By Bob Katzen


This creates a state board to license and regulate naturopathic doctors and requires that these doctors have extensive training in a naturopathic program at an approved naturopathic medical college. The bill sets out allowable practices that naturopathic doctors may perform but does not permit them to perform surgery or invasive procedures or prescribe a controlled substance. 

   The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians defines naturopathic doctors as “primary care and specialty doctors who address the underlying cause of disease through effective, individualized natural therapies that integrate the healing powers of body, mind and spirit.” 

  Supporters say the bill would ensure high-quality naturopathic care in the Bay State and protect the consumer from unqualified practitioners who claim to be naturopathic doctors. “It’s important for us to utilize prevention, therapeutic treatment and natural therapies whenever possible,” said sponsor Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Fall River). “For those who find it helpful, naturopathic medical treatment will be well-served by a board of registration to establish requirements and authorized practices. Consumer protection must be a priority.”

   The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) opposed the legislation. “The establishment of licensure for naturopathy is disappointing, as licensing is likely to be perceived by the public as an endorsement of an area of care that lacks rigorous medical training and standards of care, and offers few if any treatments based on clinical and scientific evidence,” said James Gessner, President of the MMS. “We urge patients to be cautious when considering naturopathic treatments.”


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