There are many misconceptions about what naturopathic medicine is, and there may be a variety of perceptions of what a naturopathic doctor does. Here is where I stand on certain issues commonly associated with naturopathy.
Myth #1: Naturopathic medicine is all about homeopathy.
My stance: Although I have seen on rare occasion, homeopathy being helpful for some people, most of the time it does not work. I do not prescribe or endorse homeopathy in my practice. In addition to promoting dietary and lifestyle changes, I implement biofeedback, a scientifically proven, very effective modality that helps people develop awareness of their body’s physiology (e.g. breathing, heart rate, blood pressure) so they can learn to regulate these functions and retrain their autonomic nervous system to optimize their cardiovascular, digestive, and cognitive health. This subsequently can improve a person’s immune function. The conditions in which biofeedback has been incredibly helpful for include: hypertension, anxiety, panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, and insomnia.
Myth #2: Naturopathic doctors are big on medical marijuana use.
My stance: I have never prescribed or endorsed medical marijuana. Although a few of my colleagues do recommend it for various symptoms such as nausea or pain, and I do not oppose it, I prefer to use nutritional support and/or biofeedback to help. For me personally, from the patients I’ve seen use it, it tends to numb them from reality, whereas my focus is to help them engage in and take charge of their life and health by changing lifestyle factors such as eating better, exercising, and providing mental/emotional support.
Myth #3: Naturopathic doctors are anti-vaccine.
My stance: Any qualified, fully-trained naturopathic doctor is pro-vaccine. I am fully in support of vaccines and it has been scientifically proven repeatedly that it does not cause autism. Unfortunately, there is a very small number of NDs (and most of those are probably fraudulent NDs) that do oppose vaccines. Rest assure, that if there is a scenario where a parent wants me to treat their child naturally so he or she can avoid being vaccinated, I will refuse to treat and encourage the child see a pediatrician to receive the proper protocol of vaccines before receiving any care from me. Similarly goes for a cancer patient that refuses to get their doctor recommended chemo/radiation therapy. The patient must be seeing an oncologist to manage their cancer, if they want to receive concurrent supportive care from me.
Dr. Alice Fong