Naturopathy, or the practice of naturopathic medicine, is a form of health care that emphasizes prevention and treatment of health problems by encouraging the body’s inherent healing and immunity processes. Naturopathic medicine is generally practiced by licensed professionals and focuses on the use of natural remedies and treatments to heal injuries, diseases, and illnesses.
A naturopath is a practitioner of this form of healthcare. Among the many treatments and therapies used by naturopaths are nutrition, hydration, exercise, fasting, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, bio-resonance, and many forms of bodywork. Naturopathy eschews prescription and over-the-counter medications in favor of natural ingredients and treatments that encourage the body to heal itself.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on a holistic approach to healing which pays attention to all aspects of a patient’s physical, emotional, and mental wellness. Naturopaths customize treatment to each patient, so it is a very individualized approach to wellness. In addition, there is a significant emphasis on prevention and maintaining good health in naturopathy.
The History of Naturopathy
The foundational principles of naturopathy were first introduced in 400 BC by the Hippocratic School of Medicine. These beliefs include focusing on the whole person, not just the symptoms or disease.
Naturopathic medicine includes the following principles for practice:
#1. Nature has the ability to heal.
#2. You should treat the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
#3. Treatments should not create other problems.
#4. Treatment should be directed at the whole person, taking into consideration all the patient’s needs.
#5. A naturopath should educate the patient to help empower them to take care of and heal themselves.
#6. It is better to prevent a disease than to cure it.
Over time, naturopathic medicine has grown to include new practices and technologies, but these principles still guide all treatments that are recommended. The goal of naturopathy is to allow the body to live in harmony with the world and nature, and when you achieve this, you will have physical, mental, and emotional health.
Today’s Practice of Naturopathy
Today’s conventional medical practices emphasize treating illness, which means doctors are not looked for until problems already exist. This is the opposite of naturopathic beliefs. This approach to thinking about wellness makes it challenging for some to understand the benefits or purpose of this form of healing.
Today’s naturopaths must contend with many forms of toxins and pollutants that endanger our health and throw us out of balance with nature. As a society, we have become increasingly distanced from the sources of our food, our connection to our own bodies and health, and the relationship between nature and wellness.
But many people are beginning to embrace this form of medical healing because of its core values and for its focus on prevention and holistic care. Today’s practitioners have an eclectic approach to treatment that meets the many needs of today’s patients.
While ancient practices focused solely on diet and lifestyle changes, today’s naturopathy uses body manipulation, biochemical supplementation, purposeful fasting, acupuncture, and many other forms of therapy to help others on their path to wellness.
A visit to a modern-day naturopath is likely to include a thorough medical history, an evaluation of diet and lifestyle habits, and a discussion of your current conventional medical practices. Once your practitioner understands you and your needs, he or she will recommend an individualized treatment plan to optimize your health and educate you about ways you can heal yourself.
The healing power of nature is central to the work of naturopathy, guiding all its practices and recommendations. Those who choose this form of medical care will receive personal attention and recommendations that allow them to obtain health and wellness through the power of natural solutions.