Naturopathy is a profession that is practiced throughout the world, with Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Russia, India and the United States having the highest numbers of practicing naturopaths and naturopathic schools.
Naturopathy is a clearly defined profession with guiding principles that can be traced to the teachings of Stoicism in ancient Greece and which was incorporated into a complete system of medicine by Hippocrates; a Greek medical doctor who is considered the father of modern medicine. The first principle of naturopathy, as stated in the Hippocratic oath, is ʻDo No Harm.ʼ
Naturopathy is classified as a traditional medicine and has evolved since, ancient times, as a deeply rooted part of European natural medicinal systems and, from Europe, naturopathy has found its way, with the founding fathers of the United States and the Commonwealth, to all parts of the world settled or governed by those of European descent. Naturopathy is a discipline of accumulated knowledge of effective natural therapies, diet and lifestyle in practice, and does not have a single originator. It is a part of our heritage.
The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a clear definition of naturopathy, adopted by the WTO, along with a stated goal of its preservation through quality training, that was reached through an exhaustive international study into the origins and practice of naturopathy, both historically and in the present day.
What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is a traditional medicine based on the following principles:
- “first, do no harm”
- Prevention is better than cure
- Treat the whole person (body, mind, emotions, spirit)
- Cooperate with the healing powers of nature; activate the bodyʼs innate healing forces
- Identify, and focus treatment on the cause, rather than the symptoms, of disease
- Do not use treatments that suppress symptoms
- Use only treatments that are found in the natural world and to which the human body
has adapted through millennium.
- Doctor as Teacher - Educate the patient so that they are empowered to participate in
prevention of future health problems through healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
Naturopaths use the following core modalities:
- Diet and nutrition
- Heat, cold, water, earth, air, sunshine, exercise, electricity, sleep, rest, meditation,
- Counselling and education
- Stress management
- Botanical (herbal) medicine, including essential oils
- Homeopathy, tissue salts and flower essences
- Acupressure and reflexology
In addition Naturopaths may use some, or all, of the following modalities, if they have received additional training, and are qualified in their practice:
- Live blood analysis
- Colon hydrotherapy
- Cranial Sacral Therapy
- Polarity Therapy
- Light or Color Therapy
- Naturopathic osseous manipulation
- Physical therapy
Some Naturopaths are also Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Nurses, Midwives or Medical Doctors, and their training and methods of practice are beyond the scope of this definition.
Naturopaths have distinctly excluded the following modalities from their practice:
- The use of synthetic or inorganic vitamins or minerals, narcotics, serums, vaccines, anti-toxins, toxoid, injections or inoculations
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Treatments that harm the ʻlife force,ʼ or capacity to heal, of the human body
- Surgery and abortion
Naturopaths are traditionally referred to as ʻdrugless doctors.ʼ
Naturopaths are trained to refer patients when:
- The patientʼs illness or injury is beyond the scope of naturopathic modalities
- The practitioner is aware that the patientʼs needs will be best met by the skills of another therapist, practitioner or physician
- If, after a reasonable period of treatment, the patientʼs symptoms have not improved, or if symptoms have worsened