13 doctors weighed in:

What's your opinion of chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths and other alternative medicine specialists?

13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Rick Kirschner
General Practice
5 doctors agree

In brief: Good but it depends

Some practitioners in all fields of medicine are better at it than others.
Some are too opinionated to get good answers, some more skilled than others, some curious to dig deep and have great instincts too. But generally speaking, I am delighted that more and more people are gaining access to real healthcare instead of getting hooked on pharmaceuticals and dealing with the side effects.

In brief: Good but it depends

Some practitioners in all fields of medicine are better at it than others.
Some are too opinionated to get good answers, some more skilled than others, some curious to dig deep and have great instincts too. But generally speaking, I am delighted that more and more people are gaining access to real healthcare instead of getting hooked on pharmaceuticals and dealing with the side effects.
Dr. Rick Kirschner
Dr. Rick Kirschner
Thank
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry
3 doctors agree

In brief: See below

They each have their place.
The different healing arts can provide for people's differing needs. Many forms of complementary medicie mesh quite well with western medicine. Although there is some quakery out there (i.e. Phrenology), often a patchwork quilt of approches can have a superior outcome to only one treatment modality. Take care.

In brief: See below

They each have their place.
The different healing arts can provide for people's differing needs. Many forms of complementary medicie mesh quite well with western medicine. Although there is some quakery out there (i.e. Phrenology), often a patchwork quilt of approches can have a superior outcome to only one treatment modality. Take care.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Thank
Dr. Randy Baker
Holistic Medicine
3 doctors agree

In brief: Usually positive but

Just like there are some great md's and some who are not so great, every person is an individual.
I know some wonderful chiropractors who are true healers & others (a minority) who seem to be into it more for the money.I have seen acupuncturists help conditions that western medicine couldn't help.While I am trained as a md, i employ many approaches used by naturopaths with great success.See comment:.

In brief: Usually positive but

Just like there are some great md's and some who are not so great, every person is an individual.
I know some wonderful chiropractors who are true healers & others (a minority) who seem to be into it more for the money.I have seen acupuncturists help conditions that western medicine couldn't help.While I am trained as a md, i employ many approaches used by naturopaths with great success.See comment:.
Dr. Randy Baker
Dr. Randy Baker
Thank
6 comments
Dr. Randy Baker
Western medicine focuses on drugs & surgery but there are many other ways to help people heal. Western medicine does not have a monopoly on the truth! Many doctors seem threatened by alternative medicine practitioners (and some alt. med practitioners are hostile to MD's) but I believe the best approach to healing embraces all viable options & look forward to the day when we routinely collaborate.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
I agree that there is some merit to alternative approaches to medical care. But I insist that their products and procedures be subject to standard clinical trials, something they resist. I personally know of a study with echinacea, done by naturopaths in my area with NIH money which was negative (well done study) so they put it in the file and continue to teach of its efficacy.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree

In brief: As A Pediatrician...

... I am concerned that these folks give advice on treatment of kids with little or no educational foundation in pediatrics.
Like me doing cardiac surgery. Yet they usually tell parents they may help, often with untested, unproven and potentially unsafe products.Stick to what you have been trained to do.If so, then sometimes it may help.

In brief: As A Pediatrician...

... I am concerned that these folks give advice on treatment of kids with little or no educational foundation in pediatrics.
Like me doing cardiac surgery. Yet they usually tell parents they may help, often with untested, unproven and potentially unsafe products.Stick to what you have been trained to do.If so, then sometimes it may help.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Dr. Mark Diamond
Thank
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Varies

Always see an M.D.
Or an osteopath first if you suspect a problem. There is some data suggesting improvements from acupuncturists. Chiropractors and naturopaths have no scientific basis for their treatments and theories and in fact reject most science. They should be avoided for all but the most trivial conditions.

In brief: Varies

Always see an M.D.
Or an osteopath first if you suspect a problem. There is some data suggesting improvements from acupuncturists. Chiropractors and naturopaths have no scientific basis for their treatments and theories and in fact reject most science. They should be avoided for all but the most trivial conditions.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Thank
2 comments
Dr. Rick Kirschner
And there he goes again. While I respect the right of this or that person to an opinion, the fact is that the blindness of bias is strong in him,(check out his other posts on this topic and you'll see the theme. He has an axe to grind!) This opinion actually demonstrates a lack of investigation and understanding, rich in generalizations that produce much noise but very little signal. If you'd like to know more about naturopathic medicine, visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians online http://naturopathic.org and see for yourself what the education is and licensing criteria are. Sigh. MDs worked very hard to restrain and interfere with Chiropractors a few decades back, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilk_v._American_Medical_Association until they were sued for their monopolistic behavior (and lost.) But some keep fighting the old battles because they haven't anything new to add.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Thanks, Dr. Kirschner.
Dr. Erik Borncamp
Wound care

In brief: Proven vs unproven

By definition, "alternative" is different than modern western medicine.
Generally any drug, herb, treatment, or procedure that stands up to rigorous scientific scrutiny is included in modern medicine. The problem is that many alternative practices, herbs etc do not stand up to scientific scrutiny and cannot be shown to work. They therefore remain "alternative". Be careful and watch your wallet.

In brief: Proven vs unproven

By definition, "alternative" is different than modern western medicine.
Generally any drug, herb, treatment, or procedure that stands up to rigorous scientific scrutiny is included in modern medicine. The problem is that many alternative practices, herbs etc do not stand up to scientific scrutiny and cannot be shown to work. They therefore remain "alternative". Be careful and watch your wallet.
Dr. Erik Borncamp
Dr. Erik Borncamp
Thank
2 comments
Dr. Randy Baker
Dr. Borncamp, I respectfully disagree. What makes a treatment "alternative" is NOT that it does not stand up to scientific scrutiny but that it is not taught in medical schools. Medical schools nearly exclusively treat about pharmaceuticals and surgery. What they teach is unduly influenced by pharmaceutical companies that are threatened by alternatives. It is a myth that the standard treatments of conventional western medicine have "rigorous scientific scrutiny." According to this study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, only 14% of the recommendations of the Infectious Disease Society of America had strong evidence from RCT's: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=226373 Quoting Larry Dossey MD: "The British Medical Journal recently undertook an general analysis of common medical treatments to determine which are supported by sufficient reliable evidence. They evaluated around 2,500 treatments, and the results were as follows: 13 percent were found to be beneficial 23 percent were likely to be beneficial Eight percent were as likely to be harmful as beneficial Six percent were unlikely to be beneficial Four percent were likely to be harmful or ineffective. This left the largest category, 46 percent, as unknown in their effectiveness. In other words, when you take your sick child to the hospital or clinic, there is only a 36 percent chance that he will receive a treatment that has been scientifically demonstrated to be either beneficial or likely to be beneficial. This is remarkably similar to the results Dr. Brian Berman found in his analysis of completed Cochrane reviews of conventional medical practices. There, 38 percent of treatments were positive and 62 percent were negative or showed "no evidence of effect." (from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-dossey/the-mythology-of-science_b_412475.html ) There is a surprisingly large amount of scientific evidence, including many high-quality randomized controlled trials that support the safety and efficacy of nutritional and herbal medicine.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Acupuncture is not considered alternative medicine in much of Asia and a number of countries in Europe. The World Health Organization has published a long list of conditions for which are categorized as "Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved-through controlled trials-to be an effective treatment". Acupuncture has been around for over 5,000 years. It works very well with more contemporary, standard medical approaches.
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