The nation’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) ordered the Health Ministry to grant permits to homeopaths and naturopaths to operate as medical practitioners.
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, so as to better equip the body to handle the actual disease, much in the way a vaccination works.
Previously, the Health Ministry did not grant permits to these entities to operate legally, 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.