Those of us living in Michigan who support science-based medicine have been forced to deal with a bill that, if passed, would grant practitioners of unscientific “medicine” a wide scope of practice—almost as wide as that of primary care practitioners such as pediatricians, internists, and family practice doctors. I’m referring to HB 4531, a bill that would license naturopaths who graduated from “accredited” programs. If this bill were to pass, the only difference between the scope of practice of primary care physicians and naturopaths would be that naturopaths wouldn’t be allowed to prescribe controlled substances and do some minor surgical procedures that MDs can do. My alarm at this prospect has led me to post periodic discussions of the quackery that is naturopathy and why it is quackery.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been treated to periodic leaks from a closed discussion group known as Naturopathic Chat, or NatChat for short. It’s a series of posts that I like to call Sh*t Naturopaths Say or sometimes “What naturopaths say when they think no one’s listening.” Throughout the series, we’ve seen naturopaths discuss quackery such as intravenous hydrogen peroxide, pseudoscientific defenses of naturopathy, infighting about vaccines in which the rare naturopath who (somewhat) supports vaccines argues with the vast majority who are rabidly antivaccine, and a “naturopathic oncologist” who was reprimanded for treating a cancer patient with unapproved drugs complained bitterly about the injustice of it all.
Well, I’ve just learned of another leak from NatChat, which provides some insight into the latest campaign by naturopaths to obtain licensure in all 50 states by 2025. I learned of the leak from Naturowhat, who Tweeted:
— Naturowhat (@naturowhat) June 8, 2016
The leaked messages can be found here, and you’ll see that there are several new threads dated June 8. The first order of business on NatChat is to confront a deadly threat, namely a Change.org petition. It comes in the form of a message from Virginia A. Oram ND (the ND to me stands for “not a doctor”), who urges her fellow naturopaths “URGENT, please, let’s all do this!” Basically, she just includes an e-mail from Ryan Cliche, Executive Director, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Ryan Cliche? I tell ya, the jokes write themselves.
In any case, Cliche urged AANP members to complain about a grave danger:
An advocate against our cause has started a Change.org petition at www.change.org/p/naturopaths-are-not-doctors. We need your help to stop this petition.
When on the petition Web page, scroll down to the very bottom where it says, “Report a policy violation.”
Click on that link, and include the following within your response:
This petition violates these policies:
Breaks the law – this is defamatory and libelous content Impersonates others; Britt Marie Hermes is not from the United States Terms of service – does not abide by the law or respect the rights of others Thank you in advance for your quick response to this matter. You can also report some of the individual comments found on the page. Our hope is that Change.org reacts to our reports of policy violations in a timely manner.
Thank you for being an AANP member. We appreciate you!
Now this is some seriously funny delusional nonsense. No, I’m not a big fan of Change.org petitions. In general, I think they’re a waste of time. Even though I like this particular petition, I’m not sure that it isn’t a waste of time as well. What it is very, very good for is to use as a concise source of information, a resource if you will, to use to explain to people why naturopathy is quackery and shouldn’t be licensed. For that reason, I like it and think it’s worthwhile for just that purpose. I also admire Britt Hermes, the ex-naturopath who realized that naturopathy is quackery, saw the light, and abandoned it to become its greatest gadfly. (You really do need to read her blog Naturopathic Diaries.) Not surprisingly, naturopaths do not, which is why they are losing their mind over it.
As for the rest about the petition, though, I mean, really? Breaks the law? How on earth does this petition break the law? It doesn’t. It’s defamatory and libelous? How? It’s the expression of an opinion based on facts; that naturopaths don’t like that opinion doesn’t make it defamatory or libelous. It doesn’t “abide by the law or respect the rights of others”? How? What laws are being broken? Just because this Change.org petition says something the AANP doesn’t like doesn’t make it against the law. Apparently naturopathic “reasoning” with respect to criticism is no different than its reasoning with respect to medicine itself!
The funny thing is, though, that in the same dump from NatChat, we learn of just how quacky naturopaths are. For example, there’s a thread. For instance, we learn about the escharotic treatment of the cervix. Michelle Suber, ND of Kamuela, HI asks:
Today I completed the eighth of eight escharotic treatments for a 28 year old woman with CIN1 and high risk HPV. Her cervix has had the appearance, in the last 4 treatments, of one sloughing off epithelial cells. Today, it looked raw and excoriated, even slightly cavitated, not at all what I would expect from the treatment. Now I am worried that the sanguinaria or the ZnCl (and I!) have done harm. I’ve always been liberal with the calendula succus, but admit that it is sometimes difficult to be sure that all of the bromelain, sanguinaria and ZnCl are completely gone. My patient has ended each session with Wise Woman’s Healing Suppositories and is doing immune support supplements and hydrotherapy. The plan now is to follow Dr. Hudson’s protocol with alternating suppositories for the next month; then wait one month before repeating pathology studies.
Can anyone reassure me? Does the cervix typically have visible changes with escharotic treatments that heal normally after the following month of soothing treatment? Any suggestions?
CIN1 stands for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, grade 1. (It’s also outdated terminology, but I still hear it used.) Basically, this is a precancerous condition, usually caused by the human papilloma virus (you know, the one we now vaccinate against with Gardasil or Cervarix). Grade 1 means it’s the least serious, the least cancerous-looking. Traditionally, CIN has been treated using various techniques to ablate the abnormal cells, either by excision or destruction. Excisional techniques include cold knife conization, the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) as a cone, and CO2 laser conization. The classic technique is the use of a scalpel to excise a cone-shaped piece of tissue. The goals are two-fold: First to make sure there isn’t invasive cancer already in the cervix (i.e., biopsy) and, second, to prevent progression to full-on cervical cancer that can threaten the life of the woman affected with CIN by removing all the affected tissue. Alternatively, ablative methods that can be used include, simplistically, freezing (cryotherapy) or burning.
Actually, CIN is a great example of the ambiguity in medicine, as the optimal treatment of low grade CIN is not entirely settled:
Controversy exists over the treatment recommendations for patients with low-grade CIN lesions, primarily because there is controversy regarding the natural history of these lesions. In a review of more than one dozen series including more than 4000 patients with CIN followed-up primarily by biopsy, Mitchell showed that 45% of these lesions regressed, 31% persisted, and 23% progressed. Of those that progressed, 14% progressed to CIS while only 1.4% progressed to invasive carcinoma. In contrast, her review of 353 patients with CIN III/CIS from several series demonstrated that 127 (36%) progressed to invasive carcinoma. While controversy and inconsistently reported results exist, it is generally accepted that low-grade CIN lesions have a high spontaneous remission rate and that most lesions will regress within a 2-year follow-up period.23 Because the time required to progress to invasive cancer is sufficiently long, the risk of invasive cancer occurring during the same 2-year follow-up period is negligible. In the past, it was impossible to determine which low-grade lesions would progress and which ones were more likely to regress. As the technology of HPV detection improves, the use of high-risk HPV testing during observation of low-grade lesions may fill this void.
So, first we have a woman who might not have needed ablative treatment in the first place. Second, this naturopathic quack is using nasty solutions on the cervix to ablate the CIN with sanguinaria (bloodroot). Basically, we’re talking applying the dreaded black salve to the cervix. We know naturopaths like black salve from previous NatChat leaks. As I like to say, black salve is cutting, poisoning, and burning, but naturally. So basically, Suber is applying caustic liquids to this woman’s cervix without knowing what she is doing. In other words, she’s being a typical naturopath.
Next up, persistent vaginal vaginosis, courtesy of Natalie Metz:
I have a patient with persistent bacterial vaginosis (>1 year).
I first saw her for a Pap and pelvic exam last year when I noticed copious discharge, elevated pH, mild odor, and upon questioning, patient reported mild pelvic discomfort with sexual activity. Initial testing showed positive for Gardnerella only.
She continued to test positive for Gardnerella, and negative for Chlamydia, Trich, Gonorrhea, Candida, Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma upon further testing as discharge persisted after a round of Tx with diet, immune boosting herbs, probiotics, and vaginal Boric acid suppositories followed by Lactobacillus suppositories. She later self-treated with a round of Wise Woman #1 suppositories (nightly x 1 month), Diflucan at some point, and eventually did an extended Vaginosis panel from Doctor’s Data which revealed clue cells and growth of the following:
2+ Lactobacillus spp.
2+ Enterococcus spp
2+ Gardnerella vaginalis
2+ Staphylococcus spp not aureus
2+ Corynebacterium spp
Possibly Mobiluncus as well per written report….
She has recently done another round of Boric acid and is currently on Lactobacillus suppositories and adding in 1mg estriol this week with Lactobacillus as she is now perimenopausal with some atrophic signs. We just retested this week (there was white foamy discharge with pH ~4.5 upon exam) and are awaiting results. Patient is an ND and we are both a bit stumped after so many attempts, awareness of diet/emotions/ND perspectives/etc….
Or, you could use the standard treatment for bacterial vaginosis, which is antibiotics, specifically metronidazole, clindamycin, or Tinidazole, as described in these CDC recommendations. What I did learn from this is that no condition, no matter how minor, is free from dubious lab panels from Doctors Data and other questionable laboratories. Be that as it may, a fellow naturopath named Heidi Peterson helpfully recommends:
I would recommend vaginal vitamin C ( 250 mg), vitanica bacteria arrest, vaginal colloidal silver or vaginal ozonated olive oil. ( my favorite product phyto-asceptic is back ordered) If she wanted a drug then she would want to consider cleocin ovules. I generally wait to use the estriol until I have cultured and know the bacteria are gone. I have seen the estriol flare bacterial overgrowth.
I’d forget the vaginal vitamin C and use the Cleocin (which is clindamycin).
But what do you do if you’re a naturopath and you have a patient with a staph infection of the hand that recurs after antibiotics? Do you use antibiotics again? Don’t be silly! You use German New Medicine, as Erin Holston Singh suggests:
A staph infection comes when a person has resolved a conflict of separation. The dermatitis is related to the conflict in the active phase (before resolution). Staph is the microbe that is healing/eating up necrotic tissue as a result of this healing. (As the brain makes a new neurological connection because of resolving a conceived ‘separation’ there is dead tissue that gets cleaned out, hence the necrosis–> staph “infection”). See German New Medicine website for more understanding.
I literally just went through this myself and have put a lifetime of thought and research into it. Consider me your skin expert!
I would treat this as a Staph infection by helping the body chew up this waste….
Allimax minimum 6 caps a day (take as much as she can afford!)
Drainage with Unda’s and single homeopathics i.e. 2, 17, 270 + Dulcamara, Sulphur, Mezereum as considerations, or others as you see fit. Sounds like Apis and Belladonna would fit the picture you describe.
Other immune supports:
Herbal Biotic (Vital Nutrients) or other combo
If she treats this naturally and avoids antibiotics and steroids it will resolve itself within 2-3 weeks completely. IF she takes the meds, it will complicate the healing and take longer because these meds complicate eliminating the waste.
Not just naturopathy, though. Heidi Peterson also recommends the quackery that is ozone therapy, either in the form of ozonated olive oil or “bagging” the hand. Another naturopath, Mona Morstein, chimes in, recommending manuka honey and something called Bio-Vegetarian orally, while Sharon Hunter recommended berberine mixed with honey and Vital Nutrients Herbal Biotic.
The AANP and naturopaths talk a good game, particularly to legislators and other lay people who are not in a position to recognize just how pseudoscientific their nostrums are. That’s part of the reason why they’ve had some success in winning laws licensing naturopaths as licensed health care professionals. If HB 4531 passes in Michigan, we’ll see a hell of a lot more patients having CIN1 treated with escharotic treatments wielded by incompetent boobs, with attendant frying of normal tissue. We’ll see a lot more mismanagement of treatable bacterial infections with honey and homeopathic remedies and ozone therapy. Patients will suffer. I am dedicated to preventing that. I hope supporters of science-based medicine in other states where naturopaths are making a major push for licensure feel the same way and act to prevent the ingrowth into their states of the kudzu that is naturopathic licensure.
Our patients deserve no less.