Re: The death factor vs. the flake factor

Friday, Feb 25, 2005

Re: The death factor vs. the flake factor

Posted by Rebecca on 08/21/04 at 05:20 PM

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Thanx for your impassioned letter regarding the vitality of naturopathy. Please understand that I wasn’t ringing the death knell for naturopaths, simply relating my experiences at Bastyr to those who asked. Similalarly, another writer seemed only to be relating his/her experiences as the client of a naturopath. I’m sure we all use have our own reasons for using the screen names we do.

I’m actually a great supporter of documented CAM therapies. Otherwise, I would have atteneded medical school in the first place, instead of wasting a year at Bastyr. And I agree with you that health care consumers need more preventitive interventions, such as weight loss, smoking cessation, dietary modification, exercise prescription, etc. But this is not how Bastyr presents themselves. They claim to train skilled

primary care practitioners.

Just as importantly, a meta-analysis of antidepressant trials doesn’t signal the death of the double blind, simply the need to look at all available RCTs and have better oversight.

The argument that because some patients conventional medicine will die of iatrogenic causes, naturopathy must be safe and/or effective is frivolus at best. (Look at the European situation with Kava for one example, or the Laetril fiasco of the 1970’s). It’s clear that no system of medicine is perfect and that more research needs to be done intgrating therapies like clinical nutrition, herbal drugs, acupuncture, psychotherapies, etc. into a convetional framework.

My point has simply been that i my experience, Bastyr places emphasis on the trendy diagnosis of the week (wheat allergy, toxic liver, psychspiritual imbalance…)because students do not recieve adequate training or clinical experience to be skilled diagnosticians and that prescription of herbal medicines by “communing with plant spirits”” or “”intuitive hits”” lacks a rational basis. Yes, the placebo effect shows us that ~30% of patients will benefit from ANY intervention they recieve. But this does not justify charging patients exhorbitant fees (regardless of what some of my istructors say)for highly doubtful treatments,(The same goes for