Wikipedia is not a recommended source for academic research. This is because the site allows anyone to be a contributor and edit important information. People can be misguided by ‘facts’ provided in this website. And if academic institutions recognize Wikipedia to be an unreliable source, those who are seeking information about health should also refrain from using the site.
According to Jimmy Wales, co-founder of the online encyclopedia, their website promotes high standards of objectivity and balance among its editors. But in the case of Complementary and Alternative Medical (CAM) systems, the editors of the website took a biased stance.
“Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that employs an array of pseudoscientific practices branded as ‘natural’, ‘non-invasive’, or promoting ‘self-healing’. The ideology and methods of naturopathy are based on vitalism and folk medicine, rather than evidence-based medicine (EBM)… ”
“Instead, naturopathic [practices] rely on unscientific notions, often leading naturopaths to diagnoses and treatments that have no factual merit… Naturopathy is considered by the medical profession to be ineffective and possibly harmful, raising ethical issues about its practice. In addition to accusations from the medical community, such as the American Cancer Society, naturopaths have repeatedly been accused of being charlatans and practicing quackery,” the editors wrote in the article about naturopathy.
When the references of the article were checked, it revealed that the writers came from organizations such as the Center for Inquiry (CFI), the Society for Science-Based Medicine (SFSBM) and Quackwatch.
Based on their website, the CFI’s goal is to “foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry and humanist values.” Moreover, the organization strives to achieve a society that is free from the influence of religion and pseudoscience. With the case of CAM, the editors classified it as a pseudoscience, which clearly shows the influence of the CFI in the editing of the article.
Meanwhile, on the website of the SFSBM, the organization clearly states its support for the advocacy to revoke the licenses of naturopathic physicians. According to the SFSMB, their goal is to educate consumers, professionals, business people, legislators, law enforcement personnel, organizations and agencies about science-based medicine. Simply put, this organization opposes naturopathy.
On the other hand, Quackwatch is operated by a man named Stephen Barrett, which was quoted as saying, “I believe that the average naturopath is a muddlehead who combines commonsense health and nutrition measures and rational use of a few herbs with a huge variety of unscientific practices and anti-medical double-talk.”
The goal of these skeptics is to discourage people from taking CAM and rely solely on allopathic medicine.
In contrast to the lies and biases posted on Wikipedia, CAM practitioners undergo extensive training to acquire certification. Students in a naturopathic educational facility undergo hands-on training reaching up to 4,100 hours. In addition, those who are enrolled in a medical school only undergo under 800 hours of curriculum load for their first two years of study. On the other hand, students of naturopathy have undergone 1000-1100 hours within the same time period.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), America’s leading agency in cancer research, says some CAM therapies such as acupuncture, yoga and meditation are generally safe and effective. (Related: Case study: Integrated use of yoga and naturopathy found to effectively manage metabolic syndrome, improve quality of life.)
Moreover, CAM treatments have lower costs than conventional medicine. In 2017, the total amount spent in the U.S. for CAM services and products only amounted to $34 billion compared to the total expenditure for allopathic treatments, which amounted to $365 billion.
Therefore, in this era where health conditions such as obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases are becoming prevalent, the public should be given the freedom to choose what type of medical practice they want to help treat their health condition.
To avoid being misguided by Wikipedia and other skeptics of CAM, visit Naturopathy.news.