Monday, July 26, 2010

The Science-Ejected Vitalism of "Clinical Naturopathy" (ISBN 9780729539265, 2010)

here, I detail a new naturopathy book that reiterates naturopathy's essential science-ejected premise: vis medicatrix naturae / vitality / vital force [see 001., below]:

001. Sarris, J.

PhD (UQ), MHSc HMed (UNE), BHSc WHMed (ACNM), Adv Dip Nat (ACNM), Adv Dip Acu (ACNM), MNHAA, NHMRC Clinical Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, and Brain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria, Australia Formerly School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia 

and Wardle, J.

who's publisher-provided credentials are [same page], I kid you not:

BHSc Naturopathy (ACNM), MPH (UQ), NHMRC, Public Health Scholar, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Director, Research Capacity Stream, NORPHCAM; Trans-Pacific Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Washington, USA

write in "Clinical Naturopathy: An Evidence-Based Guide to Practice" (ISBN 9780729539265, 2010) [and who both seem to suffer from inflammation of the credentials]:

"[in chapter 01 'Naturopathic Case Taking' with authorship attributed to ND Connolly] naturopathic philosophy and principles [...two] essential philosophical concepts intertwined with the historical development of naturopathy [are] vitalism and holism [p.002...] vitalism.  A fundamental belief of naturopathy is that ill health begins with a loss of vitality.  Health is positive vitality [...] health is restored by raising the vitality of the patient, initiating the the regenerative capacity for self-healing.  The vital force [...] vitalism is the belief that living things depend on the action of a special energy or force that guides the processes of metabolism, growth, reproduction, adaptation and interaction.  This vital force [...] the vital force necessary for life to exist.  The vital force is non-material and occurs only in living things.  It is the guiding force [...] the vital force is seen to be different from all other forces recognized by physics and chemistry [...] vitalists [...] naturopaths use a 'moderate' form of vitalism: vis medicatrix naturae, or the healing power of natureVis medicatrix naturae defines health as good vitality where the vital force flows energetically [...] whereas ill health is a disturbance of vital energy [...] naturopathic philosophy further believes that a person's vital force determines their susceptibility to illness [...] those with poor vitality will succumb [p.003...] vis medicatrix naturae sees the role of the practitioner as finding the cause (tolle causum) of the disturbance of the vital force.  The practitioner must [...] restore the vital force [...] vitalistic theory merges with naturopathy in the understanding of how disease progresses [...] when the vital force is strong [ good things etc....when] the vital force is weakened [bad things etc. p.004]."

Note: I came across these promotional free chapters at . This is apparently being offered by Elsevier Australia, here specifically. 

Some word counts:

"life force" is a term not present in these sample chapters; "vitality", which is obviously a stand-in for 'vitalism', occurs 31 times;  "vital force" itself happens 13 times [yes, though immaterial and immeasurable, Adobe Reader was able to quantify it!]; "vitalism" 10 times; "medicatrix" 3 times; and overall 'vital*'occurs 65 times.

002. there isn't, of course, a vital force in any scientific sense of 'force' or 'energy.'  It is simply a holdover from medieval superstition and ignorance.
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