One advantage CAM practitioners (chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths and the like) have over science-based medicine practitioners is the ability to make things up and pretend they are real. They can then sell these creations to the public as health care. State licensing of CAM practitioners helps tremendously in marketing this pseudo-medicine, especially when the product itself is enshrined in state law.
A good example of this is California Senate Bill 218 which creates a Traditional Chinese Medicine Traumatologist certification. TCM traumatology is defined in the bill as a system of treatment of musculoskeletal conditions by stimulation “acupressure points” to “open the body’s defensive chi and stimulate energy movement in the meridians.” See what I mean? A total fabrication proposed as a new state law. Unfortunately, the bill passed in the Senate last year and is now before the California Assembly for consideration.
Naturopathy licensing bills regularly incorporate pseudo-medicine into state law.These bills typically specify that naturopaths can use such treatments as colonic irrigation, homeopathy, dietary supplements, injections of vitamin mega-doses, “detoxification” treatments and (my favorite) “organ repositioning.” (The latter is in a naturopathic licensing bill which passed the Pennsylvania House and is now before the Senate).
Unfortunately, these licensing bills also typically give naturopaths who have graduated from naturopathic “medical” schools a scope of practice similar to that of an M.D. or D.O. primary care physician. These schools have simply pasted the name “medical” into their names and have declared, ipso facto, that they provide the same education as medical doctors. And because naturopaths don’t have any residency requirement, they can go straight into practice without the additional three years of training primary care physicians must complete.
The grand masters of legalizing pseudo-medicine are chiropractors. They’ve managed to incorporate the right to detect the undetectable “subluxation” (which is a chiropractic fabrication) and correct same through chiropractic “adjustments” into the chiropractic practice acts in all 50 states. Millions of patients are legally bamboozled by this useless procedure every year. And, in some cases, the American taxpayer picks up the tab, in the form of Medicare coverage for the detection and correction of subluxations.
Which brings me to Advocacy. You’ll see an “Advocacy” tab at the top of this page. If you click it you’ll find a list of bills pending in the state legislatures which (save for one) actually add more pseudo-medicine to the CAM armamentarium. You’ll also find information on how you can help stop these useless treatments (like “Traditional Chinese Traumatology”) from being foisted off on unsuspecting patients courtesy of the state governments. You’ll be heartened to learn that there is actually one bill, in Oklahoma, which might eventually require chiropractors to warn patients about the risk of neck manipulation, including the risk of stroke from vertebral artery dissection.
We start this week with CAM bills from 2013 which carry over to the 2014 legislative sessions. Next week, we’ll begin adding state bills filed in 2014 and, after that, bills before Congress. Please check back each week to find out how you can help push back against the exploitation of patients by CAM practitioners.