What’s the harm in naturopathy?

It’s no secret that naturopathy is pure quackery. Indeed, part of its premise is vitalism, a concept which has no physical basis. It is the practice and love of those who are no better than 9/11 conspiracy nuts or birthers; it’s nothing more than a hipster-like reaction to something that has been established as true. And it comes with great harm:

Anne M. Adkins
Wichita, Kansas – Kidney failure
January 6 – 26, 2004
She traveled to Utah to be treated by a holistic naturopath. She received large doses of vitamin C, chelation therapy and colonics among other things. Within weeks she was suffering from kidney failure.

Lorie Atikian
Age: 17 months
Ontario, Canada
Died (malnutrition, pneumonia)
September 25, 1987
Lorie’s parents, concerned about modern food additives, were advised to give her an organic vegetarian diet. She was also treated with herbal & homeopathic remedies and an energy machine. Her parents were convicted of neglect.

Cameron Ayres
Age: 6 months
Fulham, west London, England
May 1999
Cameron was born with a rare but treatable disorder, but his parents distrusted conventional medicine. A nurse/homeopath begged them to take him to a doctor, but they refused. He died.

Raj Bathija
Age: 69
Westminster, London, England
Both legs amputated
September 2005
He saw a “natural health practitioner” famous for treating celebrities. He was given nutritional advice and massages. Later, he was taken to a hospital where his legs had to be amputated. He is suing the practitioner.

Debbie Benson
Age: 55
Fort Bragg, California
Died (cancer)
July 15, 1997
She had a deep distrust of traditional medicine, so she sought out naturopaths and other alternative practitioners for her breast cancer. It raged out of control and she died.

Catherine “Cat” Elizabeth Bresina
Age: 17
Wheatridge, Colorado (from Wisconsin)
Cardiac arrest
March 25, 2004
Cat’s family took her to Colorado for what they thought was an inventive therapy for her disease. An injection she was given during the treatment caused her heart to stop. Charges were later filed against the naturopath.

I’ve only given 5 of the 200 instances of naturopathy-induced harm from that one website. Just imagine how many more there are every year throughout the world. And not instances of simple malpractice or clerical errors or bad luck. These are instances of ignorant, untrained individuals trying to play doctor. I have no respect for these people.

8 Responses

  1. It’s no secret, if people want to buy snake oil, that is their business.

  2. Shallow thinking must make life so easy.

    Despite what you think, people doing things has an effect on how others perceive the validity of something. In this case, allowing quacks to harm people via licensure makes the common person believe that quacks are not, in fact, harming people. But hey, let’s do things your ways. How about we get government and society out of other areas? Who needs construction regulations. Sure, people will die and get injured from housing collapses, but it’s their own business if they want to buy from less than reputable builders.

    Or, hey, let’s do a one to one comparison with your way of thinking. How about we give out licenses to anyone who wants to be an electrician? We’ll call them alternative electricians and if people want to take the risk of buying a home that has been wired by one of them, so be it.

    Now remind me. Didn’t you once say that you had a utilitarian outlook on life? That you care about people? It sounds to me like not only is that not true, but you have as good of a grasp of philosophy as Hartwell.

  3. You are the one thinking shallowly and quite frankly, far too simply.

    I care about people, but i don’t care about forcing them to do something that doesn’t help or harm me, or you. If these people were trying to ban real medicine, then we have an issue, but if people wish, with all the facts out there and available with little effort, to buy snake oil, I see no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

    I’m only against these people insofar as requiring truth in advertising. If they want to offer garbage that has no factual backing, no government or other independent backing, and quite frankly, no logical reasoning apparent, that’s fine, just don’t lie to people and say it does.

    Your electrician comparison is mostly awful, but if I want to hire you to rewire my basement I see no reason I shouldn’t be allowed to do so, after all, I could legally do it myself. My homeowners insurance just isn’t going to cover it if the place catches fire unless I had a licensed guy do it.

    Pretty good incentive not to hire unlicensed Michael if you ask me, without all the prattle you toss in. And for the record, I never said I wanted these idiots licensed, no more than I want lemonade stands licensed. (or prohibited)

  4. You’re assuming people will go out and get all the information available to them. You’re assuming that people don’t take for granted that something is fine so long as it is also legal. Are you sure that when you say you ‘care about people’ that you even have a working definition of what a person is?

    You would need a permit in most cases to do a rewiring, not to mention most other building. That’s so that if you go to resell your house, someone else doesn’t end up not only getting swindled with shotty work, but they also don’t die when a fire breaks out or something collapses.

    Even better, Nate. Let’s get rid of licensing and let the magic hand of the market take over. It’ll be perfect. The dad of three working a full time job can go out and hire Joe Schmo the plumber, and when Joe connects the pipes wrong and redirects methane gas into the home, why, that’s Joe’s fault. He should have been educated in plumbing so he could know what was acceptable and what wasn’t. What a great society. Everyone can spend their time becoming semi-experts in everything and we won’t need a government to do a damn thing.

  5. I am not assuming they will or will not do anything, you seem to be doing most of the assuming here. All I am saying is, especially today where everything is a Google search away, that if these folks aren’t committing fraud than it’s not our business, something entirely different from what you seem to think I am saying.

    You should really get a home inspection before you buy a house, because people do in fact do their own work all the time and the sun still comes up every morning. The private sector, not the government, pretty much makes that a required part of buying a house.

    (not that you necessarily need a permit, but if you actually did, how many people do you think would get one, especially in a case like that?)

    Really, the whole issue of licensing for anything is a much bigger argument for another time, with good arguments on both sides of that question. So I’ll give it a rest, I’m sure it will come up again in a better venue (post).

    You want to save people from themselves, and you can wrap it in a flag if you want, but I see that in most cases as dictatorial.

  6. Looking beyond the fact that not everyone has easy access to the Internet, it’s ludicrous to expect people to be proficient in every trade and practice out there.

    Yes, everyone should get a home inspection before buying a house. Part of the reason for that is that a home inspector will likely have the proper knowledge to know when something has been done illegally, i.e., without a government permit.

    When it comes to medicine, a society has a responsibility to itself to ensure that what is being offered is legitimate. Naturopathy clearly is not legitimate -Tennessee and South Carolina agree. If anything, people who go to naturopaths and then become sick as a result of a lack of care should be able to sue the state for depraved indifference. In turn, the state prosecutors should be serving legislators who uphold alternative medicine practices with the same thing under a criminal statute.

  7. Naturopathy has helped many people including myself. Sure there are some crazy loons out there but that accounts for conventional medicine as well. First of all how do we know those accounts you have listed are credible? And if they are we have no idea of that persons history, background, etc etc. They could have had cancer but also had been addicted to cocaine. Who knows. I can almost guarantee you there would be an equal amount if not more people harmed by conventional medicine. Actually, I know it to be true. While not all naturopathy medicine might be credible a lot of it is good, and is a good addition to conventional treatment. Perhaps a median between the two would be ideal. Have you been to an accredited ND? Good nutrition and diet is important, and most emphasize this a lot. Conventional medicine typically tries to cover everything up with pharmaceuticals and neglects the root of the problem which is mainly diet and lifestyle.

  8. […] contra-indicated drugs – or it may be in the form of a more passive danger, such as when someone with an easily treatable but potentially deadly disease is misdiagnosed by one of these… – but they are a danger any way one wishes to look at it. That said, that doesn’t mean […]

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