Medicine, Science

Whoop there it is

The past 30 years has seen an extraordinary increase in consumer demand for safe, effective and cost-effective natural healthcare. Naturopathic medicine has emerged as the health care profession best suited to meet this demand. Although it almost disappeared in the mid-twentieth century because of the popularity of drugs and surgery, naturopathic medicine now offers safe, effective natural therapies as a vital part of the health care systems of North America the twenty-first century.”

  That’s from the America Association of Naturopathic Physicians website ( .  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Well it would be if it weren’t a crock of shit. Now I know what you’re saying.  ‘Hey, Bryan, these ancient remedies have been around since antiquity and have been “proven” to be effective.’   Well my answer to that is that the length of time something is in practice has no bearing on it’s effectiveness.  In other words, just because people claim it’s true doesn’t make it so when lacking sufficient any scientific evidence, especially when juxtaposed with contradicting evidence.  

To get a feel for what homeopathy is – it is generally the philosophy that the more diluted a drug or substance is, the more powerful it becomes.  Don’t ask me why this counter-intuitive thought is so prevalent in the 21st century but it is.   By homeopathic logic, substances in potent doses cause side-effects just as bad as the disease they’re treating (Interesting, so when a patient takes penicillin to treat an infection, in some kind of backwards way that defies all medical knowledge, the anti-biotic causes the bacterial infection to become worse?)   

 Also get this – the dilutions are often so large that there is no practical chance of a single molecule of an active ingredient existing in the mixture.  Mixtures of 1 part active ingredient per 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water are not uncommon.  Rather than try to defend this untenable position that the substance is still there they claim that the vital energy is transfered and that’s all that matters.   An interesting study published in a peer review scientific journal investigated the effectiveness of a homeopathic treatment using the ingredient Arnica montana against a placebo.  Ultimately they determined:

The claim that homeopathic arnica is efficacious beyond a placebo effect is not supported by rigorous clinical trials.”       

  Here’s a link to the article published in Surgery by E Ernst, MD, PhD. and M.H. Pittler, MD.  


3 thoughts on “Whoop there it is

  1. Ali says:

    Uhhh, funny. I have a naturopathic doctor.. he actually diagnosed me about 6 months before my western medicine doctors finally found out what was wrong with me. I also participate in accupuncture as well as herbal remedies.. it’s the only thing that has done some serious good with my health.

  2. Bryan says:

    I have little beef with acupuncture, even naturopathic medicine might have some validity, but my biggest concern is homeopathic medicine. It’s divisive, pervasive, and downright misleading. My goal is not to be offensive or pessimistic but rather to rally a certain degree of skepticism.

    I took a class on ancient Chinese medicine last semester and every Wednesday we had a lecturer come in, often practicing naturopathic doctors, and I tell you, the more you throw questions out like, “can you explain how this works in scientific terms?” or “Was a double blind study used to confirm this?” the more I was convinced that these people haven’t an inkling for intellectual honesty. I don’t even think that they are scamming people, I think they are honestly diluted and comforted by the quick answer regardless of it’s truth. Their certitude is so strong they resort to fallacious arguments but usually just end up talking shit about “western medicine.” (as if somehow medicine can geographically classified, or culturally or something. If medicine works and can be explained and examined than it’s medicine and nothing more or less. If it cannot, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking.)

    Again, this isn’t supposed to be a rigorous forum for my true views, but rather a place for irreverent and humorous observations. Please, no feelings hurt. 😉

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