Tuesday, June 2, 2020

#2344: Sara Thyr

Sara Thyr, ND, is a naturopath who describes herself as a naturopathic midwife, and is also (at least a one-time) president of the American College of Naturopathic Obstetrics and a founding member of the American Association of Naturopathic Midwives (the former is the organization issuing credentials for the latter, of course). Naturopathy is, of course, bullshit, and the idea of naturopathic midwifery and naturopathic obstetrics downright scary. Looking at Thyr’s article “Pre-Conception Testing: A Naturopathic Perspective” is not conducive to allaying one’s fears and worries. 

If you wish to look at science-based recommendations for preconception care, you can go here. To Thyr and many likeminded deranged lunatics, what is wrong with the science-based recommendations seems to be primarily that they are boring. Since really, there is, for most normal women, not really that much to worry about. According to Thyr, however, science- and evidence-based practitioners don’t look at “all the factors”; in particular, they don’t look at the imaginary and not-science-based factors that Thyr and other naturopaths conveniently offer expensive tests and treatment regimes – pure woo – to treat you for. For instance, the first thing Thyr will look at when meeting women looking to become pregnant is “food allergies”, since, according entirely to her imagination, “undiscovered food allergies are the most common cause of unexplained infertility,” and naturopaths are really good at finding out that you are really allergic to common foods you haven’t noticed that you are allergic to and that real, legitimate tests show that you are, in fact, not allergic to. She also says that “[f]ood allergies are a very misunderstood topic,” which is pretty undeniable given the falsehoods and nonsense about food allergies she will go on to convey.

Next up on her list, of course, are toxins, in particular environmental toxins, understood the way woomeisters and hucksters usually understand them, and showing that Thyr’s understanding of chemistry and biochemistry (or biology – there is, predictably, some pseudoscientific handwaving about epigenetics included here) is as lacking as her understanding of immunology. (She learned – or didn’t – both at a naturopathy school, of course.) Thyr, unsurprisingly, offers a detoxification program to pretend to help remedy the situation. She also recommends adrenal testing; now adrenal dysfunction can indeed cause infertility and pregnancy loss, but Thyr is of course looking at more subtle” adrenal problems that ordinary doctors wouldn’t find. Indeed, if you come to her you presumably suffer adrenal problems and should purchase a test. It’s an integral part of the grift.

There is a more thorough discussion of Thyr’s recommendations here.

Diagnosis: We’re sure she’s a true believer, but in these cases the moral difference between callous grifting and doing the exact same thing but believing that you help, is slim, and the latter might arguably be worse since people who are aware that they are grifting tend at least to be a bit more careful. The recommendations are pure, delusional bullshit no matter what.

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