Naturopathy is a medical system which focuses on treatments which support good health rather than treating medical conditions that have already developed.
Naturopathy is a whole body treatment approach whose methods have been collected from the practice of medicine in many different cultures and times.
In the United States, less than one percent of the people have ever tried naturopathy treatment options, but forty-four percent expressed an interest in using some of them.
Most Common Naturopathic Treatments
Some of the treatments most often used by naturopathic practitioners also known as naturopaths are massage and hydrotherapy. Other treatments that may be prescribed for individual patients and conditions include the following:
- Changes in the diet or added supplements
- Vitamin and mineral combinations
- Meditation and yoga
- Mental or emotional counselling
These treatments in naturopathy are usually safe and are effective for some. They should rarely be used as a substitute for traditional medical intervention. Sometimes, the remedies prescribed in naturopathy do work well in combination with convention treatments.
The Dividing Line Between Naturopathy and the Modern Medicine
Some of the philosophies and practices of naturopathy are in opposition to modern medical standards. Some who practice naturopathic medicine are against the use of vaccines to prevent disease which is the gold standard in modern medicine. Those with medical degrees also feel that naturopathy can be dangerous if a patient does not have a knowledgeable practitioner to act as a guide.
Some of the herbs used in naturopathy can be particularly dangerous in the wrong combinations or when taken with certain foods or drinks. Even small changes in the diet can be detrimental for patients with certain health conditions.
The Six Basic Tenants of Naturopathy
Naturopathy holds to the six basic tenants which are listed below:
- Use the natural elements for healing.
- Never do any harm.
- Treat all of the components of health, including the genetic, physical, emotional, mental, environmental and social elements.
- Treat the source of the problem, rather than the symptom.
- Preventing illness is always better than treating it.
- Patients should be trained by the physician to take charge of their own health.
Legislation and Advice for Patients
Fourteen of the states in the U.S., Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have legislated standards for those practicing naturopathy. Highly trained practitioners of naturopathy can certainly add valuable insight to the medical field, but a patient needing prescription drugs, imaging of any kind, or surgery should probably seek treatment elsewhere.