BOSTON — Naturopaths, who practice an alternative medicine heavy on herbal supplements, are making a big push to gain more authority and stature across the United States, including the right to do more hands-on patient care and to be reimbursed by Medicare.

That’s raising concern among critics who see naturopaths as quacks — and who warn that offering them state licenses, insurance reimbursements, and other recognition only legitimizes their pseudoscience.

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  • For your information, Paul LaPage is not the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder is. That is such an easy fact to check. Are you talking about Michigan or Maine?

  • what your thinking of is the Edge and Lita live sex celebration and Ric Flair was the one who broke it

  • What a beautifully uninformed and misleading piece of “writing”. I was really
    hoping for better journalism, but that’s too much to ask from…what’s this site again?
    Oh, you should look into the international medical graduate (IMG) bridge program in Toronto, and how so many MDs are flocking into it. I’d also suggest looking into some of the actual regulations in place if you really care about providing balanced information. And c’mon, we know homeopathy is as good as placebo, but that argument is old and boring. Move on! Bottom line, in regulated jurisdictions, morbidity is reduced and quality of life actually improves with naturopathic care. Look for the studies, and if you want to really have a debate, then let’s focus on what matters, not the name calling (i.e. quacks…snakw oil? So lame!). Regulation is in place to protect the public; it would be irresponsible not to.

  • Wow. The supplement industry donated $270 000 to the AANP. What a vast number!!!

    It almost makes the 185,490,520 spent by the Pharmaceutical cartel, or the 182,440,000 spent by the American Medical Association, or the 162,550,000 by the American Hospital Association seem quaint by comparisson.


  • I hope that part of the licensing, requires the coordination care with physicians and traditional care provided to patients. It is imperative, that patients let all care givers know what traditional and non-traditional therapies they are taking. When I was in hospital pharmacy practice, we ran into a number of issues where oncology patients weren’t telling their oncologists they were taking other treatments, had an HIV patient importing a drug from Japan we had to identify, ran into an issue where two patients had unexpected bleeding during surgery (Action plan was to add alternative/nutraceuticals as part of patient interviews for surgery and admission to the hospital) and was asked by Physician Attendings to identify what the patients were taken, with no identification on the tablets (can’t use DrugDex), etc. I believe, that if everyone communicates better, we will make patient care better and avoid adverse events that have occurred (the one’s we know of).

  • Naturopathic *medical* school? Call it what it is Naturopathic School, there is nothing MEDICAL about it

  • I agree that there are a handful of mainstream medicines that really work – antibiotics are one of them. But for most other medicines, meta analyses have shown that active drugs and placebos have similar effect sizes (see:
    Also, when considering the terrible side effects (and long term adverse effects) of things like psychiatric drugs that are prescribed today (these are medicines that drug companies come up with using a hit-or-miss approach), it would be definitely better off for a person to take a non-harmful product (that would help them as well – through “placebo effects”). So, if an alternative product is nontoxic, it should be allowed.

  • I think they should be allowed, at least in a smaller scale at the beginning. The reason I say this is because even when considering western medicine, meta analyses have shown that active drugs and placebos have similar effect sizes, questioning the actual effectiveness of most modern drugs – see:
    Also, expectations of a patient can play a very big role in their healing (check out the documentary “Brain Magic: The Power of Placebo” in ‘nature of things’). Therefore, if natural healing products were restricted, some people who swear by natural remedies would miss out on their healing. Additionally, when considering the terrible side effects (and long term adverse effects) of things like psychiatric drugs that are prescribed today (these are medicines that drug companies come up with using a hit-or-miss approach with only profits in mind), it would be definitely better off for a person to take a non-harmful product. Therefore, if a product is nontoxic, it should be allowed.
    Also, things like yoga and mindfulness should be definitely included considering that the evidence is overwhelming for their effectiveness – with these practices, even the structure and function of the brain known to change in positive ways.
    By the way, it should be noted that the recent review (of 176 studies) mentioned in this article is not a peer-reviewed journal article.

    • So you are in favor of allowing naturopathy because their treatment basically amounts to a placebo effect? That’s very dangerous.

      First of all, naturopaths will not admit that their treatment is ineffective. They will spin all sorts of stories and make all sorts of claims about efficacy. They are not burdened by the need for evidence. These people are marketers and evangelicals.

      They also use scare tactics and conspiratorial thinking to discourage patients from conventional medical care. “Doctors don’t want you to know this because then they couldn’t make money…” etc.

      Second, you assume that the treatments do no harm. This is absolutely not true. Look at the adverse effects of vitamin megadoses that naturopaths favor. Also think of how dangerous it is to have an overconfident and underqualified practitioner testing for and attempting to treat real diseases. At the very least it wastes the limited resources of vulnerable sick people.

      Naturopaths are grasping for legitimacy. Give them an inch and they will take a mile. They even risk infecting proper medical practice with their logical fallacies.

    • Catherine: These drugs should be allowed as long as they pose no harm. To get an idea of the terrible long-term adverse effects of conventional psychiatric drugs, check out the report titled “The Case Against Antipsychotics: A Review of Their Long-term Effects” (it is available online). To get a drug approved, I have heard that pharmaceutical companies need to present only two positive trials – therefore, what the drug companies do is to conduct many many trials and present two trials that just happened to show results in a favorable direction for that drug.
      By the way, it should be noted that the review (of 176 studies) mentioned in this article is not a peer-reviewed journal article, so we do not know if any biases played a role in compiling it. I have checked academic databases and there appears to be studies that have found positive results for homeopathy. Perhaps science has not yet figured out how homeopathy, etc., works – science cannot simply assume that it knows all the answers and understands everything.

  • Supplements, complementary and alternative medicine. Or simply SCAM.
    The legitimizing of non-scientific medicine in this country is a disgrace and dangerous. What’s the harm? Search that phrase and find a website dedicated to documenting the harm from non and pseudo-scientific medicine.

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