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By Rady Ananda

An amendment to North Carolina’s Unauthorized Practice of Medicine Act would have changed the original bill (SB 31) from making alternative medicine a felony to a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Violators would face jail time after a first conviction. However, on April 14, the amendment failed. The bill has gone back to committee for further clarification and possible redraft.

Section 90-19, Practicing without license; penalties of NC’s General Statutes provides a list of exemptions. The only section potentially relating to homeopaths, naturopaths, and herbalists, by my lay reading of it, is (c)(5), which exempts:

“The treatment of the sick or suffering by mental or spiritual means without the use of any drugs or other material means.”

According to Medicine.net, homeopaths use minute quantities of drugs; naturopaths use physical forces such as heat, water, light, air and massage, but may also recommend herbs or drugs; and herbalists use herbs to treat medical conditions. All of these constitute “material means” which will be criminalized in North Carolina’s code, if S.B. 31 passes in its current form.

Midwifery has long been regulated under G.S. §90-178.1. Anyone not following these legal strictures is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, resulting in community service unless the defendant has prior convictions. Multiple convictions could result in jail time.

To learn how alternative medicine practitioners can survive under such anti-competitive laws, Food Freedom spoke with The Herb Prof, Dr Paul Blake, ND, who practiced alternative medicine for over twenty years. Among his many accomplishments, Dr Blake is also a cancer survivor, an iridologist, naturopath, master herbalist, nutritional consultant, live blood microscopist, and tai chi and yoga instructor.

Food Freedom: What is your reaction to the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine Act that North Carolina is considering?

Dr Paul Blake: A bill like North Carolina’s SB 31 is what comes when this monopolized medical system we have starts to fall apart at the seams. Those who have the most to lose monetarily and in their personal power start reaching for extreme measures like SB 31. They are really trying to stop this inevitable groundswell of people turning to natural healing methods. Good grief, what are they afraid of? If modern medicine is so great, then they can compete with natural healing without the law providing it with a monopoly. The truth is they are afraid because Naturopaths are proving that they not only have cures, but that the cures are also life enhancing.

FF: How do you think this will affect naturopaths in North Carolina?

PB: I don’t know what it is like to practice naturopathic medicine in North Carolina but I am sure it is not much different than practicing in California where I worked for over twenty years. I had to watch everything I said and did and I also had to be aware that the client I was working with could easily be working undercover.

FF: Maybe you can provide us with some guidelines, then, that you used to avoid legal trouble for competing with allopathic medicine.

PB: I am sure that most of what I did can be applied by natural healers in North Carolina.

One, I never allowed myself or my office to look anything like a doctor’s office. I dressed casual to the nines and the office looked more like a library filled with books, herbs, microscope, iridology cameras. And the walls were covered with photos of herbs and of my naturopathic doctor heroes like Hippocrates, Samuel Thomson, Anne Wigmore, John Ray Christopher, Gladys Iola Tantaquidgeo (Mohegan Tribe), Bernard Jensen, and many others.

Two, I watched every word I spoke even though I was in the land of free speech. I avoided Latin and Greek terms completely and spoke only plain English. For instance, I never called a patient “a patient” even though the Latin word “patiens” means “one who suffers.” Naturopaths are not allowed to see suffering people. So you have to call them a “client” – one who is under the protection of another or seeks the professional advice or services of another. Free speech, what is that?

Three, I would also explain to the client that I am not an allopathic doctor and cannot diagnose, prescribe or treat their disease. That part was very helpful because I could explain just what a mess allopathic medicine is and that I am not that kind of a doctor. I am a natural doctor who is going to completely get them out of the mess they are in without any side effects or lifetime medications to take. Once the difference was explained, I would have them sign something that clearly explains all this.

FF: Being pretty much totally gagged, how do you work with a client?

PB: You ask them questions about what they have been experiencing and why they came to see you and what they expect from natural healing. You clarify any misunderstandings they may have about you and what natural healing is. You make it clear to them that natural healing is not easy, that it takes work on their part, that it took years to get sick, and that it will take some time to correct what has happened. I explain that the more they apply Naturopathic medicine to themselves, the better they will feel mentally and physically.

FF: How do you talk to them about their disease?

PB: Very carefully. You never actually talk to them at all directly about their disease. You completely dance around and avoid that subject as though it was the hottest potato on the planet. What you do is talk about yourself. I would say, “If I had this disease, this is what I would do.” Then you talk about what causes diseases like this one in the naturopathic world of medicine.

You discuss what you would do if you were them, what kind of a diet to follow, herbs to take, what kinds of cleanses, and other naturopathic techniques to get at the root of the disease. Then, still talking about yourself as though you had the disease, tell them how you would expect to feel as the treatment progresses. I would then describe the maintenance program I would need to keep this disease from ever coming back again.

FF: What are some of the techniques you used in your practice?

PB: I used two tools to help the client see what was causing their problems: an iridology camera and a dark field microscope. With the iridology pictures I could show them where they were genetically weak and what areas of their body were suffering at this time. The iridology pictures can also show most of the problems they suffered in the past.

With the dark field microscope, I showed the client how their body is doing in real time. Seeing your own blood live on a large screen is a very effective tool. Someone who is sick will see their blood suffering right in front of their eyes. Sometimes, just to push the point home, I would draw a drop of my own blood and show them the difference. Very effective. It is amazing.

But never once do you diagnose a disease from what you see. You show them their body and where the problems are and explain how through diet, cleansing, detoxing, herbs and lifestyle changes, they can get back their healthy body and mind.

FF: After you’ve found health concerns from these images, and from what the client described, how do you prescribe treatment?

PB: First we discuss what they’ve learned and any questions they may have. Then, I say, “No one can make up your mind about what you are going to do about what is happening to you – only you can make that decision.” I ask them, “Are you interested in doing what I would do in your situation?” Rarely would anyone say no.

Then I would give them hand-outs with clear instructions on what to do to get their health back. Not one hand-out discusses anything about diseases – they are just instructions on how to do cleanses, detoxes, diet, herbs and other techniques. And every handout has disclaimers and advice to see their attending physician if they have any doubts or concerns.

I also tell them that if they would like, they can show their attending physician what they intend to do. More than once, I’ve had them tell me that their doctor thought the program was a good idea.

Practicing medicine without a license and practicing natural healing are two completely different things. If you plan carefully, even though your right of free speech is gone, you can avoid legal troubles from legislation like North Carolina’s S.B. 31.

Rady Ananda specializes in Natural Resources and administers the sites, Food Freedom and COTO Report.