Naturopaths Are Not Doctors, The Petition | Vol. 3 / No. 31.1


This is a good Monday, folks. Do you know why? Because former naturopath trainee turned vocal science advocate Britt Marie Hermes — author of the Naturopathic Diaries blog and outspoken critic of the snake oil that is naturopathic “medicine” — has started a petition that you can go sign.

Go do it, now.

The petition, which will be delivered to the US House and Senate, the State Houses and Senates of Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York, and several key administrators, calls on those with power to resist the normalization of naturopathy as legitimate medicine in America. I’m posting the full text below:

The purpose of this petition is to voice opposition to legitimizing naturopathy through state licensure and mandated insurance reimbursement. Naturopaths are attempting to become legally recognized as “primary care physicians” in all 50 states and become Medicare providers. This is a dangerous future.

Naturopaths are not trained similar to physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants. Naturopaths are trained in a hodgepodge of antiquated methods, mystical theories, and bare-bone fundamentals of medicine.

Naturopathic students are required to master homeopathy, energy modalities, herbalism, chiropractic-like manipulations, and therapies involving heat and water. There is a strong emphasis on anti-vaccine promotion and alternative cancer treatments.
This petition concerns naturopaths who graduated from programs approved by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education. These programs are attempting to circumvent comprehensive medical training by misrepresenting their academic rigor to lawmakers and the public.

This is our chance to make a stand against pseudoscience masquerading as legitimate medicine. Please sign this petition to show your support for blocking naturopathic licensure, scope of practice expansion, and inclusion in federal and state health care programs.

Naturopaths are not doctors, and they should not be treated as such.

She provides a comprehensive list of places where those curious can do more research, including the Massachusetts Medical Society’s testimony given last year against the creation of a board of registration in naturopathy in Massachusetts (which itself is worth a read).

As I’ve written before, substituting magical thinking for medicine — be it homeopathy, “energy fields,” “natural remedies,” or chiropractic — is bad for public health because it takes real resources away from real medicine, and presents ineffective and unproven quackery as legitimate medical treatment. You know it, I know it, so go do what I did and sign the petition.

This is a good Monday, because for once, there’s something you can do.


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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.