The biggest eye opener for me in attending the International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine in Barcelona was the incredible range of scope across different countries. There are naturopathic doctors all over the world but each are recognized in different ways in their own respective countries.
In the United States the scope of practice and licensing varies from state to state. Back home in Canada there are also variations from province to province. It seems that in Spain, and some of the other countries represented at the congress, there is very little room for naturopathic doctors.
I think a lot of this depends partly on the history of the country and then on tension between allopathic and naturopathic practitioners. There is a lot of misunderstanding around what naturopathic medicine is and the training that is involved. But that is beyond this post; after all I need to get back to studying for board exams!
Hopefully in the future we can establish a more united field with licencing and scope of practice. For now, it is important for us to collaborate with one another and share our research with those from other countries. We have a lot to learn from each other. This is particularly true in the realm of botanical medicine where we can find different medicinal plants in different areas of the world. I am excited to follow up with some of the connections made at this congress and to continue my research with my international colleagues!