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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why it's good to show gratitude and to have a positive frame of mind.

Most patients I see understand that the state of one's mind plays a big role in our health. People often assume that health is a product of your physical symptoms or lack there of. But there are many scientific studies out there (if you're of the camp that needs studies for everything) that thinking positively and doing good things for others helps. Here's an uplifting article about the power of saying 'Thank You'.

So I'm wishing all of our US friends out there a Happy Thanksgiving. And there's no reason why we Canadians can't be thankful for what we have yet again.

Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My response to the National Post article: "Naturopathy a prescription for quackery"

Hello everyone,

Well I awoke today and received a couple of emails regarding a publication from the National Post from a pharmacist disparaging Naturopathic Doctors. Those of you who have seen me or spoken to me know that this pharmacist is WAY off the mark. I'm not sure where he gets his information from, but I've never "waived my hands" and proclaimed anyone cured and my advice, I would like to think has been sound AND I can explain my reasoning through science.

Even the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can be explained by science. The World Health Organization (WHO) is very pro acupuncture and their aim is to "support and integrate traditional medicine into national health systems" and yet we have Scott Gavura (pharmacist) proclaiming that no scientific evidence exists. He clearly has not been looking through the medical journals, nor has he bothered to see that fertility clinics or pain clinics run by medical doctors now offer acupuncture as part of the treatment. Scott Gavura is mis-informed about naturopathic medicine.....little does he realize or worse, he chooses to omit, that most NDs have more education than pharmacists (min. 8yrs for NDs vs. min. 5 yrs for pharmacists). However we are trained to do different jobs and it probably isn't right to compare.

He also doesn't realize that Crown Corporations like Canada Post and universities like McMaster & Toronto are working in conjunction with naturopathic schools/doctors to conduct research. Mr. Gavura dismisses certain therapies as if it were proven fact. He feels that ginseng is of no use in cancers. Now, I'm not currently treating patients with cancer in my practice, but a simple pub med search of scientific articles reveals there are hundreds of peer-reviewed journals about ginseng and cancer. What saddens me isn't Scott Gavura's ignorance, but the fact that a national newspaper would print such inaccurate information and dissuade the public from trusting anything but information learned from evidence-based double-blind placebo control trialled studies. Even these studies are fallible as evidenced by complications that arise with some prescription drugs many years down the road.

There is a trend and a shift in the general public (albeit slower than I would like) towards the type of care that naturopathic doctors provide. People realize that long gone are the days where we say take this pill and it will fix ALL that ails you. Diseases are not caused by one single factor so as a naturopathic doctor, we endeavour to tackle your concerns from a holistic or big picture perspective. How can you treat high cholesterol without looking at the diet? A statin drug will not 'fix' all of your problems.

Scott Gavura lumps all naturopathic doctors as quacks. Some of us may well be, just like there are good medical doctors & pharmacists, there are bad ones as well. There are some MDs and pharmacists who frankly, don't know what they're doing and don't give a hoot. I have one patient who was prescribed a powerful steroid (prednisone) for the common cold. That means that there were two people at fault here, the medical doctor and the pharmacist who filled out that prescription. My point here is that it's easy to pick out examples of things that aren't quite right or to pick on a few.

Scott Gavura does not have all of his facts straight. Prescription rights were granted to naturopathic doctors by the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) after extensive analysis of our education and capabilities. Prescribing rights may allow naturopathic doctors to use certain natural substances that is otherwise only available to medical doctors who do not have the training to use these substances. As an example, there is a plant used in China that is very effective for asthma, but some people took vast quantities of this herb to achieve weight loss and it resulted in negative consequences. As a result, Health Canada banned the use of the plant. When someone mega-doses on aspirin, bad things happen as well. Sometimes, I feel that simple common sense is what's lacking in the scientific and medical community!

People are always asking me, when is naturopathic medicine going to be covered by OHIP? Some of the challenges to that are opinions like this being disseminated and mis-informing others. Contact your provincial MPP and the National Post to express your displeasure. I would challenge you all the next time you meet someone like Scott Gavura to ask him/her if they've ever seen a naturopathic doctor before they make such overblown and highly inaccurate statements. Send them my way or have them attend one of my talks/presentations. Gandhi said "be the change you want to see in the world" and I'm doing my best to make that happen.

And FYI, not all naturopathic doctors are against vaccines, just like not all medical doctors are for vaccines. My job is to present all the information that is available (whether good or bad) and to help you make a decision that you & your family feel comfortable with.

Everything is about politics:

MDs aren't happy that pharmacists are getting prescribing rights (by the way HPRAC recommended that pharmacists will be able to prescribe drugs).....Dentists aren't happy that hygienists now can clean teeth without supervision.....acupuncturists and traditional chinese doctors aren't happy that physiotherapists are doing acupuncture after doing "weekend courses" in acupuncture........I remember some group being mad at midwives...... physiotherapists are getting imaging privileges, which I'm sure chiropractors aren't happy about.

Certainly there has to be a way for all health care practitioners to work together, respecting each other's unique skill-sets!

In the end, there's far more politics in health care than people realize. It's about protecting territory! That's why we pay our association fees: they're like our union dues! Unfortunately, my union is really, really small compared to the others. =) But that's life, right? So don't sweat the small stuff!


Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"

Breakthrough in Multiple Sclerosis?

The diagnosis of MS changes patients lives. But research like this certainly gives us all hope.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/researchers-labour-of-love-leads-to-breakthrough-in-treating-ms/article1372414/


Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"