Traditionally medicine falls into two camps. On one side western medicine, on the other natural treatments that claim to heal the body and prevent disease. More and more practitioners are calling themselves natural or naturopathic doctors, without the stringent education of medical doctors. This is a big deal because, in 2016, Americans spent more than 30 billion dollars on complimentary health approaches, which do include naturopathic treatments. As those lines are blurred, how do we know when alternative treatments are safe or effective? I was a comedy writer, I wrote for a sitcom. I had just come off a show where I worked crazy hours. I’d gotten hired to write a screenplay and I was super tired. I was also having a lot of trouble with my sinuses from my allergies. So one of my friends recommended a naturopathic doctor. I had a consult and we gave him my medical history. Then he wanted to start brain training. (ominous music) You go in, you sit in this chair and they put headphones on you. They put sensors on your head, and the headphones played tones and these tones are like a (oscillating sounds). I mean it sounds innocuous. Maybe do it like once a week for six to nine weeks. The first thing I noticed is I felt detached, like I wasn’t really there. As time passed, I felt more and more tired, and I didn’t like how it made me feel. I was having to work a lot longer hours because I was incredibly slow. I had a script that I was working on and I was so slow, I couldn’t write for the first time in my life. So I went back to the naturopath and I told him that I was feeling slow, I couldn’t write for the first time in my life, I was just off, so he gave me this supplement. I assumed it was like a vitamin. The supplement didn’t help it in fact, it made it much worse. I got so slow, I was just doing dumb things. I was like bumbling, I just wasn’t functioning well. I couldn’t make decisions and I knew inside something was really really wrong. So I reached out to a medical doctor to see if he could help me. It’s been over six years and I’ve seen a lot of doctors. I’m still feeling the effects of the brain training and the supplement and I have spent the last six years plus trying to get myself back. This leads to the question, where do naturopathic practitioners fit within the scope of modern medicine and are their treatments helpful or nothing more than quack science? Joining us now via Skype is Dr. Steve Novella who runs the website Science Based Medicine. He claims all naturopathy is a scam. Joining us in the studio on the other side is Peggy Branson, a California-licensed naturopathic doctor. I want to thank both of you for being here today. (crowd applauds) The whole point of this discussion is hopefully to give the various opinions, but also have an open minded conversation. I want to start with you Dr. Novella because your stance is that naturopathy does more harm than good. Tell us, tell us why you believe that. Well, the profession isn’t science or evidence based. They practice based upon the philosophy or reverence for doing things that are unconventional or allegedly natural. So they’re not following the evidence. They don’t have the training or the experience or the culture to know how to translate the best science into practice. So what they do is all over the map, it’s a crap shoot. It’s not following the science. So, Peggy, to that note, tell us a little bit about the training that you went through. So, I am actually a licensed naturopathic doctor in the state of California and there is a giant difference between a licensed naturopathic doctor and an unlicensed one. So I went to four years, a full four years, of undergrad premed, same as everybody else who goes to medical school, and then I went to four years of naturopathic medical school. During which I took clinical boards and basic science boards. At the end of that, you then take NPLEX licensing exam. So there’s several measures in which you’re actually being monitored throughout your training. It’s not just, here’s this weekend course, come do this stuff, fingers crossed you get it right. And it is evidence-based medicine. So in Arizona, the term is naturopathic physician, naturopathic medical doctor, nobody else in the state of Arizona can go around calling themselves a naturopathic doctor without getting in trouble. So what we actually call, it’s sort of like our little term in naturopathic medicine, we call them un-Ds. So they’re not NDs, they’re un-Ds, and they are people who went and did these certification trainings, which I do think is very, in a certain regard, you know, misleading and harmful to the general population ’cause they see, oh here’s a naturopathic doctor, I’m gonna go see them. That’s one of the biggest concerns that I have in modern medicine is more and more people are calling themselves doctors. You don’t even need a degree to call yourself a doctor. There are so many people carrying monikers, oh that’s Doc PJ, oh that’s Doc so-and-so. You all just need to be aware of these different standards.

48 thoughts on “One Woman’s Naturopathic Nightmare”

  1. Naturopaths in America are more like psychopaths.. come to proper Indian naturopathic centers..

  2. I've known first hand that chronic sinusitis make you feel slow, confused, brain fog, tired, fatigued , and even can cause anxiety. Maybe that's what you need to take care of

  3. I dont think that doctors should be the ones talking about scams. Maybe they should look at their own scam medicin and treatments first?

  4. Even western medically educated doctors can give misinformation so a uneducated doctor, no matter which side, can be dangerous

  5. This "regular MD " afraid for his own "future" in conventional medicine……She is 100% right…just changing my diet to 100% plant based…I completely changed my health!!Sorry there IS room for both..

  6. This is propoganda. BIG P(HARM)A kills more people every year. Over 80 holistic doctors have died within months of each other. These Pharmakeia witch doctors can be y'alls god if you want, but MY GOD has blessed man with natural remedies to heal. Doctors are helpful, but only in certain situations.

  7. I am very pro medication when necessary. I once was helped by a naturopath when an eNT, neurologist, and 2 family physicians couldn't help. However, the naturopath had me on the stuff for about 9 months. Naturopathic medicine is very expensive. If I have a cold or something viral, I try natural. If I have a high fever for days and it is obviously a bacterial infection, I have no issue getting an antibiotic.

  8. Vets routinely recommend dry "prescription" food for cats with urinary blockages. The only ingredient that could possibly help is salt and dl methionine. Both can be used separately from the extremely expensive food the vets are raking money in for. They are taught in school by the same people who manufacture these crap foods that are mainly corn, filler, animal digest and inflammatory ingredients…for an OBLIGATE CARNIVORE! So in school they get nearly all of their animal nutrition info from the people who stand to benefit the most from them selling animal inappropriate diets. This is the same issue we have with human doctors it is just more apparent in vets because you have more freedom with your animals as far as treatment. Doctors are human but with the US health system none of it was ever meant to actually help the patient. It is a business and even a good caring doctor will soon be beat down with the red tape, legalities, lawsuits, and insurance and governmental bs. You should research everything that anyone suggests for something as important as your own health. Doctors can be wrong and often do not listen well enough as they have quotas to reach etc. Naturopaths can be wrong as well. I think a combo of both with a lot of research into actual scientific studies is the best approach. Do your research and never take something without asking about it and checking the info

  9. Um, Psychiatrists went to actual medical school; but they subject their victims to chemical quackery, with far worse malpractice.

  10. Have your thyroid checked. Sounds very much like me. I too had serious sinus infections often. Fumbling, dropping stuff all the time, poor memory ect ect. Tied all the time. Your natrupath dosnt seem any good. I found an Intrgrative dr and treated my hypothyroidism with medication from her. Feel a million dollars now. My naturopath specialises in thyroid conditiins.

  11. I guess i lay somewhere in the middle with this. I have had bad experiences with both modern medicine and naturopathy herbs and remedies. "Natural" doesn't automatically mean something is good for you, or that it won't have side effects or interact with other medicine, but then again lots of modern medicine also has serious health consequences. For example i know two schizophrenics who now struggle with diabetes as a result of their antipsychotics, and a friend of mine died taking an antiepileptic medication, you never know. The idea is to assess whether the benefits outweigh the risks, and that can be tricky to find the right balance. However modern medicine all started with naturopathy, for example aspirin is made from willow bark, so to suggest naturopathy is not science is a pretty blanket statement when we wouldn't have modern medicine without first finding an adapting natural remedies for disease.

    It has taken me a decade to get off of the various medicines i was given through a modern medicine doctor who gave me about 10 different pills to take and made me much worse, after doing my own research (which doctors hate it when you do that) i realized every pill he gave me negatively interacted with every other pill he gave me, as a western doctor he should have known not to prescribe so many medications that interacted and clearly stated not to mix. I was also lied to. Given pills and lying about the purpose of them, giving me antidepressants and telling me they weren't (i'm not depressed nor have ever been) I was also put on a very high dose of methadone and told there were no side effects and that i could stop any time if it didn't help. What he didn't tell me upon giving me 175mg of methadone was that 30mg can kill an adult without opiate history, and that 60mg is the average dose, yet he drove me up to a crazy dose of 175 without explaining anything, and now my chronic pain is so much worse with allodynia and hyperalgesia and many opiate induced conditions. I've been weaning for years and am now at 16mg (so close to done) but anyway i realize having a bad experience with modern medicine doesn't automatically mean naturopathy is automatically right either. They both have positives and negatives. Before i take any naturopathic anything i do extensive research and generally come to the conclusion that its placebo based or outright quackery, but in and amongst the crap there is actually some decent information and a few promising studies. Definitely cautious about taking anything from western or naturopathic. Just trying to cope with the pain through cognitive behavioral therapy and get off meds completely. Just do what i can when i can and live with the fact that im limited in some departments.

  12. I understand what she went threw I went to one the supplements she gave me made me extremely sick. I’m still dealing with it

  13. Listen guys, if you believe something will work, then it will work. For a little while at least. The biggest issue is people self-diagnosing

  14. So you go to a pill pusher, don't ask what it is, just pop it in your mouth and blame the pusher?

  15. Herbal and "natural" remedies should always be done as a supplement to medical treatment and done under the supervision of someone trained in the medical field. Full stop. This is coming from someone who commonly uses herbal and spiritual remedies. Drink you tea and meditate, but see a doctor too.

  16. If you can't understand how a treatment works, don't do it. Who knows, she could have been hypnotized? I've noticed that Americans who are into "natural" stuff are often messing with magic or some kind of ritualistic religion that they don't understand.

  17. Thats ridiculous! A naturopath and Integrated Doctor saved my life where general practitioners let me go 18 years with hypothyroidism getting worse and worse.

  18. let's face it. most people turn to naturopathic doctors after giving up on MDs because they are not helping them

  19. I do not go to a regular pcp. Neither have my parents or grandparents. All naturopathic and they live healthy happy lives. No medication, no antibiotics, no pill popping. Whats going to kill you is seeing your pcp and they just prescribe you rx rx rx. Drs dont no crap about health and treating the body. They just know how to write scripts and collect your $$$$. Stay away and go natural if you want to live a long and healthy life.

  20. Listening to tones through headphones while having your brain activity monitored and taking supplements is not going to have the effects this woman reported. I think this woman is having purely psychosomatic symptoms that she has convinced herself were brought on by nonsense "treatments" She could probably be easily cured by wearing a copper bracelet and putting a bar of soap under her mattress- if she believed it would work!.

  21. Seems to me this is just another witch hunt to smear holistic practitioners. Obviously there are both good and bad doctors on both sides, yet you chose 1 case with a negative outcome. Why was that?

    A growing number of people worldwide are going natural, so I'm sure Western doctors feel threatened. I visited a Naturopath who was also an MD and had a wonderful experience. She spent far more than the usual 5 min. the typical Western doctor gives patients, and helped me when traditional medicine could NOT. While Western docs push pills, holistic healers believe in using natural cures that have been proven safer and are often more effective than pharmaceuticals.

  22. You should never blindly trust anyone, especially doctors. Always do your research. Think for yourself. The problem is, in this society, we've been programmed to not trust ourselves.

  23. I think it’s funny that the naturopathic “doctor“ in the red shirt is trying to impress the audience with all of the tests she took in her Quacky school. Tests and licensure are both meaningless if the things that you learned are not based on evidence, such as homeopathy. You could be in the top 1% of your class for your homeopathy final exam, it doesnt matter. You could be in the top of your class for your class on harry potter potions too.

  24. Choose your medical doctor wisely and be careful when choosing a naturopath as the last one I consulted put me off after what I heard what the naturopath said behind my back. A professional does not make idiotic comments about a client, especially if the client is depressed and the client states what she/he is intolerant to. The client does not need a Nauropath who is inclined to anti-wellness. The same goes for any health professional. Health professionals should never act like quacks.

  25. Let’s just upload all medical knowledge to the cloud and be diagnosed by computers so we always have access to the most recent, researched, and well established medical knowledge without the BS, ignorance and greed.

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