Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Don't call naturopathy a legitimate practice

This letter was published in the February 25, 2005, edition of the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper.

Don't call naturopathy a legitimate practice

To the Editor:

The Feb. 10 issue of The Post-Standard ran an article about a naturopathic "physician" who recently opened a local office. I place the word "physician" in quotations because to call naturopathy medicine, or to call its practitioners physicians, is deceptive. Naturopathy has nothing in common with the evidence-based medicine offered by legitimate physicians. I believe it is unwise for New York state to offer the aura of legitimacy to naturopathy by licensing its practitioners.

Naturopathy has its roots in a 19th-century German "natural living" movement, which objected to medical advances such as germ theory and vaccinations, while embracing popular cures that have not stood the test of scientific scrutiny, such as colonic detoxification, fasting, and homeopathy.

The training required to become a naturopath is nowhere near as comprehensive and rigorous as the training required to become a physician. After all, when a student's time is taken up by studying such pseudoscientific nonsense as the validity of homeopathy or the notion that dissolved oxygen can traverse the skin in appreciable quantities, there is little time left to learn real science.

I oppose New York State Senate bill 1617, which would license naturopathy. Although it's impossible to legislate against stupidity, I see no reason to legislate for stupidity, either.

Eva F. Briggs , M.D.
Marcellus, NY