Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Schooled by an MD!

I recently watched a debate on the effectiveness, safety and merits of complementary medicine. The panel included a medical doctor and a scientific sceptic on the con side, and two naturopathic doctors for the pro side. It was apparent to me early into the debate that the conventional medical community has a serious lack of understanding of what ND's actually do. ND's know what MD's do, and for the most part are familiar with the conventional medical school of thought, but so much of the time MD's really misunderstand what naturopathic doctors do.

There are some explanations for this. Certainly, there are some naturopathic doctors who muddy the waters and represent the profession in a way not typical of the profession as a whole. But, what makes naturopathic medicine most complicated is that the scope of practice is so large that some ND's may have an entirely talk-therapy based practice and on the other end of the extreme, some ND's may do primarily a sports medicine based practice.

One interesting point made by one of the naturopathic doctors was that, currently (because of the relatively few ND's by comparison), the largest population of doctors that practice natural medicines and therapies are actually medical doctors. This hit home when Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, MD came up from New York and gave a guest lecture on Pediatrics at CCNM earlier this week. It was fascinating to hear his perspective on the antecedents to conventional medical thought and its methodology for the treatment of childhood diseases. It was almost shocking to hear a Medical Doctor use every naturopathic tactic possible to avoid prescriptions of antibiotics, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and even present an informed choice on vaccines. I was reminded of the necessity of childhood fevers and shown, in tremendous detail, the great harm in handing out fever suppressing drugs like candy - and I learned this from a medical doctor! There is hope for much more integration of conventional and naturopathic medicine in the near future.

No comments: