Naturopathic medicine – which includes a number of alternative sub-practices as alternatives to conventional medical practice – has been around for a long time. It is only in recent times that the United States has begun to recognize this practice as a legitimate health care option, and arguments are ongoing regarding the validity of naturopathic health care.
The argument has come to Pennsylvania recently, as Governor Tom Wolf signed a new law regulating the practice of naturopathic health care, according to AANMC (Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges). What are the implications of this new law and will it offer you and your family the protection you need?
The idea of regulating a field like medicine is to make sure the people who utilize these services are protected from negligent practitioners. Increases in government oversight over qualifications, licensure and standards are just a few ways laws like this are intended to protect patients.
But will this new law really protect you and your family?
In the case of naturopathic medicine, the question is certainly debatable. The scientific validity field itself has been hotly debated for many years.
The AANMC (which is an association of naturopathic colleges) calls the passing of this new law “a historic day for naturopathic medicine.”
While that might be true, former naturopathic practitioner and award-winning blogger Britt Hermes calls the practice “essentially witchcraft” according to an article from STAT online. After spending three years practicing naturopathic medicine, she searched more in-depth into the science behind the practice and determined that it is mostly pseudoscience and generally unsafe.
The validity and potency of the new law in Pennsylvania will depend greatly on which side of the argument you fall. If you agree that naturopathic medicine is a scientifically sound and generally acceptable form of healthcare, then a law ensuring the qualifications of practitioners will only add needed protections for potential patients.
If, however, you agree with Hermes that naturopathic medicine is unsafe pseudoscience, the law will not add any real protection for people. Guaranteeing licensure in a field that is inherently unsafe will not protect people from its dangers.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that naturopathic doctors, like any doctors, need to practice their craft competently and in a way that does not cause harm to their patients. If you have suffered serious injuries or illnesses as a result of a naturopathic medical practitioner, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you obtain compensation for your losses.