Naturopathic Medicine, or Naturopathy, is a system of medicine that uses natural substances to treat the patient and recognizes that the patient’s mental, emotional, and physical states must all be treated for a lasting effect. Though the term Naturopathy was coined in 1895, this type of medicine has been practiced for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In the mid- and late-1800s in the United States, the standard medical schools taught herbal, homeopathic, and nutritional medicine. Gradually, the pharmaceutical direction to isolate components of the herbs created more potent (but potentially more toxic) drugs and the slower, more gradual effects of Naturopathic medicine almost pushed it into disuse by the early 1900s. The current resurgence is due to a recognition of the limitations of the current medical system and the efficacy of Naturopathic medicine.
The foundation of Naturopathic medicine is the vitalistic philosophy of the healing power of nature. This means that within every human organism there is a healing energy, which includes our immune system in the fuller sense of both the physical and the psyche, which is responsible for our wellness and our ability to heal and maintain health. The therapies used to support and stimulate this healing power of nature must be the gentlest, least invasive, and most efficient possible. In addition, Naturopaths do not simply treat the manifestation of a disease but rather search for the cause and treat it. To accomplish these goals, Naturopathic medicine incorporates many therapeutic modalities: herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, hydrotherapy, food, exercise therapy, physical therapy, manipulation of the bony and soft tissues, lifestyle and counseling. Naturopathic medicine treats the patient from the preventive stage through to serious, chronic and debilitating disease.
Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley