At this time in Australia we do not have mandatory registration of natural therapists such as naturopaths, herbalists and naturopathic nutritionists. Registration is voluntary. It is a way to ensure that practitioners have adequate qualifications and are held accountable if they ever harm or abuse their power with clients. Because registration is voluntary, the titles are not protected, which means that, despite having no qualifications at all, members of the public can use any of these titles and open a practice. This is unethical and irresponsible at least, and dangerous at most, as evidenced by the recent case of a naturopath, who incidentally had no naturopathic qualifications, giving advice that caused a significant weight loss in a small child. At present, there has to be significant harm done to a member of the public and the police involved before any great consequence is realised.
Additionally this brings a whole profession into disrepute and makes it harder for fully qualified, evidence based practitioners to promote natural treatment options as credible alternatives and complements to mainstream medicine. With this in mind I’d thought I’d put together some indicators you can use to pick a credible natural health practitioner?