Naturopathy, Junk Science Doesn’t Properly Describe It

Can we get sensible?

There is nothing, absolutely nothing to recommend naturopathy.

A long time ago when I was an open minded idiot I delivered the wife of a Naturopath because she was unable to deliver with a midwife, and ended up with a prolonged and complicated labor. As a family practitioner, imagine my sense of chagrin when I had to ask for an Ob Gyn to help me by performing a C section on this infected pregnancy. He was a fine guy and had a good sense of humor.

The baby did fine but the mom had a somewhat stormy course post C Section.

My excuse is I did it as a favor for a graduate student at the Medical School because it was his sister, who was stupid enough to marry a Naturopathic “practitioner.”

I won’t alarm you with the details, but Naturopaths have no tolerance for evidence based medicine and they attract the usual air heads as patients. They incorporate almost anything that is bizarre and anti progress into their practice, and reject reasonable approaches whenever they can. Their attitude is scary if you consider sometimes they might actually practice worse first aid than a decent boy scout. They should never be reponsible for a person who is sick and needs help.

I learned that Naturopathy is a no holds barred effort to pursue primitive medical practices akin to medicine man/witch doctor/ or shaman practices. They use almost any therapeutic approach you can imagine, provided it isn’t evidence based allopathic medicine.

Here is an extract from a Wiki type source:

Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is a pseudo-scientific form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation.[1] Naturopathy favors a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment and generally avoids the use of surgery and drugs.[2] Among naturopaths, complete rejection of biomedicine and modern science is common.

The term “naturopathy” is derived from Greek and Latin, and literally translates as “nature disease”.[3] Modern naturopathy grew out of the Natural Cure movement of Europe.[4][5] The term was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and popularized by Benedict Lust,[6] the “father of U.S. naturopathy”.[7] Beginning in the 1970s, there was a revival of interest in the United States and Canada in conjunction with the holistic health movement.[7][8] Today, naturopathy is primarily practiced in the United States and Canada.[9] The scope of practice varies widely between jurisdictions, and naturopaths in unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor designation or other titles regardless of level of education.[10]

Naturopathic practitioners in the US can be divided into three categories: traditional naturopaths; naturopathic physicians; and other health care providers that provide naturopathic services.[3] Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices. Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities such as nutritional and herbal medicine, lifestyle advice, counseling, flower essence, homeopathy and remedial massage.

Much of the ideology and methodological underpinnings of naturopathy are in conflict with the paradigm of evidence-based medicine (EBM).[11] Many naturopaths have opposed vaccination based in part on the early views that shaped the profession.[12] According to the American Cancer Society, “scientific evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure cancer or any other disease, since virtually no studies on naturopathy as a whole have been published”.[2]

Nothing, nothing can describe the stupid non science of Naturopathy but it is now recognized by some states, and they have multi year schools of naturopathy. They would be covered by Obamacare if the Grassley approach goes forward and any provider like a Chiropracter or a Naturopath qualifies because they are licensed, so they can bill for services.

Why not, amulets, herbs, smokes, burns, incantations, salves, rubs sound ok to me. Whatever. I am trying to be open minded.

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27 responses to “Naturopathy, Junk Science Doesn’t Properly Describe It

  1. Why are these types allowed to practice medicine? (yeah, I know “licensing” is mostly bogus – but not with skills/knowledge stuff, esp. medicine). PC, I imagine.

  2. they don’t practice medicine, they practice naturopathy. licensing is not bogus, it requires that you demonstrate competence in the knowledge base. Naturopathy is not based on any competence, it is a ritualistic and magical thing.

  3. What knowledge base? Is familiarity with the book of voodoo considered knowledge? Oh, never mind. Insanity rules these days.

    • If you look into voodoo, you will see that, outside of the mysticism, is advice similar to what modern self improvement gurus provide. Focus on the goal, repeat your goal regularly, make plans, follow them and so forth. The goal may be incredible and the ritual somewhat primitive, but the underlying philosophy seems sound.

  4. If you’re trying to keep an open mind, you’re not succeeding. Irridology is an accurate diagnostic tool for starters. Sounds like you’ve had some bad experiences but I’ve seen a naturopath (German) heal diabetes on one occasion and and Hepatitus C on another. Reffered by the local MD as well and no slouch that one. I recall that German naturopaths pay a $50,000 annual fee just to practise so maybe there is something to it.

  5. A healthy patients irisis will feature close packed radial muscles called stroma. When conditions develop the stroma become separated and eventually the iris will appear black because you are looking directly into the vitreous chamber. It’s a sign of a burnt out system and this is why liars and psycopaths especially, have very black eyes. An example of very dark irisis would be MIchael E Mann.

  6. Very intelligent people can buy into things like this. I know someone who tried to “treat” cervical cancer with natural foods and natural supplements until there was no treatment of any kind that would save her.

  7. One of my relatives into the naturopathy type beliefs had to have a c-section when the birth of the child did not go as planned. She was furious when the hospital gave her antibiotics and when they would not allow the baby to leave without being tested for drugs. One of her siblings “does not believe in genetics”. Yes, a totally irrational view of life, but as a substitute religion, unlikely to go away.

    As for allowing practitioners to be called “doctors”, we call it “medial marijuana”, don’t we?

  8. “I learned that Naturopathy is a no holds barred effort to pursue primitive medical practices akin to medicine man/witch doctor/ or shaman practices. They use almost any therapeutic approach you can imagine, provided it isn’t evidence based allopathic medicine.” – Whoa man, – Category [3] from Wiki says: “Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices.” In other words, a well-trained Naturopathic physician will NOT ignore science based conventional medicine, but will add his/her own field of therapeutic knowledge to the mix in the same way as a psychologist or a physiotherapist, best as a team effort based on verifiable scientific sources in the literature. Thalidomide of course, once accepted as a conventional medicine. Remember that? Conventional does not always been safe, correct, or best.

    • I hopped over to the Naturopathic Physicians page and what do I see? First, they have bought into Autistic Spectrum Disorder. They are saying a study on mice (with autism like symptoms???) shows intestinal bacteria can have an effect. That shows me NPs have bought into the naming of symptoms and calling every a “disease”. It also shows they are familiar with mouse studies. Lastly, there’s a little blurb about how marijuana can affect memory. Not what I expected.

      I guess NP’s, just like chiropractors and physicians themselves, vary widely in their beliefs. As do results–thalidomide is one very public failure of conventional medicine. One. The deciding factor should be which practices fail least often, not ones that never fail, since that would eliminate all medicine.

  9. Sorry, the end of that should have read “Does not always MEAN safe…” I have been exceeding my flying hours .

  10. For fifty years scientific studies (evidence based, of course) proved there was no link between smoking and lung cancer. Conventional medicine bought into it. You folks still smoke?

  11. Yes xion, iris and pupil diagnosis does have a place in real medicine. However it presently is in the same state as surgery was in the 1920′s – lots of bad practitioners, improperly trained. Seek only the best, as you have described. It is a genuine and important diagnostic tool, but only in the right hands – and that is not always the people who SAY they are right.. – like with many other medical subjects. In the future, properly validated scientific studies will confirm its value – and it is cheap and easy – when you know how to use it.

  12. Please people, keep down the silliness.

    In a way i am fascinated to think people are so goofy.

    I would suggest palm reading is excellent, and should become part of the Naturopathy tool kit–after all it has been, like tea leaves, a well accepted technique for centuries if not millenia.

  13. I need to go work on my Doctorate in Phrenology.

  14. The number of persons following Naturopathy will decrease, Darwin will cull the herd.

  15. Conventional doctors are nothing more than salesmen for the major drug companies. They cure nothing. They just mask symptoms of a greater problem that is not even addressed. Linus Pauling, a 2 time Nobel Prize winner, said that any health problem that you can think of can be traced to a vitamin and or mineral deficiency. Manmade vitamins dont work. Only natural ones do. The current medical system is a scam that helps nobody and makes one sicker with dangerous pills. The problem is the poor processed diet of the average American and women who cant cook a decent meal.

    • Really? They cure nothing? So we wasted all our time on antibiotics, hospitals, and so forth? As for all health problems being traced to vitamin or mineral deficiencies, a list of what deficiencies cause what diseases would be helpful. Let’s start with cancers, diabetes (type 1) and heart disease. I would expect that anyone who followed a “good” diet is safe–well, except those that died of breast cancer, heart attacks, etc. Having had several serious health scares and some chronic illnesses, I am not about to write everything off to “poor nutritition” and take some natural vitamins. Thanks, but I like living. I won’t disagree that many conditions are managed and some are barely managed and that some drugs serve less than useful purposes and may have unacceptable risks. That does not mean ALL doctors are bad or all drugs are bad.
      Go back to my Dec 21 comment: My niece, who ate only nutritional, organic food, took natural supplements and studied nutrition religiously had to have a C-section. Should I assume she lied about what she ate? Food may protect against some things, but it will not save us from “natural” functions that go wrong.

      • my kind of commenter–wish I could be so eloquent.


      • as for the need for c section, that’s anatomic, baby size v momma size.

        has nothing to do with diet or exercise or attitude, all about inlet size, outlet size v baby size and position.

        I used to deliver babies, I know these things.

        absolutely no substitute for dumb people with experience.

        • Actually, it was due to placenta praevia. My understanding is the cause of this is unknown.

          • I should have put that in my comment. Sorry.

          • placenta previa is a problem that actually is just a progression of a normal phenomenon.

            normally there is a tendency for the placenta to be down, and sometimes it just doesn’t migrate up.

            no explanation. but early in the pregancy there are many placentas that are too low for comfort.

            the only safe option is C Section because delivery from below could be a hemorrhagic catastrophe, the placental/fetal circulation is very generous.

  16. Gail -It is not only American families that are not taught about good food. And a genuine caring physician, like my old mate Louis Destouche, will use whatever works best in the cure of the patient, using his/her whole armoury of knowledge. That’s it. Unabashed fire-power. All cannons blazing. Disease can be cured by properly balancing the biochemistry of the organism. That is science. It can be done with food/vitamins/minerals, and it can sometimes be done through medical drugs. We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some drugs work. Some do not. When they have done their job, they should be stopped. Nutrition is an ongoing necessity – ask any farmer about their animals. Feed a cow clover for weeks on end – it will die.

  17. I’m an neurologist MD, graduate of a top 20 med school, in a busy semi-academic practice, fellowship trained, triple boarded. I don’t think you are right and I don’t think your tone of intolerance furthers your implicit goals.

    • Let me be perfectly clear, I am not intolerant of naturopathy, I condemn it as junk science in the worst sense–you know as a neurologist that there are many placebo effect confounders, but naturopathy is not scientific at all and you would be well advised to study what naturopathist do and espouse before you call me intolerant. Intolerance does not describe it. i could consider shamanism goofy and curious and be considered intolerant–but we can agree that shamans depend on placebo and there ain’t not special power in the chant except in the suggestible patient.

      Intolerant does not describe my loathing for naturopathy–you gonna include some naturopathic techniques in your practice–go right ahead.

      Incidentally I like neurologists and think they are really smart, since they know neuroanatomy, a fascinating and remarkable discipline that really makes sense but is very complex–one excellent proof of design. That’ll get your goat.

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