What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is not any kind of medicine. It is an ideology based on pseudoscience.

But, in an effort to generate legitimacy, proponents of naturopathic “medicine” love to claim that the profession offers something special. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) describes a “naturopathic physician” as follows:

Today’s naturopathic physicians artfully blend modern, cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient and traditional methods. These physicians are succeeding in their goal to present the world with a healing paradigm founded on a rational balance of tradition, science and respect for nature. Because naturopathic physicians believe in understanding patients from the cellular level up, they actively pursue the latest biochemical findings relating to the workings of the body and the dynamics of botanical medicines, nutrition, homeopathy and other natural therapies. Their diagnoses and therapeutics are increasingly supported by scientific evidence.

Lies like these are duping patients, students, and lawmakers into believing that naturopathy is the medicine of the future.

The central concepts of naturopathic medicine were founded in a pre-scientific era and have failed to evolve with advancements in medicine and science. The naturopathic tenets combine the debunked theory of vitalism with precepts well-established in conventional medicine, such as disease prevention, patient education, and lifestyle counseling. Naturopathy’s blend of scientifically archaic ideas with practices already ingrained in medicine does not make for a superior system of healthcare. It amounts to a group of under-qualified health practitioners trained in dubious and debunked therapies (i.e. homeopathy and botanical remedies) trying to engage in the practice of medicine. Naturopathic therapies are not increasingly supported by scientific evidence. In fact, science increasingly substantiates the failures of these therapies as safe and effective interventions. The practice of naturopathic medicine, as taught by accredited naturopathic programs in North America, is unscrupulous and dangerous.

How do I know? I  practiced as a licensed naturopathic doctor in the United States for three years. I left after discovering that the naturopathic profession is rife with professional misconduct and unethical treatments, including:

  • ozone therapy
  • high-dose vitamin therapy
  • intravenous injections of vitamins, minerals, and herbs
  • homeopathy
  • hydrotherapy
  • naturopathic spinal manipulations
  • energy medicine
  • healing touch
  • alternative cancer therapies
  • the illegal use of unapproved pharmaceutical medications
  • experimental therapies for diseases including cancer and chronic illnesses

Naturopaths are advertising and talking about these practices behind closed doors. But in public, naturopaths claim these therapies are “evidence-based.” As a former member of this community, I feel ethically compelled to speak out against the quackery that comprises naturopathic medicine.

Naturopathic Diaries provides accurate information about naturopathic education, training, and common practices in an effort to protect patients. This information contests materials put out by the naturopathic profession, which I believe are misleading and often times, blatantly false. Naturopathy does not convey the same credibility or deserve the same respect as medicine.

Learn more about naturopathy

Naturopathy: A critical appraisal. 2003. Medscape. Kimball Atwood. (It is worth noting that although this article is 15 years old, the arguments outlined within are still relevant today.)

Naturopathy, Pseudoscience, and Medicine: Myths and Fallacies vs Truth. 2004. Medscape General Medicine. Kimball Atwood.

Naturopathic medicine is cow pie. 2016. Naturopathic Diaries.

Learn more about me

How A Former Naturopath Can Help Unravel The Trickery Of Alternative Medicine. 2016. Science 2.0. Britt Hermes.

The shocking confessions of a naturopathic doctor. 2016. KevinMD. Britt Hermes.

About me. 2017. Naturopathic Diaries