Recently, Minnesota has formally endorsed naturopathy. This has been the subject of many emails sent to the SGU regarding both the law itself and the nature of naturopathy.
I process claims from naturopaths every day from all over Canada. And I see just how much money people are spending on this nonsense. It’s quite disheartening. So I thought I’d do a little research and find out just what is Naturopathy.
Practitioners of naturopathy describe it as a “system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine.”
Naturopathy is a form of so-called complimentary and alternative medicine which claims that the body has an innate ability to heal and maintain itself. It combines many forms of woo such as acupuncture, colonic irrigation, chiropractic, diet, exercise, herbs, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and the list goes on.
Naturopaths generally prescribe “natural remedies” to their patients as well as suggest dietary changes.
They do not normally use or suggest any form of synthetic drugs or surgery, however in some states Naturopathic Doctors (ND) are licensed to prescribe certain pharmaceuticals and even perform minor surgery.
The term “Naturopath” was popularized by one of its founders, Dr. Benedict Lust, to describe a person receiving education in the basic medical sciences with an emphasis on natural therapies.
Dr. Lust founded Naturotherapy along with Sebastian Kneipp. Kneipp is also known for his “Kneipp Cure”, a form of hydrotherapy involving the application of water through various methods, temperatures and pressures.
Dr. Lust attended and graduated from the New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1901 where he was ironically ridiculed for his beliefs in natural medicine. Later, Lust purchased all rights to the term naturopathy and opened the world’s first naturopathic medical school in New York City and founded the American Naturopathic Association.
As I said before, the nature of my employment requires that I process receipts from naturopaths. I see a good 40-50 naturopath receipts every day. Usually for a simple consultation that ranges from $80 to $210. About 20% of the receipts include some form of “natural remedy” from vitamins, to herbs to homeopathic preperations. About half of them describe the symptoms that the patient is being treated for and, of those, about 90%-95% are either “stress”, “pain” or “fatigue”.
Naturopathy is basically your one-stop shop for alternative medicine. Treatments range from acupuncture to “aligining the moon”. Whatever that means. Naturopaths are regulated and given “full licensure” in 4 Canadian Provinces, 14 US States, the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.
For a better understanding of the new Minnesota law and the Naturopaths’ “cult-like behavior”. Check out the first of a series of posts by Dr. Kimball Atwood on Science-Based Medicine.