Drawbacks to Alternative Medicine

As the owner of Vitabase, a health supplement company, I have personally talked to hundreds of customers over the years. Many of them had serious health problems and were considering alternative medicine.

This decision is a difficult one because in many cases, patients cannot choose to do both. In other words, the treaments often contradict each other. While I would not even attempt to make such an important decision for you, here are some thoughts to consider if you are considering alternative rather than conventional medicine.

1) Financial considerations. Except for a few states, insurance companies balk at paying for naturopathic medicine. Expect to pay those bills by yourself. There will be doctor’s visits as well as tests. However, the major expense is normally the health supplements that will be certainly recommended.
These expenses can quickly get out of control. I wish I could say that all naturopaths care more about your health than your wallet, but that is not necessarily true. Often, naturopaths will push overly expensive supplements on you when you can get similar quality elsewhere for a fraction of the cost.

My best advice to you is to be very informed about the supplements your doctor recommends and don’t feel that you have to buy only from him/her. Check the Internet to see if you can get that brand cheaper, or a similar product cheaper.

I have written about how to buy health supplements intelligently many times on this blog. Though normally I am discussing how to buy from retailers, the same principles apply to buying from

2) Naturopaths tend to be optimistic about what they can fix. However, what they do not always tell you is that their methods do not usually work as fast as conventional medicine.
Drugs are sledge hammers while health supplements are chisels. If you have time, take health supplements. If you are in an emergency situation, conventional medicine is probably the better choice.

I have had customers call with life-threatening cancer. In some cases, they have been told they have only a short time to live, and they want to know what I think they should do. I tell them to use conventional medicine. Conventional medicine works fast enough to save people that naturopathic medicine will not save.
Good naturopathic principles can reduce your chance of ever getting cancer. However, if you have a growing tumor, you cannot reasonably expect naturopathic medicine to fix the problem. It is too late for naturopathic medicine at that point.

3) Incompetency and unethical behavior. Naturopaths are people too, and there are plenty of bad people floating around. However, I firmly believe that most naturopaths honestly want to help people and actually think they are. Unfortunately, they just don’t know what they are doing.

As I mentioned in my last post, there are only four accredited schools for naturopathic medicine in the US. There are many other schools who confer naturopathic degrees on people, who then call themselves naturopaths. Many of them could not diagnose a sore throat.
I am going to tell you the one thing above all that you need to watch out for. You need to be careful to avoid doctors who have a system where they run a “test” and then generate a computer report of supplements you need to take.

The tests they run could range from hair analysis to various body scans using ultrasonic pulses. Sometimes, they will put you in a cold room for a while and then measure temperatures on different parts of your body. Sometimes, they will make you hold a jar of a particular supplement and then push on your arm to try to determine if you are stronger or weaker when holding that particular supplement. Some look at your irises to figure out things.

I am not going to say dogmatically that all of these tests are scams, but at best, they have weak science behind them. Regardless of the test, they are all designed to do one thing–generate supplement sales. If you go have a test, you will walk out of the doctor’s office with a few hundred dollars worth of supplements.

This process is an extremely effective way for doctors to generate a lot of revenue. Sometimes, it may be helpful. However, skepticism is definitely in order. Be wary of doctors who try to tell you that you need to buy your supplements only from them.

I advise you to talk to a naturopath before visiting them to see what they plan to do and what their policy is regarding supplements. If you sense that they are going to push supplement sales on you, be wary. You would be much better off finding a doctor who is somehow disconnected from the supplement sales.

The moral of the story is this: you need to be as vigilant when looking for a naturopath as you are when you are looking for a conventional doctor. Be prepared to spend money and be realistic about what you are going to receive from the treatment.

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