Dr. Vera Paola Termali, President of SIHeN, Professional Association of Italian Heilpraktikers and Naturopaths
Last month the discussion about CAM in Italy became hot, when the Ministry of Health realized that at the beginning of 2013 a law was issued which allowed all professions without a dedicated regulation to be practiced under the supervision of professional associations and through a UNI Norm, a quality standard certification.
This framework law includes a variety of professions, ranging from web designers to graphologists, but some professional associations of naturopaths decided to put also naturopathy under this umbrella. The UNI Norm defines Naturopathy following the “Benchmarks for Training in Naturopathy”, issued by the WHO back in 2010, which also gives a standard education value of 1500 hours, 400 of which dedicated to practice.
It seemed a step forward, but, being a norm and not a law, it is not compulsory, so that an important issue continues to be missing: the harmonization and implementation of education, which in Italy can range from 300 to 1500 hours, without any control. Stimulated by other professional associations, both academic and naturopathic, the Ministry of Health made the critical question: “are Italian naturopaths diagnosing and curing? If yes, then this is a health profession and must undergo limitations, either by a new law or by specific regulations issued by the Ministry.”