Over at Skeptic North there has been an ongoing discussion about naturopathy. Since it looks like naturopaths are going to get prescribing privileges in Ontario, it’s reasonable to subject their practice to some pretty intense scrutiny. One naturopath left some interesting comments about treatment of heart disease, citing relevant literature, but failed to show an actual understanding of the clinical realities of treating heart disease. This is not surprising given that naturopaths aren’t required to do residencies like real doctors are.
Another comment referenced the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) information statement on swine flu (the original was apparently pulled down by CAND. Here is a copy). Its idiocy was downright surreal. It read like a fifth grader’s poorly done book report. It is not only incorrect, but internally inconsistent. For example:
There is no research that can predict who is at risk and who is not.
The following groups are considered to be more at risk from the current H1N1 virus…
They also list “naturopathic” prevention strategies which include hygiene such as hand washing and avoiding sick people. What’s “naturopathic” about that?
And it wouldn’t really be crappy medical advice without recommending “boosting the immune system”, in this case with stretching, “dry skin brushing”, and other nonsense. Without a shred of irony, they mention that mortality due to this flu may be tied to an “over-reaction” of the immune system.
For a comparison, take a look at some actual medical sites.
The only mention of vaccination in the CAND document is in a negative context. The other documents recognize that the H1N1 flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent infection. This is an inexcusable failure on the part of CAND.
And just for laughs, if you’re interested in virology, their introductory paragraph on the putative origins of the current pandemic is completely wrong.
This patient information document betrays a complete lack of understanding of science and medicine and adds to the already considerable evidence that naturopaths shouldn’t be allowed to lay their hands (clinically) on anyone—ever.