Even when children die, naturopaths refuse to blame each other

naturopathic pediatrics
Screenshot from the website of a naturopath that sells tinctures of echinacea.

Naturopaths hate it when I draw attention to examples of patient harm resulting from naturopaths failing to uphold medical standards of care. The Ezekiel Stephan case was a prime example of the harm that can come from naturopaths trying to play doctor.

Nineteen-month-old Ezekiel Stephan died in 2012 from bacterial meningitis after his parents sought medical advice from naturopath Tracey Tannis. Per Tannis’s recommendation, Ezekiel’s parents treated him with echinacea. Tannis’s prescription fit right alongside the assortment of natural therapies Ezekiel’s parents had already been giving him. Further details about the case can be read here.

In April 2016 during a highly publicized trial, David and Collet Stephan were found guilty for failing to provide their son with the necessaries of life. They decided to appeal which will be heard next spring.

The Stephan case was devastating for the naturopathic community. In the trial, Collet recalled that Ezekiel was so sick by the time she sought help from Tannis that he was non-responsive and unable to bend his back to sit-up. These are ominous signs of meningitis.

Lexi Vataman, an employee at Tannis’s office, recounted that Tannis recommended Ezekiel take the herb echinacea after Collet called the clinic seeking advice specifically for treating meningitis. While Vataman’s memory of the events have been called into question, she maintains that her testimony is accurate. Tannis later disputed Vataman’s account. Tannis claimed she advised the parents take Ezekiel to the emergency room, in addition to selling the tincture.

Vataman’s testimony highlights a tragic outcome that can be traced back to the deficiency of medical training provided in accredited naturopathic programs in Canada and the United States. Outraged that a naturopathic doctor could provide such paltry medical advice, Canadian physicians wrote an open letter to the College of Naturopathic Doctors in Alberta demanding an investigation into what really happened in Tannis’s office. Amongst other problems in the profession, the letter calls attention to the lack of standards of care in naturopathy. Naturopaths demand all the same rights and privileges of medical doctors. But when it comes to upholding professional standards of patient safety and medical care, naturopaths fail.

In response to the letter, the College for Naturopathic Doctors in Alberta opened an investigation into Tracey Tannis.

My former colleagues are in denial

I received a Facebook message today from a licensed naturopath in Washington. Let’s call her Nanna Birsle. She and I went to Bastyr University together. On Facebook, Birsle has expressed her disdain for me and my opinions multiple times. Now, she has asked me to update my original blog post about Ezekiel to say that the Stephans were found guilty, and therefore, naturopaths are vindicated:

Hey Britt, did u hear that the family of little boy Ezekiel who died of HIB meningitis was charged as guilty. Maybe u should update ur blog about this and how it’s not the NDs fault it’s the parents fault for not vaccinating him and failure to provide him with medical care. It is in no way the NDs fault just as it’s not the pharmacist fault when a person purchases over the counter medications. For example if Someone stops in the store to buy Tylenol for their sick child and they go home and the child ends up dying, are u claiming that it is the persons fault who sold them the Tylenol? Wow that’s pretty ridiculous just like your blog!

This message exemplifies typical patient blaming by naturopaths, and Birsle is obviously mad at me.

I agree with the court’s decision that the parents did not provide their child with adequate medical care. The Stephans attempted to treat Ezekiel’s suspected meningitis for weeks before deciding to visit Tannis. But their guilty verdict says nothing about the role Tannis played in Ezekiel’s death.

Comparing Tannis’s clinic to a store where one can buy over-the-counter products is a ridiculous analogy. Tannis’s clinic was marketed as a medical office. Tannis called herself a doctor. As a patient, or Ezekiel’s mom, it is reasonable to assume that the advice and products offered in a medical setting by a doctor are safe and effective.

Like Tannis, Birsle says she specializes in naturopathic pediatrics. Her practice website is boiler plate. It lists many of the usual bogus naturopathic services, such as IgG food intolerance testing, genetic polymorphism screening, and heavy metal testing. She sells supplements directly out of her office. Her website page on supplement refills pictures products for sale including an echinacea tincture—the same remedy acquired by Ezekiel’s mom from Tracey Tannis.

I would guess that Birsle has also recommended echinacea instead of antibiotics for treating sick children. We were taught this at Bastyr. The reality is that Tannis, by selling an herbal remedy, did exactly as she had been trained to do. Thus, it likely that nothing will come of the investigation into Tannis’s failure to act as a competent medical professional.

Since Tannis knew the child had suspected meningitis, she should have called emergency services. Perhaps Birsle is so upset because the Tannis case forces her to confront a very distributing reality—it could have been her or any other naturopath in Tannis’s position. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Naturopaths have no place providing health care to children.[/inlinetweet]

91 Replies to “Even when children die, naturopaths refuse to blame each other

  1. As far as I know things in this case went as follows:

    1) The mother called, Tannis told her employee to refer the mother to emergency and stayed long enough to be sure the message was conveyed.

    That was the first mistake. She should have told that *personally*, apparently there was time enough.

    2) Then we have contradicting acounts. Tannis claims she has never seen the toddler, her employee claims that the toddler *was* introduced to her.

    This is the second mistake. An MD would make absolutely sure to see a toddler being presented in the office despite his parents having earlier been told to go to emergency at once.

    That means that the ND is responsible for crucial elements of the chain of events and performed catastropically. In my opinion the reason for that is threefold:

    (a) The lack of proper medical training. If one looks at the academic credentials of the faculty at Bastyr, it is non-existent. If one compares training it becomes even worse. thousands of hours for an MD, maybe a quarter for an ND and that quarter with treatments that are to a large extent not driven by science, but by philosophy and logical fallacies (e.g. appeal to tradition).

    (b) more fundamentally, the underlying philosophy. I have pointed out earlier that the therapeutic order in naturopathy is find the underlying cause -> stimulate the vis (whatever that is) -> support weakened structures -> personalized medication with “natural” drugs -> personalized medication with pharamceutical drugs -> severe interventions. In comparison the therapeutic order in medicine is anamesis -> diagnosis -> benefit/risk assessment -> application of the therapy with the greatest benefit/risk ratio. As a result a naturopath will always try to go with the least invasive method, thus heightening the probability of missing the therapeutic window – as it happened here. Since this is part of naturopathic medicine it is engraved in the trade.
    (c) In my experience, naturopaths tend to involve the patient far more than the patient can reasonably be involved. Recently I have read the sentence in a homeopathy blog, written by a ND which amounted that it is the patients choice to decide whether homeopathy works or not. I was aghast. A patient can never decide whether a therapy works or not, except he has sufficient medical knowledge himself. The only thing a patient can reasonably decide is – knowing the benefits and risks of a *working* therapy – which one to chose. There can be cases of patients preferring quackery instead of treatment, this is their choice, However, in such cases the patients decision, including proper warning, has to be thoroughly documented in writing.

    Tannis *is* co-responsible, whether your acquaintance likes it or not.

  2. This is an example of how naturopaths supposedly police their own. This naturopath offers breast enlargements with fillers—already alarm bells should be ringing. He then obtained fake juvaderm from china and injected this NON-STERILE product into multiple patients.
    He admitted to wrong doing.
    What was the fine–I would think my medical college would take away my license for such a corrupt act.
    He wAs given a one week suspension!!! Go to Hawaii for a week buddy and think what a bad boy you have been!!

    1. Do I read this correctly, but is this reprimand for injecting non-sterile material or for doing a procedure that is essentially experimental at best or both ? I think it is only for the first.

      1. You both will get a kick out of this updated consent order for Allan Strauss, which now has his letter to the profession attached: http://www.cnpbc.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/10-2015-Consent-Order-Strauss.pdf

        The letter, dated September 2016, is meant to warn the profession of the risks of purchasing and using unlicensed medical products.

        Then a month ago, Strauss was under investigation again for injecting phenol into his patients who wanted botox, without telling them what he was injecting: http://www.cnpbc.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016-10-11-Public-notification-Interim-Action-Allan-Strauss-ND.pdf

        I plan to report on this soon.

    2. A reprimand only for injecting non-sterile material would be in line with Michael Uzick who was reprimanded for giving a nutrient [sic] (Ukrain) that was produced by a manufacturer not registered with the FDA rather than treating cancer patients with a highly experimental (and likely non-working) treatment. If I think about the paperwork we have to do to fo the ethical committee get permission to us umbilical cords for the isolation of endothelial cells and the problems we have if we do not do that I am really asking myself whether naturopaths have any ethics guidelines at all and if yes, how they look like.

  3. There is a very good assay on the topic, available here:


    Just to quote a few key passages:

    “The standard for proving negligence in a malpractice case is whether the
    treatment deviates from accepted medical standards…it would seem then
    that no practitioner of alternative medicine could prevail on such a
    question as the reference to the term “non-conventional” may well
    necessitate a finding that the doctor who practices such medicine
    deviates from “accepted” medical standards. This indeed creates a
    problem for such physicians which perhaps can only be solved by having
    the patient execute a comprehensive consent containing appropriate
    information as to the risks involved” (Charell v. Gonzalez, Supreme Court of New York, New York County, 173 Misc. 2d 227 (1997))

    and the summary:

    “1. Alternative therapies generally cannot be successfully attacked
    through malpractice litigation solely on the basis of their
    implausibility or lack of convincing scientific evidence for safety and
    efficacy. Particularly in the case of widely accepted and often state
    licensed approaches such as acupuncture and chiropractic, charges of
    malpractice will be judged by standards set within the paradigm of the
    particular method, not by any broader scientific or evidence-based

    2. Alternative medicine providers can, of course, be guilty of
    malpractice if they perform their interventions below the commonly
    accepted standards of their own communities. They may also have
    liabilities for injuries caused by discouraging patients from seeking
    conventional care and, in some jurisdictions, for not recognizing when a
    patient’s condition is beyond the scope of their form of treatment and
    subsequently referring the patient for treatment by a medical doctor.

    3. The courts and legislatures give great weight to the autonomy of the
    individual to make decisions about their own healthcare, and they are
    likely to view sympathetically malpractice defenses based on the theory
    that by choosing an alternative approach a patient understands and
    assumes the risk of that approach.

    4. The licensure of alternative methods by states, their integration
    into academic institutions, and the tacit approval of their legitimacy
    conveyed by government organizations like NCCAM and insurance provider
    who pay for them all contribute to the perception of these methods as
    legitimate alternatives to scientific medicine, and this makes it very
    difficult for patients injured by these approaches to successfully
    pursue a malpractice action despite the lack of good scientific evidence
    that these methods are safe and effective. As we have seen repeatedly,
    when evaluating alternative medicine the law is far less concerned with
    scientific evidence than with political, cultural, and philosophical

    This sums it up pretty concisely. In short: licensing naturopaths outside medicine is a blank cheque to conduct experimental treatments in the general population.

  4. You know, if naturopaths are going to routinely rely on allopaths to cure their sick patients, then they really need to stop marketing themselves as “alternative” medicine. Whenever someone dies under their care, they insist their treatments aren’t actually an alternative to regular Western medicine at all! No, no, it’s all purely adjunctive.

    Somehow their patients don’t seem to be getting that message.

  5. I agree with Britt in laying blame to the naturopaths. Her efforts to try to push back against the acceptance of CAM into society should be supported. As someone who lives in Alberta, this issue really does get my blood boiling. The fact that there isn’t more outrage on this tragedy demonstrates how much people have either accepted these practices or don’t seem to care. I have tried advocating for the ban of these practices to children under the age of 18 as well as advocate for changes to accepting CAM practitioners as primary health care providers. I encourage all Alberta residents to do the same. Unless people push back, there will be more Ezekiels.

      1. No problem. I hope to keep pushing back on this. It is far too important to let it go.

  6. Any of children might have heavy antibiotics consuming the medical advice from Allopathic drugs to remove Immediately side by side the natural practiced foods to be feeded then the kids life won’t be risk also the complete BLOOD to be change with full IMMUNE arrives in body by feeding food intake process , it’s cent percent possible .

    1. Just what kind of doctor are you and what do your posts have to do with naturopathy or the discussion at hand? In western scientific medicine, foods are not a substitute for drugs any more than drugs are a substitute for foods.

  7. Recently a month ago here in INDIA , a lady delivered a premature 7 months 2 days old male kid safely by cesarian , and kept under incubator , there is no mother feed , she phoned me to take advices for mother feed, according my advices by food INTAKES within 48 hours milk has arrived in her breast till today developed well and the kid given by Doctors from incubator to mother feed the weight also increased day by day .
    That Success video will be uploaded in YouTube shortly .
    So , 90% is Possible by INTAKE my MAGRAFOOD TREATMENT SYSTEM cures , because all Human born by food made organs too.
    By,2014 , a UTERUS CANCER PATIENT saved by my advices , after 7-8 chemograpy ,rejected here by two different Hospitals.
    By 2016 may 25 in a hospital a wrong diagnosed hernia surgeried by allopathic doctors ,and distrubed all abdominal ORGANS like , food pipe , pancreas , gallbladder , liver and lungs too , she suffered 60 days with constant stomachs , and non digesting food , after eating immediately vomiting and sometime went de hydration too , one day I visited by their call , pulse rating was 40 and body temperature is 62 , almost life getting dye Then immediately by a 50 ml water with salt and jaggery mixed feeded within 10 minutes backed , then water ,salt ,jaggery ,raw green chillie juice , intake after she almost saved then shifted to her daughter house by a car immediately , then started to increase platelets count and hemoglobin , feeded accordingly , after 15 days again visited to cover another video to her residence , now till today she is living happily without consuming any DRUG as per my advice food is enough to live till date of life in this EARTH .

    1. you are not adding anything by providing anecdotes….especially about some unstudied system that you are trying to sell…

  8. Lets see how we go when we put the shoe on the other foot.

    Iatrogentic damage or ‘science based’ medical care, as you muppets like to call it, is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer.


    The combined effect of errors and adverse effects that occur because of iatrogenic damage includes:

    12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery
    7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals
    20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals
    80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals
    106,000 deaths a year from nonerror, adverse effects of medications
    This amounts to a total of 225,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes.

    The estimates are for deaths only and do not include adverse effects associated with disability or discomfort.
    The estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the Institute of Medicine Report (a previous report by the Institute of Medicine on the number of iatrogenic deaths in the U.S.)
    If these caveats are considered, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.

    O and then there’s this,


    “The Institute of Medicine reported in January of 2000 that from 44,000 to 98,000 deaths occur annually from medical errors.1 Of this total, an estimated 7,000 deaths occur due to ADRs. To put this in perspective, consider that 6,000 Americans die each year from workplace injuries.

    However, other studies conducted on hospitalized patient populations have placed much higher estimates on the overall incidence of serious ADRs. These studies estimate that 6.7% of hospitalized patients have a serious adverse drug reaction with a fatality rate of 0.32%.2 If these estimates are correct, then there are more than 2,216,000 serious ADRs in hospitalized patients, causing over 106,000 deaths annually. If true, then ADRs are the 4th leading cause of death—ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents, and automobile deaths.

    These statistics do not include the number of ADRs that occur in ambulatory settings. Also, it is estimated that over 350,000 ADRs occur in U.S. nursing homes each year.3 The exact number of ADRs is not certain and is limited by methodological considerations. However, whatever the true number is, ADRs represent a significant public health problem that is, for the most part, preventable.”

    So what your saying is this is ok?
    Well obviously right? Because there all ‘science based’ deaths and thats ok.

    1. What you are presenting here is the logical fallacy of tu quoque. Medicine is not perfect and errors occur. The problem is that there are no stats available on the aggravating effects of CAM and the delay of treatment that may be caused. The few that exist do not paint a nice picture. There are studies in breast cancerabout the death probability of users of CAM vs state of the art medicine. The results are devastating for CAM. The probability to die within five years is three times higher (!!!) higher for women who used CAM only. The quality of life of users of a combination of CAM and sate of the art medicine is not really enhanced, the same goes for the survival. The bottom line is that CAM is not superior to real medicine.

      1. Haha please tell me, have you ever been told your full of crap?
        Its ok that we needlessly kill thousands of people every year because “medicine is not perfect and errors occur” but a few silly people calling themselves nat’s and ND’s do the same thing and obviously the whole thing is a croc and all properly trained professionals are terrible people and quacks. Obviously! right?

        1. You do not get it. Your argument as essentially medicine kills many people therefore we need naturopathy. In order to use this argument you have to establish superiority of either use of naturopathy alone or the combination. So far naturopathy is NOT superior in general and even the superiority of the combination is questionable.Aside that, eliminating questionable therapies and treatments will result in a drop of the death toll due to medical errors. In so far the argument attacking naturopathy equals being OK with the death toll in medicine is fallacious. Quite to the contrary, the mindest and motivation behind attacking naturopathy is essentially the same as the mindset and motivation behind eliminating medical errors, because much of naturopathy in fact *is* a medical error.

  9. One thing I was hoping you might be able to clear up for me.
    You keep using the word naturopath as some kind of interchangeable umbrella term.
    As there are vast differences between a DR, ND, a naturopath, nutritionist, medical herbalist and homeopath all of this is quite confusing.

    Naturopaths dont diagnose as they are not DR’s and homeopaths arn’t naturopaths. Just as a ND is not a DR a ND is also not a naturopath. They’re all quite different.

    Nutrition, medical herbalism and lifestyle coaching is the scope of a naturopath who has a bachelor degree in naturopathic medicine as their qualification and anything else does not qualify them to be called a naturopath. And so they should not be refered to as one nor use the title as they are not qualified.
    Anything else is just that, something else i.e not naturopthy.

    So if you have a problem with ND’s you should call them an ND not a naturopath and the same goes for homeopaths etc.

    If your going to point the finger you should probably do it at the right person or group, otherwise you just look stupid. Its kinda like being racist but just makes you look dumb instead of being an ass hole. Although that’s debatable.
    Although I have grown to just expect that from you Britt and your miserly group of rascals.

    1. Homeopathy is an integral part of the practice NDs, There is a study about the scope of practice of NDs in Canada. The top three are Homeopathy, Naturopathy and TCM. However, it does not matter. All three (naturopaths, especially homeopaths as well as NDs) sell things that is to a high percentage snake oil.

      1. How exactly is that answering my question?

        (As I somewhat agree with you we’ll leave the other 2 out for now). So let me get this straight. You think I as a naturopath, “sell things that is to a high percentage snake oil”.
        Haha this should be fun.
        O please all mighty wise one, give me an example of one thing we qualified nats do that is this ‘snake oil’ you mention?

        1. Oh, this is simple. Medical herbalism for instance. There is a study by Cravotto et al who has evaluated 1000 medically used plants. Of these 156 hat clinical trials done and of these 9 (in words nine) or roughly 6% had considerable evidence of pharmacologic effects. Don’t get me wrong, plants are a valuable source for drugs but much of what is taught in medical herbalism is wrong. Given the fact that medical herbalism is fraught with observational bias this has to be expected.

          1. Firstly, that study outright dismissed all other herbs, as in did not even look into them, and only focused on the 9, using obscure sources aside from Pubmed. Then used what ever results they did find to determine the efficacy of evidence of all others.
            What an intelligent way to do a study.

            But lets go with that,
            Lets keep it simple for now and stick with one. how about either Calendula officinalis or Echinacea purpurea.
            I’ll be nice and let you pick.

            1. I agree that the study left out any number of plants used as medicines; however, the figure of 6% with any evidence from clinical trials to support their use wouldn’t be much different if other plants were included. How can I be so sure? After 30 years of studying medicinal plants, going back to the earliest literature on various individual plants, I can assure you that the number of well controlled trials on other species are relatively small, as are the numbers of subjects enrolled in the trials. What we don’t know is whether larger trials will find the same plants to be either safe or effective and whether their benefits outweigh their risks.

              1. That the figure of 6% stands quite confirmed is a simple statistical thing. If you draw a sample of size 156 and get a fraction of positives of 6% you won’t get even close to say 20% if you draw a sample of 1000. This low percentage is to be expected. The “ancient tradition” naturopaths apeal to is based on experience which is fraught with observational bias.

                1. If your done being a dick I would like to continue this. By not singling out and looking them individually its like saying all mexicans drink tequila and all jamiacians run fast…
                  Kinda stupid isnt it…

                  So please pick one and we will proceed from there.
                  Calendula officinalis or Echinacea purpurea

                  1. You are comparing apples with oranges. Essentially you claim that naturopathy provides effective healing methods. I do not deny that some methods have some effects as I do not deny that some herbs have pharmacological effects. However, even if Calendula and Echinacea have pronounced therapeutic value, that makes them part of medicine, but does not justify naturopathy as a whole. In order to justify naturopathy as a whole you have to prove that naturopathy as a whole is at least equivalent to medicine.If we take a part of naturopathy, herbal medicine, we see that roughly 6% of the used herbs display clear pharmacological effects, probably as much as 15% display some (taken from Cravotto). This is a clear failure to prove equality. The same goes for other naturopathic treatments like detox, etc.

                  2. Detox! Now there’s a scam. I once examined the evidence for 35 plants and other substances marketed in formulas for “detoxing”. Not one of them had a shred of evidence that their use resulted in the elimination of pesticides, or any other environmental chemicals. What they often had in common is that they were either diuretic or laxative. Just because they have the effect of making a gullible patient or shopper of health products go to the bathroom more often doesn’t mean they are healthy or detoxifying. The liver detoxifies the body without the need of diuretics or laxatives.

                    Marketers, including naturopaths, have taken a term for a medical procedure designed to eliminate harmful levels of alcohol and usually illicit psychoactive drugs to hustle a buck from the unwary. I suppose the FDA decided that legal actions would result in court proceedings in which semantics would be hauled out to argue that detox is used in another fashion. How ethical is that?

                    Coincidentally, I’m not the only one to have recently raised the sham of detoxying, to say nothing of yeast syndrome.

            2. Firstly, the study focused on 156 plants for which clinical trials where available. Of *these* roughly 6% showed pharmaceutical effect. Even if we allow for a HUGE error margin for false negatives and assume that in truth 50% of the plants have an effect (which is statistically highly unlikely) we still have 50% non effective plants in your repertoire.

              Secondly, we will NOT focus on two plants. I look at the total picture. Just because you prescribe two plants that work does not justify the others. Actually it could be expected by chance that some herbs actually work, but this is not medicine.

              Thirdly, have you actually *read* the study ? I have.

            3. Marigold (Calendula officinalis) and purple coneflower (Rudbeckia purpurea syn., Echinacea purpurea)? On the former, I would direct your attention to the following:

              On the use of marigold-based creams for radiation-induced skin toxicity, the authors of a recent review concluded that “Despite strong evidence in the laboratory supporting calendula’s mechanism of action in preventing radiation induced skin toxicity, clinical studies have demonstrated mixed results. In light of the controversy surrounding the efficacy of calendula in treating and preventing radiodermatitis, the topic warrants further discussion.”


              A proprietary marigold-based cream was not significantly more effective than a proprietary non-allergenic cream:


              As for purple coneflower, in my personal experience, I have not found it to be effective in treating the common cold or influenza. Despite having tried it on a number of occasions over several decades, my symptoms and their duration were not noticeably reduced. If it seems to be effective for some people some of the time, even after numerous in vitro and animal studies, no one has established why or conclusively demonstrated the mechanism of its action against colds or influenza. Marketers like to claim that it “boosts” the immune system, but then, so does influenza.

              To me, one of the most interesting fallacies about purple coneflower is the idea that it was used to treat colds and flu by the American Indians.

        2. An ND is someone with a doctorate in naturopathy. A naturopath could be someone with a doctorate in the subject or anyone with a certificate from a school of naturopathy, be it from an online paper mill or some other business selling certificates for the completion of courses on the subject.

          Naturopaths do diagnose; however, their abilities to make accurate diagnoses based on western medicine are far more limited than those of medical doctors (MDs). Some, if not many naturopaths, only accept clients who have a diagnosis for their disease from an MD. Naturopaths don’t have the experience gained from the 1000s of hours of attending to patients with all manner of diseases that MDs must put in before they are qualified to treat.

          1. Are you a naturopath?
            I am and we dont diagnose.
            Naturopaths dont diagnose because we are not trained to diagnose. Scope of practice and all that…

            1. You don’t think naturopaths diagnose, but they do. When a client presents with an array of perceived symptoms and the naturopath comes up with yin deficiency, that’s a diagnosis. If a naturopath decided a client was suffering from yeast syndrome or some other popular condition such as Lyme disease syndrome rather than the diagnosis of another naturopath, TCM practitioner, homeopath, herbalist, or MD, legally sanctioned or not, that would be a diagnosis.

              1. What the fuck is yin deficiency or yest syndrome?
                No it is not a diagnosis I’m afraid.
                Dr’s are the only ones who can diagnose. no one else. What you seem to be referring to is guess work and that sounds silly and dangerous.

                1. I can only assume that you are new to the field or you would know those terms and how widely they have been applied by naturopaths who have sold all sorts of unproven substances to clients for their treatment. Regardless, if a naturopath can’t diagnose, I see no reason to trust their prescriptions.

                  1. I know exactly what they are.
                    We laugh at you americans and your hogwash made up things.

                  2. So, you DO know what they are. Well, Janus, then you would also know that naturopathy is largely a made-up American thing. What you didn’t know is that I’m not an American, but that is besides the point. This is not a laughing matter.

                  3. How is eating right, sleeping well, taking a good shit and using nature to help in whatever way it can to achieve these things be “largely a made-up American thing”?
                    If you mean mr lust, I’m well aware of him.
                    And yes this is a laughing matter.
                    We have a shitty ND that couldn’t do her job get pissed off and started writing a blog to try cover her short comings and try attack the things she couldn’t do.
                    We have MR T who thinks all plants are shit because 1 study with massive bias and a terrible method says so and it just so happens to agree with his personal onesided arrogent mind, funny that.
                    and you Jr, well aside from me you at least seem a little honest and thats a rare quality these days. Especially amongst these guys. Good work bro

                  4. Yes, I do mean Mr. Lust. As for regular bowel movements and the healing process, naturopathy can’t lay claim to them any more than western medicine could. Effective laxatives have been known in diverse cultures for millennia. Even the indigenous peoples of South America knew which plants were effective; not that the plants were necessarily safe. But you misinterpret Thomas Mohr when you state that he thinks all plants are CRAP (Can’t Really Assure Potency). On the contrary, he knows that at least some plants have been the source of valuable compounds for the development of life-saving drugs. However, that doesn’t mean the plants from which they were extracted are better or safer than the medicines.

                  5. Nor does it mean the drug is better or safer either.
                    However, a large number of single compounds that have been extracted do a fantastic job.
                    Similarly, complex compounds are fantastic at other jobs.

                    Its funny, I do lay blame on my predecessors for leaving things as they are. So i understand why and how people think so objectionably towards my profession.
                    Although, just like with our friend Mr T, everything is always based on the idea that we are in competition.
                    One is not superior to the other, their entirely different things.
                    I would never argue that naturopathy is better than allopathic medicine and I would never argue allopathic medicine is better than naturopathy. Because they are not the same thing.

                    Dr’s don’t typicaly learn anything more than basic macro and micro-nutrition, naturopaths do.
                    DR’s aren’t trained to check for food/herb/supplement/drug interactions, naturopaths are (Yes people do prescribe themselves things to believe it or not, and not tell the DR. And no, we are not taught to feed people supplements despite what you may have been told).
                    I don’t know how they do it in the states but naturopaths never should and cant diagnose, Dr’s can.
                    Dr’s keep people alive we help them feel better and self-manage their conditions.
                    Dr’s do, naturopaths educate.

                    If you guys or anyone else thinks differently I’m afraid you are mistaken.
                    Take the Tannis case above, a naturopath should/would never try and treat meningitis (seriously wtf!). Same goes for autism, lyme disease and cancer…

                    Both systems need to grow up so we can stop arguing among ourselves and help people.

                  6. I disagree with a number of your claims:

                    “DR’s aren’t trained to check for food/herb/supplement/drug interactions, naturopaths are”.

                    With the popularity of dietary supplements, MDs and pharmacists have increasingly examined potential drug interactions. Look through the scientific literature on herb-drug interactions and ask yourself who reports cases? MDs or naturopaths?

                    “Dr’s don’t typicaly learn anything more than basic macro and micro-nutrition, naturopaths do.”

                    Naturopaths have attempted to claim a territory already developed by nutritionists within science-based medicine. Naturopaths have a long history of selling massive doses of vitamins and minerals without first establishing the safety and efficacy of those doses.

                    “Dr’s do, naturopaths educate.”

                    Naturopaths sell, market, and promote products under the guise of education, whether the same products are necessary, medically beneficial, or sufficiently established as safe for a given medical condition.

                  7. I thought you were civil. Obviously my mistake.
                    This really is just a waste of time isn’t it. you guys are just far to arrogant and don’t even take on board anything i say.

                    Its not my fault that you guys are just blind to the fact that practitioners like myself actually do help people. And yip fair enough, others who call themselves nat’s have led people astray and done strange things and tarnished the name. But they were either doing things outside their scope of practice or using things that have no scientific credentials, that in no way means myself and others like me or naturopaths who practice safely and correctly are bad or have no place helping people.
                    I conduct case studies on every single patient i.e. report everything.
                    I have never once sold a patient a single thing.
                    I give them recipes, resources, guidance and advice that is tailored for their particular personality and situation (Educate!) and I don’t stock anything either for that reason as most things can be achieved with food.
                    I don’t sell, market or promote anything except for self-efficacy and being healthy.
                    I am a degree level trained nutritionist and I dont claim territory to that. I just also have that particular set of knowledge.

                  8. Disagreeing with your claims hardly amounts to being uncivil. Based on the description of your practice, in the U.S. or Canada, you would be one of the exceptions. In the wild, wild West, naturopaths experiment on people with all manner of CRAP.

                  9. No but claiming I do things and making wild accusations about me and how my personal colleges practice based on what others have is uncivil.
                    Everyone over here is trained and practices just like that so it would appear that you guys only have a problem with american ND. Perhaps in future refer to them as that instead of putting us all on the same platform as we are obviously not

                  10. Wild accusations? Apparently, you believe that the practices we find problematic—even unethical—are limited to American naturopaths. In that case, I would suggest that you to head on over to Edzard Ernst’s site and tell him that.

                  11. Quote from the Naturopaths of New Zealand website: “Naturopaths use a variety of assessment tools to understand the context of disease and identify the underlying causes of ill-health. Assessments tools may include: comprehensive questionnaires, taking careful note of symptoms, diet and habitual living habits; palpation, percussion and auscultation; observations of pulse, movement, tongue, nail and facial appearances; bioimpedence, sphygmomanometer, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, otoscope, and darkfield microscopy; kinesiology and iridology.”

                    All these are diagnostic procedures (although they are called “assessment tools”) some of which (darkfield microscopy, kinesiology, iridology) are outright quackery.

                    I.o.W. naturopaths in New Zealand do not only diagnose, they do it with very questionable methods.

                  12. I am also aware that some plants can be used to medicate. The problem is that many naturopaths have the notion that plants or herbs are somehow superior to drugs because they are “natural”. The problem with this approach is that

                    (a) plants don’t make drugs for humans, but for themselves.
                    (b) they produce a lot of other stuff too.

                    That means preferring extracts over drugs will lead to a sub-optimal treatment and put you in (sometimes grave) difficulties with regard to dosage, purity and potential side effects. This is for instance the reason why almost nobody drinks willow bark tea but takes an aspirin which is far less toxic and far better tolerated.

                  13. Yes, so when one is properly trained with safety as the foremost concern, the product is manufactured to a particular standard and therapeutic effect, they do amazing things.
                    I would be interested to talk with these naturopaths you mentioned and smash they’re silliness.
                    They in no way compete with drugs and it hilarious when people think they do. But they do also have their place.
                    You’d be amazed what turmeric can do according to some people i have seen haha

                  14. “you’d be amazed what turmeric can do according to some people I have seen haha”…. I see that they don’t teach you about research methodology and statistics…and the perils of relying on anecdotes.

                  15. again, you said made up american things…yet naturopaths in auckland are doing iridology, live blood analysis, and other bogus tests.

            2. So how does this work ? Do you have an MD doing the diagnosing for you or does the patient tell you ?

              If one shows up and says I have a cough lasting for some time and you tell him to drink some tea you do:

              (a) an anamnesis
              (b) a diagnosis (the cough is something my plants can treat
              (c) a benefit-risk evaluation
              (d) a treatment.

              I.o.W. classical MD work including diagnosing.

              1. Their diagnosed before I see them.
                I spend at least 1.5 hours getting to know them.
                What they like, what they don’t like, diet, medications, stress and personal views plus many other things.
                I also do a full physical and clinical evaluation (which I am trained to the same standards as a Dr).
                If at all I suspect something else I will refer them.

                Depending on what they want I apply treatment.
                It may solely be correcting sleeping hygiene or some sedative tea. It may just be eating more salmon to get their EFAs.
                If their bloods indicate a deficiency and they want a supplement, only then will they get it.
                Perhaps even a combination of the above.

                In the above case, perhaps some warming herbs may be prescribed although preferably just hot tea, lots of fluids, foods rich in vitamin c, b’s and zinc, bed rest, keep warm and a round of antibiotics if prescribed by the DR. See how they go and call me in the morning.

                1. “I also do a full physical and clinical evaluation (which I am trained to the same standards as a Dr).”
                  How do you figure? did you have cardiologist teach you a cardiac exam? Ophthalmologists teach you an eye exam? neurologists teach you the neurological exam? Did you do thousands of exams on patients with real diseases?
                  I bet you were trained by other untrained naturopaths on healthy people!
                  So don’t even pretend you are trained to the same standards as a a real doctor.

                  1. o great another asshole has joined in.
                    ooooo burn bro.
                    Shit you got me, I am now defeated.

                    Of the 3 ?’s you asked the answer is yes.
                    I was trained on both healthy and acute/chronic patients by Dr’s and nat’s over the course of 300+ clinical hours on a variety of diseases, multiple weekly exams and i did my own case study to finish my degree.

                    Got anything else sunshine?

                  2. 300+ clinical hours ? Do you know how much clinical training MDs receive before they are let loose on the general population ? Depending on the speciality 10000 to 15000 hours (in words: ten thousand to fifteen thousand). No, clinically you are in no way trained to the same standards as MDs. Not even remotely.

                  3. 3000. Apologies, I missed a 0.
                    Yes now why do you think that is genius?
                    Because we are not Dr’s you fucking stupid muppet.

                    Why can you not understand that?

                    I’m not a Dr. I don’t want to be a Dr. In other words… I’m not a DR.
                    I don’t diagnose, prescribe chemical or radiation therapy and I don’t cut people open.
                    I help them feel better and sleep.
                    Why would I need 10000 to 15000 hours of clinicals to do that?

                    I am trained to assess people’s state of health and I try to improve it, organically, in a tailored way.

                  4. S it is 3000 ? Quote: “I also do a full physical and clinical evaluation (which I am trained to the same standards as a Dr)” I am sorry, but even with 3000 hours and a case study you are not trained to the same standards as an MD. Remember: MD = 10.000 to 15.000 plus one to three case studies every week – for three years. Aside that, assessing people’s state of health *is* diagnosing.

                  5. LOL do you actually read anything I write or just paraphrase to suit yourself?
                    I’m not a DR.
                    One more time, just so we are clear…
                    I am not a doctor.
                    I am a naturopath, as in I’m not a DR. Which means I’m not a DR.

                  6. If you are not an MD, why do you claim to be trained to the same standards as an MD with regard to physical and clinical evaluation ?

                    The point is – you yourself said that you refer patients to MDs if you suspect something else. (Quote: “If at all I suspect something else I will refer them.”) If you are in physical and clinical evaluation not trained to the same standards as an MD, how do you avoid false positives and – even worse – false negatives ? Lacking clinical training, there is quite a high probability for this to happen, is it not ?

                  7. About 80% of patients I get are referrals by DR’s.
                    All assessments are done before they see me. As in, they don’t see me without all the necessary paperwork filled out before coming in. So I have all the up to date blood work and alike plus a letter stating what they want me to do, look into and address.
                    So thats how I “avoid false positives and – even worse – false negatives” and ensure safety.
                    I am trained to know what is normal and what is abnormal, such as ROM. If I discover something abnormal, I personally contact the DR by phone and get their input.
                    If we agree that they need further assessments by the DR I refer them back.

                  8. So you do not diagnose. Well, lets look at the ethics code of the NHPNZ (I assume you know what that is) and viola, in several articles it explicitely refers to diagnosis, how it should be done and documented. Once again cam, it does not matter what you see as naturopathic or not. What matters is what the profession as a whole defines.

                  9. I don’t belong to that association nor are they in anyway an authority of what we can and can’t do or do they define our scope.
                    But it doesn’t matter what I say as you do not acknowledge a single word I say.

                  10. Practically *all* Naturopathic societies in NZ have similar codes, provide diagnosing methods such as iridology, naturopathic colleges teach that and licensing is based on this curricula and codes of ethics. What you present here is the “no true scotsman” logical fallacy. It does not matter what you think the field is. What matters is how the licensing authority defines the field. Naturopaths in New Zealand *do* diagnose and they do that using quackery. You may not diagnose patients and use only teas and some nutritional advice, but your colleages do the full program – that defines the field.

                  11. If you want to say I diagnose or those methods are diagnostic then fine, I diagnose and those methods are diagnostic. Even though I was never trained to or use them.
                    Believe it or not but I agree and I have been campaigning to get them removed from the websites as there is little to no evidence to support their use and even then they don’t help.

                  12. “No, no, I’m not an ophthalmologist, I don’t want to be one. I don’t have that same training, I don’t need it. I just make people’s eyes better. Uhh, ‘holistically.'”

                  13. Another remark. Your school seems to have been Wellpark College or so, right ? Well, pharmacology there is read by a nurse holding a bachelor’s degree in naturopathy. The litmus test for a college/university teacher is: would s/he be able to read her lecture in another university, in this case a university with an MD or an MSc program in pharmacology ? Now ask yourself, would a nurse with a bachelor in naturopathy pass this test ? I will tell you: No. Do you know who reads pharmacology at my university ? A full blown MD holding a professorship who would pass this test with flying colors because he actually *did* read pharmacology at another university. I am sorry cam, but your training is in no way equal to that of an MD or a nutritionist. Alone the belief 300+ clinical hours is the same standard as MD training shows beyond any doubt that you are not aware what medicine (naturopathy or otherwise) really is.

                  14. you sure about that Cam? I have some colleagues at that university and I bet if i ask them if they teach at your school they will laugh. Usually it is only MD who are not allowed to practice that would actually teach at a naturopathic school.

            3. To diagnose is the process of determining which condition explains the symptoms and signs of a patient. Therefore if you “assess” the patient’s health and initiate a treatment based on that you in fact are diagnosing. You may call it health assessment but it is and remains diagnosing.

      2. for your info Thomas:
        This is a link to the esteemed faculty that is teaching are cocky friend Cam.
        It continually amazes me how these people do not realize how they are being ripped off by these bogus schools, and actually believe that their education is on par with academic medical schools.

        1. Wow. I didn’t know one could get certified as a Tarot advisor. I also did not know that nurses holding a bachelor degree in naturopathy teach pharmacology.

    2. So cam, I tested your theory that this is just an issue with North American “naturopaths”. I google Auckland naturopaths and the first hit is for David Holden (naturopath).
      He does “state of the art assessments” using live blood analysis, iridology, antioxidant levels and biological age assessments.
      This is all a load of crap right in your backyard. Do you want me to go on listing what all the other naturopaths in Auckland do?

      1. Next on the list is lynne flood, a graduate of your school. She used quantum reflex analysis to determine organ and gland stress and the nutritional detox support required
        So CAm should I keep going down the list of Auckland naturopaths…do you need more to see that they are identical on quackery to our naturopaths in North America

        1. You can do what ever the fuck you want bro.
          Everything you have mentioned is not naturopathic and so is not relevant to me.

          1. They call themselves naturopaths and they did the same degree as you from the same school…..so you can stick your head in the sand if it makes you feel better bro

            1. No she did the diploma 14 years ago. And regardless, all those things are not naturopathic. So again, are irreverent.

              1. seems like almost all your colleagues in auckland do iridology and live blood analysis. What scammers
                Why don’t you clean up your own city. They say naturopathic all over their websites.
                It seems like you are the one who is having problem with definitions as all your colleagues feel differently.

                1. Well, accoring to several officially recognized associations of naturopaths iridology *is* part of the naturopathic canon. It does not matter how cam defines naturopathy, all that matters is how organizations in the field do.

                  1. Yes they do teach that, as an addition.
                    Thats why it, just like homeopathy and any other thing you like, is not taught as part of a naturopathy degree.

                  2. Well, lets quote the diploma description of the Naturopathic College of New Zealand: “This qualification provides core knowledge and skills for clinical practice as a professional Naturopath. The scope of practice of Naturopaths includes a large range of healing modalities. Subjects studied in the diploma include:
                    Medical sciences
                    Clinical practice
                    Nutritional sciences
                    Relaxing massage
                    Zone therapy
                    Flower essences
                    Tissue salts

                    In this course it is an integral part of the Naturopaths Diploma, whatever that is.

          2. just like trump does not have the temperament to be president…you do not have the temperament to be a pseudo health practitioner. Profanities are unwarranted and unprofessional

            1. Well you’re a cunt and the rest of you guys are assholes so what is the point in being civil?
              All you guys do is go on the offensive and attack me with bullshit. You do not ask, discuss or inquire about anything.
              I have already attempted to explained the situation but alas every single thing I say, no matter how correct or qualified etc, is automatically discredited by you guys with either outright ignoring it or you change to some other bullshit and you continue with more bullshit.
              Until you actually want to discuss something I will happily keep calling you a silly little cunt or some other thing I hope you find offensive as I might as well get something out of this.

              1. Cam, the problem with your statements is that they are a bit like an internally rotten tooth. Outside white, as soon as probed it collapses. Last example: Iridology is taught at naturopathic colleges as option. A probe into the naturopathic college of new zealand – which is among the older institutions in this field shows otherwise. I also do not believe your 3000+ hours clinical training. That would equal a full year with 10 hours per day working in the hospital treating patients plus night shifts etc. I bet if David would probe that – which he can – it will collapse too. I guess the original number is closer.

                1. Sigh. Whats the point…
                  I give up.
                  This is a waste of all our time.
                  You do not listen and I’m over doing nothing but repeating and defending myself.
                  I have studied at both AU, Wellpark and done extra volunteer work over 7 years to gain my hours and qualifications which far exceeds the requirements. That doesn’t matter though does it.
                  I’ve said that I agree with most of what you have said and am actually trying to change things. That doesn’t matter though does it.
                  I have the Cochrine reviews, meta analyses and other studies at the ready to support my case for the use of herbs and every thing else I am qualified to do. But instead of being presented with an opportunity to show these and discuss, you focus on iridiology, homeopathy and other things that I also don’t support and have already said just that, multiple times. But that doesn’t matter does it.

                  Everything, just like a rotten tooth, is subject to its environment. You guys created this environment and so I responded accordingly.
                  I wish you well on your endeavors and hope one day we may be presented with an opportunity to actually discuss, debate, present and change things for the better.
                  Until then, good luck.

          3. It does not matter what is relevant to you. What matters is how the naturopathic canon is defined by the relevant associations. Quantum reflex analysis *is* part of this canon.

  10. Yet another case of a child dying from meningitis because of a parent who shunned conventional medicine is making the news in Canada. So far, it appears that no naturopaths were involved.

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