Many people have this idea that naturopathic medicine is off in lala land somewhere, and that nothing about it is based on reality. While this could be true for some practitioners, MY practice is based on what we can deduce from what we know and what we are learning. I base my decisions on scientific findings, and not just one study, but composites of information that add to the big picture. I advise against using unsubstantiated treatments, and against using any new pharmaceutical drug until it has been on the market at least 10 years.
Ironically, the treatments given by many conventional doctors are not based in science or even in common sense. Sometimes a treatment idea gets broadly adopted before it has been really studied. Once everyone thinks that is what works, they just keep doing it. Patients demand treatments that have no evidence behind them at all. It takes a lot of information to turn around public opinion after the people have been brainwashed by doctors.
Take chemotherapy for example. Chemo is poison intended to kill the cancer. In many cases chemo causes the death of a cancer-ridden patient. Sure, there are specific cancers which respond very well to chemo, but there are many more that do not. Doctors will sometimes give in to a patient's desire to "do anything possible" to help, even when they know that it will not help. It is in fact easier to give people the poison they demand, than to explain to them why they won't benefit from it.
For another example, take a look at the ACIP schedule for vaccinating babies. While I agree that vaccination is effective for preventing epidemics, there is little evidence behind the schedule. Vaccinating a newborn for Hepatitis C is destructive, not helpful. The schedule for vaccination is based on convenience. Doctors stick the babies with multiple vaccines at every wellchild visit, and don't worry about possible negative effects (and lack of benefit) from that practice. The vaccination schedule bears some research to make sure that we are building appropriate herd immunity while also not hurting anyone's baby.
I ran across this post about statins today. Many people take statins. Statins are drugs that stop your body from making its own cholesterol. There is no evidence to support the use of statins for preventing heart attacks, and they may actually increase the risk of heart attacks in women. They're also linked to the formation of cataracts, crippling muscle pain, dementia, fatigue, diabetes and erectile dysfunction. Doctors give statins when they want to lower someone's cholesterol and don't think they can get that person to change their diet and lifestyle. The evidence says that diet and lifestyle are FAR more effective for adjusting blood lipids than statins are.
Oh and last but not least in my list of conventional medical madness is the idea that eating cholesterol makes the body's cholesterol go up. For 20+ years the medical establishment has been teaching that if you eat too much eggs and bacon, you will have high cholesterol. The truth is that your body MAKES cholesterol from pasta and bread. Your body makes cholesterol because it NEEDS cholesterol. Cholesterol is not evil. If your cholesterol is too low, you are sick. People get high cholesterol from being sedentary and eating too many carbs, not from having an egg breakfast and a full and active day.
Just because something is widely accepted as the state of medicine does not mean that it is the best we can do. We can do better. The status quo is for dead people. Living people have the capacity to keep learning and trying new things. I urge you to question everything that you think you know about healthcare and health. Many things that have been accepted for a long time are about to be turned on their heads.
Author: Teresa Gryder
Integrative Physician and Student of Life, Medicine, and the River.