thing. Naturopaths would be required to go to one of three “accredited” schools in the United States: Bastyr, National or Southwest, and take an exam called the NPLEX prior to obtaining a license in the State of California.
What this bill doesn’t tell you is these three schools have received “accreditation” from the Committee on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), a dubious organization that has a strong vested interest in the three schools and lost accreditation power because of conflict of interest issues (see www.anma.com for more information).
It is interesting that none of the aforementioned schools practice Traditional Naturopathy. They are attempting to practice a quasiallopathic naturopathy that encompasses using invasive procedures and promoting prescription drugs, which changes the entire scope of how Traditional Naturopathy was supposed to be practiced. Yet this small minority group of individuals calling themselves naturopathic doctors have been able to get California Senate Bill SB 907 to Governor Davis’ desk. How?
SB 907’s backing comes from Stephen Bing, a multi-millionaire who inherited his wealth at age 18. He has spent the last 20 years trying all sorts of endeavors such as film, screenplays and contributed millions of dollars to democratic politicians. He is most noted for fathering Elizabeth Hurley’s child and while saying he was not the father of her child, a DNA test proved otherwise.
Mr. Bing has a strong interest in the form of “naturopathy” practiced by the “Bastyr Group” and has supported SB 907 while Senator John Burton actually authored the bill. Stephen Bing has given over $325,000 to Governor Davis’ recall defense fund and $1,000,000 to the Bastyr Group. With all of this money, Bastyr was able to retain Advocation, Inc., one of the best-connected lobbying firms to push SB 907. And the bottom line is Davis signed the bill because of the political contributions.
Is any of this good for the actual consumer? No. Only the Bastyr Group would be able to use the term Naturopathic Doctor. Advocating invasive surgery and prescribing pharmaceuticals, while offering a few supplements and homeopathic drops, is the opposite of how Traditional Nat-uropathy was intended to be practiced. If this small minority group of “naturopaths” wants to study traditional allopathic medicine, let them go to medical school.
A Traditional Naturopath does not treat or diagnose disease. Naturopathic medicine is a healing art of assisting a person in recovery from ill health and maintaining well-being through stimulation, enhancement and support of the inherent healing capacity of his or her body by using natural means. It emphasizes that the body can heal itself if it is appropriately encouraged to do so. It’s not about pushing drugs or cutting people.
SB 907 unfairly restricts the use of the titles “Doctor of Naturopathy” and “Naturopathic Doctor.” These titles have been used for many years by such practitioners as Mexican-American Curanderos, Indian Tribal Healers, and traditionally educated healers. However, the way this bill currently reads, it excludes anyone who has been educated at any other naturopathic schools located in the United States or other countries from calling themselves naturopathic doctors. Why is the “Bastyr Group” limiting who is eligible to take the NPLEX to those educated at only three schools in the entire world that have dubious accreditation? What are they afraid of?
The bottom line is SB 907 will only hurt the consumer. The Bastyr Group has sold out the philosophy of natural healing so it may ultimately get in bed with the insurance companies and at some point possibly get reimbursed. Licensure for Naturopaths is a good thing but SB 907 does not protect the consumer. In fact, it bastardizes naturopathy. The Bastyr Group has sold out Alternative Medicine for their own selfish motives and none of it is about helping Californians, it’s about money and politics.
For further information, please e-mail Allison Langbridge, Consumer Health Advocate at firstname.lastname@example.org
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