Naturopathy supported by AAPM

Since I discovered that the president of AAPM, Bob Twillman, will be speaking at a conference of Naturopaths, I became curious about this “alternative medicine”, especially since such therapies are now recommended by the CDC for pain,

For any other medical condition, naturopathy is still regarded as quackery by the medical field.  This hypocritical endorsement by the CDC and AAPM endangers pain patients by exposing them to a therapy that is not used, trusted, or proven scientifically.

Naturopathy lacks an adequate scientific basis, and it is rejected by the medical community.

their literature reveals that it is replete with pseudoscientific, ineffective, unethical, and potentially dangerous practices


Naturopathy – Wikipedia

Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of pseudoscientific practices branded as “natural” and as promoting “self-healing,” including homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle counseling.[1][2][3]  

Naturopathic medicine is considered by the medical profession to be ineffective and possibly harmful, raising ethical issues about its practice.[2][4][5] Naturopaths and naturopathic doctors have repeatedly been accused of being charlatans and practicing quackery.[2][6][3][7][8][9]

Naturopathic practice is based on a belief in the body’s ability to heal itself through a special vital energy or force guiding bodily processes internally.[2]

The ideology and methods of naturopathy are based on vitalism and self-healing, rather than evidence-based medicine.[10]

While I do believe in the general ideas of naturopathy, they operate on a different plane or domain than biomedical treatments.

While I believe we can achieve some gains from various naturopathic treatments, their rejection of science seems very wrong.

Naturopathic education contains little of the established clinical training and curriculum completed by primary care doctors, as naturopaths mostly study unscientific notions and learn unproven diagnoses and treatments.[2][11]

Naturopaths generally recommend against modern medicine, including surgery, drugs, and vaccinations, in favor of methods claimed to be holistic and non-invasive.

Naturopaths tend to oppose vaccines and teach their students anti- and alternative vaccine practices, resulting in lower vaccination rates

Naturopathy has its roots in the 19th-century Nature Cure movement of Europe.

The term naturopathy was coined in 1895 by John Scheel,[26] and purchased [?] by Benedict Lust, the “father of U.S. naturopathy”.[19]

He described the body in spiritual and vitalistic terms with “absolute reliance upon the cosmic forces of man’s nature”.[28]

This makes much more sense, as it separates the realm of naturopathy from the scientific reality of mainstream medicine. Both approaches have something to offer, but they cannot be compared, just like Christian Science cannot be compared to science.

After a period of rapid growth, naturopathy went into decline for several decades after the 1930s. In 1910, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published the Flexner Report, which criticized many aspects of medical education, especially quality and lack of scientific rigour.

From 1940 to 1963, theAmerican Medical Association campaigned against heterodox medical systems.

By 1958, practice of naturopathy was licensed in only five states.[19] In 1968 theUnited States Department of Health, Education, and Welfareissued a report on naturopathy concluding that naturopathy was not grounded in medical science and that naturopathic education was inadequate to prepare graduates to make appropriate diagnosis and provide treatment

Naturopathic doctors are actively pushing for more recognition in the U.S. and Canada,[38] but critics argue that naturopathic doctors are misrepresenting their training and exaggerating claims that naturopathic approaches are safe and effective.[6][9][39]

Naturopaths aim to prevent illness through stress reduction and changes to diet and lifestyle, often rejecting the methods of evidence-based medicine.[10][45]


Naturopaths are often opposed to mainstream medicine and take an anti-vaccinationist stance.[5]

The particular modalities used by a naturopath vary with training and scope of practice. These may include

  1. herbalism,
  2. homeopathy,[40]
  3. acupuncture,
  4. nature cures,
  5. physical medicine,
  6. applied kinesiology,[47]
  7. colonic enemas,[3][41]
  8. chelation therapy,[6]
  9. color therapy,[47]
  10. cranial osteopathy,
  11. hair analysis,
  12. iridology,[47]
  13. live blood analysis,
  14. ozone therapy,[16]
  15. psychotherapy,
  16. public health measures and hygiene,[45]
  17. reflexology,[47]
  18. rolfing,[29]
  19. massage therapy, and
  20. traditional Chinese medicine.

Nature cures include a range of therapies based on exposure to natural elements such as sunshine, fresh air, or heat or cold, as well as nutrition advice such as following a vegetarian and whole food diet, fasting, or abstention from alcohol and sugar.[48]

Physical medicine includes naturopathic, osseous, or soft tissue manipulative therapy, sports medicine,exercise, and hydrotherapy.

Psychological counseling includes meditation, relaxation, and other methods of stress management.[48]

Evidence basis

Naturopathy lacks an adequate scientific basis,[10] and it is rejected by the medical community.[10] Some methods rely on immaterial “vital energy fields”, the existence of which has not been proven, and there is concern that naturopathy as a field tends towards isolation from general scientific discourse.[17][51][52]

Naturopathy is criticized for its reliance on and its association with unproven, disproven, and other controversial alternative medical treatments, and for its vitalistic underpinnings.[5][16]Natural substances known as nutraceuticals show little promise in treating diseases, especially cancer, as laboratory experiments have shown limited therapeutic effect on biochemical pathways, while clinical trials demonstrate poor bioavailability.[53]

In 2015, the Australian Government’s Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance; Naturopathy was one of 17 therapies evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found.[54]

Kimball C. Atwood IV writes, in the journal Medscape General Medicine,

Naturopathic physicians now claim to be primary care physicians proficient in the practice of both “conventional” and “natural” medicine. Their training, however, amounts to a small fraction of that of medical doctors who practice primary care.

An examination of their literature, moreover, reveals that it is replete with pseudoscientific, ineffective, unethical, and potentially dangerous practices.[2]

A retired licensed naturopathic doctor, Britt Marie Hermes, states that

“any product that is sold by a naturopath almost guarantees that there is no reliable scientific data to support whatever health claims are made.[55]

The Massachusetts Medical Society states, “Naturopathic practices are unchanged by research and remain a large assortment of erroneous and potentially dangerous claims mixed with a sprinkling of non-controversial dietary and lifestyle advice.”[57]

Safety of natural treatments

Certain naturopathic treatments offered by naturopaths, such as homeopathy, rolfing, and iridology, are widely considered pseudoscience or quackery.[60][61][62]

Stephen Barrett of QuackWatch and the National Council Against Health Fraud has stated that naturopathy is “simplistic and that its practices are riddled with quackery”.[3]

“Non-scientific health care practitioners, including naturopaths, use unscientific methods and deception on a public who, lacking in-depth health care knowledge, must rely upon the assurance of providers. Quackery not only harms people, it undermines the ability to conduct scientific research and should be opposed by scientists”, says William T. Jarvis.[63]

So the CDC is throwing pain patients into the domain of this alternative medicine that the scientific community condemns as unscientific quackery, which is still condemned and shunned for any other medical issue.

Naturopathy is still considered ineffective and dangerous for any other medical problem. Pain patients are shunned by the medical profession and sent to quacks.


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