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Naturopathy June 10, 2009

Posted by Dreamhealer in naturopathic.
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Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is a system of medicine based on the healing power of nature. Naturopathy is a holistic system, meaning that naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) or naturopathic medical doctors (N.M.D.s) strive to find the cause of disease by understanding the patient as a totality of body, mind, and spirit. Most naturopathic doctors use a wide variety of therapies and techniques (such as nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupuncture).

There are two areas of focus in naturopathy: one is supporting the body’s own healing abilities, and the other is empowering individuals to make lifestyle changes necessary for the best possible health. While naturopathic doctors treat both short bouts of illness and chronic conditions, their emphasis is on prevention of disease and patient education. 

What is the history of naturopathy?

The modern form of naturopathy can be traced to 18th- and 19th-century natural healing systems. Such systems include hydrotherapy (water therapy), which was popular in Germany and nature cure, developed in Austria, and based on the use of food, air, light, water, and herbs to treat illness.

Benjamin Lust, a German immigrant, first introduced naturopathy to the United States in 1902 when he founded the American School of Naturopathy. The school emphasized the use of natural cures, proper bowel habits, and good hygiene as the essential tools for health. This was the first time that dietary principles, like increasing fiber intake and minimizing saturated fats, became popular.

In the mid-1920s to 1940, while allopathic medical training and pharmaceuticals and medical technologies gained notoriety, the use of naturopathic medicine declined. It was not until the 1960s that naturopathic-style holistic medicine regained popularity. Today, naturopaths are licensed care providers in many states offering information and a variety of alternative and complementary therapies, including homeopathy, vitamin and mineral supplements, Traditional Chinese Medicine, relaxation techniques, and herbal remedies.

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