“Naturopathy” has become a cynosure of modern treatment as it is about living naturally with a focus on natural remedies and the body’s vital ability to heal and maintain itself. Naturopathic medicine is a science-based tradition that fosters wellness by diagnosing the unique aspects of each patient and then treating it with non-toxic natural therapies to restore their physiological, psychological, and structural balance.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) defines naturopathic medicine as:
“A distinct system of primary healthcare is an art, science, philosophy, and practice of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles upon which its practice is based. These principles are continually re-examined in the light of scientific advances. The techniques of naturopathic medicine include modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods” (AANP, 1998).
Who are Naturopaths?
Naturopathic doctors are licensed medical doctors who integrate the best of conventional medicine with botanical, nutritional and homeopathic therapies. They assess not only their patient’s physical health but their emotional, mental and spiritual health as well, informed by the philosophy of treating the whole person and not just the symptoms. Naturopathic doctors use conventional and alternative treatments to complement each other, giving them a toolkit that is considerably more diverse than that of traditional doctors. They experience the satisfaction of helping patients overcome their immediate health issues while also addressing the behaviors and belief systems that underlie the symptoms at hand. Naturopathic doctors help their patients recover today and prepare for a healthier tomorrow.
Naturopaths go for “natural“ remedies and refrain from invasive surgery or artificial drugs. There are many varieties of techniques that are used in the naturopathic treatment. Some of them are discussed below:
Medicatrix Nature: The very nub of Naturopathic Medicine is based on the Latin concept of “Medicatrix Naturae”, or the Healing Power of Nature. The body has an innate ability to maintain and restore health. Naturopathic physicians facilitate this healing process by removing obstacles to cure and identifying treatments to enhance healing.
Identify and Treat the Root Cause: Naturopathic physicians treatment is based on alleviating the underlying causes of illness rather than just treating the symptoms of disease. Symptoms are an external manifestation of an internal imbalance due to any combination of physical, mental, or emotional malfunctioning. Symptom management may be important, but it is more important not to ignore the underlying cause of disease.
First do no harm: A naturopathic treatment plan uses therapies that are gentle, non-invasive, least-toxic, effective, and do not have adverse side effects. A conscious effort is made to use methods that do not suppress symptoms.
Motivate: The primary role of naturopathic physicians is educating, empowering, and motivating patients to be more responsible for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet. Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest patients in the maintenance of the human frame, in diet, and in the prevention of disease.” It is more effective to teach than treat patients.
Treat the whole person: Naturopathic physicians identify specific weaknesses or dysfunctions in their patients and tailor treatment based upon the patient’s individual need. It is the patient that requires treatment, not the disease state or symptom. Naturopathic physicians are interested in finding and treating characteristic symptoms that define the patient rather than common symptoms that define the disease. William Osler, MD, once said, “It is more important to know what sort of patient has a disease rather than what sort of disease a patient has.”
Prevention: It is far easier and cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat it. Naturopathic physicians evaluate both subjective and objective information necessary to uncover potential susceptibilities to future disease states in their patients. They can discuss specific lifestyle strategies or nutritional supplementation as a means for disease prevention or recurrence.
Benefits of Naturopathy
Naturopathy has been known to heal chronic conditions quite efficiently, that don’t respond to conventional medicine. It is a powerful therapy to cure fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and digestive disorders. Naturopathic physicians are able to respond to the individual needs of patients and develop a treatment plan that includes nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, acupuncture, physiotherapy and diet therapy. In short it offers the following benefits:
- It involves anti-bacterial treatments that reduce the risk of harmful side effects and is considerably affordable.
- It can also tackle illnesses that cannot be wholly healed by allopathic treatment such as sinusitis, eczema, dermatitis, migraine, fibromyalgia, asthma, type II diabetes, etc.
- The treatment ameliorates patient`s entire body and not just a specific part.
- It is effective for any age group from adults to children.