Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ms. Harris

Nurse Co-ordinator/Nurse Practitioner, University of Calgary, MS Clinic

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Q :
I am highly skeptical of naturopathic therapies for MS, but have some friends who are strongly recommending naturopathic medicine. I understand that naturopaths have a variety of services available: chelation, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, spinal adjustments, and injection therapies, to name a few. Is there any type of naturopathic medicine that you would recommend at all? Am I wrong to be so skeptical or am I missing something that could actually help my husband's symptoms?
A :
It is always wise to be an informed consumer of health care whether it is for medical care delivered by your health care system or some of the many alternative or complementary therapies. It is important to understand the rationale for all treatments. Naturopathic treatments and practitioners are not regulated and there is no way of knowing if they have caused harm to anyone or if they are delivering what they are promising. If you visit the internet you can find countless claims of products and procedures that are advertised to cure illness or make life easier. Many of these are very expensive and when individuals perceive their life to be hopeless they often fall prey to false advertisement that greatly impacts their personal finances.

In modern medicine we like to follow evidence based practice. This means we use treatments that have been researched in clinical trials and been proven to impact the illness they are being used in. This gives us an opportunity to evaluate the safety of the treatments as well. Without this process it is very hard to recommend therapies that could cause harm someone or be costly and not produce benefit. Many individuals chose to follow an alternate path and see naturopaths but must do so at their own risk which means if things go wrong they are on their own.

Recently the gap between modern medicine and more traditional heath practices of eastern medicine are being bridged through research and we are finding evidence to promote such practices as acupuncture. Modern health practitioners are becoming more open minded and working on controlled trials to determine effectiveness of oral products such as herbs and vitamins as well as physical therapy treatments. It is a trend that is likely to continue in the future but until we have knowledge that these treatments can help it is everyone’s responsibility to be wise consumers.

5/29/2008 9:05:47 AM

More answers from Ms. Colleen Harris

More answers in the category: Complementary and Alternative Therapies

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that this information does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MS Society of Canada, and is not intended as medical advice. For specific advice and opinion, always consult a physician.

© 2008 Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
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