Alternative Medicine: Naturopathic Medicine (Naturopathy)

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Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine, or naturopathy, is a complete system of medicine with an approach to health care that emphasizes preventive measures to maintain health, provides patient education, and promotes noninterference with the body's natural healing processes. Naturopathic medicine draws on a variety of natural, therapeutic methods such as diet, remedial massage, exercise, herbal medicine and others to treat patients.

A Naturopath can be equated to a General Practitioner of Orthodox medicine (GP) in that they are not specialists and might refer patients to experts in specialty areas such as herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, Homeopathy, etc., just as a GP might refer a patient to a dermatologist or surgeon for specialized treatment.

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Naturopathic Medicine (Naturopathy)

Naturopathic Medicine or Naturopathy is a well known form of natural therapy that is practiced extensively in the West. However, it is not new.

The first person to miss an evening meal because they felt off-colour, relaxed stiff muscles by bathing in a hot spring or developed some form of meditation to quiet the mind were practicing Naturopathy.

The 'Healing Power of Nature'

Naturopathy is based upon the concept that the body is capable of healing itself given the correct conditions. It is an eclectic system that has evolved over time and integrates a number of natural healing approaches.

In naturopathic philosophy, good health is achieved and maintained through six primary componants: fresh air, an adequate intake of clean water, reasonable exposure to sunlight, a nutritious diet, and a balance of work, exercise and rest.

These are the cornerstones of traditional Naturopathic medicine and a naturopathic practitioner will employ all these factors to restore health in their patients. Herbal and Homeopathic medicines are also used by Naturopaths to assist in this process.

Causes of Disease According to Naturopathic Philosophy

Disease is a disturbance to the normal equilibrium of body functions. this disturbance is brought about through pre and post- natal factors that lower cellular vitality.

These pre- and post-natal factors involve an accumulation of metabolic waste products and environmental toxins. 'Toxic' accumulation can not only disrupt cellular equilibrium, but can also provide a substrate upon which pathogens can grow. This contributes further to accumulation of toxins in body tissues.
Acute disease (such as fevers) are an attempt by the body to throw off these accumulated toxins and a purposeful act towards recovery.

What do Naturopaths do?

Naturopaths may use a number of different healing modalities, including: nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, homoeopathy, remedial massage, tissue salt therapy, flower remedies, hydrotherapy, heliotherapy and any one of a number of exercise regimes.

Some of the diagnostic techniques used by Naturopaths can include iridology, face and tongue diagnosis and blood tests, as well as more conventional techniques such as taking blood pressure and urinanalysis.

How Are Naturopaths Trained?

In the West today, it is possible to study Naturopathic medicine at University and research into naturopathic healing approaches is routine. University courses generally involve three years of full time study and typical subjects are Human Medical Sciences, Biochemistry, Homoepathic principles, Clinical Pharmacology, Herbal Medicine, Naturopathic Nutrition, Pathophysiology, Microbiology, Clinical Diagnosis and Naturopathic Practice. Courses are structured similarly to those that an orthodox medical practitioner would have to study but with obvious differences in philosophic, diagnostic and treatment approaches.

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