here, I transcribe and comment upon parts of a recent interview of a naturopath in Seattle by public radio there [see 001., below]; then, I visit his practice page and share some details the interview didn't mention [see 002., below]:
001. the University of Washington's KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio (PSPR) kuow.org states in "Discussing Naturopathy With A Naturopath" (2012-08-15) (for the mp3, click here) [vsc, downloaded 2012-08-15; my comments are in unquoted bold]:
"[from the description, as reported by Ross Reynolds; 'RR' below] what is a naturopath? How does their practice of medicine differ from a conventional doctor's? Ross Reynolds sits down with a local naturopath to discuss training of a naturopath, the treatments they give and he takes your calls. Guest(s): Dr. Patrick Donovan [ND Bastyr 1985; 'D' below] is a naturopath; he runs the University Health Clinic and teaches at Bastyr University [...]";
just to clarify here, the clinic mentioned is not Bastyr's teaching clinic. It is named based upon its address in the university district of the city. But that is a very good question: what precisely is a naturopath? And what is the primary difference?
RR: "define naturopathic medicine to us."
yes, please do. As an academic, this shouldn't be so hard in terms of clarity and precision.
D: "naturopathic medicine is a practice of medicine that's based on some fundamental philosophies and concepts of living systems and how nature itself works and applying those philosophies and concepts to our patient care [...]";
and that's all you get. What could those philosophies and concepts be? I'll share that below in 002.
RR: "give us an example of how a naturopath might deal with a patient's problem versus how a traditional family practitioner might deal with the same problem." D: "surprisingly, it might not be different at all [...and states] the educational piece is very similar to a medical doctor or DO [...]";
so, there's this claim of 'so little difference'.
D: "our basic fundamental education teaches us how to be a good general practitioner [...and speaks of] allopathic measures [...and] 13 to 15 hours of boards [...and says] just practice medicine [...] there's just good medicine [...] put our patient at the center of the care model [...]";
oh the riches here! We have the claims of "good", the false label upon modern medicine as "allopathic", board exams mentioned that label such nonsense as homeopathy "clinical science", and I'm not sure if the patient can be at the center of naturopathic concerns when naturopathy first and foremost is based on philosophies and concepts as its primary framings / concerns.
D: "naturopathic medicine is evidence-based medicine [...and speaks of] the best kind of scientific data you can have [...] one has to pay attention to a lot of things when one looks at the literature";
I take this as a claim of scientific rigor girding 'the essentially naturopathic'.
002. ND Donovan's practice page [he practices with Fahoum, M. (ND Bastyr 2004)]:
002.a. explanation of naturopathy "What is a Naturopathic Doctor?" [vsc 2012-08-15]:
002.a1. speaks of science and efficacy:
"naturopathic medicine is a system of healthcare—an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. [...] naturopathic medicine is natural, effective holistic medicine [...] naturopathic methods incorporate the scientific and empiric [...] and application of the latest scientific research [...] naturopathic physicians are trained in standard medical sciences including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, pharmacology, cardiology, neurology, radiology, minor surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, embryology, pediatrics, dermatology and physical medicine. The training also includes extensive study of naturopathic philosophy and therapeutics including clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, hydrotherapy and counseling";
I think it's safe to say the claim here is science subset naturopathy and homeopathy. But, we know homeopathy, for starters, is science ejected ineffective nonsense.
Note: partner ND Fahoum in "Dr. Mona Fahoum" [vsc 2012-08-15] states this 'naturopathy as science' claim in even more stark categorical terms: "after U of W, she went on to study the science of natural medicine at Bastyr University, graduating in 2004 with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine." Bastyr itself labels naturopathy starkly "science based" (here's my archive).
002.a2. and speaks of 'the essentially naturopathic'":
"naturopathic medicine is defined by the principles that underlie and determine its practice rather than by the substances used. [...] the guiding principles of naturopathic medicine: [include #1] the healing power of nature: this is the self-organizing and healing process inherent in all living systems. Naturopathic medicine recognizes this healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to support, facilitate and augment this process";
and that's all you get, HPN = HP. But, we can peel back that veneer.
002.b. because ND Donovan's biography page is here and it tells us:
"he has contributed chapters to the Textbook of Natural Medicine [TNM]. "
the TNM is the Rosetta Stone of sorts to the essential premises of naturopathy. In the interview, and in the practice page definition above, we are not fully informed but are instead shallowly informed. The "Textbook of Naturopathic Medicine" (2006, 3rd ed.; ISBN 9780443073007) [the chapter I excerpt from is archived here] states: "the vis medicatrix naturae [is] the vital force, the healing power of nature [p.034...aka] your life force [p.035...] any naturopathic modalities can be used to stimulate the overall vital force [...] an entire physiologic system (immune, cardiovascular, detoxification, life force, endocrine, etc.) [p.36]." So, naturopathy's central textbook claims physiology includes a science-ejected concept known as vitalism. This is their essential philosophy and concept. What's really interesting is their claim also in that chapter: "science-based natural medicine was a major driving force behind the creation and mission of Bastyr." Yet, life forces are science ejected for several decades. In a major sense, the philosophies and concepts of naturopathy are irrational and kept SECRET often-most (yet, here's my archive of Bastyr's vitalism).
Note: so, earlier, we were told that naturopath's overall are "good general practitioners" seeking to practice "good medicine". But, is a foundation based upon what is false good [science subset patent nonscience]? While claiming science, incidentally and similarly, ND Fahoum also states "as a naturopathic family practitioner, Dr. Monawar Fahoum’s interests and specialties include homeopathy" [that's science subset magic beans and unicorn tears].
003: the interview description stated that how things "differ" would be discussed, but it was not dealt with in detail, so here's my take:
naturopathy and modern medicine differ GREATLY in that modern medicine is not based upon a broad foundation of irrational nonsense [the naturopathillogical] wherein the science-interior is equated with the science-exterior. ND Donovan speaks a lot about things being patient-centered. But, first and foremost, such a goal must place informed consent as primary. How can one truly be informed to consent when important details are not mentioned BEFORE the patient engages with the knowledge-type muddle known as naturopathy?
what's also interesting is that the Washington naturopath's own web pages DO NOT TRANSPARENTLY INFORM either, they code.
incidentally, of what is mentioned uncoded by both Donovan and WANP, that healing is "intelligent", is patently scientifically WRONG. Brains with minds are intelligent. Naturopathic ideas, not.