I mentioned yesterday that this week is Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014, or, as I like to call it, Quackery Week. At the time, I wasn’t sure when or if I was going to do another post about the quackery that is naturopathy this week. I was going to play it by ear and see what came up. Then, one of my commenters mentioned this subreddit, Read what naturopaths say to one another. Conclusion: manipulative, poorly trained, and a threat to public health. Now, I’m not a big fan of Reddit, largely because I can’t figure out how to find things easily, and I hate the sheer ugly and user hostile format, not even considering other unpleasant issues with it.
Be that as it may, this particular subreddit has some interesting tidbits culled from what is advertised as a .zip file with a bunch of .txt files representing a Yahoo! Group named Naturopathic Chat. The file is in dBase3 format and, according to the person who tried to upload it, zipped to 62 MB. A lot of the conversation consists of people saying how they want to download it but don’t trust the dodgy upload sites to which the file had been uploaded. (As well they shouldn’t!) One comment, however, has a bunch of links to various excerpts from the e-mails. It’s instructive indeed to peruse them, particularly if you’re sympathetic to claims of naturopaths.
Naturopaths, as regular readers know and as I’ve railed about since the very beginning of this blog, like to claim that they are well trained to be primary care health providers, a delusion that leads them to try to get states to change their laws to given them that privilege, along with prescribing rights. Across the river from where I live, Ontario made the mistake of granting naturopaths prescribing rights, with an unintended consequence, namely that they can’t find enough pharmacists to test their knowledge of drugs and prescribing. Meanwhile, they lobby states for increased scope of practice and Medicare for reimbursement for their services. Never mind that they regularly demonstrate themselves to be grossly unprepared for the role of primary care practitioner, which is not surprising given their lack of training and how steeped they are in pseudoscience. So little of what’s on that subreddit will likely be a surprise to regular readers here.
Even in that small sampling available on the subreddit, there are plenty of examples of just why naturopaths should never be allowed to be primary care practitioners—hell, why they shouldn’t be allowed to be health care practitioners of any kind. Perusing them, I was naturally drawn to this one on IV peroxide:
Looking for experiences that anyone has had with results from IV hydrogen peroxide therapy.
A patient who is ultrasensitive is considering this but hesitant since she reacts so severely even to the minutest amount of homeopathic drainage. I am concerned as well.
Just that she she has severe dysbiosis and many methods we have tried she reacts to.
Anna Bunda ND
Intravenous hydrogen peroxide, of course, is not indicated for, well, anything. Of course, what I’m wondering is what homeopathic drainage has to do with intravenous peroxide therapy or why sensitivity to “homeopathic drainage” would predict problems with intravenous peroxide? But what is homeopathic drainage, anyway? Don’t ask. OK, I’ll tell you. It’s a form of homeopathic “detoxification,” as described here and here. Here’s what Homeopathy Today says about it:
Homeopathic drainage therapy is one of the best ways to promote body`s natural process of detoxification. Clinical experience in homeopathy has shown that some homeopathic medicines are able to improve blood circulation and help the body gently release the accumulated toxins and wastes from all cells and tissues. Homeopathic drugs have a drainage action when prescribed in low potencies (3X,6X, 3C, 5C).
Homeopathic drainage therapy is very useful and effective in every detox program. Complex preparations containing mixtures of such drainage medicines are available and widely used for maintaining health and well-being. The length of treatment may last from 3-10 weeks and usually depends on the person`s state of health. Homeopathic drainage therapy is natural, safe and compatible with other therapeutic modalities. It also minimizes detox side effects.
I do so love how “low potency” in homeopathy-speak means stronger concentrations of homeopathic remedies, you know, not the super ultra-dilutions like 30C. A 30C dilution, as you recall, consists of 30 serial 100-fold dilutions, or a 10-60 dilution, which is, of course, nearly 37 orders of magnitude more than Avogadro’s number, meaning that a 30C homeopathic dilution is incredibly unlikely to contain a single molecule of the starting substance, other than what might have been carried over as a contaminant on the glassware used to do the dilutions. In other words, the “strongest” homeopathic remedies are water. In contrast, 3C and even 5C (albeit to a lesser extent) could have enough compound left to be pharmacologically active, while 3X and 6X could definitely have pharmacologically active compound. In other words, “low potency” homeopathic compounds are actually the only ones that might do anything, although, given that most of these herbal remedies that form the basis of homeopathic remedies, are not by themselves generally known to do much of anything. I suppose aloe might actually be useful for “detoxification of the rectum,” if by that you mean “soothing,” as aloe soothed a particularly bad sunburn I acquired during a certain tropical vacation over 20 years ago.
As for the rest, there’s the ever popular Strychnos nux vomica, which is derived from a tree that produces strychnine. If I were to apply Food Babe reasoning, I’d cringe in horror because it’s active ingredient is still used in pest control products, in gopher bait, and in some rat poisons, but in reality it’s never been shown to have therapeutic value for any condition.
But I digress. Another naturopath is only too happy to help out and tells exactly how he administers IV peroxide:
I do a lot of IV H2O2 mostly for acute viral infections, it works very well if this is your goal for treatment.
Mix in 250cc D5W 2.5cc of 3% H2O2, add 5 Manganese sulfate (0.1mg/ml) to prevent phlebitis and irritation on the veins from the peroxide, also add 1cc of Mag sulfate 500mg to help dilate vessels. Drip time is approx 2 hrs.
You may want to half the above formula in the same volume of carrier solution and infuse over 3 hrs for the sensitive person as an initial treatment and then go to full strength if tolerating. Be ready with Benedryl if a reaction occurs.
Jeff Hanson ND
The Nevada Center
See the bizarre mixture of quackery (remember, IV peroxide is not a treatment for infection, viral or otherwise) and seemingly conventional medicine, with manganese sulfate and magnesium sulfate being given, as well as a good old standby of conventional medicine, Benadryl, being available in case of hypersensitivity reaction. And, of course, given that chronic Lyme disease is a favorite bogus diagnosis of quacks everywhere, an undefined disease characterized quite properly as the latest in a series of many labels that have attempted to attribute medically unexplained symptoms to infections, and that antibiotic treatment is not warranted and for which there are many unvalidated tests sold in the clinics of naturopaths and other dubious practitioners.
For instance, a naturopath named Renee Lang of Biologic Integrative Healthcare asks whether IV peroxide is good for “stubborn Lyme infection,” and is told by Stacey Rafferty:
I have used H2O2 a fair amount in the vast protocols needed to treat lyme. I believe it addresses the co-infections the best. Almost all lyme patients have EBV, mycoplasma, yeast et…. I am not convinced H2O2 helps with borrelia. If one is using HCl along with H2O2, the immune stimulation that occurs with HCl might be the therapeutic value.
HCl is hydrochloric acid, for those without a background in chemistry. So, here we have a naturopath injecting not just peroxide but hydrochloric acid, into patients. I’m guessing that’s mighty rough on veins, as rough on veins as some chemotherapeutics, although the 3% peroxide is diluted 1:100, which is relatively dilute and we don’t know what concentration of HCl was used along with H2O2. One wonders if Rafferty puts a Portacath in to administer this toxic concoction. It’s probably not nasty enough to do really serious damage to veins unless she’s giving it every week, but I’d be worried about extravasation, just as I would be for chemotherapy.
Consistent with the love naturopaths bear for the nonexistent entity that is chronic Lyme disease, there’s a letter from a naturopath about her child upon whom a tick was found. The tick was removed by a physician, and the discussion turns to all sorts of concerns about—you guessed it—chronic lyme disease. Naturally, this naturopath is waiting for homeopathic nosodes, which homeopaths think protect agains infection. There’s the usual recommendation for nosodes and “naturopathic care,” but one naturopath named Kathleen Riley helpfully suggests:
Are you able to see the site of the tick bite? If you can , I recommend using a drawing salve until the site is no longer visible. Research presented at a past ILADS conference demonstrated live spirochetes at the bite site when it remains inflamed, even if the bite was a year before. To prevent a possible reservoir of Lyme, I have all my patients use a drawing salve on the bite site until it is no longer visible. This is in addition to using homeopathics and antimicrobials for a minimum of 3 weeks and monitoring for symptoms for 3 months after the bite. Earth Botanical Harvest’s Herbal Compound Ointment has been useful for extracting remnant mouth parts. Patients have also successfully use old fashioned black salve for this purpose.
There were a bunch of other discussions, many of which involved anything other than purest quackery, such as this discussion where—of course—chelation therapy is highly recommended for a patient with cardiovascular disease on Plavix (an antiplatelet drug that slows coagulation) and aspirin because he’s had cardiac stents. Jeff Hanson helpfully suggests:
Are you able to do IV Na-EDTA chelation with this patient? Refer to the Alt Med Review from June 2007 regarding chelation, dual anti-platelet tx, and stents. In this review article, “studies demonstrate EDTA inhibits platelet aggregation…… via three mechanisms while it maintains a safety factor my not inhibiting collagen-induced aggregation…whereas, Clopidogrel inhibits by only one”. I have seen a number of patients outlive the expected life of their stents and not requiring re-stenting. Chelation is one of those treatments you can hang-your-hat-on for stable angina sx and cardioprotection post stenting. Chelation is not proven to remove arterial plaque but I have seen clinically in 2 pts receiving this tx that did a before and after Carotid Intima Media Thickness scan, they saw a 50% reduction in the amount of carotid plague and artery thickness. I would recommend 20-30 IV’s 2x/week then 1 tx monthly as maintenance. Don’t include vitamin C in formula because it can promote inflammation (see “alt med review” original study from March 2009 on EDTA and Vit-C). In addition, ozone tx with Major Autohemotherapy before chelation can promote RBC oxygen utilization and add a boost to the chelation tx.
I would not use chelation in replace of Plavix at least for 6-12 months. The standard of care is too use dual antiplatelet therapy for those at a high risk owing to a history of MI, stroke, or for those undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions for secondary prevention of clots. I think you can get away with removing the ASA with Nattokinase, fish oil (4gm), anti-inflammatory diet, and chelation…more then enough protection. Follow the fibrinogen levels (target 250-300) and bleeding time (in-office proceduce…target 3-4 min), along with CRPhs and perhaps Lp-PLAC.
He wouldn’t use chelation in place of Plavix for 6-12 months? Good to know, given that the recommendation was to use Plavix and aspirin for six months but apparently now is to use it for a year after stent placement to prevent clotting. (The things I learn talking to cardiologists about my patients when asking if I can take them off of Plavix for a few days to do an operation! I can operate safely when a patient is on aspirin. Plavix, not so easy. It’s not unlike operating on a patient on coumadin.) Of course, as we know, chelation therapy for cardiovascular disease is also quackery, the recent clinical trial known as TACT notwithstanding.
I could go on and on, but instead I’ll close with—of course!—what naturopaths think about vaccination. Let’s just say they aren’t very enthusiastic about them, pulling out old tropes about vaccinations during the baby’s first year, and they like Dr. Sears, although, surprisingly, one naturopath actually mentioned the CHOP website. Of course, that brought out another naturopath pulling the “pharma shill gambit” on the CHOP website. In fact, this naturopath, Doug Cutler, is in my neck of the woods and states plainly at various points:
Agreed. But the sad reality, is that the “study” is being performed today with our children as the guinea pigs. Absolutely shameful that the biggest medical fraud (perpetuated by Big Pharma) continues to indoctrinate the public (“milk does a body good”) that vaccines are safe and effective. As you stated, we still don’t know the longterm vaccine safety so hoping that they are safe and effective for the “greater good” is unacceptable and completely immoral until we fully know.
You are right though, we need to question our personal “dogma/bias”. I fully believed in vaccines until my intimate association with hundreds of mothers that had vaccine injured children, changed that entire belief set completely around. The same amazing mothers that knew more about vaccines than any doctor or scientist out there, hands down. Then with my training and knowledge of environmental toxins, just analyzing the actual ingredients of each vaccine, one by one – I could never in good conscience justify those known toxic ingredients to have a free pass directly (no detox roadblocks) to a baby’s brain.
My disclosure, I am opposed to all sources of toxins therefore I am against vaccines whose one size approach fails to account nutritional statuses, toxic burden of mom/child and genetic polymorphisms that are at epidemic levels. 10 vaccines from birth to 6 years in 1983 and 36-38 vaccines from birth to 6 years in 2010. Insane.
No, being as antivaccine as Cutler is is insane. He goes on and on against vaccines in the course of several longer-than-average entries in the discussion thread. You know, I might have to explore his website further. It is, as we say in the biz, a “target-rich” environment, and I always wonder about someone who is this antivaccine. In any case, “naturally,” other naturopaths throw out links to the National Vaccine Information Center and its highly deceptive Vaccine Ingredient Calculator. To be fair, there were a couple there, one in particular, criticizing the conspiracy mongering and antivaccine misinformation being spread there, even going so far as to state that “placating anti-vaccination isn’t responsible for our community and does nothing to further the profession,” but I actually think that one naturopath summed up the true case thusly:
Asking naturopaths to accept vaccinations is comparable in my mind to asking dentists to give up amalgams. It touches on some very deep beliefs in the professional group 🙂
Those beliefs are, of course, overwhelmingly antivaccine and baked into the very DNA of naturopaths, beginning in naturopathy school. This is not surprising, because, contrary to the whitewash campaign of “Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014” promulgated by credulous legislators, naturopathy is quackery.
You know, maybe I should make “Sh*t naturopaths say” a recurring feature right here on the old blog.