With the new legislative session just starting, lots and lots of new bills are being introduced in legislatures around the country. In Michigan, we’ve got a bill to license “naturophathic physicians” in the state. It’s HB 4152 and David Gorski has an article about it at Science Based Medicine.
Naturopathy is a cornucopia of almost every quackery you can think of. Be it homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, applied kinesiology, anthroposophical medicine, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique, and pretty much any other form of unscientific or prescientific medicine that you can imagine, it’s hard to think of a single form of pseudoscientific medicine and quackery that naturopathy doesn’t embrace or at least tolerate. Indeed, as I’ve retorted before to apologists for naturopathy who claim that it is scientific, naturopathy can never be scientific as long as you can’t have naturopathy without homeopathy and naturopaths embrace homeopathy. Unfortunately, naturopaths have over the years been having some success in persuading state legislatures to license naturopaths, in some cases even giving them the privilege of being considered primary care practitioners…
Sadly, this is a bipartisan effort, with Lyons being the Republican half of the not-so-dynamic duo of legislators, and Ellen Cogen Lipton being the Democratic half, representing the Michigan 27th House district, which represents Detroit suburbs such as Ferndale, Royal Oak Township, Oak Park, Huntington Woods, and Hazel Park. I know some of these towns. For instance, Ferndale is known as one of the “hipper” cities in the Detroit metropolitan area; it’s not surprising to me that a Representative whose district encompasses Ferndale would be sympathetic to naturopathy to the point of being willing to make repeated attempts to pass a bill that would license naturopaths.
The bill defines naturopathy this way:
(3) “NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE” MEANS A SYSTEM OF PRACTICE THAT IS BASED ON THE NATURAL HEALING CAPACITY OF INDIVIDUALS FOR THE DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT, AND PREVENTION OF DISEASES
Gee, that sounds a lot like…medicine. As Gorski writes:
The wag in me can’t help but point out how stupid this definition is. Let me just put it this way. Science-based medicine relies on the natural healing capacity of individuals for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. Think about it. Setting broken bones would be useless if the body weren’t able to heal itself naturally. Surgery itself relies on the ability of the body to heal itself; otherwise cutting into the body to rearrange its anatomy for therapeutic intent would be the gravest of folly. The very definition of naturopathy is a false dichotomy between conventional medicine and “natural healing.”
There’s a lot more in his article, I urge you to read the whole thing.