Should I go to naturopathic school?

890975025_5c206b9064_oA rewarding aspect of blogging is interacting with curious students. I frequently receive questions, comments, and stories from students around the world about naturopathy.

Students discover my blog in various ways. Some accidentally stumble across it while researching naturopathic schools. Others are exploring the differences between naturopathy and medicine through my blog in order to gain an alternative perspective.

Regardless of how they found naturopathicdiaries.com, they are all usually considering a career in naturopathic medicine. After reading through my posts, the most common question students ask me is, “Should I go to naturopathic school?”

My answer is always the same. No.

(Actually, my answer is always “NO!”)

Students do not like this response. Inevitably, I end up in lengthy email exchanges explaining the many reasons to avoid naturopathy like the plague. It was through these conversations that I realized important information needed by students to answer this question themselves may not be accessible, or clear, within my blog.

This post aims to provide an explanation of the reasons I believe students should not pursue an education or career in naturopathic medicine under any circumstances. In my opinion, naturopathic school is overpriced, provides poor training with limited job opportunities, and appeals to a flawed ideological mindset.

Naturopathic education lacks medical training

As I have written before, naturopathic education and training is not as the profession presents.

Naturopathic schools present their programs as rigorous, innovative and comprehensive medical programs that are nationally recognized and prestigious. The schools also state that their naturopathic curricula are “on-par” with conventional medical school curricula.

Accredited naturopathic schools are disguising the naturopathic education of nonsense as a distinct, and better, form of primary care medicine. Sadly, these schools are getting away with what I consider to be education fraud. The truth is that naturopathic education is riddled with pseudoscience, debunked theories, and experimental medical practices.

This notion is presented by all the accredited naturopathic schools (Bastyr University, National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, University of Bridgeport, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, and National University of Health Sciences) in North America to attract students. The specific rhetoric used to create this facade is very similar to that used by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) for political advancement of the profession within the United States.

An interesting visual aid used by naturopathic schools and professional organizations is an education chart that compares naturopathic education to that of a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine. In a post from March 13th, 2015 on ScienceBasedMedicine.org, I scrutinized my own education from Bastyr University in order to understand how my naturopathic schooling truly compared to conventional medical school. The original post can be found here, along with my Bastyr University transcript.

In this post I concluded that, compared to medical doctors, my naturopathic education severely lacked both the quantity and quality of medical training necessary in order to practice as a competent physician. Additionally, it lacked the application of medical standards of care within a hospital setting.

Based on my transcript, course syllabi and academic handbook, I calculated that I received 561 hours of training in “direct patient contact” at Bastyr University. This number is far less than the 1,224.5 hours advertised by Bastyr University and other naturopathic schools. The 561 training hours really seem dismal, though, when compared to the number of training hours in patient care completed by students in conventional medical school and throughout their mandated residency programs. Naturopaths are not required to complete residency training in order to practice medicine (except in Utah where a one-year residency is required.)

A medical doctor recently wrote to me stating, “One of the biggest differences between ND school and med school is that med students are NOT considered competent to practice after graduation. They are considered competent to advance to post-graduate training (residency, in other words). You will never find a modern MD or DO who is practicing who did not complete a residency. Med school provides the foundation. Residency provides the true education and experience.” I completely agree.

It is illogical and risky to practice primary care medicine after four years of classes, two years of minimal patient contact hours in a non-hospital setting, and no clinical experience in urgent care or emergency medicine. Yet, this is exactly what happens. Naturopaths graduate from school, pass a licensing exam that includes questions in homeopathy, and then set-up shop to diagnose and treat patients.

In my opinion, the education and training provided by accredited naturopathic schools does not prepare students to practice any form of medicine.

(For a thorough breakdown and detailed description of my naturopathic education and training, read this post.)

 

The cost of naturopathic education is overpriced

The Bastyr University website states the average cost for the first year of the Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine Program is $39,235 per year, not including living costs. In Kenmore, Washington CollegeData.com estimates living expenses of $15,550 per year. Thus, four years of naturopathic school at Bastyr can easily reach $220,000!

As a comparison, in March of 2015, USnews.com reported that graduates from public medical schools averaged $167,763 in student loan debt. Private medical school graduates typically borrowed $190,053. On the surface, it appears that a naturopathic education costs the same as a real medical education. Besides obvious differences between the quality of the two school systems, there are a few other important differences to point out.

First, naturopathic schools charge students to learn fake medicine. Pseudoscience is widely incorporated into the naturopathic curriculum. Besides taking basic science and “regular” medical classes like Cardiology, I also took classes on homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, hydrotherapy, Chinese medicine, botanical medicine, and naturopathic theory and philosophy. How much did these classes cost me?

I took an average of 24 credits per semester while at Bastyr University. According to Bastyr’s current fee schedule, it costs $8,066 to enroll in up to 16 credits and $322 for every additional credit thereafter. This means I spent $10,642 on average per semester. I actually paid a bit less than this, as tuition fees have increased since I graduated.

Using my transcript, I tallied the credits for the following courses:

  • 17.5 credits in hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation and myofascial analysis
  • 11.0 credits in botanical medicine
  • 7.0 credits in homeopathy
  • 8.0 credits in naturopathic theory
  • 4.0 traditional Chinese medicine

TOTAL CREDITS: 47.5

TOTAL COST: $20,831.60

I spent over  $20,000 on fake medical courses that are widely regarded by the medical community to be ineffective, unscientific, and in some cases, dangerous.

I decided not to add up the cost of courses taught by fake experts, such as my embryology course taught by a “doctor of naprapathy.”  These course appear on paper to be “on-par” with medical school, but in reality, are superficial, deficient, and a front for teaching pseudoscience and anti-medical ideology.

I did calculate the cost of patient care shifts which included scant medical training and the reinforcement of dubious diagnostics and made-up diseases. (For more information on patient care shifts at Bastyr University, read this post.) I completed 21 shifts in patient care. Each shift was worth 2.00 credits. In total, I spent about another $20,000 learning to practice naturopathy by practitioners who believe in chiropractic medicine, therapeutic touch, homeopathy, flower essences, and many other magical treatments.

Much more of my total tuition expenses were spent on courses that had some real medicine but also had a lot of fake medicine and mystical philosophy packed in.

The second important point to make about the cost of naturopathic school is that the graduates are not eligible for all of the same federal loan repayment programs as medical doctors. Whether or not a naturopath’s debt qualifies for loan repayment depends on the specific program and the state. For example, naturopaths working at National College of Natural Medicine in Oregon might qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program but do not qualify for the Oregon Medicaid Primary Care Loan Repayment Program or the Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment program. Overall, naturopathic graduates have far fewer opportunities to reduce their student loan debt through state and federal programs.

In a discussion about finances, I think it is important to note that naturopaths on average earn less money than MDs and DOs. My first year residency salary was about $30,000 per year plus health insurance and liability coverage. According to a 2014 report by Medscape.com, the average first year salary for a medical resident is $53,000 plus benefits. In the following two years of practice, the most I made was about $42,000. I was able to pay my student loans (with an income-based repayment plan), my bills and live a comfortable, yet frugal, life on this salary. However, I would have been more financially comfortable making between $54,000 and $59,000, which is what the average third to fourth year medical resident earns.

The average naturopathic doctor makes $60,000 per year in private practice. Primary care medical doctors, in comparison, earn about $186,00. While this income is not nearly as high as other medical specialties, I think it is enough to be comfortable, especially given the student loan debt reduction options for medical doctors. In my opinion, the high debt to income ratio and limited student debt repayment options makes an investment in naturopathic education a poor decision.

 

Job prospects for naturopaths are limited

There are serious career challenges as a naturopath.

Aside from working at one of the accredited universities or opening up your own naturopathic practice, there are not many job opportunities for naturopaths. Naturopaths do not have hospital admitting rights and are therefore not eligible for hospital-based positions.

While some students dream of working in an integrative medical setting, it may be difficult to find an MD or DO willing to work with you. Not all medical doctors or DOs are willing to work with naturopaths for a wide variety of reasons.

In a private practice setting, it can be very difficult to make naturopathic services affordable and accessible to patients. One issue is not all states accept insurance for naturopathic services. When naturopathic services are covered by insurance, the reimbursement is usually comparable to what a company may pay for the services of a nurse.

Another major drawback to the ND degree is limited state licensure. Currently, naturopaths are only licensed to practice in 20 states and territories. Within these 20 U.S. jurisdictions, the legal scope of practice differs widely. Some permit naturopaths to order exams and write prescriptions. Others strictly limit the scope to nutrition and lifestyle advice. Practicing in an unlicensed state may be tricky for liability and legal reasons and not a risk many would want to take.

Unlike the MD/DO degree, the naturopathic doctorate does not qualify an individual to work for government organizations like the Centers for Disease Control or the Food and Drug Administration. In order to work in the fields of public health or health policy, one usually needs a PhD in a relevant field or to have completed a medical residency and hold an active medical license. Since naturopaths are not eligible for the same medical residencies as MDs/DOs, they do not qualify for these positions involving research, policy, or public health.

On a global scale, the naturopathic degree does not easily translate in other countries. Based on personal research, I have found that an ND degree will not get you hired at international organizations such as UNICEF or the World Health Organization.

You may not be able to practice naturopathy in other countries either. Despite homeopathic medicine being widely accepted in Germany, I cannot practice naturopathy with my ND degree here. I once had a brief email exchange with a Canadian ND who runs a private practice in Singapore. She is only legally allowed to make nutritional, lifestyle, and homeopathic recommendations. Obviously, the scope of practice varies widely in other countries, but I would not expect abundant or easy-to-access job opportunities.

If you are looking for a stable career with diverse and meaningful job opportunities in the fields of health policy, research, or medicine, a doctorate in naturopathy is not for you.

 

A flawed perspective

Many students who contact me are afraid that conventional medical school will turn them into harried doctors, pill pushers, and uncaring, terrible people. In contrast, they believe naturopathic school will cultivate empathy, open-mindedness, and reciprocal healing relationships with their patients. Neither assumptions are true, but I can relate to both of them.

I went to naturopathic school in hopes of finding a better medical system than the one I experienced. I wanted to change health policy and improve the way medicine is practiced in the United States. As a result, I spent many years and a lot of money on fake subjects and therapies that I believed would help patients and inspire fundamental changes within medicine. I spent far more time learning bogus therapies than real medicine, like pharmacology. As a result, I accidentally duped patients into wasting their time and money on naturopathy.

With the privilege of hindsight, I now know my investment in naturopathic school did not make me open-minded or provide me with the tools to be a good physician. Instead, my naturopathic education impaired my independent and critical thinking skills. And it gave me a false sense of self. I thought I was a real primary care doctor. In reality, I was someone who paid a lot of money for a degree in quackademic medicine and was tricked into believing I could diagnose and treat patients competently.

Eventually, I learned that naturopathic medicine is unscientific, unethical, and dangerous. This awareness coupled with personal moral reasons prompted me to leave the profession forever.

Since my departure from naturopathy, I have had an important realization. I would not have turned into a stressed and indifferent drug peddling doctor had I gone to medical school. I would have become the doctor I always wanted to be.

Photo credit: Justin Henry. Some rights reserved.

  • NH Primary Care Doc

    Great post, as always. I spent about $160,000 getting my MD (that includes living expenses). While at times I feel like I’ll never finish paying it off, I’ve never regretted it or considered it anything but money well spent. And as a primary care physician, I’ve never had trouble getting a well-paying job. In fact, I recently did a job search because I’m relocating, and I had more offers than I could handle.

    • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

      I definitely had the opposite experience in Tucson. Good luck with you move!

    • Rheumatology Geek Peter MD

      Medicine is an exciting field and I hope you take full advantage of your education. Don’t hesitate though to refer for alternative care, as holistic care benefits patients greatly. I always refer and work in conjuction with NDs and Acupuncturists to lower pain levels. Why not? The patients love it and I love helping patients.
      Even the WHO has recommended acupuncture for chronic pain relief (noting that it is as effective as morphine!) and there are many supplements I feel provide great relief to patients. The only thing I look out for is to have great relationships with docs I am referring to as I typically do mind if drug regiments are changed without my input. This though is never an issue as I make it my business to follow-up with these practitioners.

      • David
      • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

        I wholeheartedly disagree with everything written in this comment.

      • Ken Hamer

        Is there any type of quackery that you do not subscribe to?

        Do you think astrology has some medical benefit, and if not, why not?

        http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/25/astrology-help-nhs-claim-conservative-mp-david-tredinnick

      • http://brainchattering.blogspot.com the beta female

        “Why not? The patients love it and I love helping patients.” seems like very unsound reasoning.

        Some patients also love to smoke, do drugs, drink to excess, drive dangerously, not exercise, skip medications and tests, and miss critical appointments with health care providers.

        Your approach sounds suspiciously like sales, however, “The customer is always right” doesn’t apply in medicine. More like “the customer needs to not die and if what they love happens to make that more likely than they don’t get to do it.”

  • http://naturocrit.blogspot.com naturocrit

    Great post.

    The New York Times has this editorial today, by the way,

    “Help For Victims of College Fraud”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/opinion/help-for-victims-of-college-fraud.html

    Perhaps there will one day be consumer rights for those whom naturopathy deceived!

    -r.c.

    • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

      Thanks, I will check it out.

  • Travis

    Great post as usual. I wonder what the naturopathic apologists will have to say about your articles. It’s always interesting seeing exactly what ways they try to defend naturopathy.

    Also, I hate having to wait so long between articles but I’d hate for them to be lower quality, too :p . . . 1st world problems.

    • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

      I know… I am at the end of my semester and my work load is high. I have a few guest blog posts in the works to help fill the gaps for the next 5 weeks while I finish practicals and courses for the summer. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

  • carbonUnit

    I’m surprised anyone would, after reading your blog, ask you if they should go to naturopathic school. (The correct answer is “Hell NO!”.) Still another great post taking a look from the point of view of ND school as a career investment.

    As to stressed doctors, we kind of get that with our GP. She seems to be constantly overloaded and disappears on to the next patient before we have discussed all that we intended to. This despite her striking out on her own after being in a larger practice where the goal seemed to be to make money… I guess the interaction level can be an advantage for alt med.

  • Ellegra

    Dear Britt,
    I am a student at ND school and we have MD doctor lecturing classes at our school. There are a few MDs, NDs with dual degree in the US who received their ND degree after they got their MD degree.
    If whatever you say in your blog is true then why those educated MD doctors spent time and money to get their “pseudo-scientific” ND degree?

    • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

      Are you asking me to speculate about the nonsensical behavior of strangers? There are several well known examples of MDs buying into pseudoscience: Dr. Oz, Dr. Northrup. Just because an MD says or teaches it does not mean it is scientific (or true.)

      • Ellegra

        Are you saying that all doctors who has MDs, NDs dual degree have nonsensical behavior because they believed in something that you don’t or you just want to emphasize on a few and make an assumption about the rest? Aren’t you doing the same with ND doctors?

        • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

          Your use of the words “believe in something” is perfect. Naturopathy is a belief-system. It is a faith-based ideology. In my opinion, believing in naturopathy is illogical. The naturopathic faith usually includes misconceptions about science and the world. Some common naturopathic beliefs include: GMOs are unhealthy, science has not determined if vaccines cause autism, botanical medicines are proven as safe and effective, and homeopathy can cure bipolar disease and brown recluse spider bites (see ND comments under Confessions post). I know many naturopaths. I have spent a great deal of time researching naturopathic practices. And I have a few years of experience as a naturopath myself. I strongly believe I am not overgeneralizing or making an example of just a few bad NDs. As an easy example, spend some time doing a google search of the naturopaths in your area. How many advertise homeopathy, “detoxification,” heavy metal testing, IV therapies, chronic Lyme treatments? How many sell supplements directly out their offices? How many advertise adjunctive cancer care or even worse, claim to have cured cancer through the use of natural medicine? How many blatantly advertise the use of non-FDA approved treatments?

          I have done these searches. I know the answers. I strongly suggest you spend some time researching local NDs. Find out how many NDs are practicing within the legal and ethical boundaries. Even better, find out which practices are legal and which are not. (One would think the answer to this is obvious, but it is not for NDs. For example, is it legal to inject mistletoe intravenously into a patient with cancer in your state?) Spend time reading about common ND therapies and diagnostics from non-ND sources. Then decide if you are comfortable being part of a community that actively steps outside of their legal scope of practice boundaries and over ethical lines in order to use experimental medicines.

          If you think I am being dramatic, read this post about a naturopathic ethical review board in AZ. These NDs use their ethical review board to expand the scope of ND practice in AZ and promote experimental and dubious therapies. No where does the board discuss patient protection, which is the main objective of every ethical board. It is interesting to note that since I wrote this post, the ND review board no longer posts the minutes from their meetings online.
          https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/wild-west-tales-of-a-naturopathic-ethical-review-board/

          I get the feeling you want to prove me wrong, catch me in a lie, or maybe just make a brilliant point that suggests I overlooked something or have the wrong outlook. But here is the thing. I have personally witnessed many examples of bad ND behavior, from illegal to incompetent practices. And it turns out, these bad practices are common. The ND arguing on this site that she can treat bipolar disease with homeopathy is a great example of a dangerous, unethical, and incompetent treatment for a very serious mental health disorder. These examples are all around you Ellegra. I hope you can start to see the ND world as it truly is before you graduate.

          • NH Primary Care Doc

            Perfect!

          • Elaine

            I know it is your blog and whatever I say is wrong. I am not arguing about what ND do wrong or not. I am trying to open your eyes to see the whole medicine around you and every patient. There are not only NDs who does good or bad… Try to see the politics and business aspects of all fields of medicine and the effects on the patients. Can you see the insurances and the drug companies pressure on the treatments even so they always decline it? Can you do your research and see how many people die because of the mistake of the MD/DO or hospital staff? Can you see that some allopathic treatments are not helpful at all and people do suffer? Can you see that trying to say negative things about naturopathy is like a clap with one hand?
            Even if you want to mention about the believe… Sometimes believing is the only thing that people have left to survive… and that is very unfortunate when allopathic medicine can’t provide any treatment… Who those patients can see next? Do they go only to NDs? Why do they decide to have an alternative treatment? What do they find in there? Did you ask those questions people who survived because they did believe? Anyway, those topics could be discussed forever and there would be people who are agree or not. I appreciate your input in the naturopathic field; however, I wish you can see the other side of the picture as well and use your talent to see the whole medical world problems we are all facing.

            • NH Primary Care Doc

              As Ben Goldacre says, “Just because there are flaws in aircraft design, doesn’t mean carpets can fly.” In other words, just because there a problems in the medical field, naturopathy is suddenly validated.

              As for your comment about people turning to naturopathy because they have nothing else to believe in…where is the morality in taking money from desperate people for things that don’t work? Please read Britt’s post from Monday about the ethics of primary care.

              • Ellegra

                There is no morality in making people pay for something that doesn’t work in any medicine. There is no morality for people to have treatments that do not work. There is no morality for taking medicine or peels that do not work and just cover symptoms. There is no morality in dental insurance coverage for treatments that needs to be done, but covered by insurance only to a minimum limit that a person can not afford the necessary treatment and had to extract his teeth.
                You have a hammer in your hand and everything else is a nail. It is pointless for me to say anything here. The only reason I posted my initial message is to point the attention that there are a lot of MD who works with ND and value their expertise. We have a lot of problems with the health care in our country and trying to narrow it to naturopathic field is funny. Trying to say that naturopathy is this or that, bad or good… There are about 5,000 licensed NDs in US, a very small group of people compare to any other field.
                I worked with professional people, mostly MD and DO doctors, who needed to recover their licenses (or had warnings) and needed to submit the number of hours from the class they attended for that purpose. Those classes are booked for the next 2-3 month. About what morality are you talking here? Why most medical doctors who are openly speaking about the allopathic medicine had their license revoked or not active anymore? Are the rest of them happy and that is why they do not say anything?

              • Elaine

                Yes, I read it, and I already answered, but it is still not posted. Just wanted to add that there are plenty of other doctors with many opinions and performance. I worked in dental office and sometimes I saw cases done by other dentists that are completely unacceptable. Therefore, following the logic of the diary, all dentists are bad, their schools teach nothing, and dentistry is a pseudo-science as such. Isn’t it?

            • Petticoat Philosopher

              Nobody claims that doctors don’t sometimes make mistakes that cost lives. They are not gods and they make extremely high stakes decisions all the time. They are bound to get it wrong sometimes. But, as a group, they save many more lives than they lose.

              And nobody is claiming that “allopathic medicine” (aka real medicine) can always help. Yes, there are times when several solutions are tried and none of them work. There are times when a patient has nothing left but belief. That is absolutely true.

              And this is where people in non-medical roles such as clergy, counselors, and supportive loved ones can come in to help that patient come to terms with the situation and, yes, sometimes to help them maintain “belief” (tempered by reality) if that helps. (And faith does help some people.) That’s what you do in a situation in which there is no medical solution. You don’t charge the patient good money–and often quite a bit of it–for false hopes in the form of “treatment” plans that are frequently disruptive to whatever life that patient may have left.

            • Tudor Eynon

              Yes, as I say in another post just now and a point made by others on this thread, what you say is really just a false dichotomy, the failures of x, doesn’t make y true. For example the failure of Homeopathy does not make Acupuncture true?

              Courses in elementary logic would probably be more useful for students than being thrown in at the deep end of the highly complicated and difficult enterprise that Science has become.

              There is no principled and rational way that I know of either to classify treatments as “Allopathic” There is no such thing so no real discusssion can be had about it. I think I know what is meant by it usually: something like “regular medicine”, “medicine practiced by MDs” whatever? It is a bit like the term “pets” in that way? There is no biological feature that cleaves Nature in the way we do in our terminology and habits: sadly even the tentative property of ‘being safe around children’ won’t serve for the Alligators, Chimps and so on some people think will make good ‘pets’.

              I think that, at bottom, some of the fuel for all this is the fact that we are mortal; the age limit for human beings, though many more or us reach it is about what it was in the Middle Ages and before. Many sicknesses and conditions have no cure though there is much available to alleviate the pain and distress they cause which we now take for granted.

              It may even be that we are all out of the ‘low-lying’ fruit in Medicine? I think that is possible.

              Arguably our Insurance based health care system delivers poor outcomes, uses and pushes drugs, tests and treatments which are ineffective and should be known to be so, purely for profit. I estimate about 50% of medical intervention is unwarranted or counter productive here in America. I also think fraud is quite high, phony billing etc. etc.. Missing Trials, biased research etc. is emerging as a major concern too.
              I am of this view. New problems are emerging with antibiotic resistance that will mean that I will likely die of infection like my Great Granparents. NONE of this make Naturopathy useful or true, or Acupuncture or any of the other quack theories that are ubiquitous today.

              • JGC

                “There is no principled and rational way that I know of either to classify treatments as “Allopathic” ”
                Well, the term ‘allopathic’ was coined by Samuel Hahnemann and had a very specific meaning: any medical intervention that was not homeopathic. Reiki, acupuntcure, Ayurveda? Tecnhnically they’re all allopathic.

                • Tudor Eynon

                  Thanks for reminding me JCG I had forgotten Hahnemann’s role in the term. Silly me.

                  It is some time since I read what he said. That is clearly not the way that, Elaine, for example is using it I don’t think? and not how it is often used, maybe I am wrong and the counter therapy she has in mind is exclusively Homeopathy. Terms do drift somewhat historically.

                  I have no interest in revisiting and re-reading Hahnemann either. For several other reasons have no reason to think there is any value in what he said. Just dividing Nature at the wrong joints as Aristotle would have said. I admit I had forgotten the history of the term.

                  Anyway I said…” in principled and rational way”. Which this classifcatory scheme isn’t. The other flaws in Hahnemann’s scheme are far more interesting and pertinent to my mind.

                  Bit like dividing the biological world, to folllow my metaphor, into Unicorns and “AlloCreatures” or something like that. Useless, pointless and with no real meaning or use. There is an entertaining and informative story by Jorge Borges about classification of animals along Hahnemman’s lines. It shows how our interpretation of the Natural world is distorted sometimes by our classificatory systems. Pretty my like this.

          • William

            How is believing GMO’s are unhealthy a naturopathic claim? Never was taught that.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Really, Gupta? I wasn’t aware that he had any involvement with pseudomedicine. (To be fair, I haven’t tried that hard to find out.)

        • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

          Oy. No. I just re-read that. I made a 6 am commenting error. No comments before coffee! (I edited his name out. Thanks for catching that.)

    • Ken Hamer

      Probably so they can make more money doing less work.

  • E Canfield

    “I calculated that I received 561 hours of training in “direct patient contact” at Bastyr University.”
    To put this into context, in the third section of student teaching we take at Cleveland State, I was directly working with students for 14 weeks, 5 days a week and about 7 hours per day, (with a half-day when my college class met every few weeks). That’s 420 hours at least, and doesn’t count my practicum, where I only solo taught one class all semester, but handled many segments under my mentor’s eye.

  • Amy

    So, let me get this straight. Since you FAILED at succeeding in naturopathic medicine, you deferred anyone from going into naturopathic medical school? You spend 40 hours of your miserable life taking awful about naturopathic medicine online and you can spend that time succeeding in the profession! My experiences in naturopathy have been successful and the opposite as yours. But hey, more naturopaths who failed/drop out, means more money for us! We don’t need you, stay out of our profession. If I were you, I would worry about that Masters in Science! That is a career with limited job prospects and no hope for advancement. lol!!! You moved DOWN!

    • Ken Hamer

      And of course that’s what naturopathy is all about — making money by selling a never ending catalog of useless and ineffective snake oil scams. Money money money money money money!

    • Lighthorse

      Apart from the obvious fact that an MS/MSc can lead to a PhD, some people have higher standards of ethics than others. Examples of unethical practices by NDs are virtually endless (e.g., “detoxification” formulas consisting of diuretics and laxatives without a single well-controlled clinical trial to demonstrate that they remove heavy metals and pesticides more than a matching placebo). Should you need more examples, see Britt Hermes post above dated June 17, 2015.

    • Jonathan Graham

      My experiences in naturopathy have been successful and the opposite as yours. But hey, more naturopaths who failed/drop out, means more money for us!
      The idea that some people will succeed despite having no qualifications is pretty well known. Getting a job was only a third of this posts. The other two parts were that what you’re being taught – has about as much medical value as a Twilight novel and it is dollar-for-dollar expensive even when compared with traditional medical degrees which pay better on average.

    • JGC

      “My experiences in naturopathy have been successful and the opposite as yours.”

      What is the method by which you’ve determined success versus failure? It is, I trust, on some concrete basis (improvement in a non-self limiting illness or injury that can be shown to be the result of the naturopathic treatment you received) rather than self-reported ‘patient satisfaction’.

      • Ken Hamer

        I thought it pretty clear that money was the “success” metric.

    • NH Primary Care Doc

      See, this is so weird. When I hear about a primary care MD leaving practice, I think, oh, shit. More of a doctor shortage. Too many patients and too few doctors to care for them. Overloaded ERs. Delayed diagnosis.

      You know what I don’t think? “More money for meeeeeee!!!!!!”

      I didn’t go into this for the money. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen primary care.

    • Tudor Eynon

      “More money for us…” I know you are sort of joking but many a true word spoken in jest? Britt Hermes is likely to do very well in her chosen field in the future. To turn one’s ideas around after a lot of effort and commitment invested takes a lot of intellectual courage and spine; she is very unusual in this regard. Those qualities bode well for her future work and carreer as well as her analytic capacities: they are clearly high.

      I am really finding her blog useful and am glad I have found it at a good time. It helped me a lot, I had no idea how poorly regulated all this is in my adopted country the USA.

      The mystery is how she got into Naturopathy in the first place?

      Probably because of real failings she saw in ‘regular’ medicine? Here in the US, given what we spend, the number of Universities and MDs etc., our outcomes are not so good: especially in Mental Health. BUT, however bad ‘regular’ medicine is it doesn’t follow that any irrational and unscientific alternative is better or correct does it?

      Well: at the time that Homeopathy for instance was invented, it was probably safer to take a sugar pill or plain water than go to most other bloodletters, Mercury-infusers and so on who were around at the time? Homeopathy, which has no scientific basis, is actually incoherent and has failed again and again in clinical trials regarding efficacy, probably causes little harm? The main tool one should use to assess all this are not qualifications but the use of reason and rational inquiry; in my view anyway.

  • disqus_CzMiaqkva3

    So I don’t want to pull in another profession for comparison, and certainly incur more wrath, but the clinical hours are possibly the same as a PA program, also. Having looked into these programs, they are shorter than ND programs, have less hours, and have less didactic education. PAs are re-imbursed by insurance, paid much more, and allowed to work in primary care along with MD/DO. Why couldn’t an ND do the same thing if they have the same, or maybe more, medical training?

    • Cruz

      PAs are taught in the medical model (MD/DO); their classes are
      intensive; PA schooling is a full-time job, not a lot of time for
      nonsense such as making kambucha… PAs also do not liken themselves as
      primary care physicians, they work with physicians as mid-levels. PAs
      also do not waist their precious time with nonsense such as homeopathy,
      hydrotherapy, chinese non-medicine, and all the other shit NDs pursue.
      PAs are taught science not quackery. I would trust a PAs grasp on basic
      biochemistry much more than a NDs. From the NDs I spoke with or have
      listened to on youtube videos (Larry Clark has a site with CA NDs
      attempting to sciencify their silly diseases) – they lack a thorough
      understanding of chemistry kinetics, immunology, etc. Just a bunch of
      wannabes that desperately want to be seen as real doctors.

      • David

        Dead on right Cruz

    • http://www.taylorhermes.com Taylor

      Comparing hours between any profession trained in a medical model and others trained in quackery is the ultimate sleight of hand. When I was younger and ran cross country, I was suffering from shin splints. My mom unknowingly took me to a chiropractor based on a recommendation from a friend. I vividly remember the chiropractor showing me a laminated chart comparing his training in medical subjects to that of a medical doctor. In many classes, the number of hours were shown to be greater, like for gynecology. I highly doubt a chiropractor can learn gynecology properly when it’s not even in his scope of practice. Naturopaths pull the same shit. Students are too wide eyed and bushy tailed to notice the trick and call BS.

      • David

        At many medical schools the didactic hours will be way less than chiro and naturo. That is because there has been a huge change to problem base learning Then the rest is direct patient contact and hands ons with practitioners. So if you compare course hours to course hours, depending how you classify, the hours in md school will look low
        I know someone who maintained almost a full time job while in naturopathic school. That is definitely not possible while doing md.