Why Dr. Oz is Not a Naturopathic Doctor

Image source: lawron.blogspot.com
It’s rude to point, even for you, sir. Image source: lawron.blogspot.com

When I hear the phrase, “So, Dr. Oz says…”  in clinic, I feel like casting my eyes to the heavens and throwing up my arms. Hearing the successful cardiologist’s name means I either need to explain why this particular person doesn’t need to be on that particular supplement, why this caution is not applicable in this person’s case or why a certain treatment that this famous doctor recommends is probably not the best thing for this particular person at this particular time.

It’s great the there is someone in the media who is wildly popular singing natural medicine’s praises. It’s wonderful that people like him, watch his show and get excited about empowering themselves when it comes to their health. However, I have beef with hearing his name mentioned repeatedly in patient visits. The main reason: Dr. Oz is not a naturopathic doctor.

Saying that CoQ10 is great for heart disease is all fine and good. However, is it good for your heart disease? Dr. Oz doesn’t know you personally. He’s not sitting across from you, with your medical history in his lap. He doesn’t even know your past medical history. He doesn’t know your family history; he’s never performed a physical exam on you or looked at your blood work. He doesn’t even know you name. The medicine he preaches is a one-size-fits-all style of medicine. It’s not individualized medicine and, therefore, it’s not naturopathic medicine. When a naturopathic doctor prescribes you CoQ10, keeping in mind a specific brand and dosage, he or she is saying that this medicine is good for you, given what he or she knows about you as a person and what’s going on with your body. This is something you can’t get from a little man inside of a TV.

You’re also not just a heart with heart disease that could benefit from supplementing with CoQ10 or fish oil. You’re a person, a whole person. Naturopathic medicine aims to treat the whole person, not just the disease. Achieving a healthy state of being is about making sure your whole body is healthy, not just an organ system or body part.

Not knowing you or evaluating your case, Dr. Oz is also not able to get to the root cause of disease when he tells you that green coffee bean extract is great for weight loss. It may be beneficial for you, sure, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your weight issues, if you have them, don’t have much to do with a green coffee bean extract deficiency. In order to truly help you heal and become healthier, a naturopathic doctor’s goal is to find out what is causing the condition you present with and treat the cause, not prescribe a supplement for a specific symptom without asking why that symptom is there in the first place.

You might have a great relationship with your TV but you don’t know Dr. Oz. Sure, he seems nice, but he doesn’t know your story, he doesn’t have rapport with you. There is no doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. Oz. He’s just a popular guy on a TV show, but so is Chandler from Friends and I don’t expect him to treat my digestive concerns. In order to set out on the path of healing, it’s important to establish a therapeutic relationship with a healthcare professional that you can trust your story with.

Learning about health through entertaining mediums such as the Dr. Oz show is a great idea. Taking health advice to heart without consulting a professional that knows your story is not. For individualized, natural health advice, seek the counsel of a naturopathic doctor who will treat the root cause of disease, develop a therapeutic relationship with you and create a treatment plan for you, a unique, whole individual with a unique biochemistry. Dr. Oz may be pretty cool, but having your very own naturopathic doctor treat you is even cooler.

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17 thoughts on “Why Dr. Oz is Not a Naturopathic Doctor

    1. Well, the article applies to NDs in the media as well. Dr. Oz just gets flack for being “the guy” that preaches natural medicine to the masses, which is counter-productive to our principles because we are individualized! The problem is the green allopathy (take this supplement for this condition) in the first place. I mean sometimes he talks about ideas, just as any health article will, for staying healthy and he gets the conversation started and gets people excited and interested in their health. That’s great! But watching his show (or any other, or reading any book or article for that matter) shouldn’t replace the real, person-to-person interaction and individualized, whole-person health advice from a real ND or natural MD.

      1. I pinned this on Pinterest. The public should know! It really irks me when people think he knows everything about naturopathic medicine. Us NDs should create our own television, radio, cooking, youtube, etc show. Why aren’t there any NDs doing that? We need to change something here. Beautiful post! I am so glad I am not the only one who thinks this way.

  1. Great article. Your perspective is spot on! We need more Talia’s coming out of ND schools… more naturopaths armed with the philosophy that makes us truly unique. The world does not need more green-allopathy. Thanks for being a presence for us on the web.

  2. Also,
    Why is it that NDs appear on his show? We have a right to create our own shows. We need to take ownership on naturopathic medicine! Sorry, rant over. Haha.

  3. I pinned this on Pinterest. The public should know! It really irks me when people think he knows everything about naturopathic medicine. Us NDs should create our own television, radio, cooking, youtube, etc show. Why aren’t there any NDs doing that? We need to change something here. Beautiful post! I am so glad I am not the only one who thinks this way.

    1. Thanks! I think the idea is that we’re not just our modalities. You can be a naturopathic doctor and use an entirely different set of skills, as long as you follow the therapeutic order and the principles. Or you can be an MD and only use naturopathic modalities, prescribed in an allopathic fashion: 1 supplement for 1 condition, treating symptoms, etc. Anything that’s sold to the masses makes me cringe because it’s the antithesis of individualized medicine, which involves self work and building a therapeutic relationship, not self-prescribing. Also, I’m tired of telling people to throw out their crappy brand of fish oils… Moral of the story: have a health concern? Book an appointment with a naturopathic doctor! And save the TV-watching for entertainment’s sake only, not for health advice!

      1. Nice comment! Well, what I mean is that, if more naturopathic physicians were to have their own show like Dr. Oz, I think people would be less confused on the principles of naturopathic medicine really are. It appears too many are drawn by fear to do so. When I was applying, I heard people tell me “Why become an ND when I can become an MD who specializes in intergrative medicine?”. I have worked with an integrative oncologist. She is great! But being an ND and a MD who does integrative medicine have different philosophies. Also, I think it make the public look at us in a different life and understand what we truly are if we become more aggressive. The philosophies on what we do are blurred by people like Dr. Oz and it appears that people are listening to him more than what their own naturopathic doctor will tell them. Um, your naturopathic doctor KNOWS your medical records, Dr. Oz doesn’t. It’s annoying that they would argue you down and listen to a doctor on television, who doesn’t know who you are then a naturopathic doctor who can talk to you face to face. Just because he has an MD. I really hope more naturopathic doctors would come out into the media more someday and open up more clinics. I think it will be very cool too, who knows, I think I will one day.

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