CEN-standardization process for naturopathy

Interview with Tonella Doro about the CEN-standardization process on the occasion of the 18th Annual General Assembly of ANME in Frankfurt-Main

Minutes taken from memory by Nora Laubstein, 1st March 2018

NL: Dear Mrs. Doro, thank you a lot for coming to our event together with you translator. There are a lot of questions especially on the issue „naturopathy“, because this term is worldwide used differently. There is the Naturopathic Doctor/ND in Canada, the USA or Australia, partly with academic medical basic education, but it also can be purchased as weekend-title for ca. 2000€. Furthermore in South Europe „naturopaths“established themselves, each following the national legislation. Also there are most different definitions of „naturopathy“: On one side as independent single form of therapy in the context of other CAM-therapies and on the other side as a general claim for all global naturopathic diagnosis or therapy methods...

Question: Can you bring a little light into the dark there? Was do you understand as „naturopathy“?

TD: Before I am able to give you a concrete answer on this we have to look back to Italy in the year 2006: The EU-commission demanded financial penalties from Italy, because of the still missing implementation of their guideline for regulation of freelancers and self-employed persons. Simultaneously everything regarding naturopathy was in absolute chaos and everyone could do as he or she wanted. The naturopathy was threatened to go down, that is why we founded the organization „Naturaliter“in Italy 2007. Now all professional organizations where called upon to register themselves according to the EU-guideline. This happened at the Italian ministry for economical development. For the field of naturopathy only „Naturaliter“got accepted and thus became the only institutional stakeholder.

NL: You are always using the term „naturopathy“- what about official terms like „complementary and alternative medicine/CAM”or „Non-conventional medicine“?

TD: I will later answer on this. In the year 2007 I got elected chairwoman of a joint table in Italy – I was sitting together with representatives of tax accountant, hairdressers etc. in order to decide about the future conditions for this free professions. And this in the framework of the EU-demands. These include also consumer protection, guaranty for free exercise of profession and professional quality! We together as foundation decided for the European Qualifications Framework EQF. The EQF offers the possibility of standardized control to the Italian agencies. But which officially recognized institute could certify? 2007 we started the acknowledgement process at the public certification institute UNI.

NL: The Italian UNI-institute is something like equivalent to the German DIN-agency or the Dekra for automobiles?

TD: Indeed, each national state in the EU holds such on agency and on the EU-level this agencies have formed an associations called CEN. The transition from the public to the private sector is fluently and the decisions of this standardization department everyone can follow voluntarily.

NL: So nobody would be publicly obliged in connection with „naturopathy“?

TD: No, although an issue of a state-approved certificate of course corresponds to the demand for consumer protection and quality. The work was to convince the Italian UNI-institute in Milan from 2007 to 2009. It took us four years in total until we reached the UNI-standard 11-491 for self-employed freelancers. In this time the UNI-institute submitted a proposal to the health ministry that was developed in collaboration with „Naturaliter“. Doctors, psychologists, patient and consumer representatives and others were sitting at a shared table and all contributed to the standard.