Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Naturopathy is a Joke

Everyone is groaning about Dr. Josephine Briggs, the Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) appearing on the speaker's list at the 25th Anniversary Convention of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) from August 11-15 in Portland, OR.

Dr. Kimball Atwood wrote her a letter.

Dr. David Gorski thinks it would be awesome if Dr. Briggs were to speak science to woo, but isn't getting his hopes up.

I wondered if Dr. Briggs might have once fallen in love with someone into naturopathy, maybe when she lived in Germany where naturopathy has a following. Love can make smart, sane people buy into the most unbelievable bullshit sometimes.

The pro-science bloggers I've chatted with seem generally disappointed in Dr. Briggs for her decision to party with the naturopaths next month.

I remember reading something on homeopathy about ten years ago, explaining that the volume of water needed to dilute one molecule of active ingredient would fill the entire solar system. I laughed out loud. I shared the article with my husband and he laughed out loud.

Before that moment I had only a vague awareness of homeopathy, which I imagined was a collection of olde timey herbal nostrums. I had no idea the basic tenets of "like cures like" was so profoundly idiotic.

Public awareness of the joke that is homeopathy has been growing in Europe and the US, thanks to skeptics.

Now, in my humble opinion, would be an excellent time to spot a similar light upon the lulzcow known as "naturopathy."

Naturopathy, being a confused set of varied practices, doesn't provide the same neat target as homeopathy. And naturopaths generally talk like sane people about things like diet, exercise, and stress management when faced with an audience of non-believers, so the crazy stuff isn't immediately apparent.

But the crazy is there. And more importantly, the lulz are there also.

Think of homeopathic "provings." The homeopath ingests some non-dilute thing, then waits... and waits... and waits... his attention turned inward upon bodily sensations, feeling states, and mental imagery. After comparing notes with other homeopaths, the substance is deemed a means to cause certain effects or symptoms, and so can be used in dilute form to stop those symptoms.

In short, a "proving" is subjectivity run amok with no awareness of its quirks and frequent misfires.

Same thing with naturopathy. Vis medicatrix naturae is an *inner* guide regarding "wellness" verses "dis-ease." The inner guide determines what is "natural" or "healthy." Facts, not so much.

Watch people on YouTube consulting the Force to correct their "polarity" or to decide which supplements to take. Lulz will ensue.

Once the public see naturopathy for what it is, maybe the US can get back to investing in reality-based medicine.


  1. Great post.

    Regarding 'partying with the naturopaths', more like drinking their Cool-Aid:

    1) here's a CCNM ND located in Vancouver, CAN on Youtube claiming that it is a misunderstanding to position naturopathy as 'not science-based'(see );

    b) here's her version, coded, of naturopathy's science-ejected premises (see );

    c) here's some of her woodoo (see ).

    She has a lot of videos up. And she's not to hard on the eyes. Though I haven't watched any others yet.


  2. Those who THINK that NATUROPATHY is a JOKE,are having BLIND SPOTS for NATUROPATHY..

  3. Anonymous,

    Die in a fire you fucking ignorant anti-science moron for hire.

    Fix your capslock key first plz.

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