Naturopathic Medicine

27/7/19

Naturopathy or Naturopathic Medicine is a form of Alternative Medicine that traditionally avoided the use of invasive or 'non-natural' drugs. The term means 'natural healing'. Its formation goes back to the late 1800's when the German Benedict Lust - known as the "Father of American Naturopathy" - brought the concept to the U.S. He defined naturopathy as a broad discipline rather than a particular method, and included such techniques as hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, and homeopathy, as well as eliminating overeating, tea, coffee, and alcohol. Until the 1930's the practice grew rapidly before declining in the post-war period with the advent of antibiotics, and modern 'miracle-drugs'. With the popularity of more holistic-health practices in the 1970's, naturopathy gained more traction and practitioners are now licensed in many states of the U.S. and Canada to use the term 'N.D.' or Naturopathic Doctor.

There are several accredited colleges offering courses in naturopathic medicine. Training includes basic medical diagnostics and procedures such as rudimentary physical exams and common blood tests in addition to pseudoscientific modalities, such as homeopathy and acupuncture. Governing bodies actively campaign to either keep using the term or be allowed to use the term doctor or physician. This, along with accreditation and licencing gives naturopathy an undeserved status that misleads patients into thinking naturopaths have medical training commensurate with that of physicians practising evidence-based medicine.

2017 Fringe speaker Britt Marie Hermes received her N.D. in 2011 from Bastyr University after spending thousands of $. She was first licensed as a Naturopathic Physician in Washington state, where she then completed a one-year residency at a naturopathic clinic in Seattle focused on pediatrics and family medicine. Her 'training' gave her a license to prescribe drugs and order tests like X-rays, MRIs, and blood work, despite have little actual medical training. She eventually came to realise that despite the huge sums of money and time she had spent, it was basically useless. She now actively campaigns against the practice through her blog Naturopathic Diaries. In 2017 US-based naturopath Colleen Huber filed a defamation lawsuit against her which Britt was able to successfully defend, after skeptics around the world raised sufficient funds in support.

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