Skip to Content
The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 267: Practice of naturopathic health care

Section 267. (a) The practice of naturopathic health care shall include, but not be limited to:

(i) the prevention and treatment of human illness, injury or disease through education, dietary or nutritional advice and the promotion of healthy ways of living;

(ii) the use of non-invasive physical examinations and the ordering of clinical and laboratory procedures from licensed clinics or laboratories to evaluate injuries, illnesses and conditions in the human body;

(iii) dispensing, administering, ordering and prescribing natural medicines of mineral, animal or botanical origin, including food products or extracts, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, digestive aids, natural hormones, plant substances, homeopathic preparations, natural antibiotics, topical medicines and nonprescription drugs, therapeutic devices and barrier contraceptives to prevent or treat illnesses, injuries and conditions of the human body;

(iv) the use of manual mechanical manipulation of body structures or tissues, in accordance with naturopathic principles;

(v) the use of naturopathic physical medicine to maintain or restore normal physiological functioning of the human body; and

(vi) mandatory tracking and documentation of the immunization status of a patient under 18 years of age and the required referral of that patient to a primary care or collaborative care physician where evidence exists that the individual has not been immunized.

(b) The practice of naturopathic health care shall not include:

(i) performing surgery or invasive procedures or examinations, abortions or the use of radiation, radioactive substances or local, general or spinal anesthesia;

(ii) prescribing, dispensing or administering a drug classified as a controlled substance or prescription drug under chapter 94C;

(iii) the practice of acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine; or

(iv) the practice of emergency medicine, except as a person rendering gratuitous services in an emergency or for the care of minor injuries.

(c) Nothing in sections 266 to 274, inclusive, shall prohibit or restrict:

(i) a person who is licensed, certified or registered to practice a profession or occupation under any other law from engaging in activities which are within the lawful scope of practice for the profession or occupation for which that person is licensed;

(ii) the practice of naturopathic health care by a person employed by the United States government if that person engages in that practice in the performance of the employee's duties;

(iii) the practice of naturopathic health care by students enrolled in an approved naturopathic medical college; provided, however, that the performance of those services shall be under a course of instruction or assignments from and under the supervision of an instructor who is licensed as a naturopathic doctor under this chapter or a licensed professional in the field in which that professional is providing instruction;

(iv) a person from self-treatment or treatment of an immediate family member based on religious or health beliefs;

(v) a person who sells vitamins and herbs from providing information about those products; or

(vi) a person or practitioner who is not licensed as a naturopathic doctor from recommending ayurvedic medicine, herbal remedies, nutritional advice, homeopathy or other therapy that is within the scope of practice of naturopathic health care; provided, however, that the person or practitioner shall not represent or assume the character or appearance of a person practicing naturopathic health care or otherwise use a name, title or other designation which indicates or implies that the person is licensed to practice naturopathic health care.

(d) Licensed naturopathic doctors shall have the same authority and responsibilities as licensed physicians regarding public health laws, reportable diseases and conditions, communicable disease control and prevention, recording of vital statistics, health and physical examinations and local boards of health, except that the authority of licensed naturopathic doctors regarding such matters shall be limited to the scope of practice authorized by this chapter. Naturopathic doctors shall be mandated reporters as required of physicians and nurses.