An Inside Look at My Education and Clinical Training


Critics have accused me of not fully understanding the “comprehensive” naturopathic education I received at Bastyr University. They have suggested that I complete a curriculum comparison myself. Well, I basically already have done just that.

I recently posted a breakdown and analysis of my clinical training at Bastyr University in an article on Science-Based Medicine. I used my academic transcript, course syllabi, and student clinician’s handbook as data sources. It is quite clear that naturopaths do not have enough clinical training to practice medicine as a primary care provider.

If any naturopath can claim that their training is “on-par” with a medical doctor’s or better after reading my post on, he or she is suffering from severe cognitive dissonance.

Image credit: Robert Bruce under a CC License

71 Replies to “An Inside Look at My Education and Clinical Training

  1. I just had a flash back of my 8 year old nephew telling me what the real world is like and that I have no clue of what I’m talking about. I honestly can’t believe that you are this stupid. Thus, I”m giving you the benefit of the doubt. What’s the agenda?

    1. You suggest she is stupid, but have to ask the agenda? The agenda is clear: she critically examined the lack of training and lack of scientific grounding in naturopathic training, and wants to expose these shortcomings. I for one thank her for breaking down the actual depth of training involved in ND education. I sort of suspected this was the case after a few acquaintances went to Bastyr, but never realized their course of training was so devoid of substance.

  2. @Outspoken. I think the keywords in your few sentences are ‘no clue’. And every conspiracy thinker must view the world as having an agenda. Which means that puts you firmly into the world of naturopaths and other quacks.

  3. Thank you very much for creating this blog and sharing your insider experiences with a critical thinking head on your shoulders. Bravo!

    I would suggest, however, that you disable comments here completely. Nothing good will come from allowing folks to comment here. Let the comments happen over at where there is some hope of balanced discussion.

    This blog will simply be a target of drive-by, anecdote laden, woo-believing folks with an agenda to disparage you and your first hand experience.

    1. Hi mdSeuss, I am beginning to agree with you. I do get a good laugh out of some of the comments, though! Thank you for your support and your recommendation is under consideration!

      1. You should keep the comments active for a few reasons. For those on the fence, intelligent debate can help a lot in convincing. I’ve already seen many instances of critical questions being asked of those who only partially agree with your stance. They don’t always respond, but these instances do seem to give them something to consider. Those who are in complete disagreement, but act professional, are still valuable for presenting arguments that critical thinkers can pick apart, and maybe the continued experience of having one’s arguments logically dissected will encourage some critical thinking of their own. As for those who just spout venom, well they can be a source of hilarity and a good experience for thickening one’s skin, which is an advantage you’ll need as you become more popular.

    2. I disagree. The comments by believers of woo have a tendency to speak for themselves, not so much in content than in attitude. If a blog like this one helps to let the caring “holistic” facade slip, the glimpse beneath provides valuable additional insights. However, this is often unpalatable, and I could understand if Britt were to grow tired of it.

      1. I feel sorry for Britt because of all the venom that’s been directed at her in the comments.

  4. I would encourage you not to disable comments. If you give your opponents enough rope, they’ll do a very nice job of hanging themselves.

  5. Dr. Deegan,

    I can definitely appreciate your reaction to the experience you had while working as an ND. It frustrates me that in this field of medicine (ND) there are fringe beliefs that can do real harm, but I would also assert that it is not unique to naturopathic medicine, but medicine at large, and you will always have a few bad apples in the bunch. As a ND student currently, I am having a strong reaction to what you are saying here, and do agree with some of it, but certainly not all of it, not even close. I remember you teaching us in our first year clinical skills class and I always remember coming away from our interactions together thinking, wow, Dr. Deegan is really cute but she doesnt really know her stuff. I hope you can keep in mind that your views are your own, as are your experiences both positive and negative, and certainly do not represent the profession as a whole. Im sorry you felt unprepared to practice medicine, but I dont know of any doctor that I have talked to, be it MD, DO, or ND who didn’t feel exactly the same way right out of school. Thank you for starting a valuable conversation and I look forward to more discourse on all these topics in the future. Cheers.

    1. Dr. Peter Lipson, an internist, issued several “Primary Care Challenges” to naturopaths, where he posted summaries of typical cases that he sees in practice.
      Here’s one of his Primary Care Challenges, with a followup, in which he both analyzes the best answer he received from a naturopath, and the standard-of-care treatment as an MD.
      I’m sure they tell you in ND school that you are qualified to do primary care.
      But from the responses he received, you are being deceived about that.

      1. I mean, I’m sure they tell you in ND school that you will be qualified to do primary care.

        1. There is absolutely no valid point that can be drawn from this Dr. Lipson “naturopathic challenge” article. If you are trying to hold this up as evidence of ND inferiority…with an N=10? 15? and via the comment section! Come on, this is anecdotal and slippery slope mentality… which ironically is what those who decry Naturopathic Medicine accuse NDs of.

          1. Dr. Lipson said anyone who acts as a primary care provider should be able to give an adequate answer to those questions.
            He said he sees patients similar to what he mentions every day.
            Will your ND training qualify you to pass his primary care challenge?

          2. John,
            Any primary care provider should be able to answer his primary care challenge.
            You think your ND training will enable you to pass Dr. Lipson’s primary care challenges?
            I haven’t seen any ND that did.
            Why didn’t you get training as a DO? They are qualified doctors from what I understand.

            1. Because he could not get into Medical school ( whether it be MD or DO – DO schools have gotten harder to get into nowadays too – their MCAT requirements and GPA requirements have gone up in recent years – the only advantage as a premed candidate for DO is that they allow you to replace a poor grade instead of averaging them (which is what the MD application service does). He probably took the MCAT a couple of times and never got above a 20 and thus decided that MDs/DOs were evil and pharma shills this he went for contrived enlightenment mixed with cowpie! Now he’s hoping that somehow through our political system he will have the same physician and surgeon rights DOs and MDs have – entitlement mixed with dunning Kruger at its finest!

              1. Cruz, Im sorry if you feel threatened or something. I was in your shoes a while ago and I may have ended up going MD medical school and been happy about it. But, I didn’t. And speculating about my intelligence is not getting doing anything for this conversation. I passed all the hurdles you are going through right now and in the end, decided MD wasnt for me. I had the option but didn’t do it, and I am thankful I made the choice I did. I had amazing mentors, MD’s and DO’s that I had extensive conversations with during the process. In the end, it came down to my personal experience with medicine and my career goals. Each of us will has their own path, but Cruz, dont hate because I made a different choice than you plan on making. In the end, we dont go into medicine for prestige, we do it to help patients. Having to give up the respect that MD after a name carries was really hard for me for awhile… but I and many others like me plan to bring equal respect and recognition to ND.

              2. So you plan to be a medical student right Cruz? You might be interested to know that AMSA (American Medical Student Association) just voted to make Naturopathic medical students full members of the organization at their meeting last month. Yeah, that just happened. So, see you at the meetings, bro.

    2. The person most likely to be fooled is yourself.
      I’ve been where you are, O’Malley: believing in alternative medicine and medical claimst that have no basis in reality. I hope you’ll be able to open your eyes and see outside your cult like bubble soon. Good luck on your journey!

  6. It frustrates me that in this field of medicine (ND) there are fringe beliefs that can do real harm, but I would also assert that it is not unique to naturopathic medicine, but medicine at large, and you will always have a few bad apples in the bunch.

    As homeopathy is a core competency in naturopathic training and questions addressing knwoledge of homeopathy are an integral part of the NPLEX licensing exam, so clearly it isn’t only fringe beliefs that pose a potential for real harm.

      1. My point exactly Beth: as fringe as a belief can get, yet a core competency of naturopathic medicine.

  7. WOW. The breakthrough. Don’t hold back anything. When the backlash comes at you it will be relentless and libellous. Remember that when you are right you know you are because you have proven it. To us.

  8. Beth, I agree with you! Lots of ND’s agree with you. In my opinion, no ND in their right mind would even for a second consider homeopathy a treatment of choice for anything serious or life threatening. There are no cochrane reviews of DBRCT that support its efficacy, but there are no studies reporting any adverse effects either. If a patient came to me and wanted homeopathy for a serious condition, I would, with all alacrity and sincerity, tell them I dont think it is at all appropriate and instead guide them towards something more efficacious. I guarantee you many many ND students in this generation of upcoming ND’s feel the same, and readily utilize standards of care, USPTF guidelines, pharmaceuticals etc. First priority is dont kill your patient, second priority is dont harm your patient, third priority is help your patient. Every treatment plan I make I think of what if I had to justify this plan. If I deviate from standards of care, for Stage 1 hypertension (JNC-8) for example, I better have a good reason why I am giving my patient a hypotensive herbal formula instead of an ACE-I, ARB, or any of the diuretics…. The patient population that seeks us out is generally very averse to taking drugs, and lucky for them there are options out there with proven efficacy, Cochrane level stuff, can lead to a positive patient outcome, which ladies and gentleman is the true standard to which any medical modality should be judged. Full Disclosure: I was accepted into University of Washington MD program, after doing my Pre-Med there, but I chose ND because of the opportunity it gives me to put the “art” back into practicing medicine. I know many students in my class that come from a similar educational background. Please do not lump us all into one group, I dont lump MD’s or DO’s into one group. Also there have been extensive curriculum changes at Bastyr since Dr. Deegan graduated, along with increased pharmacology training.

    1. John,
      So even though all the ND’s who answered Dr. Lipson’s primary care challenges, failed them, you believe that you will be able to correctly answer such challenges once you’re a practicing ND?
      Same for other students at ND school?
      I haven’t seen any evidence to support that belief. Everything I’ve seen points in the opposite direction.
      What’s your evidence for it?

      1. Beth, how can you say all the “NDs” who gave an answer in the comments section were actually licensed ND’s? You cant. You can’t tell me even one of them was. Or that anyone was taking it seriously. I would love to sit down and take 10 minutes and give you what I think should be a proper answer, but I see problems with doing that (although I really want to).. I am a student so I dont claim to have an understanding of all the intricate dimensions of primary care at this point in my training. If I answer correctly, then you can call me an aberration or inexperienced with real world naturopathic limitations. If I answer incorrectly then I am likely, in your eyes, an example of ND incompetence. Nothing good can come of it. Once I am licensed and practicing, I would be happy to discuss theoretical patient plans with you. I think you would be surprised that ND is not that far from MD in this case. Do we consult UpToDate and USPTF? YES! Do we know standards of care for this patient or know where to find them? YES! Would we include some things in treatment plan that might seem foreign to you? Maybe. But we certainly would not exclude anything to the detriment of the patient. But again, I dont speak for my profession as a whole. ND is a catch all at this point, but every year we are further defining ourselves, like re-writing our views on vaccination to include less vague language….resulting in a clear statement of support for CDC vaccine guidelines. Awesome in my opinion.

        1. we certainly would not exclude anything to the detriment of the patient

          What’s your evidence for this belief?
          Everything I’ve seen – such as the results of the Primary Care Challenges – indicates otherwise.
          As a student you can’t necessarily expect to answer his PCC’s correctly – although “Whitecoat Tales” wrote

          As a 3rd year MD student, I’ll confirm that this question is basically a series family medicine rotation shelf questions strung together.
          I almost reflexively answered in my post, but I decided not to spoil the fun for the NDs!

    2. <blockquote.Beth, I agree with you! Lots of ND’s agree with you. In my opinion, no ND in their right mind would even for a second consider homeopathy a treatment of choice for anything serious or life threatening.

      Why then does Bastyr and other colleges offering degrees in naturopathic medicine include training in homeopathy as a core component of their program, and why does the NPLEX licensing exam test applicant’s knowledge of homeopathy? Questions of in their right mind or not aside, clearly there are a lot of naturopaths who find homeopathy a valid treatment, if not a treatment of choice.

      1. To John “Beth, I agree with you! Lots of ND’s agree with you. In my opinion, no ND in their right mind would even for a second consider homeopathy a treatment of choice for anything serious or life threatening.”

        Do you know the homeopathic remedy for suicidal ideations? I bet you do, because we are taught this remedy in both homeopathy and naturopathic counseling courses. I saw this remedy used many times while on shift at BCNH. You are right: the naturopaths prescribing homeopathy and hoping the patient didn’t commit suicide were not in their right mind.

        And sure, not all naturopaths prescribe homeopathy for suicidal ideations, but isn’t just one too many?

        1. Are you going to post Bastyr’s Official Suicidal Ideation Policy for everyone to see? It says nothing about homeopathy.

          1. And… if you are going to mislead these nice people reading your blog into thinking that the ND method for suicidal ideation is homeopathy, then you are doing them all a great disservice and leading this conversation in a disingenuous direction.

      2. Homeopathy is not a core component of Naturopathic Medicine and if that is the take away you have from this blog, then it is doing you a disservice. I have personally had more credit hours in Cardiology and Gastroenterology than Homeopathy. Clinic rotations in homeopathy aren’t even required. So no, its not a core component, not even close.

        1. The fact that homeopathy would even be considered is all I need to know. If you spent a single hour in homeopathy that’s at least one hour too many.

          1. I am many others agree with you, but thats the beauty of this medicine. You take from it what you want and when you are in practice, you decide what is best. For me, it won’t be homeopathy. For many many many of us, it won’t be homeopathy.

            1. Then why is it even being taught?

              Sounds like they are neck-deep in woo & you can’t even see that.

            2. “You take from it what you want and when you are in practice, you decide what is best”

              And that’s supposed to give us confidence in NDs? As opposed to a science-based standard of care? No thanks.

        2. From

          From Council Naturopathic Medical Education which provides accreditation for Naturopathich ‘medical’ Schools: page 44 – section B: Academic Component under Standard IV of many standards required for accreditation:
          5) The academic component provides an in

          depth study of the human body, as well as in
          struction in a
          variety of therapeutic and clinical subject areas relevant to the practice of naturopathic medicine;
          where appropriate, instruction includes related experiences in laboratory settings designed to
          reinforce and augment students’ classroom lea
          rning. The following subject matter/courses are
          included: a-g (includes real science, wonder how deep it goes) with h) Thera
          peutic subject matter/courses

          botanical medicine, homeopathy, emergency and legend
          drugs, clinical nutrition, physi
          cal medicine, exercise therapy, hydrotherapy, counseling, nature
          cure, basic acupuncture and Or
          iental medicine, medical procedures/emergencies, and minor
          Under the page under Patient Management Competency:
          Recommends and/or administers therapies used in the individualized care of
          patients, including but not limited to

          Botanical medicine

          Counseling (e.g., lifestyle counseling,
          health psychology, mind


          Homeopathic medicine

          Medical office therapeutic procedures (e.g. injections
          and infusions
          , minor

          Clinical Nutrition (e.g., dietary counseling and nutraceuticals)


          Physical medicine (e.g.,
          manipulation, electrotherapies, and hydrotherapy)
          *Therapeutic modalities outlined in this document are those consistent with offerings at all CNME recognized institutions. Additional therapeutic modalities may be taught within individual academic programs.

          1. Cruz, no one is debating that we are forced to learn about homeopathy. Yes, it is in the curriculum. As a percentage of didactic hours though, it is 8.5 out of 301!!

            Lets let that sink in again for a second…. 8.5! So by credit hours it is LESS THAN 3 PERCENT!!

            Less than 3% of my time is spent concerning myself about homeopathy, and when I pass the NPLEX, it will likely be even less.

            IF your entire argument for ND inferiority is based on homeopathy, it is a very very weak argument. Get the facts before you post buddy.

        3. If not an important component of naturopathic training why do all naturopathic training programs require training in homepathy, and why does the NPLEX licensing exam test include questions to assess applicants’ knowledge of homeopathy, John?

    3. “Full Disclosure: I was accepted into University of Washington MD program, after doing my Pre-Med there, but I chose ND because of the opportunity it gives me to put the “art” back into practicing medicine.” That is absolutely one of the most stupidest mistakes you will ever have made in your life… It’s very hard to believe. By the way, define “art” and how it is taught at Bastyr and how it is lacking at University of Washington Medical School. I am pre-med, have taken the MCAT, have done the science courses, am literate in scientific research – I have been surrounded by pre-meds – the med school (whether MD or DO) application is competitive, frustrating, soul-crushing, ego-busting and I do not know anybody who would turn down an MD (or DO) acceptance to go study Woo. I am willing to bet that most pre-meds in the application cycle, or about to enter this coming cycle, do not believe what you wrote: that you got into UW-Medical School but turned it down for ND at Bastyr… Either you are incredibly gullible and you did not understand the scientific method as taught in your premed classes or you are just lying and wanting to abate that gnawing sense that Mrs. Hermes is right, ND is woo, nonsense and you will not be a real doctor…

      1. Cruz, Im not trying to attack anyone here, just offer a bit of a counterpoint, so I would appreciate it if you would also do me the same courtesy. I too understand scientific method, obviously. Can I give you mechanism of action for most of the herbal therapies that I have anecdotally seen work….yeah. There havent been a lot of DBRCT trials at this point, but what has been done is generally favorable. Being an ND is at the heart of it, mixing both the conventional and CAM therapies to the best effect for the safest and best patient outcome. Start small and work up to the modalities that carry more risk for the patient. Ulcerative colitis for example is something I have treated very effectively with curcumin capsules in the long term but for an acute flair I wouldn’t hesitate to prescribe a steroid if needed for the safety and comfort of the patient. NDs are not dumb, and while you make think this is “woo,” Cochrane Reviews wouldn’t always agree with you. I dont regret my decision at all, in fact I relish the thought of practicing medicine in this way. Perhaps you should learn about what it is you are calling “woo” rather than taking everything at face value that you learn in undergrad. Yes, trust science, but dont close your mind to other modalities just because they havent been confirmed with a DBRCT, because you will do so to the detriment of your future patients.

        1. Were you trying not to attack anyone when you wrote gems like these to Mrs. Hermes: ” I remember you teaching us in our first year clinical skills class and I always remember coming away from our interactions together thinking, wow, Dr. Deegan is really cute but she doesnt really know her stuff.” ?

          1. No, I dont think that is attacking. She said she didn’t feel confident in her skills right out of school, and I agreed with her. In fact, I really dont feel any animosity towards her at all, just a little bit of amazement and curiosity into why she feels the way she does.

        2. “Can I give you mechanism of action for most of the herbal therapies that I have anecdotally seen work….yeah.”

          Can you point us to non-anecdotal evidence that these herbal therapies are in fact as or more safe and effective as their pharmaceutical equivalents–something like clinical trial results demonstrating that St. John’s Wort is as or more effective at alleviating severe depression as SSRI’s?

          We understand, after all, the mechanism of action by which willow bark tea reduces pain and inflamation–that doesn’t mean idrinking the tea will generate equivalent or better outcomes as taking a couple of aspirin tablets.

          1. Can you give me a Peer reviewed RCT for aspirin use in headache? Anyone. Anyone. That doesnt stop it from being recommended by MD’s for headache. I would be happy to post some peer reviewed RCT trials about herbs. Good Idea!

            1. “Placebo and Active Controlled, Double Dummy Study to Compare Efficacy of Aspirin and Ibuprofen in Treatment of Episodic Tension-type Headache”, Identifier: NCT01464983

  9. ND is a catch all at this point, but every year we are further defining ourselves, like re-writing our views on vaccination to include less vague language….resulting in a clear statement of support for CDC vaccine guidelines.

    If in fact ND represents a ‘catch all’ designation with so tentatively defined that its meaning changes significantly every year, it’s hard to understand how can anyone can be argue that as a class naturopaths are as capable of providing primary care as licensed physicians or that they should have their prescribing rights extended (as many NP’s are calling for).

    1. What I meant was that vague and non specific language is being removed from how we define ourselves as to give a clearer picture of who we are and our scope of practice. Im totally in favor of this. I hate that I have to spend time correcting people about what naturopathic medicine is for the first 5 minutes of a conversation. Most people have heard the term, but majority of people dont really know what its about, and that leads to incorrect and misleading conclusions about it. Its an ongoing conversation as the profession is very small and the idea of a physician level naturopath is still relatively new. Naturopaths are not NDs, in case you didn’t know that.

      1. As far as I’m aware the only difference between a naturopath who is not an ND and one who is an ND is that the latter will have been awarded a Doctor of Naturopathy degree by an institution like Bastyr.

        Is there some subtle nuance I’m missing?

        As for removing vague and non-specific language defining yourselves and your scope of practice, didn’t weren’t you embracing that very non-specificity above when you argued “…thats the beauty of this medicine. You take from it what you want and when you are in practice, you decide what is best”?

        I’m also curious what the “many many many” in “For many many many of us, it won’t be homeopathy” works out to in percentatge of all practicing naturopaths–10%? 20%? For a quick check I googled “naturopathic doctor” and looked at the websites of the ten practicioners closest to me geographically. Every single one lists homepathic medicine as a service offered.

        1. Yeah, I guess your point is just another great example of the polarization within the ND community about homeopathy. And, if the overall argument here is that ND’s are crazy and incompetent because they may or may not give homeopathy to some patients, then that is a very weak argument. In all of my experience in clinic rotations (2 years) I have never once given a homeopathic to a patient. I have witnessed it a few times (less than 5 prob) but it was always for some acute condition, like muscle strain or soreness, in conjunction with proper dx, PE, physical therapy/treatment on shift, and a proper at home treatment plan. NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER have I witnessed homeopathy given as a stand alone treatment…and it is false and disingenuous for anyone on this blog to assert otherwise.

          1. “And, if the overall argument here is that ND’s are crazy and incompetent because they may or may not give homeopathy to some patients, then that is a very weak argument.”

            Of course, that isn’t the argument: the argument instead is that ND’s are not qualified to serve as primary care providers because they lack sufficient and necessary training. The fact that naturopathic curricula all include modalities known to be useless (of which homeopathy is a convenient example) simply speaks to the less than adequate nature of their training.

            Again: the illustration doesn’t have to be homepathy: it could instead be other naturopathic practices that similarly have been shown not to be effective or for which there is no evidentiary support ( e.g., acupuncture for any number of indications, or sleeping in wet socks to treat sinusitis).

        2. Homeopathy is 8.5 credits out of 301 total credit hours for ND.

          Less than 3%. Im not sure why you are trying to make this whole conversation about homeopathy.

          1. Because the right amount of homeopathy is 0.000%, regardless of the discipline. Anything above that, in any context, makes the whole thing suspect.

            Furthermore, it’s only one part of the entire package that is suspect, though perhaps the most.

            1. Correct – that fact that it represents any part of the curriculum is a huge red flag, as is anything related to acupuncture as well.

          2. And per Britt Hermes article on Science-based medicine, “I think it is also interesting to note that in lieu of four patient care shifts, a student had the option to take homeopathy shifts instead. This means that 176 hours of the required 748 patient care hours can be spent purely in homeopathic training. ”

            That works out to about 24% of your total patient care hours. Between didactic and patient care hours you could, if it were your desire, expend a bit more than a quarter of your time pursuing mastery of homeopathy and still qualify for a degree in naturopathy.

            I don’t see how it can be argued that something that can occupy up to a quarter of your combined didactic and clinical training–and which I’ll remind you is material you’ll be tested on when you sit for your licensng examination– represents a minor part of the curriculum.

          3. John O’Malley

            The inclusion of homeopathy in the curricula, and the widespread use of same in Naturopathic practice (evidence of which is abundant on Naturopath’s websites) is clear evidence that Naturopaths (as a group, I’m sure there are exceptions) do not have a strong foundation in basic science, nor have they been trained well in evaluating the strength of evidence. The use of, belief in, training of homeopathy is antithetical to “good medical training’. When homeopathy is part of the training, then the training is bad. Sorry but it really is that simple.

            If you want to be taken seriously in a science based field such as medicine, then it helps not to believe in magic. And your defense argument that it constitutes less than 3% of your curriculum is insufficient.

            I found your language regarding the use of homeopathy interesting:

            Does that mean you think it is reasonable to use homeopathy for non-life threatening illnesses?

            The vast majority of MDs would have said “No Doctor in their right mind would recommend homeopathy for ANYTHING.”

            When mainstream homeopathy formally rejects homeopathy, and courses (core or elective) are no longer taught in Naturopath colleges, then we can begin to discuss comparisons between MD and ND training. Until then I suggest you begin all your posts with “I reject Homeopathy”.

            You sound intelligent and I’m sure you are caring. Perhaps you can help reform Naturopathy from within.

            And you are wrong about acupuncture. It is an elaborate placebo.


            1. Sorry , blockquote fail.

              Your qoute was:

              ” In my opinion, no ND in their right mind would even for a second consider homeopathy a treatment of choice for anything serious or life threatening.”

              1. Curt, Thank you for the comment. I absolutely plan on reforming from the inside, being active with our political leadership groups and state organizations, and vociferous and tenacious with my views regarding homeopathy inclusion within our licensure. I detest the fact that we have to have these type of conversations about homeopathy because it derails the focus of the conversation from where it should going and takes us on a wild “woo” chance that leaves everyone frustrated and polarized. There are too many positive and efficacious things about Naturopathic Medicine to leave it behind just because of homeopathy. We are not where we want to be as a profession, but damn if we are not trying to evolve, correct, and overcome the weaknesses that currently exist. The profession as a whole 10 years ago is nothing like it is today, and I strongly expect that ND 10 years from now will be further down the path to reaching those goals that all of us here on this comment thread seem to want, meaning 1. Competent primary care, 2. Demonstrated efficacy of modalities whenever possible, 3. standardized admission policies similar to MD/DO, 4. #HomeopathyOUT, 5. and equal licensure across all states in the country to then standardize curriculums and licensing exams to reflect that. Its a struggle, it is tiresome, but it is worth it. In the end, I and many other students and NDs like me will bring this profession to a place of respect among medical practitioners, bet on it!

              2. John, what are those positive and efficacious things you believe are too valuable to leave behind, which are uniquely associated with naturopathic medicine?

              3. Nothing like it is today, John?

                California Naturopathic Doctors Association “Naturopathic doctors use a variety of natural and non-invasive therapies, including clinical nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, and counseling.”

                New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors “Naturopathic doctors use a variety of natural and non-invasive therapies, including clinical nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, and counseling.”

                New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians “Naturopathic doctors use a variety of natural and non-invasive therapies, including clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, counseling and hydrotherapy. ”

                Association of Naturopathic Practicioners“ An eclectic practitioner is defined as one who freely uses various treatments to restore health in the patient, according to the patient’s needs. The practitioner may use the specialised disciplines of homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture (Traditional Chinese Medicine), in addition to a variety of physical therapies”

                Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors “In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, may also be used during treatments.”

                American Association of Naturopathic Doctors “Naturopathic practice includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities: clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathic physical medicine (including naturopathic manipulative therapy), public health measures, hygiene, counseling, minor surgery, homeopathy, acupuncture, prescription medication, intravenous and injection therapy, and naturopathic obstetrics (natural childbirth).”

                I’ve yet to find a professional naturopathy association that isn’t ‘down’ whith homeopathy.

  10. I admire your courage, I hope there is no fallout from your blog. Good Luck!!

  11. Thank you for keeping comments open, I appreciate hearing the debate which has been respectful mostly. I have family members who are extremely pro ND, one sister in law who uses hers as primary care, and until the last few weeks I had never early researched CAM or known anything negative about it. Out of curiosity I began researching some of the food intolerance tests (vega) and the medications my SIL was taking since she couldn’t tell me how they works or what was in them. I began reading SBM blog and was not impressed at my findings. I felt really angry on my families behalf, having to go through these “hell” diets and cutting GOOD foods like onions and garlic (!!!!) chicken and cauliflower out of their routine for no good scientific reason. (Her body had shown her no reaction to those foods other than the result of the vega screen) However, thank you John for your perspective, I like to hear both sides of the debate and I think some advice I have heard has been really good, I also appreciate the ND standard of care, caring for the whole person and long appointments versus super hurried walk in clinic appointments we get here in Canada with MD. Do you know any ND who do not offer homeopathic a here in the Vancouver area where I live, who are currently practicing? Most ND I have heard of or seen websites for push it, especially UNDA numbers. What is your thought on those? I am good with herbals, just not true homeopathic placebos. I suppose the younger the ND is the better since things are changing so much at the university level as you say? I would never go for primary care but for areas like nutrition and allergies I would certainly consider if primary care was not helping much, if I can ever find a type of testing I actually trust.

    1. Naomi, I second what curtw and Kruz say below. As someone who has been on some of these crazy diets, I can tell you that if you follow the advice of a naturopath, you’re going to get more of the same “hell” diets your SIL’s on. Plus, they’ll push all kinds of supplements on you that you don’t need if you’re eating a balanced diet. There are all kinds of problems with supplements, like you don’t know what you’re getting when you take them. These hell diets and supplements waste a lot of your time and money, making you more likely to buy into even crazier woo. In my experience, the best thing you can do if you want to eat healthier is see a registered dietitian; your doctor can refer you to one. They will not focus so much on giving up certain foods–or hunting for expensive exotic ingredients–but on balancing the amounts of the different foods you eat.

      About this “caring for the whole person” idea: This is a totally meaningless concept in health care. When you go to a doctor with symptoms they can test you, treat you and send you on your way, sometimes pretty quickly and usually with a good explanation of what’s wrong. That’s a good thing. If more is needed, maybe a therapist is the answer.

      On the other hand, homeopaths pride themselves on “caring for the whole person.” Do you know what this means? As my homeopath friend explained it to someone last week, they don’t treat the symptoms (don’t even look at them). Instead they spend a lot of time drawing out and analyzing the patient’s personality and preferences to give them a remedy that fits that person–to cure the person, not the disease. Now, imagine a doctor prescribing a treatment based on the patient’s zodiac sign. That’s exactly what homeopathy is, except that the homeopath then goes on to prescribe totally worthless remedies based on that bogus diagnosis.

  12. @Naomi

    In the couple of instances I have witnessed, Naturopaths are engaged in complete witchcraft when it comes to diagnosing and treating allergies. Bogus diagnostic tests. Bogus treatments. We are talking double face palm material here.

    Allergy is a fertile are for woo. Most of the public does not know enough about allergy to distinguish real from bogus.

    Good example is IgG food testing. With one exception (Celiac), it is completely worthless. Yet this testing is run by both Quest and Labcorp, and it looks a whole lot like legitimate IgE food testing.

    For allergies, stick to your MD/DO trained docs and dont be afraid to ask for a Board certified allergist.

    By the way, to get Board certified in Allergy/Immunology (A/I)in the US requires a 4 year MD/DO degree, followed by a three year hospital based residency in either pediatrics or internal medicine (taking care of actually sick patients), followed by a 2 or three year fellowship in allergy/immunology. After all that, the final hurdle is the A/I Board Certification exam.

    The ND and DC claims of training comparable to MDs really are self serving delusions.


    1. Exactly Curt! It is amazing to me how NDs believe they are competent primary care providers after four years of N(ot a) D(octor) schools. If you peruse the websites for NDs (whether Bastyr, NCNM, SCNM, Bridgeport – trained) a lot of them believe they are also natural oncologists in combination with other disparate specialties. They usually get their ‘fellowship’ titles by attending questionable training seminars – (Same ND who was responsible for not calling 9/11 when she had a kid with asthmatic life-threatening emergency in her office – this kid died).

      It is both scary and arrogant how these NDs believe their four year education prepares them to be a full-fledged PCP.

      In case, you as an ND graduate wants to be considered a Fellow in Naturopathic Oncology then follow these guidelines according to their Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians:

      Truly Scary…

      1. “It is both scary and arrogant how these NDs believe their four year education prepares them to be a full-fledged PCP.”

        I think it’s worse than that.

        Much of those “four years” are spent learning nonsense.

  13. Hi, thanks for this. I didn’t see a comparison to normal MD curriculum (though the post was long and maybe I missed it), so it was hard for me to assess.

    Just a note, some of the stuff you have listed as “naturopathic disease” is probably seen more often in ND clinic due to lack of research, so the MD doesn’t know what to do or “doesn’t believe” in the diagnosis (it probably wasn’t taught at medical school), but the patient has a real and sometimes serious condition. The patients don’t know what else to do, because no one else will offer them any help (useful or not). Such as ME/CFS/SEID.
    See for details.

    (Ps, CFS is overdiagnosed because the diagnostic criteria have been sloppy. At least half the pts diagnosed with that don’t have it. PMID: 21132135, PMC3750716)

    “Chronic Lyme” is difficult because no one is able to determine whether the infection is present or not (“post-treatment Lyme” and “delayed-diagnosis Lyme”?). CDC/IDSA testing has a high rate of false negatives, but I’m not convinced any of the alternate testing doesn’t have a high rate of false positives. It’s shown in mice that the infection can exist seronegative, although mice are not humans. My theory is that Lyme is one of the many infections that can be associated with onset of SEID. But it’s not yet determined whether (how big a subgroup?) of that is infectious, autoimmune, neuroinflammatory (newst research not in IOM report, but needs bigger studies anyway)…

    Multiple Chemical Sensitivities could be a mast cell issue (speculation) or glial inflammation (speculation based on new preliminary ME/CFS research), etc., for some patients possibly in association with SEID, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and/or migraine (observation). But whatever the cause, people really are sensitive to perfume and roses and cleaners and foods (observation and experience). It might be like IBS where people are using a single term to describe a range of pathologies, though (speculation).

    1. I’ve had problems with illness that remained undiagnosed for many years, and might have been labeled “CFS”.
      They turned out to be food and inhalant allergies that were difficult to figure out. It’s awful to think of how many people with “CFS” actually have some kind of allergy.

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