Naturopathic “doctors” in Massachusetts

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This year naturopathic “doctors” are trying for the 11th time to gain licensure in Massachusetts. Ahead of a public hearing tomorrow, November 17th, on a pair of naturopathic licensing bills (S1205 and H1992) in front of the Joint Committee on Public Health, I think it is important to provide lawmakers and members of the public with snapshots of what naturopathic “doctors” are doing in Massachusetts.


Here are some screenshots of naturopathic practice websites in Massachusetts from naturopaths who went to the “accredited” schools:

Valley Natural Health

Screenshot 2015-11-16 19.29.51

www.valleynaturopathicfamilymedicine.com

  • Most questionable advertised treatment:

Ozone and ultraviolet light therapy

involves taking six to seven ounces of blood out of your body, and exposing it to Ozone gas.  After the blood has been thoroughly mixed with gas, it is slowly given back to your body.  On it’s way back into your body (through an IV drip), it is further passed through a UV light machine.  Now your blood has been cleansed of UV-sensitive pathogens. If you give that blood a clean slate, and your body can now “see” the antigen structure of those organisms.   It knows that those organisms are there, but the organisms happen to be dead, so they’re not going to hurt you. Your body can then see those organisms and mount a much more efficient immune response.

  • Practitioner(s):
    • Emily Maiella, graduated from Bastyr University
    • Nitya Eisenheim, graduated from Bastyr University

Dr. Lisa Anne Arnold

Screenshot 2015-11-16 19.40.31

www.drlisaarnold.com

  • Most questionable advertised treatment:

Homeopathy

the energetic use of plant, animal, mineral substances; Homeopathic medicines or “remedies” gently stimulate a person’s inherent healing ability. The entire range of mental, emotional and physical symptoms is considered with each patient. A single remedy is then chosen which addresses the complex pattern of a disease or dysfunction while taking into account the uniqueness of the individual.

  • Practitioner(s):
    • Lisa Anne Arnold, graduated from Bastyr University

Lexington Natural Health Center

Screenshot 2015-11-16 19.59.54

www.lexingtonnaturalhealth.com

  • Most questionable advertised treatment:

Alternative cancer treatments

Some of the natural medicines Dr. Belanger uses include curcumin, theaflavin, bilberry, andrographis, pancreatic enzymes, resveratrol, quercetin, stinging nettles leaf, Dan Shen, garlic, genistein, lumbrokinase, ginkgo, eleutherococcus, lactoferrin, AHCC, berberine and IP6. The supplemental protocol will vary from person to person and will change periodically based on the laboratory tests. After years of testing, Dr. Belanger has determined which nutritional supplements work best at correcting each growth factor and immune parameter and what doses are most effective. He tests for every supplement he recommends so he can track its effect and determine if, for example, it is really increasing one’s natural killer cell activity.

Dr. Belanger continues to monitor patients’ blood for growth factors and immune imbalances approximately every 3 months to make sure resistance isn’t developing to either the naturopathic and/or conventional therapies. In many instances, the labs may change before CT/PET or MRI ’s show increased growth. By checking the lab tests frequently, Dr. Belanger makes changes to his treatment plan to help prevent any radiological signs of a recurrence or tumor progression.

First office visits and telephone consults with Dr. Belanger cost $230. If the visit runs over one hour, $57.50 will be added for each additional 15 minutes. For telephone consults, an additional 15 minutes may be added to account for time spent typing and e-mailing the treatment plan.

Second visits and additional visits cost $115 If these visit(s) run over 30 minutes, $57.50 will be added for each additional 15 minutes.

Costs are hard to predict and can vary from month to month and person to person. If there are multiple laboratory test abnormalities one may need more supplements than someone with a few imbalances. Nutritional supplements can range between $50.00 to $1000.00 a month.

Blood work performed at RGCC laboratory are not covered by insurance and can range in cost from $500 to $3000.

  • Practitioner(s):
    • James Belanger, graduated from Bastyr University
    • Karen Braga, graduated from Bastyr University

Northampton Naturopathic Associates

Screenshot 2015-11-16 20.28.38

www.northamptonnaturopathic.com

  • Most questionable advertised treatments:

Biotherapeutic drainage

is a philosophy and treatment framework that has been used for over 100 years. Within this framework, lifestyle elements, single homeopathic remedies, the Unda numbered compounds, plant based remedies and nutrients are all used to rid the body of accumulated toxicity.Toxicity, in conjunction with one’s habits and predispositions can be found at the root of most modern diseases. The goal of treatment with Biotherapeutic drainage is always to get the body to react, self-regulate, and return to normal, healthy physiologic functioning.

& bogus lab tests

  • IgG and IgE Allergy testing (Food and environmental allergens)
  • Salivary hormone testing
  • Thermography (preventative screening tool for breast health)
  • Neurotransmitter Testing
  • Practitioner(s):
    • Chris Deszynski graduated from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
    • Jon Ritz graduated from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. (Not pictured in screen grab.) His own webpage describes magical healing water as such:

Vitality is a word to describe the life force that flows through us and is carried by water.  Re-vitalization is renewing water’s ability to store and deliver this life force energy.

Amazing to ponder, eh?  Water contains life force.

Revitalized water has much more stored energy than bottled or tap water, sometimes on the order of 10,000x or more. Some revitalizers use the ionization process to add energy and to restructure the water.  Through this process, revitalized water literally contains so many extra extra electrons that it can start lending them to antioxidants in the body and stop oxidation in its tracks.  Scientists can measure this as the solution’s Oxidative Reduction Potential (ORP). Revitalized, ionized water has a highly negative ORP.  In Japan, doctors call this water “negative water,” referring to its negative ORP, and prescribe it as therapy for many diseases of oxidative stress like heart disease and diabetes. http://drjonritz.com/water

New England Family Health Center

Screenshot 2015-11-17 09.52.50

www.drbarrytaylor.com

  • Most questionable treatment advertised:

Electro-dermal screening

Due to our toxic polluted environment, the way we eat, heavy metal toxins and stressful lifestyles, our bodies get energetically out of balance. Electro Dermal Screening (EDS) is a state-of-the-art process that allows Dr. Taylor to assess the body’s energy balance and how it is impacting major organ function and overall wellness.

A highly sensitive digital process, EDS provides immediate diagnostic results without the need for invasive and time consuming tests. Through EDS, Dr. Taylor can guide client’s on a variety of issues including:

  • Allergies or sensitivities to foods or inhalants (dust, pollens, molds)
  • The negative impact of heavy metals, chemicals and other toxins to health
  • Nutrient imbalances (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and amino acids)
  • The symptoms of acute, chronic and/or auto immune diseases
  • Relieving pain (migraines, arthritis, Fibromyalgia and musculoskeletal disorders)
  • Reducing inflammation (Colitis, IBS, ulcers and other digestive disorders)
  • Female Hormones: infertility, PMS, menopause, menstrual irregularities and breast health
  • Male Hormones: prostate health, erectile dysfunction
  • Skin irritations (psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, eczema )
  • Sexual intimacy and libido
  • Stress, depression and anxiety
  • Practitioner(s):
    • Barry Taylor graduated from National College of Naturopathic Medicine

Conclusion

The above snapshots represent a small, non-random sample of naturopathic websites with practices in Massachusetts. I did a Google search using “Massachusetts naturopathic doctor.” I only included individuals who went to one of the seven naturopathic schools accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).

Despite sampling issues, it is clear that naturopaths who aspire to be licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advertise dangerous and wacky treatments for serious diseases. I suspect their clinical incompetencies are not always on public display.

Naturopaths claim they are trained to provide high-quality medical care given an alternative medical education that is not based on science, let alone reality, i.e., homeopathy and magic water. It is a fact that alternative cancer treatments lead to more deaths and lower quality of life, as further demonstrated by licensed naturopaths in Canada.

There is nothing beneficial about any of the highlighted treatments above. They are all extremely dubious and can be dangerous if used in lieu of medical care by a provider trained according to international standards of medical science, unlike naturopaths who are trained in far-fetched pseudoscience. Some might say that ND medical training is as dilute as the substances in homeopathic remedies.

Who actually thinks it is a good idea to take blood out of your veins, dissolve ozone gas into it, expose it to ultraviolet radiation, and return it back into your body? That sounds toxic to me, which must be why naturopaths also sell detoxification packages.

Please contact the members on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health and tell them that all naturopaths endanger the public and should not be validated with licensure.

Image credits: Andrew Malone, some rights reserved. Other images taken as screenshots from their respective websites.

40 Replies to “Naturopathic “doctors” in Massachusetts

  1. Brit, actually ozone therapy might work in some settings, but not as advertized. Basically the UV and O3 treatment kills a lot of blood cells also thus triggering an immune response, but definitely not against UV sensitive bacteria. Bacteria are a LOT more UV resistant than blood cells. A close relative of ozone therapy (extracorporeal photoapheresis) is the standard therapy for subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In this therapy patients bloot is drawn, mixed with a photosensitizing agent (e.g. methotrexate), irradiated and reinfused.

    The whole thing with the alternative cancer treatments is incredible. Alternative suggests that they offer a working cancer treatment. Heck, people die !!!!

    1. Extracorporeal photoapheresis! Real medicine is awesome. I would bet that the NDs performing these blood irradiation treatments never had formal training in this practice. I was not taught how to do this in school. I can’t imagine allowing an ND to extract my blood, run it through their machines, and put it back into my body. Common sense tells me this is a very bad idea…. those poor patients.

  2. Brit, actually ozone therapy might work in some settings, but not as advertized. Basically the UV and O3 treatment kills a lot of blood cells also thus triggering an immune response, but definitely not against UV sensitive bacteria. Bacteria are a LOT more UV resistant than blood cells. A close relative of ozone therapy (extracorporeal photoapheresis) is the standard therapy for subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In this therapy patients bloot is drawn, mixed with a photosensitizing agent (e.g. methotrexate), irradiated and reinfused.

    The whole thing with the alternative cancer treatments is incredible. Alternative suggests that they offer a working cancer treatment. Heck, people die !!!!

  3. On rereading again, the thingie with the water with extra electrons is absolutely hilarious. 1 Mol of water contains exactly 10 Mols of electrons, none more and none less. Anyway, maybe I should collect and revitalize my used gasoline (a.k.a. CO2 and H2O). 10.000 times stored energy seems like a good bargain to save gas.

    1. I was thinking a similar thing. If you can just with a bit of shaking (or whatever) multiply the potential energy of whatever 10,000x then it will obviously become very useful in terms of an energy source

      1. Useful? I think you mean dangerous–just a few minutes shaking would multiply the potential energy to the point where when released we’d expect massive explosions.
        “I’ll have a vodka martini, shaken not stirred” KA-BOOM!

  4. You may be wondering why these NDs are able to practice NOW, without a license!

    ND Belanger was one of my instructors when I was in ND school in Connecticut.

    And he once mentioned that supposedly if you register yourself in Massachusetts as a “cosmopath”, then you are immune from accusations of practicing medicine without a license.

    As Jann at SBM pointed out

    https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/physicians-and-cam/ :

    “Massachusetts exempts the following from the commonwealth’s medical practice act: clairvoyants or persons practicing hypnotism, magnetic healing, mind cure, massage, Christian Science or cosmopathic method of healing.”

    Naturopathic, homeopathic, cosmopathic, psychopathic…

    ND / NMD licensure laws license falsehood, IMHO.

    And legislators love to get laws passed.

    It’s like giving an six year old a hammer.

    Things then will surely be hammered.

    Or as they say in Mass., ‘hammeed’ [Kim Atwood!]

    -r.c.

    1. “As Jann at SBM pointed outhttps://www.sciencebasedmedici…”, various State laws have put the proverbial horse before the cart. Treatments are not innocent until proven ineffective or unsafe, and anyone administering them should be held to that account. By allowing the opposite practice, the States are putting the health of the public at unacceptable risk, which brings us back to the challenge posted by JGC. Essentially, naturopaths are experimenting with people in uncontrolled trials.

      1. That last point needs to be highlighted: they’re experimenting with people BADLY–without appropriate controls, without blinding, without randomizing subjects on entry into treatment or control arms, without addressing known confounders, without performing any meaningful statistical analysis, etc. Often without even maintaining records.
        Even if anything they did actually did work they wouldn’t be able to tell.

        1. Yes, I know this only too well. Over the years, I have asked a number of naturopaths if they do follow up. Not one of them did and some just laughed. The treatment of their patients is based on anything they happen to want to experiment with, which can be anything from archaic beliefs and concepts of primitive peoples to untested theories and hypotheses. They also prescribe botanical medicines, which in some conditions could work. However, there are no end of false, illegal, and misleading claims for botanicals, as there are for sundry other substances. In an effort to stem the proverbial tide of illegal claims, the FDA has a form you can fill out to report offenders. I encourage as many readers as possible to submit reports. A reading of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education act will help in determining illegal from illegal claims. Here’s the address for reports:

          http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ucm059315.htm

      2. That last point needs to be highlighted: they’re experimenting with people BADLY–without appropriate controls, without blinding, without randomizing subjects on entry into treatment or control arms, without addressing known confounders, without performing any meaningful statistical analysis, etc. Often without even maintaining records.
        Even if anything they did actually did work they wouldn’t be able to tell.

  5. Taylor, you should also note probably this gem from the alternative cancer treatment guy:

    First office
    visits and telephone consults with Dr. Belanger cost $230. If the visit runs over one hour, $57.50 will be added for each additional 15 minutes. For telephone consults, an additional 15 minutes may be added to account for time spent typing and e-mailing the treatment plan.

    Second visits and additional visits cost $115 If these visit(s) run over 30 minutes, $57.50 will be added for each additional 15 minutes.

    Then this one:

    Costs
    are hard to predict and can vary from month to month and person to
    person. If there are multiple laboratory test abnormalities one may
    need more supplements than someone with a few imbalances. Nutritional
    supplements can range between $50.00 to $1000.00 a month.
    […]
    Blood work performed at RGCC laboratory are not covered by insurance and can range in cost from $500 to $3000.

    1. Wow. I just…

      Screw this asshole who is fleecing desperately ill people. Screw him for taking their money and their precious time.

  6. Taylor, you should also note probably this gem from the alternative cancer treatment guy:

    First office
    visits and telephone consults with Dr. Belanger cost $230. If the visit runs over one hour, $57.50 will be added for each additional 15 minutes. For telephone consults, an additional 15 minutes may be added to account for time spent typing and e-mailing the treatment plan.

    Second visits and additional visits cost $115 If these visit(s) run over 30 minutes, $57.50 will be added for each additional 15 minutes.

    Then this one:

    Costs
    are hard to predict and can vary from month to month and person to
    person. If there are multiple laboratory test abnormalities one may
    need more supplements than someone with a few imbalances. Nutritional
    supplements can range between $50.00 to $1000.00 a month.
    […]
    Blood work performed at RGCC laboratory are not covered by insurance and can range in cost from $500 to $3000.

  7. I’ve come to notice that many of the disease treatments seem to be derived from things associated with a preventive substance or practice. While this may be true in terms of deficiency diseases (scurvy, beri-beri, etc), all the cruciferous vegetables or stress-reducing techniques in the world won’t make rogue cancer cell dna stop its uncontrolled reproduction once it has started, any more than putting Kevlar in front of a bullet hole will aid healing.

    1. The problem with naturopaths is that they do not realize the nature of cancer. Basically cancer is the reversal of somatic cells to single cell organisms with an extremely unstable genome. wanting to survive at any costs. This in turn leads to a HUGE cauldron of evolution where a lot becomes possible and I really mean a lot. For instance multidrug resistant cell lines tolerate doses of cytostatics you would never even dream of giving a patient. As a consqeuence naturopathic drugs having by nature a very weak effect just make cancer cells laugh a lot.

  8. Thanks for this notice. I have written to our legislators, quoting from your piece. But I also added this tidbit:

    I would like to add a personal footnote, though. In my own family I have seen the poor outcomes of unconventional treatment in the guise of “alternative health”. My siblings have been taken by charlatans, and I only found out after the fact that they were getting bad advice and treatment. The appeal of someone who listens to your problems is certainly clear. But people who misdirect vulnerable patients are dangerous and not worthy of endorsement by our state.

    Thank you for your investigation into this matter.

    1. Hello, fellow Somervillian! I lived there for 10 years (until a few months ago) and I miss it like crazy. And, wow, it’s really unfortunate how many people there are completely on board with “alternative medicine.” I see some of the facebook posts from some of my friends there and just cringe.

  9. A question I’d want to ask if I were a member of the hearing board:
    If a large pharmaceutical company like Merck or Novartis sought approval for a new drug for high blood pressure but could only offer as evidence of safety and efficacy the same type of evidence you’re willing to accept as demonstrating naturopathic modalities are safe and efficacious–no clinical trials, etc., but only personal testimonials, anecdotal accounts, appeals to tradition and ‘different ways of knowing’, etc.–do you believe the FDA should approve the drug for sale?

    1. The naturopaths could reply that they get 4 years of training at schools accredited by the US Department of Education. They would say they take the same classes as medical students and have a national licensing exam to ensure standardized quality. They would also say they have 1200 clinical hours of training under supervision, where they learn safe and affordable medical to be become primary care physicians and experts in natural health. They might even pull out a statistic from a bogus survey about Americans wanting “natural” health care options.

      Most lawmakers hear those points and think they sound great. Naturopathic arguments sound nice, superficially, that is, if one is not critical of the details. I am curious to see what the 11th time around will look like when the vote eventually happens.

      1. They could, but I’d have to point out that while that was all
        very interesting and we’d certainly return to the subject of that national
        licensing exam and why it requires applicants demonstrate a mastery of magicwater—excuse me, homeopathy—it wasn’t an answer to the question I asked: did they believe the FDA should approve new drugs developed by major pharmaceutical companies who can’t offer any clinical evidence as demonstrating their safety and efficacy?
        If not, by what rational argument should we naturopathic treatments to a much lower standard of proof of safety and efficacy?

        1. To quote wikipedia: “The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) of 1938 recognized homeopathic preparations as drugs, but with significant exceptions. A principal sponsor of the Act was New York Senator and homeopathic physician Royal Copeland, who ensured that homeopathy’s own Homœopathic Pharmacopœia of the United States (HPUS) be included, as it expressed the “self-professed quality standards” of the homeopathic profession. The finished Act thus created loopholes for the regulation of homeopathic drugs, and they are thus exempted from many of the rules regulating other drugs. The inclusion of HPUS in the Act has since been questioned by “lawyers, doctors, homeopaths, historians, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official”. Compare that to the “lobbying” of big Pharma.

          In Europe homeopathic drugs can be registered as drugs if you prove the safety (no problem with water or 20% ethanol) but you may not state a specific treatment.

          1. Which does open the door to the legal dispensing of homeopathic preparations by naturopaths , agreed.

            But my question isn’t about what naturopaths can or can’t legally dispense but whether they’d accept the same type and degree of evidence they accept as demonstrating the safety and efficacy of modalities like acupuncture, essential
            oils, aromatherapy, ‘detox’ regimens, intravenous vitamin C or intravenous hydrogen peroxide if it were offered not by an ‘alt med’ provider but by a large pharmaceutical company as evidence demonstrating the safety and efficacy of their newest SRI or chemotherapy drug.

            Somehow I think they’d demand a far different standard of
            evidence from Merck or Glaxo than they’re willing accept themselves.

          1. And I’d keep redirecting them to the question asked until everyone at the hearing recognized their repeated evasion for what it was.

  10. I think it would be best to do a larger sample, then shove the evidence down the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health’s faces.

    1. No one is claiming that there are not MDs who are quacks. There are plenty…but they go off that deep end on their own. Our training doesn’t include and integrate quackery into the curriculum.

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