LB writes: “I am a Family Nurse Practitioner working in a practice providing integrative medical care. Much of my approach is education regarding diet and nutritional supplements along with basic allopathic care. I work with a physician who is a licensed ‘Symptometrist.’ There is little information available as to the foundation and science behind Symptometry. Wondering if you can shed some light and provide some guidance on how a Catholic should approach this.”
The reason why there is so little information about Symptometry is because it is the invention of a homeopathic “doctor” and has not been subjected to scientific review.
Symptometry, which was founded by Dr. Maxwell Nartey, allegedly involves a 19-step method for removing “known hindrances” from the body’s cells, DNA, blood and lymphatic system. This multi-step method encourages nourishment of the cells, maintaining the body’s balance and boosting the “positive energy in the patient’s environment.
So how does it work?
According to the FAQ page, symptometrists help a patient’s cells to cure whateve ails them by prescribing “particulates” to patients, which are described as “FDA-approved subatomic particles made from the concentrated healing agents in plants, animals, minerals, and other tools from ‘Mother Nature’.”
Patients receive whatever particulates and molecules are necessary for healing along with a few follow-up consultations with a licensed practitioner.
The cost is estimated at @$150 for each month of service. Although the website claims symptometrists don’t accept medical insurance for these treatments because they are affordable for most, medical insurance companies typically do not cover alternative treatments simply because most of them are unproven.
Symptometry is no exception. The website contains not a shred of scientific evidence for any of its claims and offers consumers only patient testimonials as proof that this treatment works. Unfortunately, patient testimonials don’t PROVE anything, not because they don’t matter, but because there are too many reasons why people believe something works when it really doesn’t.
Because we have graduated from of the era of the “snake oil salesman” and can now use advanced scientific techniques to test products or treatments to determine their efficacy (and protect consumers from being ripped-off), it is imperative that alternatives be tested the same way every other potential drug or treatment is tested – in the laboratory.
Because symptometry does not appear to have submitted itself to serious scientific scrutiny, I recommend that this practice be avoided. This is especially true for Catholics who are required to use ordinary means (scientifically tested and proven) in the case of serious and/or contagious disease.