Naturopathy – What Is It?


Naturopathy (also known as naturopathic medicine or natural medicine) is an alternative medical system that focuses on natural remedies and the body’s vital ability to heal and maintain itself.

Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach and minimal use of surgery and drugs.

Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities of varying degrees of acceptance by the medical community; diet and lifestyle advice may be substantially similar to that offered by non-naturopaths, and acupuncture  may help reduce pain in some cases, while homeopathy  is often characterized as pseudoscience  or quackery.

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has been advocated as an appropriate methodology for determining the scientific basis of naturopathy.  Naturopaths have opposed vaccination  based in part on the early philosophies which shaped the profession.

Naturopathy has its origins in the Nature Cure movement of Europe. The term was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and popularized by Benedict Lust, the “father of U.S. naturopathy”.

Beginning in the 1970s, there was a revival of interest in the United States and Canada in conjunction with the holistic health movement.

Naturopathy is practiced in many countries, especially the United States and Canada, and is subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance.

Naturopathic medicine is a modern manifestation of the field of naturopathy, a 19th-century health movement espousing “the healing power of nature.”

Naturopathic physicians are now licensed in many states as primary care physicians proficient in the practice of both conventional and natural medicine.

Pre-naturopathic education training varies depending on the institution, followed by at least four years of naturopathic medical education, including pharmacology and minor surgery.

In the United States and Canada, the designation of Naturopathic Doctor (ND) or naturopathic medical doctor (NMD)may be awarded after completion of a four year program of study at an accredited Naturopathic medical school that includes the study of basic medical sciences as well as natural remedies and medical care.

The scope of practice varies widely between jurisdictions, and naturopaths in unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor designation or other titles regardless of level of education.

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