Naturopaths legitimized in Alberta, Canada

Alberta gives naturopaths full status as medical professionals

Alberta has beefed up the powers of its naturopathic doctors, giving them full status as medical professionals but stopping short of funding treatment.

The move – chiefly, the creation of a College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta – allows the profession to self-regulate and weed out those who don’t meet certain standards.

It will likely mean more private health plans will cover naturopathic treatment, Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne said, and will allow patients to claim receipts as medical expenses on tax returns.

Alberta is the fifth province to elevate naturopaths to professional status by creating a college.

“It is a very significant milestone for this profession, and a recognition of the knowledge and skills that members of the association bring to their work,” Mr. Horne said Wednesday, speaking at a central Edmonton naturopath clinic. “…It also reflects the recognition a growing number of Albertans give to the services provided by naturopathic doctors.”

Tip: r/skeptic

This is a tricky topic. Should you legitimize a profession by licensure? Or should you risk harm to the public from allowing free practice? The action by Alberta is a result of the consumers using naturopathy (and the naturopaths wanting recognition). It does not seem to have given consideration to the science beyond naturopathy which is inferior to modern medicine in efficacy. For example, they promote use of nutrition, herbal and homeopathic treatments. Homeopathy is just water/sugar so it’s nothing at all. Eating certain foods/diets and taking herbs for a condition can be not only a waste because they don’t work but MAY be dangerous especially if the patient forgoes conventional treatments that would actually work.

I’d worry about this:

“We have done this because we want Albertans to feel as secure in the education, competency and skills of practitioners to perform naturopathic services as they feel when they visit a medical doctor or medical service, a dentist or dental service, or any other regulated profession,” Mr. Horne said, adding he once visited a naturopath himself, albeit “years and years ago.”

Except they AREN’T the same education, competency and skills. They are completely different. And they are of questionable validity and usefulness.

I’d be curious as to the reasons why the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons voiced support for this. What was their reasoning?

I’m not saying naturopathy can’t help certain people. But this action does nothing but confuse the public who are seeking legitimate medical care. Naturopaths are not equivalent to medical doctors.