What is naturopathy? Treatments and approaches
Naturopathy is a type of healthcare that combines modern treatment with traditional methods. It includes alternative, natural therapies to modern medicine.
Naturopathy concentrates on:
- The body's ability to heal itself
- Avoiding health problems
- A personal responsibility to optimize health and wellness
Naturopathic treatment strategies focus on education and prevention. They typically emphasize diet, exercise, and stress management.
Naturopathy uses a series of principles and beliefs to develop specific treatment plans.
These principles and beliefs are:
- Self-healing-- Identifying and removing obstacles to recovery, enables natural healing.
- Underlying symptoms-- Rather than stopping symptoms, a naturopathic physician can resolve underlying physical or psychological problems by treating the body, mind, and spirit.
- Harmless treatment-- Treatment strategies should not have harmful side effects or control symptoms negatively.
- Holistic treatment-- A naturopathic physician has to recognize individuality to treat all facets of an individual's health successfully.
- Education in treatment-- Naturopathic doctors teach self-care to help empower individuals against illness.
- Prevention-- It is good to eliminate toxic substances from a lifestyle to prevent problems from developing.
Seeing a Naturopathic Doctor - Naturopathic Medicine in Carmel Valley
Naturopathic physicians might hold different licenses. Not all states have the same licensing requirements, so it is recommended to check the details of a naturopathic physician prior to a consultation.
The three main types of naturopath are:
- Naturopathic physician-- A licensed naturopathic physician has to attend 4 years of naturopathic medical school to hold a recognized certification.
- Traditional naturopath-- Traditional naturopaths might not hold a license, so they are not so commonly accepted.
- Other healthcare experts-- Other, contemporary healthcare professionals, such as dentists, may use naturopathic approaches in their treatment plans.
Approaches vary between naturopathic practitioners, but assessments usually abide by a similar overall practice.
The specialist will generally begin with a diagnosis. In this part of the procedure, they will address personal information, including lifestyle habits, stress levels, and diet.
A naturopathic doctor can use physical assessments, lab tests, medical imaging, and medical history examinations to diagnose an illness.
After diagnosis, they will develop ways to prevent and treat the health problem by working with the natural healing systems within the body.
Naturopathic physicians design medical care strategies to suit individual needs and health conditions. This means the treatment plans they offer can differ, yet they all adhere to similar principles.
Most treatments include food and nutrition. A naturopathic doctor will personalize suggestions for the individual.
A diet plan will typically use whole foods, such as, fruit, vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains.
The physician might also offer advice on maximizing nutritional value by consuming seasonal, local food. Some think food is better for the body when consumed raw, instead of cooked.
Treatments a naturopathic physician might use include:
- Diet and nutrition recommendations
- Behavioral adjustment, such as exercise and lifestyle
- Homeopathy, a kind of natural medicine
- Hydrotherapy, which is water-based treatment
- Manipulative therapy, for instance, putting pressure on certain parts of the body to establish balance
- Herbal dietary supplements
A small 2020 research study suggests that naturopathic treatment strategies are useful in managing type 2 diabetes.
In some cases, with the appropriate license, naturopathic doctors can recommend prescription medications, carry out minor surgeries, and give vaccinations.
Naturopathic treatments are normally not an individual's first source of healthcare. Individuals often seek naturopathic remedies when traditional or other complementary treatments are not effective.
A 2019 review of studies found that methods that use naturopathy may be effective in:
- Heart disease
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Type 2 diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Some other chronic conditions
An older 2007 review found evidence that the herbal medicines of devil's claw, white willow bark, and cayenne can ease pain more effectively than placebo. However, the authors acknowledge that the reporting quality of the research studies in the review was poor.
There is anecdotal evidence to suggest naturopathic therapies such as acupuncture can treat chronic disorders, but again, this is not well supported scientifically.
A 2018 review discovered that naturopathic therapies helped control problems that follow operations. For instance, acupuncture and acupressure can minimize symptoms of vomiting and nausea. Aromatherapy and music may also minimize pain, stress, and anxiety.
- Naturopaths work on a more personal level, spending more time covering individual needs. They develop treatment plans that consider all aspects of a person.
- Naturopathy can be useful alongside modern medicine, and many claim these methods allow the body to activate self-healing mechanisms.
- Naturopathic healthcare can also be a cheaper option to conventional healthcare.