What is Naturopathy?
This is a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that diseases can be prevented or treated without medication.
It is a way of treating a disorder or disease without the use of synthetic drugs or surgery but rather uses herbs, special diets, vitamins and massage to enhance the natural healing processes.
Naturopathic medicine depends on the healing power of nature with all of its therapeutic modalities, from acupuncture to counselling, hydrotherapy to homeopathy. However, in extreme cases a Naturopath may depart from acting in accordance with Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The Healing Power of Nature) in order to preserve life.
What is the history of naturopathy?
The modern form of naturopathic medicne can be traced back to the 18th and 19th century of natural healing systems.
In 1829, Vincent Priessnitz officially used hydrotherapy as a medical tool. This was continued by Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian priest. He discovered the systematic and controlled application of hydrotherapy. His book "My Water Cure" was published in 1886.
Kneipp was an advocate of the complete system of natural healing. This system had five key principles
1) Hydrotherapy - Water Cure Therapy
2) Herbalism - Herbal Medicine
3) Nutrition - A healthy and balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains with less meat
4) Spirituality - Kneipp believed that a healthy mind was a healthy person.
5) Exercise - Enhances physical fitness, health and wellness
Benedict Lust was influenced by Kneipp's work and a fervent believer in natural medicine.
In 1902, Lust introduced naturopathy to the United States of America. The American School of Naturopathy, New York was established. The school emphasized good hygiene, proper bowel habits and the use of natural cures. This was the first time that the principles of a healthy diet became popular.
Naturopathic medicne declined in the 1920s to 1940s. It became popular in the 1960s.
Today, naturopaths are licensed care providers. They can offer a variety of natural therapies like herbal remedies, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, relaxation techniques, mineral supplements and vitamin.
Key Principles of Natural Healing
1) Primum Non Nocere - First do no harm
Aim to give the most efficient heath care treatment with the least amount of risk
2) Tolle Causam - Establish, identify and treat the cause
Rather than suppress or eliminate the symptoms, identify and remove the causes of illness
3) Tolle Totum - Cure or heal the whole person
Consider all the influences and individual health factors
4) Vis Mediatrix Naturae - The healing power of nature
Acknowledge, respect and encourage the inherent self-healing power of mother nature in people
5) Docere - The physician as teacher
Educate, encourage and inspire health self responsibility
6) Prevention is better than cure
Emphasize good health and promote well-being. It helps to prevent diseases.