What is Naturopathy?
“Natural medicine is a comprehensive system of medical approaches that focus on prevention of diseases and the use of non-toxic natural remedies that include modern diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.”
The basic principles governing naturopathic medicine are:
- The natural medicine doctor does not hurt the body, and only uses natural, safe and effective treatments.
- Nature has great healing power. The body has an exceptionally strong inner self-healing ability. The role of the physician is to facilitate, to help and support this process, recognizing early and modifying all those factors (internal and external).
- The naturopathic doctor is trained to look for the root cause of a disease rather than merely suppressing the symptoms. The health and diseases depend on many parameters: physical, intellectual, emotional, genetic and environmental. So, the approach of the patient should be individualized and the treatment should harmonize all these factors.
- The doctor tries to aid the healing process – more correctly – the healing power of nature (vis medicatrix naturae), by adjusting the patient’s lifestyle and especially his diet according to individual health needs. The adaptation (customization) is achieved through the skill and patience of the doctor (through active listening to patient problems and giving specific instructions which will lead to the patient’s conscious and active participation in the therapeutic process). The doctor’s choice of diagnostic and therapeutic methods are applied in a non-invasive or hurtful manner. Healing takes place entirely internally.
- Each person is treated as a set of a complex physical, psychosomatic, intellectual, social and other factors. The doctor should approach, analyze the levels of each factor and restore them to their normal balance.
- The doctor acts as a trainer: the meaning of the word «doctor» is a teacher who educates, empowers and motivates the patient to participate responsibly in their own health by adopting a healthy mentality, lifestyle and diet.
- Prevention is the best cure. Adopt a healthy lifestyle so you do not get sick, because prevention is infinitely preferable and better than cure. Also, health is a vibrant dynamic state of the body, it is more than just the simple absence of disease.
Therapeutic agents used by naturopathic medicine are:
– Nutritional Medicine, (Nutritional Medicine). Malnutrition is the biggest health threat to modern man. Clinical Nutrition uses nutrition as a therapeutic agent and is the foundation of natural medicine. There is a growing knowledge of nutritional and therapeutic properties of food in respect to the harmful effect on humans (processed foods). Also, the ‘disorder’ of the food chain has generated strong interest in nutrition.
– Medical Botany (Herbal Medicine). The plants have been used as medicines since ancient times. Naturopathic doctors are professionally trained to know how to plants and about their pharmacological properties.
– Hydrotherapy is the use of water in any form (hot, cold water, steam, etc.) through different implementation methods for the maintenance of health or treatment of disease (enemas, spas, massage, compresses, saunas, steam etc.). It is one of the oldest healing methods. It was particularly popular as a therapy in ancient Greek Asclepieia and in Greek and Roman baths as well as in the Oriental Hammam.
Naturopathic doctors can use a variety of therapies to promote health. Some emphasize a particular therapeutic method, while others use a combination of various methods, such as homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture-phytotherapy) and Bioresonance therapy.
A typical first visit to a naturopathic doctor takes at least an hour since there has to be time for discussion and patient education on issues of physical therapy and a possible change in lifestyle.
The physician also makes a physical examination and then create a treatment plan with the patient, which may consist of rest (adequate sleep), a healthy balanced diet, abstinence from certain foods and detoxification, a decrease in body weight, reduction of stress, an increase of physical activity (exercise and proper breathing), adequate exposure to sunlight, and exemption from any harmful addictions such as smoking. Naturopathic medicine is the modern Hippocratic Medicine.
Cooperation between Naturopaths and other health professionals
Naturopathic doctors work seamlessly with a wide range of other health professionals. Most naturopathy clinics have extensive references to and from other professionals in the health sector.