Natural Medicine is Making History |

Feb 27, 2014 4:45:00 PM | complementary alternative medicine Natural Medicine is Making History |

Doesn’t it seem like everyone is talking about holistic health and natural medicine these days? Here are 6 reasons why CAM is moving forward!

Natural Medicine Doesn’t it seem like everyone is talking about holistic health and natural medicine these days? The U.S. healthcare system is beginning to incorporate prevention and natural approaches into the healthcare system, something our community has been moving toward for a very long time! We’re paying attention, and so is the mainstream media and medical community. Here is a timeline of the 6 big changes that prove natural medicine is making history: 

1. May 2013: American College of Healthcare Sciences launches four new accredited master’s degree programs in holistic health, including a Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). We are so very excited to see our institution grow and allow more and more students to pursue a quality education in holistic health.

So yes, we’re tooting our own horn a bit…but for good reason! As more and more jobs are being created for alternative medicine practitioners all over the world, there is a growing demand for education in the holistic health field. The fact that we are able to expand our graduate degree programs speaks to the growing desire of our society to become healthier holistically!

2. June 5, 2013: The Colorado Natural Health Consumer Protection Act (Colorado Senate Bill 13-215) is signed into law, becoming the ninth U.S. state to pass a Health Freedom Law.[1] Not sure what I mean by “Health Freedom?” This is a movement aimed at allowing patients the right to access alternative treatments and health practitioners. This lets you determine your own course of healthcare treatment.

3. July 12, 2013: Medicare is considering expanded chiropractic coverage. For the first time in more than 40 years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are taking a positive step toward expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage for patients who use chiropractic care services.

4. July 24, 2013: H.R. 2817: Protect Patient Access to Quality Health Professionals Act of 2013, is introduced into congress. Supported by the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC); this act supports the correct implementation of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act in 2013 that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against healthcare providers (including licensed holistic health and natural medicine professions).[2] 

5. September 10, 2013: The U.S. Senate unanimously passes a resolution designating October 7 through October 13 Naturopathic Medicine Week in the United States. Naturopathic medicine is based on a holistic philosophy and principles of the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Congratulations to the U.S. senate for recognizing natural healing traditions and the idea that we should be treating people and not simply symptoms![3]

6. October 1, 2013: ACHS’s home state of Oregon launches its new health exchange as part of the Affordability Care Act featuring plans that cover licensed CAM providers for primary care and other complementary care services.[4]

In 2013 alone, it’s clear that natural medicine is making significant waves in the medical and healthcare communities! And there are still many more healthcare changes to look forward to in the future. 

Looking forward to 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), (aka Obamacare) State Exchanges become effective, and benefits are becoming active. The new law may offer opportunity to complementary alternative medicine providers and will encourage the use of innovative delivery models such as patient-centered medical homes.

As with all change, there are bound to be a few conflicts and issues within our rapidly changing healthcare system. For example: H.R. 2415: Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2013 (TROA) has been introduced into congress. This act would include a Medicare benefit for obesity counseling—but currently only lists registered dieticians as eligible providers. This is why it is ever important to stay educated and informed on these healthcare changes.

I did have a chance to chat with ACHS President, Dorene Petersen about these changes in healthcare, and she is cautiously optimistic about healthcare reform and its impact on holistic health consumer access and career opportunities. “What we do know,” she said, “Is that ACHS will continue to combine the best of holistic traditions with the best of modern technology in order to provide a balance and strong educational foundation for our students. The bureaucracy may change. Health insurance models may change, but our programs focus on the laws of nature. We are excited to see what the future will bring!”  

It’s clearly an exciting time in the holistic health industry, and ACHS could not be more excited to be part of this incredible community.

If you are interested in pursuing an education in holistic health, please take a look at ACHS’s accredited online programs in aromatherapy, complementary alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, applied science in health and wellness, herbal medicine, and much more by clicking here.

What do you think about the recent changes in healthcare? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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[1] HFC. (2013, June 5). Colorado. Retrieved Oct 10, 2013, from Health Freedom Coalition:

[2] IHPC. (2013, July 24). Retrieved Oct 10, 2013, from The Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC):

[3] Peter Bongiorno, N. L. (2013, Oct 7). Naturopathic Medicine Week—Naturopathic Doctors Recognized. Retrieved Oct 10, 2013, from Psychology Today.

[4] Cover Oregon. (2013, Oct 10). Retrieved from Cover Oregon:


Susan Yirku

Written By: Susan Yirku

Susan joined ACHS to work in Compliance and Special Projects in February 2013. A dedicated student and patient advocate, Sue has always got her fingers into some healthcare reform project. Whether she is working on public policy, educational quality, or access to holistic care for underserved communities, she is dedicated to mentoring emerging CAM professionals and the amazing students that are drawn to them. Her other passion is holistic global health projects. She has particular ties to Haiti, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Nepali nonprofits. Susan has a degree in Collaborative Leadership from Marylhurst University in Portland, OR, and has held a series of leadership positions that include Associate VP College Relations, National College of Natural Medicine; President, Institute for Natural Medicine; and founding Executive Director for Accredited Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges. Sue enjoys lively debate and blogging provides a great forum for discussion.