Green MD's...Say It Ain't So
I just came back from the great state of Oregon and the really fun city of Portland, where my mentor colleague and friend Dr. Joel Wallach and I completed a two day continuing education course in order to fulfill the licensing requirements of naturopathic medicine. Regretfully, I am here to report that it was a weekend of mourning. Not because of my time with Dr. Wallach, but because of the crap that we were taught at the conference! It was startling. It was disturbing. Quite frankly, it shook me to my bones.
Here is what happened:
The last lecture that we went to was given by a naturopathic doctor about ethics around the treatment of arthritic conditions. The basic take-home message from her presentation was that if you are a naturopathic physician and you do not use methotrexate and prednisone and conventional pharmaceutical interventions with your rheumatoid arthritis patients or your arthritis patients, then you are practicing substandard medical care, you are hurting your patients and you need to just snap out of it and be more onboard with the delivery of pharmaceuticals, because naturopathic treatments for arthritis simply don’t work…
It was a startling thing to me - because it’s a naturopathic medical conference. It’s not a conventional medical conference. Conventional medicine is great for certain things. Thank God for Novocain, thank God for prednisone and the sterile technique. We need different therapeutics for different conditions. Diferent types of medicine (chiropractic, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, and allopathy – which is M.D. medicine) are all informed by their own philosophies which the licensed physician is supposed to adhere to and espouse in developing their treatment strategies. You would not expect a chiropractor to recommend open-heart surgery. You would not expect an acupuncturist to recommend a homeopathic treatment. You expect them to do what they are trained in and keep their toes inside the line inside of their own particular paradigm. That’s why these different schools of medical thought exist in the first place. But apparently (and much to my surprise), the medicine that I am a practitioner of - naturopathic medicine - has morphed over the last 15 years into some strange hybridized “green allopathic medicine” where naturopathic doctors are no longer trained in the effective use of primary care naturopathic therapeutics. They are trained in the use of herbs, vitamins, homeopathy, acupuncture, to offset the net negative effects of pharmaceuticals. Because everyone knows that the only things that really cure anything are drugs – right…? This is becoming the new normal treatment strategy inside of the clinical practice of naturopathic medicine.
Now for the icing on the cake - at the end of the lecture that this naturopathic physician gave, I politely asked the question: “Have you ever treated arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis without the use of drugs?” and proudly she said “No.” But the fun didn’t stop there. She went on to tell me that rheumatology is her specialty and that she’s had she sees hundreds of people a year and that she always uses drugs – especially Methotrexate. Then I said, “And you’re a naturopathic physician..?” To which she proudly responded “Yes.” Then someone in the back of the room, whom I’m assuming went to school with her and was an advocate or friend of hers or something (I really don’t know) piped up and said “And I would argue that she (the doctor giving the lecture) is practicing really good naturopathic medicine.” Half the room applauded.
I was in shock. I still am…
I think that I have figured out how all of this has come to pass. Think it through with me: A naturopathic doctor applies different naturopathic therapeutics to someone who is sick and for whatever reason the treatments don’t work. Rather than investigating other therapeutics inside of the field of naturopathic medicine or trying perhaps to understand why the stuff that he/she used was ineffective the naturopath just assumes that a cure is not possible. So the doctor eschews naturopathic philosophy and jumps ship - using the treatments designed by the MDs instead. Then she justifies her hypocrisy by using naturopathic therapeutics to help to offset the net negative effects of the drugs… Apparently this treatment strategy is the new normal inside of naturopathic medicine.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wallach and I are looking at each other with disbelief, and Wallach leans over to me and says:
Apparently not naturopathic medicine…
One would assume that if for example somebody went to a traditional Chinese medical school that they would be taught the philosophy of Chinese medicine and upon graduation they would treat patients with Traditional Chinese Medicines. Additionally, if those treatments failed you would expect that the Traditional Chinese Medical Doctor would perhaps talk to other experts in their field who had more experience and then apply a different Chinese medical treatment. This tactic has apparently been abandoned by the new naturopaths whom are now being taught to use vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathic medicines, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, etc. in order to offset the net negative effects of the drugs because the drugs are the only things that are really effective. So what we have here is some type of “Green Allopathic Medicine.” A strange hybrid which only exists because the people that are in charge of the schools and the people that are in charge of the clinics of the schools don’t have very much experience with effective naturopathic treatments.
They don’t know what I know…
In the late 80s at Bastyr University of Naturopathic Medicine, I received a very good education in pathophysiology. I received a very good education in anatomy. I received a very good education in naturopathic philosophy. After graduation, I got really good results with my patients and only once in 27 years of clinical work did I have to resort to the recommendation of a prescription medication.
Then I met Dr. Wallach. Then I got remarkable results.
The information that I learned from Dr. Wallach about pathophysiology and about how to intervene with naturopathic therapeutics was different than anything that I had received in school, and the therapeutics that Dr. Wallach taught me are a hundred times more effective than anything that I had been taught before.
But for some reason - maybe it’s political, maybe it’s personal, Dr. Wallach is not admired and is not looked up to inside of the naturopathic community. I think it’s because he had the audacity to organize his company as a network marketing company. I don’t know why he is so marginalized by the naturopathic community, but I do know that he is. The one doctor who has done more research, and who has been published more times than all of the other naturopathic doctors combined, has been marginalized by the profession as it nonchalantly and unapologetically stumbles into the abyss of green allopathic medicine, eschewing the very principals that define naturopathic medicine along the way.
If I were a betting man I would guess that within 50 years, naturopathic medicine will have been hybridized so much that it will be unrecognizable. Big Pharma it appears is not attacking us on the front lines. It’s invading us insidiously through the back lines while being supported by naturopathic doctors who have no working idea at all of what naturopathic medicine is – or what it can do.
More’s the pity, and all the more reason to listen to Dr. Wallach, myself and give Youngevity a try. We are the last, best hope that you have to recover your health through the proper administration of science-based, clinically verified, wholistic medical nutrition.
-Live long and prosper-