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Complementary Healthcare Information Service - UK

Naturopathy

 

What is it?

Naturopathy is a complete system of natural healthcare that believes the body has the knowledge to heal itself. Symptoms are viewed as signs that the body is attempting to heal itself, and treatment addresses the underlying causes of illness, primarily unfavourable habits of lifestyle.

The term naturopath was coined by a German homeopath, John H Scheel, to denote health promotion and treatment of the whole person with natural means. Naturopathy emerged as a separate profession when a committee of Kneipp practitioners met in 1900 and decided to broaden their practices to include all available natural methods of healing.

The aim of naturopathy is to induce health by making the individual more resilient, and the immune system stronger. The first stage being to prevent the development, or further development of disease through a variety of natural health care methods. The three basic principles of naturopathy state that:

  • The body has a natural drive to maintain equilibrium, symptoms of disease are viewed and indications that the body is striving to heal itself.
  • The root cause of all disease is the accumulation of waste products and toxins, due to poor lifestyle habits.
  • The body contains the wisdom and power to heal itself, provided treatment serves to enhance this power.

A naturopath will often view themselves as a teacher, whose job it is to educate and support the client. The treatment involved will vary from client to client, and will also depend on the areas of expertise that the naturopath has trained in, these may include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Chiropractic manipulation of joints and soft tissue
  • Reflexology, acupressure or massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapies
  • Biofeedback, meditation, or autogenic training
  • Nutrition
  • Herbal remedies
  • Homeopathic remedies

Naturopathy can be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and complaints. However, treatment is often dictated by the patient's willingness to change or participate. As primary care provides, naturopaths also know to refer a patient to a specialist when the illness is outside their area of expertise, or better served by modern medicine.

 

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