What is naturopathy?
Naturopathic medicine is more than 100 years old. There are more than 3,500 licensed
naturopathic doctors (ND) in the U.S. And there are 7 medical schools that are accredited
for naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic medicine is a lot like conventional medicine in terms of diagnosing disease.
It uses lab tests, imaging tests, a physical exam, and health history. The difference
between conventional medicine and naturopathic medicine lies in the types of treatment
that are recommended. Naturopathic healthcare providers don't typically use prescription
medicines as the first treatment offered. Instead, they use natural and lifestyle
treatments. These include changes to diet, herbal medicine, homeopathy, exercise,
dietary supplements, and acupuncture.
Naturopathy's main goal is to use the natural healing power of the body to fight disease.
This power is also known as the Vis or life force. Almost any illness can be treated
by naturopathic healthcare providers. In some states, naturopathic doctors are considered
primary care providers. They can prescribe medicines in the same way as medical doctors
Naturopathic treatments may include:
Botanical or herbal medicine
Hydrotherapy. This is using water as a medical treatment.
Lifestyle medicine. This is using exercise, sleep habits, and changes to relieve stress.
Biofeedback and counseling
Naturopathic doctors often work with other healthcare professionals. They refer people
to MDs or other specialists when needed.