Naturopathic medicine has been around for 1000’s of years. It was first described by Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived 2400 years ago. He created the concept of ‘the healing power of nature’, and this principle is still at the core of naturopathic medicine today. Naturopathic medicine in North America traces its origins to Dr. Benedict Lust in the early 1900’s. Natural healing methods such as nutritional therapy, manipulation (chiropractic), acupuncture, homeopathy, botanical medicine and lifestyle counselling were described by Dr. Lust as naturopathy, these therapies are still practiced today as naturopathic medicine.
By definition, naturopathy is regarded as a science-based tradition which helps to promote wellness by identifying the unique conditions of each patient and employing natural therapies to restore their physiological, structural and psychological balance.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) has defined naturopathic medicine as:
“A distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal
health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods.”
Becoming a Naturopath
Naturopathy practitioners need to have a four-year graduate Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree from medical college. Prior to this, a 3 or 4 year undergraduate degree needs to be completed. Naturopathy has admission requirements that are comparable to conventional medical schools.
Naturopathy students are expected to complete not only their standard medical curriculum but also complete extensive coursework in natural therapeutics. This coursework includes a variety of assignments pertaining to alternative therapies. Often naturopathy may include therapies related to clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, homeopathy, manipulation, and acupuncture.
The guiding principles of naturopathy medicine
Naturopathy is based on several key principles:
The healing power of nature
According to the principles of naturopathy, the human body has an inherent ability to maintain and restore health. Due to this belief, most naturopathy practitioners focus on removing obstacles to cure and identify treatments that enhance healing.
Identify and treat the cause
Naturopathy encompasses addressing the underlying causes of illness along with the symptoms. Naturopathy believes that symptoms are nothing but an external manifestation of internal issues that can be due to a combination of physical, mental, or emotional causes. Although naturopathy does focus on symptom management, the underlying causes of disease are always addressed.
Most naturopathic treatments do not involve the use of invasive treatments. Their forms of treatment are gentle and side effects are minimal.
Most naturopathic physicians recognize particular weaknesses or dysfunctions in their patients and plan a treatment based on the individual patient’s condition. Naturopathy believes in healing the patient holistically, rather than focusing only on a disease or symptom.
If you are considering naturopathy for any of your specific health ailments, speak to the Dronyk Health Clinic. Our panel of registered medical practitioners are helping many patients achieve their health goals.