Commentary | It is, in fact, Gold’s argument that is whack

Re: “Naturopathic medicine is whack” | Commentary | March 15

Riva Gold’s piece that explicitly delegitimizes and ultimately denies efficacy to alternative forms of medicine is wrought with generalizations and misrepresentations, and articulates the arrogant worldview our society has regarding health and healing outside the realm of “conventional” biomedicine.

Alternative medicine comprises a number of domains that Gold homogenizes. It can include naturopathic medicine, which encompasses a number of modalities: chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists, and Ayurvedic practitioners. Each of these has their own system of education, entailing extensive hours of instruction and practice before they are allowed to practice and become legally licensed.

Furthermore, the remedies must adhere to regulations not unlike those imposed on pharmaceuticals; however, due to the exceedingly low doses of active constituents, toxicology tests are rather insignificant.

Indeed, remedies and alternative medicine can interact with pharmaceuticals as can any substance you put in your body. This does not eliminate efficacy; rather, it stresses the important role the patient has in disclosing all the information necessary for their health-care provider to prescribe the correct medicine. Contraindications are extensively researched within the realm of herbal and homeopathic remedies, and any legally licensed practitioner would be aware of these.

Medicine outside of Western biomedicine predominates in most of the world, with 80 per cent of the world’s population relying on what Gold deems “alternative medicine” to meet their primary health-care needs. The dualistic representation espoused in this article is entirely unproductive. The two domains must complement rather than compete with each other. Alternative medicine holds immense import for the maintenance of health around the world and within Canada. It deserves scrutiny and analysis, but not through a lens that explicitly homogenizes the domain and displays a complete lack of empirical evidence.

Sophia Kehler
U2 Environment & African studies


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