There was recently a debate on the Michael Coren show about “Alternative Medicine.” Incidentally, I prefer the term natural medicine (versus conventional medicine), since for many people, there is nothing “alternative” about it…
Unfortunately that video has disappeared from the web, but here are some of my thoughts:
- What do NDs do that MDs don’t? A lot! See my blog Ten reasons you need a Naturopathic Doctor.
- For a comparison of the training of an MD versus and ND, see my blog Medical curriculum comparison.
- There is research on homeopathy and evidence to support its efficacy as a healing modality. Just because most people are ignorant of this does not mean it doesn’t exist! For more about that, see my blog Homeopathy research review.
- Many conventional medical interventions actually lack research evidence. I wrote about this in my blog Mythology of science-based medicine.
- I’m not a chiropractor and cannot speak to much in this area, however one example of when a chiropractor may require an x-ray is not to diagnose, but to screen for/rule out any conditions that are contraindications for chiropractic treatment. This is a basic safety procedure which is prudent and responsible. Another example may be to confirm a diagnosis before proceeding with treatment, which is another valid and reasonable use of such technology.
- One of the major problems in conventional medicine is the idea of “standard of care” which denies individuals care that targets the cause of illness, which may be different for the same “disease.” The “standard of care” in conventional medicine is often inferior to even the most basic common sense… For example, if high cholesterol is caused by poor dietary habits and lack of physical activity, how does the “standard of care” prescription of statin drugs solve these issues?
- Michael Coren makes a great point that many of the cases against alternative medicine are “hysteria.” In any profession, there are practitioners who are not ethical or safe. Naturopathic medicine is a regulated health profession in most provinces and therefore naturopathic doctors are held to a professional standard of safety and ethics. For more info on naturopathic medicine, read more on my What is Naturopathic Medicine? and FAQ pages. This marks a major difference between NDs and many other “alternative” practitioners.
- Why aren’t naturopathic doctors MDs? Because there is a fundamental philosophical difference. This is not to say that we can’t work together and that patients cannot take advantage of both, but the training and approach to treatment are vastly different. Specialization leads to greater and deeper expertise in all kinds of professions which provides value to the consumer.