My friend/partner/family member says that naturopaths are “quacks” and that there is no evidence for naturopathy.
It is a very interesting time politically in the health care sector at the moment (in fact it has been building up for some time).
Certain medical and pharmaceutical organisations have a vested interest in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine healthcare system not being available.
These organisations have significant influence over the government (both sides) and the mainstream media, and as such, you may often see articles which either “debunk” natural medicine or say that there is no scientific evidence behind natural medicine.
Notice that the “experts” who are often proclaiming this has no background or has not studied either nutrition, herbal medicine and other natural medicines.
There has even been a recent review of 17 modalities of natural medicine by the Australian NHRMC which found that there was not enough evidence to support them. It is important to understand that both international and national scientific experts have pointed out several flaws in this review – including bias by committee members, withholding information and changing the rules of methodology as they went along – to come up with the finding that they were looking for.
The Australian senate has since found that this review was indeed biased and flawed, and an enquiry into re-evaluating natural health modalities is underway, so stay posted for more on this.
I could write a book on the political nature of health care, and why the current biomedical (the use of surgery and pharmaceuticals) approach is the dominant healthcare system in this country (in a nutshell, it is for political and financial reasons, not because it is the most effective form of medicine available to us).
Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely a time and place for emergency care, surgery and pharmaceuticals. However there is also an important place for natural medicine as well – after all – it has served us well for millennia.
What I can confidently say is that there are THOUSANDS of pieces scientific evidence available to support natural medicines and other tools of naturopathy – such as holistic nutrition, herbal medicine, holistic counselling, mindfulness and meditation.
In fact, as an accredited naturopath I am unable to prescribe any natural medicine which does not have enough evidence behind it to satisfy the requirements of the Australia Therapeutic Goods Administration – which is one of the strictest authorities overseeing medicines in the world. (This is why we shouldn’t order supplements from overseas – including the US – as they cannot meet the same strict requirements we require of Australian-made supplements).
And, I have also observed that many of the common approaches that I was trained in when I first studied Naturopathy in the early 2000s (such as probiotics, looking after the health of our digestive microbiome, fish oils, St John’s Wort etc) were dismissed as rubbish by much of the mainstream medical fraternity. Now you find the everyday family GP prescribing probiotics and fish oil to patients, and trying to keep up with the science of our microbiome.
At the end of the day however, you know your own body best and should have the right to choose the healthcare that you use.
If that is natural medicine and naturopathy, and the advice that a naturopath provides you with works for you, then sometimes you have to stand strong against the naysayers in your world and do what is right for you.
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist