Conventional MD or Naturopathic Physician?

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As naturopathic physicians with several decades of experience, we’ve heard just about every conceivable healing theory, from the thought-provoking, to the completely outlandish.

When our patients tell us about the latest information they’ve gathered online, we do our best to dispel any scams and myths, based on our experience and our awareness of reputable research findings.

The flipside is that, despite our rigorous scientific approach, we are not immune to charges of quackery. Conventional physicians routinely scoff at our therapies, claiming they involve drums and feathers.

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

(Our response: why not – if it works?)

Who has the truth – conventional MDs, or naturopathic doctors like us?

While traditional and alternative (drums-and-feathers) medicine both claim to have science on their side, let’s face it – we’re both equally dedicated to doing what will help our patients.

And, of course, we’re both susceptible to the unfortunate human tendency to become overly attached to our cherished beliefs.

We’ll fiercely defend our favorite diagnostic approaches and cures.

Some areas where there’s disagreement between conventional and naturopathic medicine: childhood immunization, flu shots, cancer treatments, pharmaceuticals versus traditional botanicals, homeopathy, energy medicine, lab test interpretations, and the fluoridation of water.

We’ve helped countless patients with our nonconventional approaches. In more than a few cases, our patients have sought to supplement their treatment with conventional therapies – only to be confronted by angry doctors who informed them that the natural therapies that were helping them were simply wrong.

Conventional MDs have actually declined to treat patients unless they promised to desist from the treatment protocols that were working for them.

How “scientific” is that? Why the anger? Why the descent into truly barbarian irrationality? Why the rejection of proven cures?

It’s fairly well-established that two plus two equals four. Yet a mathematician who’s confident in his skills would likely be more amused than upset if you were to insist that “four” is nothing but an agreed-upon lie.

When “the facts” are little more than rigidly held, self-serving beliefs, it signals a descent into dogmatism, characterized by a baffling unwillingness to entertain the notion that there might be more than one way to help our patients.

In my humble opinion, there’s way too much toxic dogmatism in the world today.

Photo: David Clode on Unsplash

Most of the idealistic young students who enter the portals of conventional medical schools today will emerge four years later steeped in the narrow-minded medical dogmas of their teachers.

But if they were to walk into a naturopathic medical school, they would emerge with a very different set of healing paradigms. Above all, naturopathy is open to any and all cures that have been proven to work, and that will not harm the patient.

As a newly certified MD, you’ll receive further training from the pharmaceutical industry, and you’ll become invested in the economics of drug sales.

As a naturopathic physician , you may receive further training from the nutraceutical industry, and invested in the economics of nutritional and botanical and energetic medicines, and non-traditional diagnostic testing.

As health truth-seekers, we must learn to separate the facts from the dogma. If we see that the self-styled “experts” are emotionally attached to their claims, we should be wary.

At the core of the confusion over what’s true in healing, there’s an unfortunate fact: too few of our beliefs are based on experience.

Science is dispassionate. It examines the evidence with a cold, unbiased eye.

Perusing the latest research on the healing powers of fish oil, I may conclude that the researchers who are dismissing its value have based their conclusions on inaccurate dosages of inferior products used as monotherapy for a condition in which fish-oil monotherapies are inappropriate. Not to mention that the researchers may have economic ties to a competing product.

As doctors at Pacific Naturopathic, we strive to keep our minds open. We base our therapies on a careful evaluation of the research, balanced against our actual clinical experience.

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