San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Homeopaths, naturopaths win right to permits Costa Rica

The nation´s Constitutional Court (Sala IV) ordered the Health Ministry to grant permits to homeopaths and naturopaths to operate as doctors.

According to, naturopathy is a system or method of treating disease that employs no surgery or synthetic drugs but uses special diets, herbs, vitamins and massage to assist the natural healing processes. Naturopathy is sometimes referred to as Chinese or Indian medicine.

Homeopathy is the method of treating disease by drugs, given in minute doses, that produces symptoms similar to those of the disease in a healthy person, states.

Previously, the Health Ministry did not grant permits to these entities to operate legally as medical doctors, although many of them still ran clinics or pharmacies offering their services. The court´s July 4 ruling struck down that prior policy and the Health Ministry has already begun complying with the order.

Eduardo Quirós, one of the naturopaths who filed the original injunction against the Health Ministry, said the decision covers only doctors who are members of the Costa Rican Biologists Association.

“It´s not just for anyone calling themselves a homeopath or naturopath,” he said. “It´s only for those who have graduated from an accredited institution and are members of the ssociation.”

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