Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pizzorno Nonsense: The 'Supernatural Naturalism' of Naturopathy's Nature

here, I compare two quasi-historic book-published descriptions of the underlying principle of naturopathy [aka vis medicatrix naturae / healing power of nature / life force / spirit] from this current 'naturopathy revival' era.  One, naturalistic, comes from the Murray and Pizzorno authored "An Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine" (1991) [ENM; see 001., below]; and the other, supernatural, comes from Pizzorno's [yes, same author as 001.] “Total Wellness” (1996) [TW; see 002., below]; then, I ask a simple question [because absurdly, in naturopaTHICKland, what is naturalistic and scientific, and what is supernatural and nonscientific ARE EQUATED; see 003., below]:

001. in ENM [ISBN 1559580925, 1991][which I own],  Murray [ND Bastyr 1985] and Pizzorno [ND NCNM 1975] write:

001.a. in the dedication:

"[dedication] to the beauty, truth and wisdom [BTW] of naturopathic medicine.  This book is dedicated both to naturopathic medicine [...] and to those physicians and healers who have bestowed the virtues of the 'healing power of nature' [HPN] throughout history and those who will do so in the future."

Note: so, we have HPN, and this claim of BTW.  We will see that naturopathy's illogical actual position is ugly, untrue, and unwise: that that which is science-based is that which is science-ejected.  Many would call that madness, instead of wisdom.

001.b. in the preface:

"this book was written in an effort to update the public's knowledge on the use of ‘natural’ medicines in the maintenance of  health and treatment of disease. It dispels a common myth about the use of natural remedies - that natural medicine is 'unscientific'.  This book contains information based on firm scientific inquiry and represents countless hours of research [...and] is without question the most thoroughly researched and referenced book on the use of  natural medicines ever written for the public [...] it is designed  for use in conjunction with the services provided by physicians practicing natural medicine. Readers are strongly urged to develop a good relationship with a physician knowledgeable in the art and science of natural and preventive medicine, such as a naturopathic physician [...] Michael T. Murray ND [and] Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND."

Note: so, there's a claimed goal of 'public enlightenment' [just as naturopathy has this oath-bound requirement of 'physician as teacher'], a claim of scientific and thorough rigor, a promotion of naturopathy as science, and a use of the label natural upon 'the naturopathic.'  Now, JEP claims to be an expert on naturopathy the "science-based natural medicine", still.

001.c. in the first chapter of the book "What Is Natural Medicine?":

"[after the standard wacky quote by Edison that medicine will not medicate in the future, thus  naturopathy (which loves to dispense medicaments!)] science and medicine now have in their possession the technology and understanding necessary to appreciate the value of  'natural' therapies [...] at the forefront of this revolution is naturopathic medicine [...whose] philosophical roots can be traced back to Hippocrates [p.003...] the naturopathic physician is trained in finding the underlying cause rather than treating or suppressing the symptoms [...] naturopathic medicine [...] traces its philosophical roots to the Hippocratic school of medicine circa 400 BC [...] prehistoric people believed that disease was caused by magic or supernatural forces, such as devils or angry gods. Hippocrates, breaking with this superstitious belief, became the first naturalistic doctor in recorded history [...] Hippocratic practitioners assumed that everything in nature had a rational basis; therefore, the physician’s role was to understand and follow the laws of the intelligible universe. They viewed disease as an effect and looked for its cause in natural phenomena - air, water, food, etc. They used the term vis medicatrix naturae, the healing power of nature [VMN-HPN], to denote the body’s ability to heal itself [BATHI]. Naturopathy or 'nature cure' [...uses] natural means of preventing and treating human disease [p.004]."

Note: [so, ignoring the fact that NDs love to give out medicine, particularly from their own dispensaries, which is usually seen as quite an ethical conflict in actual healthcare] there is the overall claim that naturopathy is a form of naturalism, and that it survives scientific scrutiny.  The Big H. is appropriated to support this claim.  There is the equation of VMN-HPN-BATHI.  Explicit in this explanation is that naturopathy's VMN is naturalistic, and that such survives scientific scrutiny.

001.d. in that same first chapter, we're told of the essential vitalism of naturopathy [this is why the 1991 edition of ENM is a real keeper -- I've had one since the early 1990s, and relied on its misguidance to plan for graduate school as well as the AANP's misguidance]

"vis medicatrix naturae - the healing power of nature. Fundamental to the practice of naturopathic medicine is a profound belief [truly] in the ability of the body to heal itself [p.006...NDs] trust in the vis medicatrix naturae, the healing power of nature [p.012...] naturopathic medicine is 'vitalistic' in its approach, i.e. life is viewed as more than just the sum of biochemical processes [e.g., spirit is therein too], and the body is believed [truly] to have an innate intelligence [vital force] that is always striving for health. Vitalism [p.006…] a wide variety of different types of therapy can be employed by the naturopathic physician in the treatment of an individual, including nutrition, botanical medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, counseling and lifestyle modification […] homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats a disease with a dilute, potentised agent, or drug, that will produce the same symptoms as the disease when given to a healthy individual, the fundamental principle being that like cures like. This principle was actually first recognized by Hippocrates […] acupuncture is an ancient Chinese system of medicine involving the stimulation of certain specific points on the body to enhance the flow of vital energy (chi) [ p.007]."

Note: so, at the heart of naturopathy is vitalism.  And vitalism is hugely science-ejected [this is a position paper published by ACTUAL scientists in 1995, a year before the TW book that Pizzorno published in 1996 (see below)].  Homeopathy is hugely bunk, and hugely vitalistic as I was taught when pursuing my ND at UBCNM.  Take away the ancient Chinese medieval beliefs from acupuncture and you basically have a weak parlor trick.  And again, we see naturopathy hijacking the Big H.

001.e. in that same chapter, we're told regarding naturopathic education:

"the first two years concentrate on the standard human biological sciences covering anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, etc. The second two years are oriented towards the clinical sciences of diagnosis and treatment […] the therapeutic sciences [p.011]."

Note: science, science, science.  Except, those sciences are not standard at all because permitted within them -- overall, because overarching naturopathy overall, by oath -- is the nonscientific sectarian.

002. JEP writes in TW (ISBN 0761504338, 1996)(also here)[vsc 2010-06-01]:

"some important concepts: the healing power of nature, vis medicatrix naturae. Our bodies have a tremendous ability to heal […] natural healers refer to this inherent drive as 'the healing power of nature' or the vis medicatrix naturae [p.003…] seven underlying, health-sustaining systems of our body must function effectively to ensure our well-being, prevent disease, and allow a full life: the immune system, the detoxification system, the inflammatory system, the metabolic system, the regulatory system, the regeneration system, and our life-force or spirit [p.024...] live in harmony with your life-force […] each of us needs to become more aware of the activity of the vis medicatrix naturae (life-force) deep within us [p.026...] the life-force within each of us, which naturopathic physicians call the vis medicatrix naturae […] this teleological force, the healer within, that is the essence of each of us [p.333]."

Note: so, now VMN is spirit, which is life force, which is the underlying healing model for naturopathy, and it's purposeful, which means it has a mind of its own.  And, now we're truly into the absurd: wherein, that which was claimed to be scientific and naturalistic is now science-ejected, supernatural and sectarian.  This is naturopathic thinking at its core: an insane 'unethical sectarian pseudoscience'.

003. so:
when is something what it is not?  The absurdity known as 'the naturopathic.'  Naturopathy wishes to be both scientifically vetted and trades upon that label, but underneath that holds on to sectarian idealizations / contexts which are profoundly science-ejected -- mainly secretly.

How?  By half-the-time engaging in opaque labelings / falsehoods.  Not professional at all.
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