Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Wellness Letter and Naturopathy

My family has read the Berkeley Wellness Letter for years.

Earlier this month I mentioned Bill, a friend and naturopathic physician.  The Wellness Letter has often provided us with topics of conversation.  That publication often recommends against treatments that research-based naturopathy would recommend.

As one example, the April 2011 issue recommended against any chiropractic neck manipulation, concluding with the sentence
Despite some claims, the "click" or popping sound that may occur during neck manipulation does not indicate that the procedure has corrected some problem.
Bill agrees with that statement, but realizes it misses the point.  The Wellness Letter is focusing on some high-publicity cases of chiropractors moving the neck too violently because they are focusing on making sounds happen.

Yes, some people have well-understood risk factors and should avoid chiropractic neck manipulation.  And any chiropractor emphasizing the sounds or judging success by the sounds is indeed behaving dangerously.  But properly performed chiropractic neck manipulation has insignificant risk for most people and when combined with deep tissue massage can aid neck mobility even if no sounds happen.

A second example is from the July 2011 issue.  A full-page article on the benefits of magnesium concludes with a recommendation to not take a magnesium supplement because these can cause diarrhea, or much less often nausea and cramps.

Bill agrees with that risk, but would again claim it misses the point.  The best studies he knows about recommend an average of between 200 and 400 milligrams of magnesium per day for optimal muscle health.  This is much more than most Americans get from food.  Once again there are some risk factors, but many if not most Americans could benefit with no ill effect from a magnesium supplement.

Naturopathy would often recommend trying a magnesium supplement--although not foolishly before a wedding or road trip!  The risk is a brief inconvenience: a day or two of diarrhea.  The potential benefit is a lifetime of better muscle health.

UPDATE: A concluding emphasis that since there are risk factors known for both chiropractic neck manipulation and taking a magnesium supplement it would always be wise to check with your doctor before agreeing to either treatment.


aliah said...


Nice Article has been shared here. i did get lots of good points from here. thanks for sharing such article here. it would be nice if you can share some information related to anxiety disorders here in this article....keep Posting....


David V.S. said...

Hi, Aliah,

I have nothing productive to share about anxiety disorders. I hesitate to share my own health news because I am only a patient, not a doctor trained and skilled to offer medical advice. I certainly cannot responsibly write about health issues I have not experienced first-hand.