Naturopathy is a form of healthcare that combines modern treatment with traditional methods. It includes alternative, natural therapies to modern medicine.
- the body’s capacity to heal itself
- preventing health problems
- a personal responsibility to optimize health
Naturopathic treatment plans focus on education and prevention. They often emphasize diet, exercise, and stress management.
Naturopathy uses a series of principles and beliefs to create individual treatment plans.
These principles and beliefs are:
- Self-healing: Identifying and removing obstacles to recovery, allows for natural healing.
- Underlying symptoms: Rather than stopping symptoms, a naturopathic doctor can resolve underlying physical or mental issues by treating the body, mind, and spirit.
- Harmless treatment: Treatment plans should not have harmful side effects or control symptoms negatively.
- Holistic treatment: A naturopathic doctor must recognize individuality to treat all aspects of a person’s health effectively.
- Education in treatment: Naturopathic doctors teach self-care to help empower people against ill health.
- Prevention: It is good to remove toxic substances from a lifestyle to prevent problems from arising.
Therapies may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and homeopathy.
Naturopathic doctors may hold different licenses. Not all states have the same licensing requirements, so it is advisable to check the details of a naturopathic doctor before a consultation.
- Naturopathic doctor: A licensed naturopathic doctor must attend 4 years of naturopathic medical school to hold a recognized certification.
- Traditional naturopath: Traditional naturopaths may not hold a license, so they are not so broadly accepted.
- Other healthcare advisors: Other, contemporary healthcare professionals, such as dentists, may use naturopathic methods in their treatment plans.
Methods vary between naturopathic practitioners, but consultations usually follow a similar overall practice.
The practitioner will typically begin with a diagnosis. In this part of the process, they will address personal information,
A naturopathic doctor can use physical assessments, laboratory tests, medical imaging, and medical history examinations to diagnose a health problem.
After diagnosis, they will establish ways to prevent and treat the health problem by
Naturopathic doctors design medical care plans to suit individual needs and health conditions. This means the treatment plans they offer can vary, but they all follow similar principles.
Most treatments include
A diet plan will typically use whole foods, for example, fruit, vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains.
The doctor may also offer advice on maximizing nutritional value by eating seasonal, local food. Some
Treatments a naturopathic doctor may offer
- diet and nutrition recommendations
- behavioral change, such as exercise and lifestyle
- homeopathy, a type of natural medicine
- hydrotherapy, which is water-based treatment
- manipulative therapy, for instance, putting pressure on certain parts of the body to establish balance
- herbal dietary supplements
In some cases, with the appropriate license, naturopathic doctors can
Naturopathic treatments are usually not a person’s first source of healthcare. People
- cardiovascular disease
- musculoskeletal pain
- type 2 diabetes
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- some other chronic conditions
An older 2007 review found evidence that the herbal medicines of devil’s claw, white willow bark, and cayenne can alleviate pain more effectively than placebo. However, the authors acknowledge that the reporting quality of the studies in the review was poor.
There is anecdotal
A 2018 review found that naturopathic treatments helped control problems that follow operations. For example, acupuncture and acupressure can reduce symptoms of vomiting and nausea. Aromatherapy and music may also reduce pain, stress, and anxiety.
Naturopaths work on a more personal level, spending more time covering individual needs. They create treatment plans that consider all aspects of a person.
Naturopathy can be useful alongside modern medicine, and many say these methods allow the body to activate self-healing mechanisms.
Naturopathic healthcare can also be a
Many practices, such as healthful eating, are likely to be safe, but experts warn that regulations and licenses do not guarantee safe treatment.
Studies in naturopathic treatments often have
In 2013, a publication by the World Health Organisation (WHO) categorized naturopathy under Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Overall, the WHO state that this area needs more evidence to be sure practices are useful and harmless.
People can use dietary changes with caution to maintain a well-rounded diet. Naturopathic doctors sometimes
If a person does not substitute dietary changes correctly, they can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Naturopathy blends traditional medicine with conventional healthcare to work with the body on a natural level. A doctor may use naturopathic methods to support modern treatments and surgeries.
Naturopathy is a controversial field, as studies into it have not shown it to be consistently effective.
It is sensible for people to talk to a doctor before changing to or adding naturopathic treatments, as some therapies may interact with existing treatments.