Coming Back From the Brink of Extinction

I commenced practice in British Columbia in 1950. I had graduated from the Canadian Chiropractic College in Toronto and been post-graduated in Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Drugless Physicians, in Chicago. At the time I commenced practice, there were only two colleges whose educational standards met the requirements established by the Association of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia: National College of Drugless Physicians in Chicago, and Western States College in Portland, Oregon. Our membership was approximately thirty-five members.

There were at least three critical problems facing the profession, both in the United States and in Canada.  In both countries, by the mid-fifties, there was no federal representation for the naturopathic profession. Attrition was reducing the number of practicing naturopathic physicians. There were no longer any colleges teaching naturopathic medicine which met the requirements of the various associations. Federally, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and Surgeons had been very active. However, by the mid-1950′s, this Association came to an end, leaving no voice to speak on the profession’s behalf on a federal level. To ensure federal representation, the National Association of Naturopathic Physicians was formed, primarily through the efforts of members in Washington and Oregon.

Much time, effort, and funds were expended in Washington, D.C., but it was difficult to evaluate how much was achieved. This association was eventually disbanded to be superceded by the present A.A.N.P.

In Canada , the profession received its’ Charter with the federal government and the Canadian Naturopathic Association was recognized as the official voice of Naturopathic Medicine in Canada in 1955. There are now only two charter members alive in B.C: Dr. Fred Loffler and Dr. G. R. Farnsworth.

The Canada Health Act required a lot of work on the part of those provinces who had legal recognition: Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia. At present, Ontario and British Columbia naturopathic physicians have some limited coverage under their respective government health plans. Federal recognition was an important factor in the chiropractic profession as well. Until the 1950′s, there were two distinct and separate chiropractic associations in the U.S. The NCA (National Chiropractic Association) represented the broad practicing chiropractors known as the “mixers”. National Chiropractic College in Chicago , Western States College in Portland, Philadelphia College in Pennsylvania, the Los Angeles Chiropractic College and a few others supported the broad scope of practice.

The ICA (International Chiropractic Association) represented the chiropractors called “straights”. They were predominately graduates from New York Chiropractic College, Indianapolis College, Palmer College, Logan Basic College, and several others. Until this time, Veterans received financial support to attend chiropractic colleges but the profession was not recognized by the Health, Education and Welfare Department in Washington, D.C. The objective of the chiropractic profession was to obtain this recognition. To achieve this, the chiropractic colleges would have to dissociate themselves from all naturopathic education. In 1951-52, the profession was alerted that by 1956, the two colleges whose graduates were recognized by Washington, Oregon, and B.C., would discontinue graduating naturopathic doctors. This was opposed vigorously by both National Chiropractic College and Western States College . However, with the passing of Dr. Budden, the President of Western States College, the colleges acquiesced and ceased graduating naturopathic doctors in 1956. This brought forth a major concern to the dwindling profession. Attrition had taken its toll and no new replacements were to be forth coming until National College of Naturopathic Medicine was established primarily by the associations of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.

Minor support came also from Ontario, Alberta, and Idaho.  While Utah gave some support, it was short lived. I’m sure there were other individual members in some states and provinces who also supported the college. However, it was primarily the members of the three associations that provided the meager funds, labour, and effort to preserve the future of Naturopathic Medicine in the U.S. and Canada . I dare say we owe a debt of gratitude to less than fifty doctors for this devotion.