Naturopathy or Naturopathic Medicine, is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitals, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach, and, like conventional medicine seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, "Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal."
The term "naturopathy" is derived from Greek and Latin, and literally translates as "nature disease".Modern naturopathy grew out of the Natural Cure movement of Europe.The term was coined in 1895 by John Schell and popularized by Benedict Lust,the "father of U.S. naturopathy".Beginning in the 1970s, there was a revival of interest in the United States and Canada in conjunction with the holistic health movement.
Naturopathic ideology focuses on naturally-occurring substances, minimally-invasive methods, and encouragement of natural healing.Naturopaths generally favor an intuitive and vitalistic conception of the body, and complete rejection of biomedicine and modern science is common. Prevention through stress reduction and a healthy diet and lifestyle is emphasized.
Naturopathic Medicine represents the "vitalistic" tradition of medicine in our Western world. That is, it treats disease through the stimulation, increase, and support of the person''s inherent healing capacity. These treatments are chosen to work with the patient''s vital force, respecting the natural healing processes of nature.
The following principles make Naturopathic Medicine different from all other medical approaches:
·First do no harm:
Illness is a purposeful process of the organism. The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms which are, in fact, an expression of the life force attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process. The physician''s actions can support or antagonize the actions of the vis mediatrix naturae -- the healing power of Nature. Therefore, methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing the underlying causes are considered harmful and to be avoided or minimized.
·The healing power of nature:
The body has an inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force. The physician''s role is to facilitate this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to establish or restore a healthy internal and external environment.
·Identify and treat the cause:
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms express the body''s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease. Symptoms, therefore, should not be suppressed by treatment. Causes may occur on many levels including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The physician must evaluate fundamental underlying causes on all levels, directing treatment at root causes rather than at symptomatic expression.
·Heal the whole person:
Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, a whole involving the complex interaction of many factors. The naturopathic physician must treat the whole person by taking these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects are essential to recovery from and prevention of disease. This requires a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.
·The physician as teacher:
A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The physician''s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for their own health. The physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. It is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates/accomplishes healing. Teaching with hope, knowledge, and understanding, the physician acts to enable patients to heal.
Prevention is the best cure
The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention of disease. This is accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create good health. The physician learns to assess risk factors and to sharpen their deductive reasoning, and understand the patient''s circumstances. Appropriate interventions are then sought to avoid further harm or risk to the patient. Building health works better and more surely than fighting disease.
Naturopathy is the science of healing various diseases using natural methods. The distinct process of healing ailments, using different natural objects can be termed as therapy. These therapies are applied by a naturopath to heal the patient, entirely. The varied therapies use different objects from nature''s galore to go about the holistic healing. Mainly the five elements of the universe that is air, water, earth, fire and sky are used in Naturopathy. The naturopathic treatment methods include a number of therapies which are explained below.
Color therapy is evidently into existence, since the ancient civilizations of Egypt, China and India. Colors are basically forms of visible light with varying wavelengths. As a result, each color has its own energy and wavelength.
The branch of medicine which deals with the use of magnets to heal human diseases is termed as Magnet therapy. It is regarded both as a science as well as an art, as it involves knowledge about human organisms, various diseases and their treatment with the appropriate usage of magnets.
Massage therapy is a passive form of exercise and is prevalent since ancient times. Massage basically manipulates the soft tissues of the body, scientifically. The manipulation is done with pressure, including tension, motion, or vibration practiced manually or even mechanically.
Mud corresponds to the Earth element of the five elements, which the universe is made up of. It has been in use since ages for curing many diseases. It is discovered that mud refreshes and rejuvenates the entire body, warding off lethargy.
Sleep is one of the natural blessings of life. Sleep gives a periodic rest to the body, which is very essential for the effective day to day functioning. The sleep also repairs the wear tear occurred to the body and mind, during the waking hours.
We are all aware of the fact that''water is one of the essential elements for healthy body. All the important activities of the body are regulated and dependent on water. It carries all the hormones, vitamins, chemicals and oxygen to all the parts of the body.