Systematic Review of Naturopathic Outcome Studies

WANP members helped make possible a project initiated by the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute that will have significant value for the naturopathic profession. The profession has needed specific evidence that its whole person, multi-modality, personalized approach is effective. At the link below is a Systematic Review of Outcome Studies of Whole Practice Naturopathic Medicine, presented at the International Research Congress on Integrated Medicine and Health in Portland on May 16, 2012. This is the largest research conference of its kind in the world, drawing over 1000 researchers and educators.

NPRI promotes whole practice methodological approaches to naturopathic research, a focus some advocates have maintained for 25 years. Naturopathic whole practice research is specific to the naturopathic discipline and may provide better estimates of the effect size of clinical outcomes and of responder rates to treatment than single agent or fixed intervention studies. Over the last dozen years, naturopathic physicians-scientists have performed a number of these essential investigations. We included in our recent review studies done with naturopathic doctors in the US and Canada where there are shared standards for training and licensing. We can report that when the right questions are asked and the studies competently performed, the results fall resoundingly in favor of naturopathic care.

The results (of this research) are a remarkable demonstration of both the value of naturopathic care and of research in naturopathic care.

Our review found 13 qualifying studies which we evaluated for their primary outcome measures, quality of life measures and cost-effectiveness.

  • For primary outcomes, the 13 studies were universally positive and, in 11 of 13, were statistically significantly positive.
  • Quality of life was assessed in some way in 8 of the studies, and again, the outcomes were universally positive with 6 studies showing statistical significance in one or more scales.
  • Cost-effectiveness was included in 2 studies. Again, the results were positive.

The results are a remarkable demonstration of both the value of naturopathic care and of research in naturopathic care. The outcome poster, available here, is a representation of the preliminary findings.

The NPRI team is now completing the study and preparing an article for publication. While the work is preliminary, this data is a tool that can be useful anywhere that the effectiveness of naturopathic medicine is being considered. NPRI and its Board would especially like to thank the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians and its Board, and other state associations, which supported part of this preliminary work. Without such support, it would not have been organized and come to this point. Emerson Ecologics has provided a partial grant towards completion of the work, but funding is still needed for this and other studies in NPRI’s research agenda. If you are interested in NPRI’s agenda and the work planned and underway, contact NPRI’s Executive Director for more information.

Comments are closed.