It’s a step backwards.
Alberta has announced the creation of a College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/26/alberta-creates-college-to-oversee-naturopathic-doctors-stops-short-of-endorsing-treatments/
We could argue about whether or not it’s good for naturopaths to answer to their colleagues for their practices – better than no regulations, right? – but at its core this does at least one very bad thing: lend credibility to practices that are too often out of step with modern science.
Homeopathy has no credibility yet it’s a widely used naturopathic treatment. This quote from the Post article:
“Homeopathy, for example, is based on a philosophy that the items that cause symptoms similar to a illness can also be their cure. Ingredients are chosen and then diluted so much it would be statistically impossible for the resulting drug to have a molecule of the active medicine in it. Believers in homeopathy state that the water retains the memory of the ingredient, and, thus, cures people.”
This is more voodoo than medicine.
It’s too bad, really. At first glance, the underlying philosophy of naturopathic medicine would seem to be a good one, focusing on preventing illness before it needs to be treated, opting for natural therapies over chemicals. But the thing is, there’s so much B.S. mixed in with the good stuff, and so little commitment to scientific evidence to separate the two, it discredits the entire practice. But tagging the title ‘doctor’ and ‘college’ onto the profession just raises its legitimacy.
Alberta’s health minister, Fred Horne: “By granting self-regulation, we’re attesting, as elected representatives, to the public that we believe the practices that will be engaged in by professionals are safe and that they’re effective and that they meet the highest possible standard.”
Effective? Which treatments, and according to who? Governments are supposed to protect citizens from fraudulent practices, yet patients of “N.D.s” may spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on treatments with no scientific backing – which doesn’t prove they don’t work, granted, but doesn’t prove they do either.
In the absence of proof otherwise, I’m going to assume I don’t have an elusive unicorn living on my property. I’m certainly not going to charge people a hundred dollars for a "chance" to try and see that never-seen mythical beast.