What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a form of alternative or complementary medicine that promotes the body’s capability to heal itself. Naturopathy focuses on natural methods that support the body’s ability to restore and maintain balance.
Naturopaths use natural remedies that can include nutritional supplements, herbs, lifestyle changes, body work such as massage, and energy work such as acupuncture. Overall, naturopaths choose to recommend these natural methods (most commonly lifestyle changes, supplements, and herbs) as an alternative to pharmaceuticals or surgery.
The discipline of naturopathy is led by a natural health philosophy that incorporates a wide variety of modalities. Naturopaths emphasize a holistic approach to self-care – they talk at length with patients to examine their life as a whole, including mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It is not uncommon for naturopaths to refer a client to a Western medical doctor for collaboration in improving the client’s wellness.
Where did Naturopathy Begin?
Naturopathy appears to have begun in Europe at the turn of the 19th century. However, the art of natural healing originates back to Hippocrates in ancient Greece, and even earlier. As far back as the earliest recorded times, many cultures have adhered to the concept that, if given clean water, fresh air, a nourishing diet, adequate sunlight, rest, and exercise, the body can heal itself. Today, naturopathy remains a primary form of medicine in Europe and is practiced in many countries worldwide, although it remains subject to various levels of acceptance and regulation.
Natural Medicine Vs. Allopathic Medicine
Naturopathy and conventional or allopathic medicine differ in philosophy and practice. Naturopathy emphasizes assisting the body to maintain or regain a state of optimum health rather than diagnosing a disease state. The allopathic approach views the symptom and the disease as the same, believing that when the symptom has been eliminated, the disease is cured. The naturopath, on the other hand, sees a symptom as a signal that the body is out of balance. Accordingly, naturopaths feel that when a symptom alone is eliminated, it may be suppressed while the underlying cause remains.
Naturopathic and allopathic practitioners undergo different courses of training. Naturopathic doctors receive basic clinical and scientific training similar to that of medical doctors and attend four-year graduate medical schools. Naturopathic training focuses on botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, physical manipulation, nutrition, massage, vitamins and nutrition, and other complementary modalities. In many states, naturopaths are licensed primary care providers. Naturopathic doctors who graduate from an accredited U.S. school may use the designation ND or NMD, which is legally protected and licensed in a number of States.
Is Naturopathy for Me?
Consider looking into naturopathy if you:
* Feel strongly about natural health and medicine
* Are looking for a complement or alternative to traditional medicine
* Agree that disease has physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects
* Want a healthcare practitioner to clearly and comprehensively analyze your total healthcare needs
Do you use natural remedies, or see a Naturopathic doctor? Tell us about it!
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