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Definition of Naturopathy

Naturopathy is a term which is derived from Greek and Latinwords and its literal translation would be nature disease. The term itself wascoined in 1895 by a man called John Scheel. This is an alternative form ofmedicine which is based on Vitalism. For those who do not know, according tovitalism, there is a special vital type of force or energy which is responsiblefor adaption, growth, reproduction and metabolism of the human body.Naturopathy is also based on holistic approaches and it always seeks the leastinvasive measures which are necessary to take care of some medical condition.Naturopathy actually relies on the fact that the human body can heal itself.There have never been any professional studies on naturopathy so that is whymost medicinal circles do not support the claims of this alternative type ofmedicine. Naturopathy is commonly practiced in numerous countries around theworld, but the largest number of naturopathic practitioners resides in theUnited States and Canada. There are two main different types of naturopathicpractitioners and those include naturopathic physicians and traditionalnaturopaths. Naturopathic physicians are the peculiar ones which actually useall the principles of naturopathy but apply them only in the context ofconventional medicine practices.

Philosophy of Naturopathy

Naturopathy rarely relies on some specific methods. Itsbasics indicate that one should focus on his or her own natural self healingabilities. There are methods which rely on the so called vital energy fields. Butno one has ever proved that those actually exist, which is why naturopathy isisolated from the general scientific world. The systematic evaluation ofnaturopathy as an alternative type of medicine has not been evaluated yet whichis its biggest problem. Another big issue with naturopathy is that individualmethods used by practitioners vary greatly from person to person. If one wantsto consult a naturopathic practitioner, he or she needs to be prepared for along interview which commonly involves physical examination, examination ofphysical features, examination of the emotional tone, examination of medicalhistory and examination of one’s personal lifestyle. The approach relies on thewellness of the whole body and the facilitation of its own self healingabilities. Naturopathy forbids the use of any conventional methods of treatmentsuch as disease specific treatments, surgeries, potions, serums or drugs.Naturopathy is strongly opposed to the use of all different types ofantibiotics and vaccines, as well.

History of Naturopathy

The roots of modern naturopathy date back to the movement inEurope, called the Nature Cure, which occurred in the 19th century.After John Scheel coined the actual term naturopathy, Benedict Lust startedusing it for his own medical practices so he became the father of Americannaturopathy. He was well trained and schooled in Germany before he came to theUnited States to utilize his drugless methods of dealing with various medicalconditions. He commonly utilized homeopathy, herbal medicine and hydrotherapy.He founded the first American school of naturopathy in New York, at thebeginning of the 20th century. Naturopathy grew rapidly from therebut it went into decline after the 1930s and the decline lasted for severaldecades. During the 1970s, the interest for naturopathy grew again, fueled bythe fact that the holistic health movement was growing stronger back then.Nowadays, there are six naturopathic medical schools in North America.


The particular methods used by any individual naturopathicpractitioner vary greatly, depending on her or his scope of practice and thelevel of training. Efficacy also largely depends on the aforementioned values. Thenaturopathic philosophy involves a wide range of different therapeutic methodsand the most common ones include Traditional Chinese medicine, Rolfing, publichealth measures and hygiene, relaxation, meditation, psychological counseling,hydrotherapy, exercise, sports medicine, soft tissue manipulative therapy,osseous manipulative therapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, ozone therapy,fasting, nutritional therapies, nature cures based on cold, heat, fresh air orsunshine, live blood analysis, iridology, homeopathy, hair analysis, cranialosteopathy, color therapy, colonic enemas, chelation therapy, brainwaveentrainment, botanical medicine, applied kinesiology and acupuncture, amongothers. Naturopathy is based on certain beliefs which are strongly opposed tovaccination. There are numerous complicated reasons for such a negative view onvaccination and most of them are based simply on the early philosophies whichserve the purpose of providing a foundation of naturopathy.

Naturopathic Practitioners

As already mentioned, there are two main groups of naturopathicpractitioners and those include traditional naturopaths and naturopathicphysicians. There are different levels of naturopathic training which can beachieved in the schools of naturopathy. Traditional naturopathy does notrequire a license in the United States because the activities of a traditionalnaturopath do not require one. There are also certain health care professionalswho choose to add some naturopathic modalities to their own practice and thesepeople are referred to as naturopathic physicians.

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