A healing philosophy founded in the US in 1902 by Benedict Lust, which attributes disease to a violation of natural laws and uses the forces of nature as therapeutic modalities. Naturopaths believe that disease is caused by the body’s attempt to purify itself, and treatment requires that the body’s vital force be enhanced by ridding the body of toxins. Naturopathy encompasses a gamut of alternative therapies, and is not bound by any particular orthodoxy; modalities used in naturopathy include “natural food” diets, vitamins, herbs, teas, tissue mineral salts, live cell therapies, manipulation, massage, use of natural forces (i.e., earth, wind, fire, light, heat, cold, air; referred to by some as physiotherapy), exercise, acupressure, acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, autogenic training, biofeedback training, Chinese herbal medicine, chiropractic, herbal remedies, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, jin shin do, Jungian psychotherapy, massage therapy, minor surgery, moxibustion and cupping, ortho-bionomy, osteopathy, reflexology, tui na and other natural modalities.
Some naturopaths may believe that the treatment of virtually all diseases is within their scope of practice, since their role is to free the body of toxins (e.g., conventional drugs, food preservatives, pesticides etc.) and allow it to heal itself; anecdotal reports suggest that naturopathy may be effective in treating abscesses, acidity, acne, addiction disorders (e.g., alcoholism, smoking), adenoids, anaemia, angina pectoris, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bites and stings, blisters, bronchitis, bruises, bunions, burns, bursitis, candidiasis, cataracts, chickenpox, chronic fatigue syndrome, circulatory defects, the common cold, conjunctivitis, corns, cough, cramps, cystitis, dandruff, depression, eczema, emphysema, eyestrain, fainting, fatigue, fever, fissures, flatulence, flu, fluid retention, food poisoning, frozen shoulder, gallstones, GI problems (e.g.,anal changes, gastritis, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea and irritable bowl syndrome), gout, halitosis, hangover, hay fever, headaches, haemorrhoids, herpes (genital and oral), hives, hypertension, hypoglycaemia, hypotension, hypothermia, infertility, insomnia, itching, laryngitis, low back pain, measles, menopausal disorders, menstrual defects, migraines, mineral deficiencies, mood swings, morning sickness, mumps, muscle weakness, neuralgia, neurologic complaints, obesity, osteoporosis, panic attacks, parasites, periodontal disease, phobias, postpartum depression, premenstrual syndrome, prostate disease, rheumatic disease, psychosomatic disease, sciatica, seizures, sexual problems, shortness of breath, sinusitis, sleep disorders, sports injuries, stasis (decubitus) and gastric ulcers, stress, tension, tics, tinnitus, urinary incontinence, varicose veins, vertigo, warts, wheezing, whooping cough and other conditions.
Naturopathy’s six principles
• Do no harm (primum non nocere);
• Prevent rather than cure;
• Nature has innate healing powers (vis medicatrix naturae);
• Holistic approach (the “whole person” is treated);
• Treat the cause of disease, not its symptoms (tolle causum);
• Teach prevention (docere) and the patient learns prevention.