Naturopathic medicine encompasses a myriad of healing practices,
including diet and clinical nutrition; homeopathy; acupuncture;
herbal medicine; hydrotherapy; therapeutic exercise; spinal and
soft-tissue manipulation; physical therapies involving electric
currents, ultrasound, and light therapy; therapeutic counseling;
and pharmacolgy. Used by itself, naturopathy is virtually useless
because it needs the other alternative medicine techniques primarily
for treatment and relief of pathological symptoms.
The age-old philosophy of naturopathic medicine is built around
six important principles which have their roots in Indian (Ayurveda),
Chinese (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Native American, and Greek
1. The healing power of nature and of the body to maintain and
restore health is well-respected.
2. A naturopathic practitioner must identify and treat the cause
rather than the effect.
3. First, a practitioner must do no harm to the patient. It is
the belief of naturopathic medicine that methods designed to suppress
symptoms without removing their underlying causes are considered
harmful; therefore, they are to be avoided or minimized. The onset
of symptoms is considered a natural fixture of the healing process.
4. Treat the whole person while keeping in mind the interaction
of his or her physical, mental, and emotional factors in causing
disease. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the integrity of the whole
person instead of just single organ systems or particular symptoms.
5. The physician is a teacher. The doctor-patient relationship
has a therapeutic value.
6. Prevention is the best "cure." Naturopathic physicians are preventive
Naturopathic medicine emphasizes the treatment of disease through
the stimulation, enhancement, and support of the inherent healing
capacity of the person. It is an art, science, philosophy, and practice
of diagnosing, treating, and preventng disease. Disease is seen
as a manifestation of the natural causes by which the body heals
itself. Fever and inflammation are regarded as the offshoot of the
body's immune system reacting to and dealing with either an invader
or some sort of dysfuction or imbalance.
medicine grew out of the alternative healing movement of the 18th
and 19th centuries. It gained a foothold in America by the middle
of the 19th century as a result of the establishment of natural
springs and spas in the U.S.A. The early naturopaths attached great
importance to a natural, healthy diet. John Kellogg, a physician
and vegetarian, and his brother Will, along with a former employee,
C. W. Post, helped popularize naturopathic ideas about food, and
at the same time founded cereal companies which today bear their