Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Naturopaths Are Not All Equal

Doctors writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports warn of alternative therapy dangers for children after a four year old autistic boy ended up in A&E after taking a bizarre collection of supplements prescribed by a ”naturopath”.

The child had a range of symptoms, including vomiting, constipation, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Doctors performed a number of tests which revealed hypercalcaemia—a high level of calcium in the blood—as well as a high level of vitamin D.

The mother finally told doctors – days after hospitalisation - that she had taken her son to a naturopath who had recommended 12 holistic supplements, including calcium, vitamin D, cod liver oil, camel milk, silver, zinc and Epsom bath salts.

As all the other tests seemed normal, the doctors thought that the supplements he was taking were the most likely explanation for his symptoms.

You can imagine how devastated these parents felt when all they had done was try to help their son. After treatment he made a full recovery in two weeks, but said the doctors, ”Many families view these therapies as safer ’natural’ options. ”But as this case demonstrates, there can be significant adverse effects which may go unrecognised due to lack of monitoring, recognition and experience with these therapies.”
”There are many reported cases of complications, including fatalities, and probably many others which are not reported to medical practitioners or recognised as being attributable to these.”

I am pleased to tell you that this case has been passed to the police who, I hope, will take some action. There are many ways of becoming an osteopath and most are deplorable. On line short courses, weekends at a bogus ”school” and even by correspondence. No genuine medical knowledge, no pathology, no diagnostic skills, no understanding of blood tests, x-rays or other information.

Often these include many other therapies, even using ear candles, massage, homeopathy and who knows what. You pay lots of money, get a diploma and you are let loose on the public. Whilst Osteopaths and Chiropractors are regulated by law, no other natural therapies are, so beware!

The British College of Osteopathic Medicine in London is almost alone in providing a full time five year course with all the essential medical topics required for safe practitioners. Do check on the training and competence of any complimentary therapist you consult. Surprisingly, your own GP is a good place to start as the surgery will know of the best and safest of local people.

Avoid anyone making claims to cure anything, to treat serious conditions like Parkinson’s, MS, autism, dementia, cancer and the like. Use common sense and do not be afraid to ask questions. If it sounds too good be true it certainly will be!

British College of Osteopathic Medicine
Lief House
Finchley Road
Tel:+44 (0)20 7435 6464


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