In response to the recently published article entitled “Naturopathic Medicine in the 21st Century: Time for a Seventh Guiding Principle – Scientia Criticus:”
It seems to us most peculiar that the authors chose to begin a discussion of changing the established principles of naturopathic medicine in an interdisciplinary journal whose primary audience is members of the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) of the American Hospital Association. We are especially alarmed that a few naturopaths would choose such an avenue to propose a major change to the tenets of our profession when, as far as we know, no appropriate input or comment was solicited from the board members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the AANP House of Delegates, the state associations, any of the affiliated organizations, or “elders” in the profession.
Outreach to others in the healing arts is laudable. What concerns us are the numerous unsupported assertions or outright mis-characterizations in the article as well as its generally apologetic and disparaging tone. It belittles or demeans much of what licensed naturopathic physicians do and have done with great success and virtually no harm for over a century.
Self-examination is always warranted for the advance of any profession. The ability to evaluate evidence critically is a basic requirement for the successful practice of any medical approach. However, we believe that the advance of scientific knowledge is only slowly catching up with the observable truths handed down over generations by our predecessors. Furthermore, there is a wealth of discussion of how, all too often, modern scientific ‘evidence’ is easily skewed by things like prejudice, pride, greed, and corruption.
Projecting the weaknesses of the conventional medical system onto the naturopathic profession is unwarranted, misleading and divisive. Over the past 150 years, conventional medicine has been far more susceptible to the adoption and maintenance of dubious practices. There is a long history of now discredited drugs and surgeries that caused harm and death. The most recent examples include the opioid epidemic, harm from off-label prescribing of pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures that provide little demonstrable incremental health benefit, etc. Conventional medicine has a mixed record when it comes to successful application of scientifically valid and evidence based medicine. Today, Iatrogenic (medical treatment caused) is a leading cause of death in the United States. This is not and has never been the case with the care provided by licensed naturopathic physicians.
In our view, this poorly conceived article provides an inaccurate view of the naturopathic profession and its practices and is a disservice to your journal’s readers.
Naturopathic Medicine in the 21st Century: Time for a Seventh Guiding Principle – Scientia Criticus