New rules for naturopaths

Maybe Canada can open the path to considering alternative healing methods in a serious way, and fix the monopoly of medical care in the US. This article in The Globe and Mail discusses some complicated points on new rules for naturopaths


Eben Byers was a rich American steel industrialist and amateur golfer who fell and injured his arm during a train ride in 1927. All of these facts would be unremarkable, except for what Byers’s doctor prescribed as a cure: radioactive water.

In those days, radium drinks were extremely popular, mostly among those with discretionary money to spend, to treat any and all sorts of physical ailments. Byers became a fervent believer in the healing powers of radioactive water, guzzling bottles a day until, less than five years later, most of his teeth fell out, his lower jaw was removed and holes started to form in his skull.

After his death in 1932, the U.S. government gave new, expanded powers to the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on snake oil salesmen and other peddlers of “medicines” that had no proof behind them and plenty of evidence of harm.

More than 80 years later, the world is a much different place. To sell a prescription drug, pharmaceutical companies must first spend millions of dollars on development and clinical trials and subject themselves to the (usually) rigorous approval processes used by agencies such as the FDA and Health Canada.

But in other ways, you would think that we were back in the 1920s.

For the past eight years, Ontario has been promising to implement new regulations governing the activities of naturopaths. The rules, which could come into force any day now, would give naturopaths the power to order dozens of lab tests, treat chronic diseases and prescribe a number of medications, even though it is unclear what, if any, formal pharmacologic training they receive. In British Columbia, naturopaths already have many of these powers, part of a growing trend toward legitimizing the offerings of these so-called alternative-health practitioners.


Read the rest of the article here