What is Naturopathy?
The practitioners of naturopathy use natural ingredients (herbs, components of animal origin), the elements (water, sunlight, fresh air etc.) and non-invasive practices (manipulation, mobilization, yoga, exercise etc.) to treat their patients. They also advise their patients on efficient self-care and preservation of wellness techniques.
It is best to describe Naturopathy through its precepts:
1. Promote the healing power of nature. From the naturopathic viewpoint, the healing power of nature is two-fold. First, it is the power of the body to heal itself. It is the goal of the naturopath to release and stimulate that power in the patient. Second, it is the healing power of the ‘natural’ way of life. This means that recovery from illness and general wellness depend on getting enough sleep, exercise, eating natural foods and food supplements and being exposed to natural phenomena such as sunlight, water and fresh air.
2. First do no harm. Naturopathic doctrine states that it is incorrect to suppress the symptoms of an illness, since those symptoms are actually manifestations of the healing process. This precept also means, that the naturopath must choose the least invasive, the least harmful remedy out of all the choices available to him.
3. Treat the whole person. A person’s health is determined by the widest array of factors concerned with him or her. These include the person’s physical and psychological make-up, heredity, environment, and social position. A naturopath must consider all of these factors when devising a treatment plan for the patient.
4. Treat the cause. Naturopaths strive to look beyond symptoms, which are manifestations of the body’s battle with the disease to find and treat the cause of the disease.
5. Prevention is the best cure. True healthcare prevents illness Therefore naturopaths place emphasis on fortifying the patient against disease by helping him or her develop a strong body, a strong mind and strong social relationships, all of which in according to naturopathic doctrine, reinforce a person’s health.
The history of modern Naturopathic medicine begins with a man named Benedict Lust, who founded Naturopathic medicine after being healed from what he believed to be tuberculosis by Father Sebastien Kneipp through water therapy. Benedict Lust was encouraged by Father Kneipp to go to the United States to propagate the natural ways of healing. Gradually Naturopathy grew to incorporate the teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda besides the German natural healing methods.
Now there are two ‘branches’ of the Naturopathic profession: naturopathic physicians, who undergo recognized medical training and are licensed by the government. And secondly, traditional naturopaths, who are normally educated via distance learning courses, and apprenticeships. These naturopaths do not undergo licensing.
Most people turn to the aid of naturopaths, either when they think, that it will be beneficial to combine naturopathy with mainstream medicine, or when they believe, that mainstream medicine is not going able to offer them the desired end result.
Many people also seek the advice of a naturopath not to treat a particular condition but for general preservation of health and wellness.