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, July Issue Of Natural Alternatives
June 30, 2006
Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

July 2006

Hello, and welcome to this edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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Nature is the Physician of all Disease ~ Hippocrates





Some doctors discount naturopaths

By Julie Davidow
P-I Reporter

As interest in alternative medicine continues to grow, non-traditional approaches are increasingly intersecting with standard medicine.

But as the case of 9-month-old Riley Rogers shows, sometimes that intersection becomes the scene of a collision.

Riley's mother, Tina Carlsen, has been charged with kidnapping for taking her son from Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center last week. Carlsen rejected the surgical procedure Riley's doctors were recommending for his kidney condition. Instead, she wanted to pursue natural remedies.

In addition to raising a host of troubling questions about parental rights, the case has put a spotlight on the occasionally uneasy alliance between traditional care and alternative medicine

For the most part, the two approaches are complementary. More and more, hospitals are offering natural medicine options to supplement or complement traditional care, especially for chronic conditions for which conventional medicine has little to offer.

Naturopaths and doctors often exchange phone calls, discuss patients and offer advice and opinions.

"I think we're seeing a trend toward more collaborative practice," said Dr. Ronald Schneeweiss, a professor of family medicine at the University of Washington who helped develop the school's alternative and complementary medicine curriculum.

But at times, as apparently in the case of Riley and his mother, the two approaches end up being an either-or proposition.

"I've certainly had cases where the patient can get caught in the middle," said James Wallace, director of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, an alternative medicine clinic in Wallingford.

But more typically, patients will seek out alternative treatments in addition to their traditional care.

"That, to me, is good medicine," said Dr. Carol Doroshow, a pediatrician who is also trained in homeopathy, which attempts to stimulate the body's natural defenses with small doses of medications. "You take from the disciplines the best (of each)."

Dr. Richard Molteni, medical director at Children's, said the hospital had planned to bring in a naturopath to consult on Riley's case at Carlsen's request on the day she disappeared.

"They had made promises like that in the past," said Todd Rogers, Riley's father. "It appeared to us it was just a stall tactic." Children's, which also has hired two medical doctors who are trained as acupuncturists, isn't alone in its acceptance of alternative methods of treatment. At Virginia Mason Medical Center, acupuncturists work in the rehabilitation clinic. And the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is planning to open an integrative care clinic that would incorporate alternative treatments for cancer patients.

As a naturopathic physician, Bastyr's Wallace considers his role akin to that of a primary care doctor.

Naturopaths complete a four- to five-year program at Bastyr University in Kenmore, one of four schools in the country that offer an accredited naturopathic medicine program. In Washington state, one of 14 states where naturopaths are licensed, Wallace can prescribe antibiotics, stitch cuts and work with patients to address certain health concerns using herbs, diet and other lifestyle interventions.

But he doesn't hesitate to refer patients to traditional specialists if the symptoms point to an area outside his expertise.

"There are a number of things you don't really want to mess around with," Wallace said. Heart murmurs go to a cardiologist. Lumps go for biopsies. And prostate problems go to an urologist.

After diagnosis, if the available evidence points to a treatment recommended by a traditional doctor, Wallace said he's unlikely to disagree or try to convince the patient to forgo medications or surgery. Later, he can offer remedies that might help a cancer patient heal faster from surgery or address the nausea related to chemotherapy. But such follow-up care is not always welcome, Wallace said.

When a heart patient recently asked Wallace about alternative treatments for his condition, his cardiologist threatened to stop seeing him.

"My cardiologist told me that I should not waste my time with you," the patient told Wallace.

That kind of wholesale rejection of alternative therapies is less common than it used to be -- especially in Seattle -- but a divide clearly persists, the UW's Schneeweiss said.

While conventional medicine has embraced lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise, to improve health and stave off disease, there are still basic differences between traditional and alternative approaches.

Naturopaths lean toward natural remedies they believe help the body heal itself.

Traditional doctors, however, can be leery of treatments considered untested and unproven by rigorous scientific study. They tend to trust medical advances, pills and procedures.

Naturopaths, as such, often have difficulty securing privileges at hospitals to consult on a patient's care.

"There was quite a bit of running around involved" in trying to have a naturopath cleared to see a patient at the University of Washington. "It's not a well-oiled machine," said Schneeweiss.

Children's is willing to grant limited hospital privileges to naturopaths, and has done so in four recent cases, but remains concerned about opening up access too much, said Molteni.

"While they may be licensed by the state, there's not really a very good national system of accreditation," said Molteni.

P-I reporter Susan Phinney contributed to this report. P-I reporter Julie Davidow can be reached at 206-448-8180 or


Here's an interesting website about the importance of cholesterol.

I've looked through a few of the articles there in the various back issues, and there is some very interesting information with lots of references.

Given the persistent demonization of cholesterol in the popular press in recent decades, and the tremendous number of people currently taking various prescription medications to lower their cholesterol because they've bought into the conventional wisdom on cholesterol, it is nice that someone has taken the time to put together alot of useful and relevant information to refute the far more widely available misinformation. I'd especially recommend this website to anyone considering or already taking cholesterol lowering medications.

This article provided by Dr. Morrison


Thank you for reading.

Livia P.
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.



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