Naturopathy: effectiveness? Risks?


platform doctolib disqualified 5,700 naturopath profilers from its platform last October. Ice sitz baths and rubbing with Louis Kuhne’s private parts to put feverish children to sleep, raw food to treat the most serious ailments … Recommendations in particular Irene Grosjean, influential figure in the world of naturopathy and trainer of practitioners already banned last August from Doctolib, ask questions. In addition to the stance some naturopaths have taken against vaccines and medications, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic. Even naturopath Miguel Bartilleri was given a two-year suspended prison sentence for his shady practices in 2021. In order to fight these sectarian abuses In the field of health, an inter-ministerial vigilance mission has been formed. So what are the different physical therapy practices? What are its benefits, but also its risks?

Efficacy: Does physical therapy work? what is the point ?

This is amazing Unconventional approachwhich has more than 6,000 practitioners in France and its goal is Maintain good health, improve our vitality Or to develop our powers of self-healing when disease is present, useless or whimsical? It is not easy to find out because No clinical study has evaluated physical therapy as a wholewhich is an almost impossible task as the disciplines and practices they cover are heterogeneous and lie on very different scales.

What does physical therapy treat? What are her specialties?

If diet, physical activity and mental balance are indeed fundamental pillars of health, as supported by naturopathic doctrine, then the advice and care associated with it is not all supported by studies. Let us cite, among many others, B micro nutritionWith them the plants in all its forms, psychosomatic approaches (sophistryology, massage …), hydrotherapy, Energy healing or vibrational (magnetism, magnets, colors, reiki…). unable to list them all, We evaluate the majors.

What are the signs of serious physical therapy? What are the limits that should alert you?

  • The practitioner claims it is He can handle it allincluding serious illness.
  • It discredits traditional medicine and/or Encourages you to stop treatment.
  • He makes you feel guilty if you don’t follow his advice to the letter.
  • Double the advice even if you don’t benefit from it.
  • He pushes you to buy several products and do training, and insists that you prefer a certain brand.

Do you know ? If its roots go back to antiquity, modern physiotherapy was born at the end of the nineteenth century, and in the forties of the last century it arrived in France through the biologist Pierre-Valentin Marchesseau.

Iridology to detect a health problem

It is often suggested During the first meeting under The balance sheet is called vitalthis The iris scan aims to detect health disorders or organ weakness, even before symptoms appear.

“It is certainly possible for an ophthalmologist to identify some metabolic disease or excess medication in the eye, however Claiming that we can detect any present or future diseasesmagical thinking Judges Professor Bruno Vallesar.

Confirmed opinion by a scientific study published in 2020. Another problem, but not the least: This approach is like a diagnosis, though Natural healers do not have the right to ask one of themwhatever the way, Nor to provide any treatment. Those who do so put themselves on trial for illegally practicing medicine.

Naturopathy and diet: What are the health benefits?

From a naturopathic healer Encouraging people to eat more fresh and dried fruits and vegetables and reduce sweet, salty or highly processed meat and products is a good thing because it meets public health recommendations. “It’s even better to encourage people to continue their efforts over time, which is sometimes very difficult when risky eating behaviors have been in place for years,” said Professor Gregory Ninot.

The incentive to get Organic dietand only organic, is more debatable, and the evidence is limited in this area, ”considers Professor Valisard. The same applies to special diets, which are often recommended in naturopathy, such as detox treatments, cleansing or raw food, for which there is no Evidence of a particular benefit to health, some of which, such as mono diets, can be harmful.

Regarding smallAnd intermittently or for a long time Some biological agents can sometimes improve, such as triglycerides and blood sugar, however, it is not suitable for everyone, especially diabetics, to fast for long periods. Studies are underway to evaluate it in the prevention of cancer: “But when the cancer is there, and the treatments are under way, to claim that fasting will help them better, as some naturopaths do, is wrong and even dangerous,” warns Prof. Ninot.

Sports: Use caution if you have diabetes, cancer or any other disease

Written in the heart approaches advocated by physiotherapy, It has been widely proven effective in maintaining and restoring good health when you get sick. Professor Valisard agrees: “It is a good thing for a practitioner to encourage people to enter into it or return to it.”

Physical activity Must However it adapts to the special needs of some people“They should then benefit from specific and personalized programmes, because they will be more beneficial and less at risk than others,” said Professor Ninot.

Phytotherapy and Aromatherapy: Beware of Interactions

Phytotherapy is not, In itself a bad way and a lot the plants Which, even if it hasn’t been the subject of good clinical studies, is showing Useful for improving certain disordersSuch as sleep problems, digestion, nervousness, anxiety …

However, care must be taken when under treatmentAnd due to the risk of interaction. “Plants can alter the effectiveness of medicines and / or cause side effects,” warns Prof. Ninot who advises avoiding them when you are under chemotherapy or when you are on long-term treatment for us. vital, eg in case of chronic and severe disease.

what aboutAromatherapy ? “If it can help some people and in some cases, I don’t see a problem, provided the naturopath mentions the risks, including allergies, and it is not recommended in situations where it is contraindicated (Editor’s note : pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 6 years of age…). »

Microfeeding: Yes, but only in case of deficiency

the Vitamin, mineral and trace element supplement and other classes of micronutrients, part of the classic arsenal of naturopathy. “Except it doesn’t make sense Only if the deficiency is proven through a biological analysis Professor Ninot confirms.

So it would be necessary for a naturopath, If a problem is suspected, for example if the person is abnormally pale or their skin is very dry, they are suggested to have a blood test, which will only be compensated if prescribed by a doctor. “But do they do it systematically? Nothing less certain … I have seen patients in the cancer department who spent 500 euros on nutritional supplements that were of no use at all. Moreover, Professor Valisard adds, ” As long as the diet is varied and balanced, there is no need to supplement it with micronutrients. »

As for the micronutrient assessment and heavy metal detection proposed by some naturopaths, the “Oligoscan”, its reliability is more than uncertain. On their site, the manufacturer already guarantees that the technology is scientifically validated but doesn’t cite studies to confirm it, and didn’t respond when we asked.

Plantar reflexology, audiotherapy

From a scientific point of view, The level of evidence is very low. “The principle according to which there would be a mapping of the body in the ear or the foot is also very speculative,” says Professor Valisard. However, it is not absurd to think that this type of technique, like all treatments involving touch, can happen Help with some issues Such as chronic stress or musculoskeletal problems. As long as it’s not a substitute for treatment, it’s okay to try it if it helps. »

Power Care: There are no risks to trying

Reiki, dowsing, vibration techniques Through the use of stones, colors, and a Tibetan bowl…” we enter there into esoteric practiceswhere science cannot go because of the inability to iterate from case to case and to rational explanation, ”Professor Ninot judges. It is not infrequent, however, that some people, sometimes very Cartesian, feel a real benefit from it. “As long as there is no attempt to control Psychological or conversion therapy, there is no permission There are no major risks to trying. »

Colon hydrotherapy: No evidence of effectiveness

It is based on the idea One Colon cleansing with water purifies the body And rid it of accumulated toxins. “However, this hypothesis has been largely refuted by the scientific community,” says Professor Ninot. nothing There is no clinical evidence that it has preventive or detoxifying effects attributed to it, and it does not fulfill its promises of improving many symptoms such as fatigue, transit disorders, flatulence, urinary and nervous infections …

Physical therapy training: What you need to know

  • the The physical therapy profession is neither recognized nor regulated In France, anyone can practice it without having been trained beforehand.
  • However, about fifty schools applied, all private but not approved by the state exercise Either face to face, online/by correspondence, or a combination of the two, at a cost that can exceed €10,000.
  • At the end of the course, which varies greatly in content and duration, it offers a A degree or certificate that is not officially recognized.
  • It is always better to choose at least A practitioner who can justify training of more than 1200 hours, for example in a school accredited by the Association of Professional Physiotherapists, or the French Federation of Physiotherapy. However, you should know that this is not a 100% guarantee of its seriousness or the quality of its methods.

To read: 100 alternative medicines that have been validated by science, Professor Gregory Ninot, ed. Belen, € 21.90.


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