When I met her, she was hawking supplements from one of those big multi-level-marketing companies. She was making the rounds of the various work-at-home forums calling herself a “wellness consultant” and offering “private sessions” for $35 a pop. She confided in me that she was taking a home-study course in herbs (“certified” only by the publishing company that produced it, no less) and was interested in becoming a naturopath.
Two weeks later, she had changed her occupation from “wellness consultant” to “certified herbalist”. A month later she was calling herself a “naturopath”.
Let’s do the math. She went from a salesperson for an MLM to a “naturopath” in fewer than 6 weeks.
The saddest part of this whole story is that what she did is most likely perfectly legal. In most states, including hers, practices like naturopathy, herbalism and aromatherapy are only barely regulated—if at all. So long as she’s careful not to cross that line and call herself a “doctor”, she’s doing nothing illegal. Worse still is that very few of the patients she treats will ever know that her entire education came from paperback books they could pick up at any Barnes & Noble. Nor will they ever know that the fancy certificate on her wall didn’t come from a college but from the very company whose vitamins she’s pushing.
Your health is far too important to entrust to a “I read a book so now I’m an expert” practitioner. Before you hire anyone to give you health advice, ask questions. Make sure your practitioner is truly qualified and didn’t just wake up last week deciding to sell vitamins door-to-door.