While some of us may be aware of the term “naturopathy,” not all of us completely understand the origins and foundations of this relatively unique system of integrated healthcare.  Historically, naturopathic medicine was founded on many of the philosophies and teachings of Hippocrates; but the actual development of naturopathy was begun by Dr. Thomas Allinson during the late 1800’s in Scotland.  After that time, naturopathy expanded to various regions of the world; including North America. 

Defined by the principles of the Greek philosopher Hippocrates, naturopathy is founded on the healing powers of nature, and its inherent healing abilities.  Seeking to identify and treat underlying causes of dis-ease, naturopathic medicine believes in the principle of first doing no harm, and treating the whole person with respect to that person’s whole being.

What exactly is naturopathy?

Both complementary and alternative medicine in nature, naturopathic medicine entails a large assortment of natural healing modalities including Ayurveda, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional counseling and exercise therapies, homeopathy, colonic irrigation, orthomolecular medicine, energy medicine, and other healing arts. 

Doctors of naturopathy focus on holistic health treatments for patients.  Treating individuals as a “whole” person (including mind, body, and spirit), naturopathic medicine therapies are individually tailored to meet particular health needs.  While some patients may receive acupuncture therapy, others may receive a combination of natural health treatments to remedy specific health conditions. 

Though naturopathy, in itself, is typically non-invasive; some holistic health practitioners may sometimes facilitate conventional diagnostic tools such as radiology or blood tests to determine which treatment regimen is best for the patient.  (Naturopathic doctors who facilitate such diagnostics have been especially trained in these procedures.)

Today, naturopathic medicine doctors (NDs) are sometimes considered primary care providers; however, these specialized physicians are cross-trained in both conventional medicine practices and natural health medicine.  Presently, four Provinces in Canada, 14 States, and the District of Columbia all have specific educational and licensing requirements for doctors of naturopathy.

Interested in learning more about this or other complementary medicine practices? Let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, holistic medicine, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore naturopathy courses near you.

Defining Naturopathy
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Resource Box: CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Freelance Writer and Web Consultant for HolisticJunction.com, in association with CollegeSurfing.com – Educational Resources for NaturopathyHomeopathy, and other healing arts programs.

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