Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine that diagnoses, treats, and prevents illness by using natural products, nutrition, and mind/body practices such as acupuncture and meditation. It differs from mainstream biomedicine, which uses pharmaceutical medicines, radiation, and surgery to treat and prevent illness. Naturopathy avoids surgery and drugs, and has a holistic approach that promotes natural healing by reducing stress and making researched changes to diet and lifestyle. Naturopathic medicine is a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), which more and more Americans are seeking treatment through. 38% of American adults and 12% of children use some form of CAM, especially women and people with higher levels of education.
The six principles of naturopathy are: do no harm, recognize the healing power of nature, identify and treat causes of illness, educate patients, treat the whole person, and emphasize prevention. Naturopathic medicine is based on how vitalism guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation.
Naturopathic Doctors and Treatments
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) have 4 years of post-graduate education and receive their license after passing a board exam (NPLEX). North America has 7 naturopathic medical schools, and there are currently 17 states that offer ND licensing. The most common reason people seek naturopathic care is back, neck and joint pain. Other ailments are arthritis, anxiety, colds, high cholesterol, migraines and insomnia.
Naturopathic medicine deals with these issues through many forms of treatment. Acupuncture and physical medicine such as massage and chiropractic treatment are some hands-on treatments. The body is also treated through detoxification, herbal and homeopathic medicine, diet and nutrition counseling. Finally, naturopathy improves wholeness and health through psychological and spiritual counseling (meditation, hypnosis, guided imagery, etc).
The most popular CAM treatment is the use of natural products: 17.7% of American adults use natural products: dietary supplements like Omega-3s, glucosamine, and Echinacea. Deep breathing is the second most popular treatment at 12.7%, followed by mediation, chiropractic treatment, massage and yoga as the fastest-growing treatments. Diet-based treatment, progressive relaxation, guided imagery and homeopathy finish off the top 10 CAM list. Are you interested in incorporating any of these holistic treatment methods into your health lifestyle?