Of late, I’ve been looking into naturopathy in reference to the HPV. The members of one particular message board I’ve recently joined swear by it. As per Wikipedia, naturopathy “is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation.[1] Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach, and, like conventional medicine seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, ‘Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.”‘

The main reason that I’ve been considering it is that I’ve had the virus for four years now when the average amount of time for it to clear is 1-2 years. There is also disagreement among traditional Western medicine practitioners about the treatment of the condition and even about the progression of the virus. Some traditionalists think the virus completely leaves your body, while others think it never does. This uncertainty and disagreement among mainstream doctors just makes me confused and frustrated. A number of people think alternative medicine is akin to snake oil, but if mainstream medicine hasn’t effectively dealt with your issue, how can other methods hurt? However, finding a naturopath is extremely difficult as there is really no way to gauge how qualified they are. With mainstream doctors, you can check the provider directory that your insurance company sends you to see if they’re board certified and which hospitals they have privileges in (at least, the directory that my previous job sent to its members provided this information. Not sure if all insurance companies provide all that information, though). You can also Google to see if a particular doctor has had lawsuits filed against them. Or at the very least, you can go to the American Medical Association  website to find some information about them. There isn’t a centralized source to find any information on naturopaths. Also, I don’t know anyone that ever went to one, making my task more difficult.

So I called several naturopaths today. One of them wanted $250 for the first visit and $150 for every visit thereafter. Another one wanted $150 for the first visit and $75 for each visit thereafter. It’s not like these people are covered by my HMO. I have to pay the entire charge out of my own pocket. And unlike mainstream doctors, the goal of alternative practitioners isn’t to see your condition go away as quickly as possible. They don’t just treat the symptoms of illness, they treat the cause of it as well and the treatments they are likely to prescribe are likely to be ongoing which means the money you pay them quickly adds up. Which lead me to think about just who is most able to afford these alternative practitioners anyway. I highly doubt that most working people are able to, or even a lot of middle class people with the way the economy has been. And you can forget the poor. Which means that some people who may otherwise benefit from alternative treatment are shut out because they lack the financial resources. I feel more people should be given more opportunity to access the widest possible options for their medical care, but that’s my idealist side speaking. I can’t afford to go a naturopath in the immediate future as I have to pay for Hazel’s a big vet bill for her surgery. Even after the bill is paid off in 6 months or so, I’m still not sure I’d be too willing to cough up $250 or even $150 for somebody to give me vitamins, prescribe an exercise program and a low carb, low fat or vegan diet. I can go to GNC for some vitamins, I already go to the gym at least three times a week and I’m already working on cutting down on the junky carbs I eat. Which leads me back to square one. And spinning my wheels.



2 Responses to “Alternatives”

  1. Hey, thank you so much for writing about this. I’m 23 and recently tested positive for HPV. I’m so sorry that you’re having trouble in terms of which treatment method to use. Your alternative option though expensive, sounds worth it to me.

    Given all the economics and misleading marketing tactics involved with the food industry (the steroids in our meat and Lord knows what is in our processed foods that are labeled ‘healthy’), the vitamin industry (6,000 different brands on the market, who knows what works), the American public truly doesn’t know how to take care of ourselves. The Naturopathy could be worth the knowledge alone if mainstream didn’t work for you.

  2. Thanks. I agree there is a lot of misinformation given by conventional institutions and they can do practices that can be downright harmful. It’s hard for people that are interested in alternative medicine to find these practitioners in the first place due to the stigma, lack of centralized resources and the fact that they can be expensive. Our government can’t even agree if we should give everyone the right to basic health care for conventional practitioners, we’re a long way from promoting that everyone should have a right to see a chiropractor or a naturopathic doctor.

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