What is Naturopathic?

The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.


Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation.[1] Naturopathic philosophy favors a holisticapproach and seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgeryand unnecessary drugs. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, “Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.”[2]

The term “naturopathy” is derived from Greek and Latin, and literally translates as “nature disease”.[3] Modern naturopathy grew out of the Natural Cure movement of Europe.[4][5] The term was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and popularized by Benedict Lust,[6] the “father of U.S. naturopathy”.[7]Beginning in the 1970s, there was a revival of interest in the United States and Canada in conjunction with the holistic health movement.[7][8]

Naturopathic practitioners are split into two groups, traditional naturopaths and naturopathic physicians.[3] Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices. Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities of varying degrees of acceptance by the conventional medical community; these treatments range from standard evidence-based treatments, to homeopathy and other practices sometimes characterized as pseudoscience.

Naturopathy is practiced in many countries, primarily the United States and Canada,[verification needed] and is subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance. The scope of practice varies widely between jurisdictions, and naturopaths in unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor designation or other titles regardless of level of education.[9]

The philosophical and methodological underpinnings of naturopathy are sometimes in conflict with the paradigm of evidence-based medicine (EBM).[10]Many naturopaths have opposed vaccination based in part on the early philosophies that shaped the profession.[11]

According to the American Cancer Society, “Available scientific evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure cancer or any other disease, since virtually no studies on naturopathy as a whole have been published.”[12]