- Associated Press - Saturday, January 14, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - An organization representing Bay State physicians says it’s disappointed that Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill establishing a state licensing board for naturopaths - health care professionals who practice alternative medicine.

Massachusetts Medical Society President Dr. James Gessner says naturopathy offers few scientifically or clinically proven treatments and “lacks rigorous medical training and standards of care.”

The Republican governor signed the bill after it was approved in the final hours of the 2015-2016 legislative session.

Supporters of the new law say licensing assures only properly trained and qualified people can practice naturopathic health care, which is defined in part as treatment based on education, nutrition, and natural medicines and therapies.

Gessner says he’s grateful that naturopaths won’t be allowed to prescribe medications, or call themselves physicians or primary care providers.

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