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.