It’s no secret that there are many different approaches to medicine. Every day, millions of people visit their doctors for a variety of reasons – some just want reassurance while others have more serious concerns. There is one type of medical practice that has been gaining momentum in recent years, and it is certainly changing the way we approach illness: Naturopathic Medicine.
This field is quickly emerging as a serious contender to conventional medicine, mostly due to the way it treats the root cause of illness through natural means rather than masking symptoms with drugs or surgery.
But what is naturopathy? How does it work? And most importantly, can everyone benefit from this type of treatment? Let’s begin by discussing what naturopathy is and how it works.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine, or naturopathy for short, is a system that uses natural methods to prevent and treat disease. It encourages the body’s own healing abilities to “fight back” against illness – this includes therapies such as herbs, nutrition, acupuncture, and even exercise. Naturopathic physicians (or “naturopaths”) are trained to help people with a wide range of problems from allergies and chronic pain to cancer and heart disease.
The philosophy of naturopathy was born out of the Natural Cure Movement of the late 19th century, which suggested that we can cure our own illnesses without the need for medical intervention. This movement argued that a patient’s own body has all of the tools necessary to heal itself if given the proper conditions in which to do so, and naturopathic physicians have continued to abide by this philosophy.
Naturopathic medicine has many different therapeutic branches, ranging from homeopathy to oriental medicine. While the term “Naturopathic Medicine” may refer to various forms of treatment, it is most often associated with the use of life-style modifications and natural therapies for promoting health.
How Naturopathy Works
The philosophy behind naturopathy is that the mind, body, and spirit are all connected – and when one suffers, they all do. Naturopaths believe that the body will almost always heal itself if given the proper conditions and nurturing; in many cases, naturopathy focuses on creating these healthy conditions.
- One of the keystones to this philosophy is fasting – a practice that has been around for thousands of years – where patients refrain from eating for a short time to allow their body to rest and heal itself. While fasting today may seem like an extreme option, this practice is proven to help the body rejuvenate its own cells and organs as well as cleanse the blood of harmful toxins. Because naturopaths believe in using all natural therapies available, they can also prescribe herbs, supplements, and other treatments during a fast to help ease any negative side effects. These “support” therapies can vary from person to person depending on their health needs.
- Another common treatment of naturopathy is the use of heat in the form of homeopathy or hydrotherapy. This includes a variety of techniques such as dry and wet heat as well as herbal steam baths. These therapies are often so effective at relieving pain and speeding up the healing process that they have become popular even among conventional physicians.
- Herbalism is also a very common treatment of naturopathy, where herbal supplements are prescribed to help with everything from treating acne to balancing hormones. Herbs have been used in natural medicine to improve health for centuries, and many have been proven through scientific research. It is important to note that while modern technology has improved the cultivation of herbs, it has also led to a large number of synthetic versions being produced. Naturopaths are careful not only about the quality of these substances but also in recommending them in the right dosage.
Many chronic diseases are also treated with naturopathic medicine, treating everything from autoimmune disorders to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and even diabetes. Recently more people have begun seeking out naturopathic care for mental health conditions such as ADHD and depression, where it has been shown to be very effective in many cases.
While people with serious health conditions should always speak to a medical professional before making any major lifestyle changes, naturopathy can offer hope for those who have been told there is nothing more their doctor can do. Naturopathic medicine has many different tools available that allow it to treat a wide range of both chronic and acute health issues, and it has been shown to work on some of the most stubborn and debilitating conditions.
Naturopathic medicine is also very proactive, meaning that it focuses not only on treating existing problems but on promoting health and wellness before illness or disease occurs. It does this through focusing on healthy lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and stress management – all of which can be improved through naturopathic medicine.
In truth, the best way to find out how naturopathy can help you is to get in touch with one of its practitioners who can inform you of all your treatment options and answer any questions you may have.
About the Authors
Society’s Voice advocates for Naturopathic treatments for a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process through the use of natural therapies. We know that the efficacy of naturopathic medicine dates back to the 1890s, and are heartened to see naturopathic medicine undergo a rapid increase in public interest in recent years as a result of the growing consumer movement to solve the healthcare puzzle using prevention, wellness and respect for nature’s inherent healing ability.
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