Naturopathy, which is also referred to as natural medicine or naturopathic medicine, is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on using the body’s natural abilities to heal itself in order to fend off illness and maintain its health. By following a holistic approach to body care, naturopathy involves taking certain natural steps to increase the body’s natural defenses while also supporting the use of conventional medicine methods to fend off illness.
The History of Naturopathy
The history of Naturopathy is long and interesting. Although many people have never heard of this form of alternative medicine, it has actually been in use since the 1880s. It was during this time that Dr. Thomas Allinson began advocating the medical practice in Scotland. Allinson promoted following a natural diet and performing regular exercise in order to improve the body’s health and to help cure illness and disease.
The concept of naturopathy didn’t reach the United States until the late 1890s. At this time, the term was used by Benedict Lust, who was also schooled in other forms of natural medicine such as hydrotherapy. Lust went on to found the American School of Naturopathy in 1905, which was opened in New York. The American School of Naturopathy was the first college of its kind to be opened in the United States, but the practice of naturopathy began losing followers in the 1930s when synthetic drugs and penicillin started to be used more regularly. The rise of other forms of alternative medicine, including herbalism and homeopathy, also contributed to the downfall of naturopathy.
Despite its setbacks, naturopathy continued to be practice by some alternative medicine practitioners. By 1956, a new school of naturopathy was opened in Portland, Oregon. The National College of Naturopathic Medicine, which integrated scientific methodologies along with naturopathic practices, was the first modern medical school to offer studies in naturopathy.
The Principles of Naturopathy
In order to encourage the body to heal naturally, naturopathy follows seven basic principles. These include:
• Do no harm to the body by providing the most effective health care possible while putting the patient at the least amount of risk
• Respect and promote the body’s self-healing power
• Remove all causes of illness rather than simply suppressing the symptoms
• Inspire hope and encourage the patient to take responsibility for his or her health
• Consider individual health influences and factors when treating a patient
• Promote well being in individuals and throughout the world
Although modern medical practices are put to use with naturopathy, following these steps follows the least invasive method possible.