Naturopathy is the umbrella term used to depict several alternative medicine theories focusing on natural remedies and preventive measures. It is founded on the notion that the human body has inherent abilities to heal and maintain itself. The whole system encourages a holistic approach in treatment insofar as it denounces the excessive use of surgery and pharmaceutical synthetic drugs. The treatment methodologies encompassed by naturopathy receive varying acceptance in the medical community. Some of which are not yet approved to provide therapeutic claims such as homeopathy while many others are already accepted by medical practitioners worldwide such as holistic dieting and acupuncture.
A brief history
Hippocrates, the ancient greek “father of medicine” is considered by many practitioners as the father of naturopathic medicine. The term “naturopathy,” however, was coined only in 1895 by john scheel. The modern practice of naturopathy has already begun in europe even before that. Its roots can be traced back to the nature cure movement popular in countries such as scotland back in the 1880s. This was popularized by thomas allinson, an advocate of the so-called “hygienic medicine” which promotes natural diet, exercise and abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and overwork.
In the united states, naturopathy was introduced by benedict lust who was the one to trademark the term “naturopathy,” after purchasing it from scheel. He defines the discipline as a set of techniques instead of just a mere treatment or prevention methodology. During his time, hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, and homeopathy were the famous techniques being used, not to mention, several dieting and lifestyle modification therapies.
Today naturopathy has become a widely accepted discipline subscribed to in all parts of the world. In fact, schools for naturopathic medicine are now being established in the united states and canada. The level of education among naturopaths varies per training program attended as well as per country. In north america, the completion of a four-year program on naturopathy entitles one to a naturopathic doctor (nd) designation. These programs will prepare future naturopaths on the study of basic medical sciences and natural remedies and care.
The practice of naturopathy also depends on the level of acceptance and regulation in a certain sovereignty. When lust came to the united states in 1901, he established the american school of naturopathy in new york. Immediately after, the naturopathic society of america was founded in 1902. Such early acceptance led 25 us states to legislate laws on licensing naturopathic and drugless practitioners in their area.
However, the practice of naturopathy has also experienced its own downtime in mid-20th century when the advent of penicillin and other synthetic drugs became popular. This growth in the realms of modern pharmaceutical medicine has somewhat afflicted the humble beginnings of naturopathy.
Several rules and regulations against the practice were enacted in many countries. Back in 1968, the united states department of health, education, and welfare released a report stating that naturopathy is not to be misconstrued as medical science and that naturopathy education does not suffice for practitioners to apply proper diagnosis and treatment on patients. The same report recommends that the medicare coverage on naturopathic treatment should be halted.
Such disturbance, however, did not last that long. The advent of holistic health movement and eastern new age thought in the 1970s revived naturopathy’s original glory as a better alternative to modern medicine.
Today many people still subscribe to naturopathic treatments and prevention methodologies.