Can a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Play a role in discovering cures? ?

I know a Naturopathic Doctor isnt like a Biochemist or a scientist but can they still lead a research team in finding cures or something? If i wanted to be a Naturopathic Doctor AND try and discover cures for diseases can I have my cake and eat it to? What are some ways I could pull it off?


6 thoughts on “Can a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Play a role in discovering cures? ?

  1. Yes, a Naturopathic doctor can play a role in discovering cures. It is unlikely you would receive a grant or lead a team of researchers, but as long as you keep an open mind, you could research treatments little known to western medicine and document cases for study. A pharmaceutical company looking for new products might even hire you. You would have to be diligent and work within certain parameters, but you could do it. Acupuncture and acupressure were discovered by western medicine this way, so why shouldn’t you try it?

  2. I believe that the naturopath does more for discovery of the healing of human problems just because they LISTEN to the patient and consider the body before a time clock and list of KNOWN treatments. Natrapathic seeks knowledge that is not known yet and considers enviroment as well as social implications to health. How to pull it off of course is your question. May I direct you to search our Dr. Norman Shealy in Missouri.
    Natrapathic healer as well, renowned in the field of alternative treatment. He may be your source of inspiration to consider.

  3. Well, there’s no reason they couldn’t be involved in discovering cures.

    Sometimes new cures or treatments do start at the grassroots level by someone making an observation that nobody else has noticed before.
    The key thing then is not jumping to conclusions too early. An observation needs to then be turned into a hypothesis, and then in turn that hypothesis subject to testing. Doing proper clinical research is time consuming, difficult and expensive. It is usually impossible for an individual to do it.

    So in theory, anybody could discover a new cure. However, in practical terms, it is extremely rare for an isolated practitioner…whether a naturopath or a real doctor…to discover any new cures. If you are really interested in research and developing new cures and treatments, then you should go into research, and take all the science and statistical training that goes along with it.

    EDIT. Lightening as usual is wrong. It’s true that naturopaths aren’t taken seriously by most doctors (like me) or scientists. However, if they did a proper study, with proper controls and blinding etc, they could submit it to the peer review process and have it published. Other people could then try and repeat the study. That is called doing science. It doesn’t matter who does it, or what their qualifications are. As long as they follow the objective scientific method, their work will be taken seriously.
    The fact is that naturopaths tend to do poor quality studies that get published in poor quality naturopath journals, which are of course ignored by real scientists. Because naturopaths lack the proper training to do real science, and have a philosophical opposition to it, they are unlikely to ever make any breakthroughs. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, just unlikely.
    The CAM arm of the NIH has been throwing 100’s of millions of dollars towards research by alternative practitioners, such as naturopathy over the last 20 years and has nothing to show for it so far. No new treatment for anything. Look at what has come out of conventional science based medical research in the last 20 years. No contest.

  4. There is always research going on in natural fields too – and if that’s what your drive is you won’t have any trouble finding it.
    But most of it’s private and self-funded – we don’t have the deep pockets of the drug companies behind us, and in fact they spend billions to try to keep us from telling people they can be healthy without taking unecessary drugs.

  5. In theory yes.
    In reality it is unlikely this would happen.
    Naturopaths tend not to be taken seriously by the conventional medical profession.
    Even if a study was done using the same model used by the medical model it would be unlikely to be published in any of the conventional journals and conventional medics seem reluctant to read non conventional material.

    I advocate a research system for healthcare funded centrally and independently rather than funding from sources with vested interests. many more parties could get involved and throw their hats into the ring if this was the case.

    I attended a lecture on how to get research published hosted by the head of publishing of the BMJ. one of the points she made was regarding the selection process of papers to publish. She said the best way to describe it was to “Get a stack of papers, stand at the top of a flight of stairs and trow them up into the air. The ones the ones that fall below the fisrt 1/2 of steps you publish, the ones above it you don’t”

    She was quite clearly indicating the randomness of it all and that a paper gets published if it attracts the attention of the editor.

    Let me tell you something else. I was discussing the whole research and publishing scenario with my friends wife who is a psychiatrist. I commented that conventional medical journals don’t want to publish our research. What did she say?
    ‘Why should they! The horse and hound wouldn’t publish it!’
    Once I picked up my Jaw from the floor I remarked that they would if it was about treating horses or dogs.
    Does this sound like someone who considers me to be one of her peers?
    How do i even submit this through the peer review process if they don’t recognise me as a peer.
    Oh I know I’ll just use my own peers…
    ….Hold on the conventional medics don’t recognise us as having anything to offer so we have to publish it all in our own journals……….
    Do you see the problem Skepdoc? The conventional model doesn’t want to let any other players into the market. The best research in the world won’t change this underlying attitude.

    Lots of studies get published as scientific which have been very poorly conducted.
    look at how prozac got passed as safe and effective.
    The process of doing so was highly questionable.
    Skepdoc I fully understand you want to objectify medicine but you must apply that objectivity to your own model.
    Exactly how reliable is double blind testing when you can see the side effects manifesting in the people given the actual drug?
    Should we really be using the reductionist model and selling it as complete when we don’t even know all the factors that could affect the result?
    Can you seriously expect a company that has spent millions developing a product to have no bias in safety testing when it pays for and selects the testers?

    In time we will look back at conventional medicine and laugh at some of what we are doing today just like we look back and laugh at some of what we did 100 years ago.

    I hope that all these people who end up proven wrong will be humble.

  6. Naturopaths do lead research projects, including those funded by the NIH. As part of our training NDs learn biochemistry, and some have a background in it. I had several classmates who were biochemists prior to becoming naturopaths. Several naturopathic colleges have associated research institutes. For instance NCNM is associated with the Helfgott Research Institute, NPR recently featured a story about an ND researcher at OHSU For more information on possible career paths NDs can take, visit
    Good luck!
    Tristin Mock, ND

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