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What Is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is a natural healing technique using the healing powers of nature. Sometimes referred to as “natural medicine,” naturopathy goes back thousands of years, drawing on the healing wisdom of many cultures including Indian (Ayurvedic), Chinese (Taoist), Greek (Hippocratic), Arabian, Egyptian, and European (monastic medicine) traditions. Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived 2,400 years ago, is often considered the earliest predecessor of naturopathic physicians, particularly because of his teachings “nature is healer of all diseases” and his formulation of the concept vis medicatrix naturae — “the healing power of nature.” This idea has long been at the core of indigenous medicine in many cultures around the world and remains one of the central themes of naturopathic philosophy to this day.

Naturopathy is guided by six fundamental principles:

  1. The healing power of nature
  2. First do no harm
  3. Find and treat the underlying cause and not just the symptom
  4. Always treat the person as whole, not only the disease
  5. Education
  6. Prevention

The philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine is that all living beings have an innate ability to heal themselves. Our vital force promotes self-cleansing, self-repair, and therefore, self-healing. This process can be achieved by focusing on the immune, hormonal, nervous, and detoxification/elimination systems of the body. Naturopathy supports the body’s natural self-healing abilities and helps it to restore balance.

What is the education of a Naturopathic Doctor?

A Naturopathic Doctor undergoes a four-year undergraduate training in regular pre-medical programs followed by four to five years of graduate medical training, including a two-year clinical internship.

The four year program includes over 4,500 hours of classroom training in basic medical science courses (i.e. anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, neuroscience, etc.), clinical sciences (i.e. clinical diagnosis, pathology, pediatrics, oncology, & gastroenterology, etc.), and naturopathic therapies, as well as 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience. Overall, academic training in medical sciences of NDs and MDs is similar. Those students who graduate from a qualified naturopathic college receive the designation Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND).

Why choose Naturopathy?

There are many reasons to choose naturopathy:

  • If you have a chronic disease which is not responding to the treatments recommended by medical doctors.
  • If you are tired of taking drugs to maintain health for the rest of your life. Naturopathic treatments address the root cause instead of symptoms.
  • If you want treatment that offers a holistic approach i.e. it considers all your symptoms and you as a whole, instead of just targeting the disease to be eliminated.
  • If you prefer natural cures to drug based symptom treatment, and want to avoid drug side effects (all drugs have side effects – even the safest approved drugs have side effects).

What are the specialties of Naturopathy?

Naturopathy has many different specialties which include:

  • Clinical Nutrition: This includes nutritional supplements, nutrition counseling, and dietary changes such as eating more whole and unprocessed foods. A majority of medical conditions can be treated effectively with diet alone or in combination with nutritional supplements.
  • Physical Medicine: Focuses on the muscles, bones, and spine, using massage, exercise, heat, water, and cold to heal.
  • Homeopathy: Works to strengthen the body’s immune system by giving natural medicine that produces similar symptoms to what the body is already feeling in order to treat an illness. Homeopathy is based on the principle “like cures like.”
  • Botanical Medicine: Uses plants as medicines to treat disease. Today’s research has proven the medicinal powers of many common plants. A herb usually works on the body in one of three ways: it can purge the body of impurities, it can build up the immune system, or it can strengthen the makeup of an organ so it will function at optimal efficiency.
  • Chinese Medicine: Is based on the theory that vital energy (called “qi” or “chi”) flows throughout the body via certain pathways (or “meridians”). According to this theory, illness and other emotional, mental, and physical health problems develop when qi is blocked. Restoring the flow of qi is considered essential to balancing the yin and yang and, in turn, achieving wellness. The treatments used are Acupuncture or Acupressure.
  • Psychotherapy and Counseling: Counseling techniques include stress management strategies and life coaching.

What diagnostic tools are used in Naturopathy?

Both, traditional and naturopathic, diagnostic tools are used for evaluating health concerns and determining the most appropriate treatment program. The diagnostic tools used include:

In-depth Health History
An initial appointment is usually about 1½ to 2 hours and it covers your family’s and your medical history, your lifestyle, the stress in your life, and all aspects related to your current concern – when it started, how it feels, whether it’s constant or periodic, if you are experiencing any other symptoms simultaneously. The doctor will also ask about various bodily parts and functions such as hearing, sleep patterns, bowel function, and sex life. These issues provide insight into the overall picture of your health. Doctors will also typically enquire about your childhood and important moments in your life; relationship with your partner, friends, and family; and your work life. You will also be asked in some detail about your diet and lifestyle habits, such as the amount of exercise, if you smoke, drink, etc. and the frequency with which you do so. Keep in mind, you do not have to answer any questions that make you uncomfortable; however, the more information you share, the better the treatment plan can be customized to take into account your unique situation.

Nutritional Analysis
Assessment of food is made by asking questions about your eating habits and diet. Often the doctor will take the time to understand and evaluate the impact of eating habits and diet on your health.

Physical Examinations
In Naturopathy, all visits include a physical examination. As with conventional doctors, “vital signs,” such as temperature, blood pressure, weight, and pulse, are routinely recorded. The doctor will also perform additional examination as necessary to determine the source of your health problem such as palpating the abdomen, checking for reflexes, or looking in the ears, eyes and mouth. Naturopathic Doctors often take more time to ensure that the “minor” symptoms are identified and addressed before they become a “major” problem. Clients are encouraged to have a complete physical exam annually as it is an essential part of a preventative health care program.

In Naturopathy, a variety of testing methods are used to evaluate bodily functions and locate evidence of particular concerns. Many of these tests are identical or similar to those run by conventional doctors: blood tests for anemia and liver problems, urine tests for kidney problems, stool tests for infections, etc.

Some less common tests are also employed. For instance, some blood, urine, stool and saliva tests help evaluate the function of various organs and body systems.

  • Blood tests help determine food allergies or look for deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.
  • Saliva tests are most often used to evaluate adrenal gland function by looking at levels of the cortisol hormone at different points during the day. Saliva tests are also useful for assessing imbalances in other hormone systems.
  • Urine tests are commonly used to look for heavy metal toxicity and to check for hormone and neurotransmitter levels.
  • Stool tests are useful for determining bacterial imbalances, the presence of candida and other fungi, and can identify markers for inflammation or poor digestion.

What Illnesses Can Naturopathy Treat?

There are a wide range of illnesses which Naturopathy treats either alone or in combination with other complementary treatments.

  • Internal Organ Dysfunction e.g. chronic disorders of Lungs, Liver, Kidneys, and Heart
  • Common Chronic Diseases e.g. Hypertension, Diabetes, Asthma, Obesity
  • GI Tract Disorders e.g. Colitis, Ulcerative Colitis, Chronic Constipation
  • Joint Pains e.g. Arthritis, Spondylosis, Sciatica, Back Pain, etc.
  • Neuro Muscular e.g. Paralysis, Neuro Myopathy, Hemiplegia, etc.

What Techniques and Treatments are used in Naturopathy?

In consultation with the client, any of the following might be recommended:



The Acupressure therapy helps in maintaining health by balancing energy channels of the body. The energy in our body flows through various channels.The flow of energy is imbalanced when there is disruption in these channels due to stress injury etc. The Acupressure not only balances various energy forces in the body but also has positive effects on mind,spirit and emotions.

Acupressure is often called acupuncture without the needles. Instead of needles, acupressure is done by using the thumb, finger, or knuckle to apply gentle but firm pressure (usually with the fingertips) to specific points on the body which influences the autonomic nervous system. The pressure is usually increased for about 30 seconds, held steadily for 30 seconds to two minutes, and then gradually decreased for 30 seconds. It’s often repeated three to five times. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, the body has vital energy called “chi” or “qi” that flows along invisible lines of energy flow called “meridians.” There are thought to be at least 14 meridians connecting our organs with other parts of our body. Acupressure points lie along these 14 meridians. If the flow of qi is blocked at any point on a meridian, it is thought to be the cause of ailments and can lead to disease anywhere along the meridian. Acupressure is used both as a preventive, and a therapeutic treatment. It helps alleviate pain and fatigue, and addresses musculoskeletal problems.


  • Induces relaxation and restores balance.
  • It improves blood circulation, lowers  muscle tension and endorphin simulation.
  • Stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic system.
  • The therapeutic touch stimulates certain chemicals in the brain that boost the immune system to lift depression and relieve stress.

Botanical Medicine

Counseling and Lifestyle Modification

Fasting Therapy

Fasting Therapy


According to Naturopathy, the root cause of most of the diseases is the accumulation of toxic matter in the digestive system. Fasting is considered as one of the most important methods of nature cure. In Naturopathy, fasting is practiced to enable nature to perform its cleansing process in the body, without any hindrance, and without any additional load of food to digest. The digestive organs are given a rest, to enable them to regain their health and work efficiently. As per Naturopathy, initially, one should fast for a limited period of time and then gradually increase the time period. One should break the fast with juice, vegetable juice, soups, and fruits. But the best and the safest way of fasting is the lime juice fasting. Before fasting, the bowel should be completely empty. Rest is advised during fasting.


  • Fasting helps to excrete accumulated poisons, toxins and waste materials. Dead cells are removed, and new cell formation is sped up.
  • Fasting provides rest to the different organs of the body, especially the digestive and assimilative ones.
  • Fasting is good in treating of disorders like indigestion, gas formation, obesity, asthma, high blood pressure, and other digestive disorders.


Hydrotherapy treatment in India is very promising and one of the best at our upcoming first naturopathy hospital in eastern India at JKYNH, Odisha. Hydrotherapy constitutes an important element of naturopathy treatment encompassing a wide range of therapeutic treatment for various pain relief using the physical properties of water with varying temperature that stimulates blood circulation and treat the symptom of the disease. This type of water treatment may involve procedures that include immersing the patient in water or combining the water with oils and herbs as a part of the treatment process.

How does Hydrotherapy work?

The healing properties of hydrotherapy are based on its thermal effects on body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli. The nerves carry impulses felt at the deeper levels of the skin into the body, where they are instrumental in stimulating the immune system, influencing the production of stress hormones, invigorating the circulation and digestion, encouraging blood flow, and reducing pain sensitivity. Generally, heat quiets and soothes the body, slowing down the activity of internal organs while causing the blood vessels to dilate resulting in removal of waste from the body. Cold, in contrast, stimulates and invigorates, increasing internal activity and shunting the organs.


Types of Hydrotherapy

Jacuzzi Here the bathtub is equipped with a powerful water pump, which produces a strong jet stream of water within the tub.

  • The effects of Jacuzzi are similar to those of a whirlpool bath. The powerful jet causes friction and massages the body, relaxes the muscles, relieves tension, and increases circulation to the skin thereby removing morbid matter from the body. It also enhances functioning of the heart and lungs.

Hydro Jets This is a tub of hot water which uses jets of forced air to produce currents and bubbles, for therapeutic purposes.

  • • activates the nerves and muscles in the body increasing the blood circulation
    • relaxes the muscles and cleanses the body of the toxins

Whirlpool Bath In this bath, a huge circular tub is used. It is equipped with powerful water pumps, to produce a powerful whirl (circular waves) in the tub.

  • Helps in reducing the pain of arthritis, tendonitis/bursitis and inflammation resulting from sports injuries and overexertion.
  • The moist heat is extremely helpful to those who are suffering from respiratory ailments, such as congestion, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.

Colonic Hydrotherapy/Enema This detoxifying treatment involves a soothing, gentle flow of filtered, temperature-controlled water throughout the colon to flush out logged waste and toxins.

  • Helps bring about efficient elimination of waste products.
  • Helps restore tissue and organ function.
  • Rebalances body chemistry.

Immersion Bath It is one of the hydrotherapeutic procedures where the body is either locally or completely immersed in water of different temperatures. Temperatures vary according to the condition of the patient and season.

  • Cold Immersion Bath:  Helps in high fever, heat stroke, skin diseases, paralysis, muscular dystrophy, polio, and other neuro-muscular disorders. It is contra-indicated in conditions like severe weakness, heart disease, elderly patients, and very young children.
  • Hot Immersion Bath: Here the water temperature is 38-42◦C. It is useful in all the pain diseases, obesity, diabetes, weak digestion, flatulence, asthma, skin and hair problems etc.
  • Neutral Immersion Bath: Used especially in the winter season. It is a sedative and gives relief to the body in all diseases. Helpful in high fevers, rheumatism, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism, chronic dysentery, etc.

Steam Bath The patient is made to sit on a stool inside a specially designed chamber with the face and head out. A cold compress is placed on the head. A steam of natural medicated water is given to the entire body except the face and head. The toxic elements from the body are excreted from perspiration. The duration of the steam bath is usually ten to twenty minutes. A cold shower is taken immediately after the steam.

  • Medicated or herbal steam helps rejuvenate the body.
  • Improves circulation of the blood and tissue activity.
  • Relieves rheumatism, gout, uric acid problems, and obesity.
  • Helps the skin maintain its natural moisture and softness.

Arm and Foot Bath Hands and legs are kept in a special tub filled with hot/cold water.

  • Cold Foot Bath: Useful especially in excess menstrual bleeding.
  • Hot Foot Bath: Useful in relieving headaches, sinus problems, frequent colds, menstrual disorders, joint pains, and blood pressure.
  • Hot Foot & Arm Bath: Useful to treat all kinds of headaches, migraine, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and hypertension, etc.

Jet Spinal Bath In this type of bath, a powerful jet of water is applied to the spine. Temperature and duration vary according to the condition of the patient and season.

  • Cold Spinal Bath: Useful in high blood pressure and emotional disorders such as stress, strain, insomnia, etc.
  • Neutral Spinal Bath: Useful in high fevers, rheumatism, insomnia, etc.
  • Hot Spinal Bath: Useful for back pain, cervical pain, lumbar spondylitis, obesity, muscle pain, and some gastrointestinal disorders.

Hip Bath For this bath, the tub is filled with water in such a way that it covers the hips and reaches up to the navel when the patient sits in it. Hip bath is given in cold, hot, neutral, or alternate temperatures.

  • Stimulates the circulation toward the pelvic and digestive organs, relieves constipation, flatulence, and indigestion.
  • Helps set right the menstrual disorders like dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, leucorrhoea.
  • Helps bring about efficient elimination of waste products.
  • Helps restore tissue and organ function.
  • Rebalances body chemistry.

Massage Therapy

Mud Therapy

Mud Therapy

Mud is one of the five elements of nature which has a vast impact on our body. It contains important minerals which have positive effects on human health. Mud can absorb toxins from the human body, therefore, it is very useful in preventing many diseases. Mud therapy is widely used for its healing properties, it helps in cooling and relaxing the body as it can hold the moisture for a long time.

How does Mud Therapy work?

The dark color of mud helps in absorbing different colors of the sun and conveys them into the body, giving it, its therapeutic properties. Secondly, as the mud retains moisture for a long time, when applied over the body it provides a cooling effect. Thirdly, its shape and consistency can be easily changed by adding water, so it is easy applied.

Types of Therapeutic Mud

Mud found in different parts of the world has different properties. Mud composition varies with the place of origin. Firstly, a mineral constituent of mud varies with the kind of rocks found in the area and the process of soil formation. Secondly, mud property is influenced by the kind of flora and fauna of the area. Therefore, it is important to learn about properties of mud before utilizing it. Different types of mud used:

  • Moor – Peat-based organic muds.
  • Fango – Thermal mud of hot springs.
  • Brine Muds – Highly saline coastal muds.
  • Healing Clay – Usually swelling mineral clays

Mud therapy is used in two forms: Mud Pack

  • Mud Pack for Eyes: The pack is typically 9”x 6”, enough to cover the eyes completely. It is placed on the eyes for 20 to 30 minutes. An eye mud pack helps in relaxing the eyes; especially good for those who require to sit in front of a computer for long hours. Therapeutically, it reduces irritation, itching, or other allergic conditions such as conjunctivitis and hemorrhage of the eyeball. It also helps in correcting refractive errors like short/long sightedness. It is effective in glaucoma, where it works to reduce the eyeball tension.
  • Mud Pack for Head: A head mud pack is usually thick, narrow band. It is applied over the forehead and helps to heal congestive headache pain quickly.
  • Mud Pack for Face: Fine mud is used for the face. The paste is evenly applied on the face and kept for 30 minutes. It helps in improving the complexion of the skin. In cases of acne, it helps by absorbing excess oils and toxins from the skin. It also helps in reducing dark circles around the eyes.
  • Mud Pack for Abdomen: The size of a mud pack for abdomen is usually 10” x 6” x 1” for adults. The mud pack is applied for 20-30 minutes. An abdomen mud pack helps in all kinds of indigestion. It is very helpful in decreasing intestinal heat and stimulates peristalsis.

Mud Baths

  • Here, mud is applied to the full body either in sitting or a lying down position. Mud is kept for 45 to 60 minutes and ideally exposed to sunlight, at least intermittently. A mud bath helps in increasing the blood circulation and energizing the skin tissues. It thus helps in cleansing and improving the overall skin condition. Regular mud baths may be considered as a natural beauty treatment procedure as it also helps in improving skin complexion and reducing spots and patches, possibly the result of some skin disorder like chickenpox or small pox. Mud baths are useful in many skin diseases such as psoriasis, urticarial, leprosy, and other skin allergic conditions.


  • Mud therapy is a very cost effective with rich healing properties and is extensively used at JKYNH,Odisha for its rich healing properties
  • Mud therapy is used for relaxing stiff joints
  • It improves blood circulation and reduces inflammation and reduces pain.
  • It is also used for treating constipation, mud pack soothes the abdomin, cools intestinal heat and relieves constipation.


Naturopathic Manipulation


Reflex Therapy

Yoga and Pranayama


What is Naturopathy?


Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is a system of medicine based on the healing power of nature. Naturopathy is a holistic system, meaning that naturopathic doctors (N.D.s) or naturopathic medical doctors (N.M.D.s) strive to find the cause of disease by understanding the body, mind, and spirit of the person. Most naturopathic doctors use a variety of therapies and techniques (such as nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupuncture).

There are two areas of focus in naturopathy: one is supporting the body's own healing abilities, and the other is empowering people to make lifestyle changes necessary for the best possible health. While naturopathic doctors treat both short bouts of illness and chronic conditions, their emphasis is on preventing disease and educating patients.


The term naturopathy came into use early in the 20th century. It provides a distinct system of healing that aims to promote health by stimulating and supporting the body's inherent ability to restore harmony and balance. Naturopaths consider the symptoms of ill health to be the body's way of trying to heal itself so if you suppress the symptoms you inhibit the body's healing ability and ignore Nature's warning signals. Instead of suppressing symptoms, Naturopaths will use appropriate therapy to support the body's inherent healing powers.

The fundamental principle of Naturopathy is the healing power of nature. Naturopathy is a system of healing that places emphasis on health and how to promote it, rather than concentrating on disease states and how to suppress them. The vital force is the foundation of naturopathic philosophy and the naturopathic therapist seeks to create the most favourable conditions to stimulate and enhance this healing power. The vital force, the energy of life, is known by different names - in China it is Ch'i or Qi; it is Ki in Japan and Prana in India.

In today's society there is almost an acceptance that feeling generally unwell and sluggish is normal - you may not be seriously ill but neither are you full of the joys of spring! People who are chronically unwell may lose their awareness of true health. Naturopaths understand that health is not merely an absence of symptoms but also the feeling of fulfilment and vitality.

Disease is a manifestation of the vital force, applying itself to the removal of obstructions to the normal functioning of organs and tissues. The Naturopath seeks to discover and remove the basic causes of disease, whether they are:

§   Chemical - an imbalance in the chemistry of the body's fluids due to dietary deficiency or dietary excesses, retention of waste products due to inefficient functioning of the bowels, liver, lungs, skin or kidneys, or poor circulation of body fluids

§   Mechanical - i.e. muscular tensions, strained ligaments, stiff joints, poor posture, or spinal misalignments, leading to an interference in the functioning of the nervous and the muscular-skeletal systems

§   Psychological - i.e. impaired function induced by stress, which may be due to worries and upsets in personal and domestic life and/or anxieties and pressures at work

Naturopathic medicine is a therapeutic system with specific principles:

§   It recognises the uniqueness of each person. Each person responds in a unique way to his or her environment. Each of us has individual strengths, weaknesses and needs.

§   It attempts to establish and treat the highly individualised causes of symptoms, rather than solely the symptoms themselves. A Naturopath searches for causes at many levels and attempts to remove the fundamental causes of illness, not simply relieve symptoms.

§   It uses a holistic approach to healing, treating the whole person and not just the affected, local area i.e. disease affects the whole person - the mind, body and spirit - and not just an isolated organ or system of the body. An individual has the power to heal him or herself through internal vitality.

A Naturopath has two main roles:

§   Firstly, to educate clients to take responsibility for their health and to help them understand the fundamental laws of health. In naturopathic philosophy it is important to explain to the client why disease occurs and what the client can do for him or herself to maintain the new, improved level of health given to them by naturopathic treatment. In this way the client is given the responsibility for his or her health

§   Secondly, to use appropriate natural therapies to increase vitality and restore internal harmony.


The modern form of naturopathy can be traced to 18th- and 19th-century natural healing systems. Such systems include hydrotherapy (water therapy), which was popular in Germany and nature cure, developed in Austria, based on the use of food, air, light, water, and herbs to treat illness.

Benjamin Lust, a German immigrant, first introduced naturopathy to the United States in 1902 when he founded the American  School of Naturopathy. The school emphasized the use of natural cures, proper bowel habits, and good hygiene as the tools for health. This was the first time that principles of a healthy diet, like increasing fiber intake and reducing saturated fats, became popular.

In the mid-1920s to 1940, the use of naturopathic medicine declined. It was not until the 1960s that naturopathic-style holistic medicine became popular again. Today, naturopaths are licensed care providers in many states. They offer a variety of natural therapies, including homeopathy, vitamin and mineral supplements, Traditional Chinese Medicine, relaxation techniques, and herbal remedies.


Effective diagnostic techniques used by a Naturopath may include iris-, facial-, tongue-, nail- or pulse-analysis, kinesiology, blood microscopy. After appropriate diagnostic evaluation, a Naturopath may employ any of the various therapeutic modalities in which he or she has been appropriately trained, and can demonstrate competence in them. Homeopathy, phytotherapy (herbal medicine), nutritional therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic and reflexology are among the various modalities that may be used. Where appropriate for the client, naturopathic therapies will be used to complement orthodox medicine. The following are considered to be of primary importance in the naturopathic treatment of disease.

§   Nutrition and dietetics. This includes advice on a balanced, natural diet while emphasising the importance of ensuring digestive system efficiency in the actual metabolism of food and/or supplements.

§   Structural adjustment. By such methods as osteopathy, chiropractic, neuromuscular techniques, postural re-education and remedial exercise, the Naturopath seeks to restore balance and integrate the spine, muscles, ligaments and joints of the whole person, thus re-establishing the efficient flow of the neural and vascular systems.

§   Hydrotherapy. This is the use of water, both internally and externally in the form of baths, packs, compresses, sprays and douches. Hydrotherapy is of value in most conditions and rightly applied can give remarkable results in the treatment of both acute and long-standing conditions.

§   Healthy life-style. This includes the general care of one's mind and body, the use of appropriate physical exercise, the cultivation of a positive approach to life enhancement etc.


A visit to a naturopathic doctor, or N.D., will be similar to a visit to your family doctor. Your first visit may take more than an hour. The doctor will take a very thorough history, asking about your diet, lifestyle, stress, and environmental exposures. Next, the N.D. will do a physical examination, which may require laboratory tests. In addition to conventional tests, N.D.s may use unique laboratory techniques such as the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA). This test allows naturopaths to examine your digestive process as well as to see which nutrients your body is absorbing, among other things.

Naturopathic doctors treat the whole person, which means they consider a variety of factors before they diagnose an illness. An N.D. might look at your mental, emotional, and spiritual state; your diet; your family history; your environment; and your lifestyle before making a diagnosis.

Some of the more common treatments used by a naturopath include:

·        Nutritional counseling

·        Herbal medicine

·        Homeopathic medicine

·        Acupuncture

·        Hydrotherapy (water therapy) – These therapies include drinking natural spring water, taking baths, alternating hot and cold applications, and water exercise, all of which are thought to stimulate healing and strengthen the immune system.

·        Physical medicine -- This natural approach to healing involves using touch, hot and cold compresses, electric currents, and sound waves to manipulate the muscles, bones, and spine.

·        Detoxification -- This therapy removes toxins from the body by fasting, using enemas, and drinking lots of water.

·        Spirituality -- Personal spiritual development is encouraged as part of an overall health program.

·        Lifestyle and psychological counseling -- An N.D. may use hypnosis, guided imagery, or other counseling methods as part of a treatment plan.

Naturopaths consider patients to be participants in their health care, so you may be asked to make lifestyle changes (such as changing your sleeping, eating, and exercise habits).







Naturopathy is a natural healing technique using the healing powers of nature. The principle of Naturopathy is that the accumulation of toxins is the root cause of all diseases. Prevention and elimination of toxins is the route to health. Treatments are based on the 5 great elements of nature that have immense healing properties. There is no role of internal medications in the nature cure system.

The Five great elements of nature and the treatments based on them are:

  • Earth - Mud baths, Mud packs,
  • Water - Hydrotherapeutic methods in the form of Baths, Jets, Douches, Packs, Compresses, Immersions
  • Air - Breathing exercises, Outdoor walking, Open air baths
  • Fire - Sun baths, Thermoleum baths, Magnetised water, Colour charged oils / water
  • Ether - Fasting therapy

Other Naturopathic Therapies:

  • Yoga
  • Oriental healing techniques like Reflexology, Acupressure, Acupuncture and Auriculotherapy
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Magnetotherapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chromotherapy

This multi disciplinary approach uses the healing power of natural resources like foods, herbs, earth, water, air, sun and magnets to allow the body to heal itself. It helps in degenerative and chronic conditions like asthma and arthritis, gastro-intestinal problems and hypertension.


Of the five elements of nature, mud represents Earth and has tremendous impact on the maintenance of health and prevention of diseases. Minerals and trace elements present in the mud are known for its renowned effects and healing properties. Mud also has the remarkable property of holding moisture for a long time, which has a cooling effect on the part of the body applied.


  • Helps improve circulation and relax the muscles
  • Improves the digestive activity and sets right the metabolism
  • Local application helps relieve inflammations, swellings and reduces pain
  • Excellent in skin conditions without open lesions
  • Helps bring down blood pressure
  • Nourishes the skin
  • Conditions the hair
  • Specific kind of application relieves the stiffness of joints


Frequent application of mud helps in improving the complexion of the skin by getting rid of spots and patches, which appear in various skin disorders. Mud baths are also generally recommended for all skin diseases, including psoriasis, leucoderma and urticaria and other allergic conditions of the skin.


Using special Natural Muds high in natural minerals and salts the pack is applied on the entire body except the head.

Dead Sea Mud Body Wrap

The mud from the Dead Sea is highly saturated with natural salts and minerals like calcium chloride, iron and sulphates. These minerals are known for their renowned effects and healing properties.

  • It cleanses, exfoliates, draws out toxins, hydrates and improves the flow of nutrients to the skin surface

Moor Mud Body Wrap

This mud is from the boggy lake and marshland in Austria, which is home to a rich inheritance of plants and herbs, some of which are unique It contains about 300 medicinal herbs, lipids, enzymes, essential oils, minerals and vitamins.

  • Good for acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders
  • A natural anti-inflammatory
  • Good for rheumatism and arthritic conditions
  • Helps break down cellulite by stimulating the circulation and lymphatic system

Great Salt Lake Mud Body Wrap

The whole body is covered with this mud which is composed of pure natural cla 

What is Naturopathy?

What is a Naturopath?

Iridology in practiceA Naturopath is a health practitioner who applies natural therapies. Her/his spectrum comprises far more than fasting, nutrition, water, and exercise; it includes approved natural healing practices such as Homeopathy, Acupuncture, and Herbal Medicine, as well as the use of modern methods like Bio-Resonance, Ozone-Therapy, and Colon Hydrotherapy. At a time when modern technology, environmental pollution, poor diet, and stress play a significant role in the degradation of health, a Naturopath’s ability to apply natural methods of healing is of considerable importance.

Frequently, a Naturopath is the last resort in a patient’s long search for health. Providing personalised care to each patient, the naturopath sees humankind as a holistic unity of body, mind, and spirit.

Using a range of alternative methods of diagnosis, a Naturopath can often successfully pin-point a predisposition in the body, before the onset of acute disease, and treat the patient with specific therapies and changes in the patient’s lifestyle.

A Naturopath usually practices in a freelance environment, with the option to work in hospitals, spas, research, health care, administration, management in the retail industry, or in the media. One can find a Naturopath in a nutritional and family consultancy, as well as in a Beauty Clinic. Specialisation in infertility, skin problems, sports, children, or geriatrics is possible. The growing acceptance of Naturopathy world-wide, and greater movement and communication within the European Union offers a wealth of opportunities for future professional and personal development.

The Origins of Naturopathy

The principles of Naturopathy were first used by the Hippocratic School of Medicine in about 400 BC. The Greek philosopher Hippocrates believed in viewing the whole person in regards to finding a cause of disease, and using the laws of nature to induce cure. It was from this original school of thought that Naturopathy takes its principles.

  • The healing power of nature- nature has the innate ability to heal
  • Identify and treat the cause – there is always an underlying cause, be it physical or emotional
  • Do no harm- a Naturopath will never use treatments that may create other conditions
  • Treat the whole person- when preparing a treatment plan, all aspects of a person’s being are taken into consideration
  • The Naturopath as a teacher – a Naturopath empowers the patient to take responsibility for his/her own health by teaching self-care
  • Prevention is better than cure – a Naturopath may remove toxic substances and situations from a patient’s lifestyle to prevent the onset of further disease


Steven LangleyFrom Steven Langley’s ‘Naturopathy Workbook’

Naturopathy, or Nature Cure, is underpinned by a fundamental principle – vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature. This was made clear twenty-five centuries ago when Hippocrates said Health is the expression of a harmonious balance between various components of man’s nature, the environment and ways of life – nature is the physician of disease. Man was part of nature and the universe, and health was achieved by living in accordance with this principle. Harmony was fostered with proper nutrition, water treatments, rest, sunshine and fasting. Medicine, religion and science were intimately related and man was seen as a whole – a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. The same vital force or chi (qi) that made up the universe and nature flowed through man and it was his dislocation from this source that caused illness. Early Naturopaths realised that if you could restore the vital force to the patient, the body would naturally heal itself.

The body has this capacity to heal itself if given the right conditions and naturopathy, along with acupuncture, homoeopathy, herbal medicine, and most other holistic modalities subscribes to this basic understanding of the body’s own innate intelligence.


Modern day Naturopathy

Modern orthodox medicine, apart from all its positive and beneficial attributes, does not subscribe to this idea of wholism or to the importance of prevention. As long ago as the second century BC, the Yellow Emperor, in the Classic of Internal Medicine, said A doctor who treats a disease after it has happened is a mediocre doctor..a doctor who treats a disease before it happens is a superior doctor. Indeed Chinese physicians were paid to keep their patients healthy and were either dismissed or not paid if the patient became ill. This ensured a health system, not an ill health system, as we know it. Unfortunately this understanding has changed to a new paradigm-wait until it is broken and then fix it. This is not intelligent medicine and part of a Naturopath’s role is empowering the patient to take responsibility for his or her own health. This is not always an easy task amid a hostile environment of toxins and chemicals.


The modern day Naturopath faces many more challenges than those of their forefathers. Most of us now live in a sea of electromagnetic pollution, coupled with a plethora of chemical pollutants which were completely alien to man 40 years ago. Add to this a dose of denatured food fast-tracked by technology and we have a heady mix of health problems waiting to happen. In short most people have too much of what they shouldn’t have in their bodies and not enough of what they should have. The Naturopath of today needs a very eclectic approach to meet these challenges and guide their patients back to vibrant health. Whilst never losing sight of the basic fundamentals of the naturecure, the modern-day Naturopath might employ a raft of skills such as herbs, homoeopathy, manipulation, flower essences, acupuncture or biochemical supplementation to augment their work. These may be necessary to offset many of the suppressions brought about through living in our modern times with all its concomitant stresses that seek to strangle the life force in our bodies. – Steven Langley MSc, ND, DipHom, DBM, DipAc, OMD.

What does a treatment consist of?

An initial consultation with a Naturopath normally takes about an hour. During this time the Naturopath will ask questions about the person’s condition, medical history, diet and lifestyle, and any conventional treatments that they may be taking. The consulting Naturopath may then use Iridology (looking into the iris), or tongue and nail diagnosis to get a better picture of the complete health state of the client. If needed, pathology testing such as hair, stool, or blood analysis may be recommended. Once all of the information is gathered, a treatment plan is formulated that addresses all areas of the person’s life, providing the body with the optimum chance to heal itself. The treatment plan may include advice on diet, lifestyle, exercise, herbal medicine, homeopathic treatments, or other suitable remedies. A Naturopath may also refer the client to other practitioners as part of an integrated health care approach.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NaturopathyAlternative medicineOld homeopathic remedy, Hepar sulph.

A homeopathic preparation of Hepar sulph

Claims"Nature Cure"Related fieldsAlternative medicineYear proposedearly 20th centuryOriginal proponentsBenedict Lust; Sebastian KneippMeSHD009324See alsoHumorism, heroic medicine, VitalismThis article is part of a series onAlternative and pseudo‑medicineOutline-body-aura.svg

Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that employs an array of pseudoscientific practices branded as "natural", "non-invasive", and as promoting "self-healing". The ideology and methods of naturopathy are based on vitalism and folk medicine, rather than evidence-based medicine.[1] Naturopathic practitioners generally recommend against modern medical practices, including but not limited to medical testing, drugs, vaccinations, and surgery.[2][3][4][5] Instead, naturopathic study and practice rely on unscientific notions, often leading naturopathic doctors to diagnoses and treatments that have no factual merit.[6][7]

Naturopathic medicine is considered by the medical profession to be ineffective and possibly harmful, raising ethical issues about its practice.[6][8][9] In addition to accusations from the medical community, such as the American Cancer Society,[10] naturopaths and naturopathic doctors have repeatedly been accused of being charlatans and practicing quackery.[6][11][12][13][14][15] Over the years, many practitioners of naturopathic medicine have been found criminally liable in the courts of law around the world. In some countries it is a criminal offense for naturopaths and naturopathic doctors to label themselves as medical professionals.

Naturopathic doctors are campaigning for more recognition in the U.S. and Canada.[16]




Sebastian Kneipp c. 1898, a Bavarian priest and forefather of naturopathy.[12]

Benedict Lust c. 1902, the founder of naturopathy in the U.S.[17]

Britt Marie Hermes c. 2016, a former naturopathic doctor and major critic of naturopathic medicine.[18]

The term "naturopathy" was created from "natura" (Latin root for birth) and "pathos" (the Greek root for suffering) to suggest "natural healing".[19] Naturopaths claim the ancient Greek "Father of Medicine", Hippocrates, as the first advocate of naturopathic medicine, before the term existed.[19][20] Naturopathy has its roots in the 19th-century Natural Cure movement of Europe.[21][22] In Scotland, Thomas Allinson started advocating his "Hygienic Medicine" in the 1880s, promoting a natural diet and exercise with avoidance of tobacco and overwork.[23][24]

The term naturopathy was coined in 1895 by John Scheel,[25] and purchased by Benedict Lust, whom naturopaths consider to be the "Father of U.S. Naturopathy".[17] Lust had been schooled in hydrotherapy and other natural health practices in Germany by Father Sebastian Kneipp; Kneipp sent Lust to the United States to spread his drugless methods.[12] Lust defined naturopathy as a broad discipline rather than a particular method, and included such techniques as hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, and homeopathy, as well as eliminating overeating, tea, coffee, and alcohol.[26] He described the body in spiritual and vitalistic terms with "absolute reliance upon the cosmic forces of man's nature".[27] According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first known use of "naturopathy" in print is from 1901.[28]

From 1901, Lust founded the American School of Naturopathy in New York. In 1902, the original North American Kneipp Societies were discontinued and renamed "Naturopathic Societies". In September 1919, the Naturopathic Society of America was dissolved and Benedict Lust founded the American Naturopathic Association to supplant it.[17][29] Naturopaths became licensed under naturopathic or drugless practitioner laws in 25 states in the first three decades of the twentieth century.[17] Naturopathy was adopted by many chiropractors, and several schools offered both Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) and Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degrees.[17] Estimates of the number of naturopathic schools active in the United States during this period vary from about one to two dozen.[10][17][25]

After a period of rapid growth, naturopathy went into decline for several decades after the 1930s. In 1910, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published the Flexner Report, which criticized many aspects of medical education, especially quality and lack of scientific rigour. The advent of penicillin and other "miracle drugs" and the consequent popularity of modern medicine also contributed to naturopathy's decline. In the 1940s and 1950s, a broadening in scope of practice laws led many chiropractic schools to drop their ND degrees, though many chiropractors continued to practice naturopathy. From 1940 to 1963, the American Medical Association campaigned against heterodox medical systems. By 1958, practice of naturopathy was licensed in only five states.[17] In 1968 the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare issued a report on naturopathy concluding that naturopathy was not grounded in medical science and that naturopathic education was inadequate to prepare graduates to make appropriate diagnosis and provide treatment; the report recommends against expanding Medicare coverage to include naturopathic treatments.[10][30] In 1977 an Australian committee of inquiry reached similar conclusions; it did not recommend licensure for naturopaths.[31]

Beginning in the 1970s, there was a revival of interest in the United States and Canada, in conjunction with the "holistic health" movement.[17][26] As of 2009, fifteen U.S. states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia licensed naturopathic doctors,[32] and the State of Washington requires insurance companies to offer reimbursement for services provided by naturopathic physicians.[33][34] On the other hand, some states such as South Carolina and Tennessee prohibit the practice of naturopathy.[35][36][37]

In 2015, a former naturopathic doctor, Britt Marie Hermes, began writing critically about her experience being trained in and practicing naturopathic medicine.[38][18]


A patient undergoing a hydrotherapysession.

A nutritional supplement of Chromium(III) picolinate, Chromax II.

Homeopathic preparations are commonly used by naturopaths.[39][40] The practice is considered a pseudoscience.[41]

Naturopathic practice is based on a belief in the body's ability to heal itself through a special vital energy or force guiding bodily processes internally.[6]Diagnosis and treatment concern primarily alternative therapies and "natural" methods that naturopaths claim promote the body's natural ability to heal.[26][42]Naturopaths focus on a holistic approach, often completely avoiding the use of surgery and drugs.[10][43] Naturopaths aim to prevent illness through stress reduction and changes to diet and lifestyle, often rejecting the methods of evidence-based medicine.[1][44]

A consultation typically begins with a lengthy patient interview focusing on lifestyle, medical history, emotional tone, and physical features, as well as physical examination.[26] Many naturopaths present themselves as primary care providers, and some naturopathic physicians may prescribe drugs, perform minor surgery, and integrate other conventional medical approaches such as diet and lifestyle counselling with their naturopathic practice.[26][45] Traditional naturopaths deal exclusively with lifestyle changes, not diagnosing or treating disease. Naturopaths do not generally recommend vaccines and antibiotics, based in part on the early views that shaped the profession, and they may provide alternative remedies even in cases where evidence-based medicine has been shown effective.[9]


Naturopaths are often opposed to mainstream medicine and take an antivaccinationist stance.[9]

The particular modalities used by a naturopath vary with training and scope of practice. These may include herbalism, homeopathy,[39] acupuncture, nature cures, physical medicine, applied kinesiology,[46] colonic enemas,[12][40] chelation therapy,[11] color therapy,[46] cranial osteopathy, hair analysis, iridology,[46]live blood analysis, ozone therapy,[10] psychotherapy, public health measures and hygiene,[44] reflexology,[46] rolfing,[29] massage therapy, and traditional Chinese medicine. Nature cures include a range of therapies based on exposure to natural elements such as sunshine, fresh air, or heat or cold, as well as nutrition advice such as following a vegetarian and whole food diet, fasting, or abstention from alcohol and sugar.[47] Physical medicine includes naturopathic, osseous, or soft tissue manipulative therapy, sports medicine, exercise, and hydrotherapy. Psychological counseling includes meditation, relaxation, and other methods of stress management.[47]

A 2004 survey determined the most commonly prescribed naturopathic therapeutics in Washington State and Connecticut were botanical medicines, vitamins, minerals, homeopathy, and allergy treatments.[39] A examination published in 2011 of naturopathic clinic websites in Alberta and British Columbia found that the most commonly advertised therapies were homeopathy, botanical medicine, nutrition, acupuncture, lifestyle counseling, and detoxification.[40]

Evidence basis

A rectal bulb syringe. Enemas and colonic irrigation are commonly used by naturopaths for a wide range of medical conditions,[40] for which there are no known health benefits.[48]

Patient undergoing Ozone IV Therapy

Person undergoing ozone IV therapy with ultraviolet irradiation. The U.S. FDA declares, "Ozone is a toxic gas with no known useful medical application in specific, adjunctive, or preventive therapy.[49]

Naturopathy lacks an adequate scientific basis,[1] and it is rejected by the medical community.[1] Some methods rely on immaterial "vital energy fields", the existence of which has not been proven, and there is concern that naturopathy as a field tends towards isolation from general scientific discourse.[19][50][51] Naturopathy is criticized for its reliance on and its association with unproven, disproven, and other controversial alternative medical treatments, and for its vitalistic underpinnings.[9][10] Natural substances known as nutraceuticals show little promise in treating diseases, especially cancer, as laboratory experiments have shown limited therapeutic effect on biochemical pathways, while clinical trials demonstrate poor bioavailability.[52] According to the American Cancer Society, "scientific evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure cancer or any other disease.[10]

In 2015, the Australian Government's Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance; Naturopathy was one of 17 therapies evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found.[53]

Kimball C. Atwood IV writes, in the journal Medscape General Medicine,

Naturopathic physicians now claim to be primary care physicians proficient in the practice of both "conventional" and "natural" medicine. Their training, however, amounts to a small fraction of that of medical doctors who practice primary care. An examination of their literature, moreover, reveals that it is replete with pseudoscientific, ineffective, unethical, and potentially dangerous practices.[6]

In another article, Atwood writes that "Physicians who consider naturopaths to be their colleagues thus find themselves in opposition to one of the fundamental ethical precepts of modern medicine. If naturopaths are not to be judged "nonscientific practitioners", the term has no useful meaning".[11]

A retired licensed naturopathic doctor, Britt Marie Hermes, states that "any product that is sold by a naturopath almost guarantees that there is no reliable scientific data to support whatever health claims are made.[54]

According to Arnold S. Relman, the Textbook of Natural Medicine is inadequate as a teaching tool, as it omits to mention or treat in detail many common ailments, improperly emphasizes treatments "not likely to be effective" over those that are, and promotes unproven herbal remedies at the expense of pharmaceuticals. He concludes that "the risks to many sick patients seeking care from the average naturopathic practitioner would far outweigh any possible benefits".[55]

The Massachusetts Medical Society states, "Naturopathic practices are unchanged by research and remain a large assortment of erroneous and potentially dangerous claims mixed with a sprinkling of non-controversial dietary and lifestyle advice."[56]

Safety of natural treatments

Naturopaths often recommend exposure to naturally occurring substances, such as sunshine, herbs and certain foods, as well as activities they describe as natural, such as exercise, meditation and relaxation. Naturopaths claim that these natural treatments help restore the body's innate ability to heal itself without the adverse effects of conventional medicine. However, "natural" methods and chemicals are not necessarily safer or more effective than "artificial" or "synthetic" ones, and any treatment capable of eliciting an effect may also have deleterious side effects.[12][10][57][58]

Certain naturopathic treatments offered by naturopaths, such as homeopathy, rolfing, and iridology, are widely considered pseudoscience or quackery.[59][60][61] Stephen Barrett of QuackWatch and the National Council Against Health Fraud has stated that naturopathy is "simplistic and that its practices are riddled with quackery".[12] "Non-scientific health care practitioners, including naturopaths, use unscientific methods and deception on a public who, lacking in-depth health care knowledge, must rely upon the assurance of providers. Quackery not only harms people, it undermines the ability to conduct scientific research and should be opposed by scientists", says William T. Jarvis.[62]


Measles cases 1944-1963 followed a highly variable epidemic pattern, with 150,000-850,000 cases reported per year. A sharp decline followed introduction of the first measles vaccine in 1963, with fewer than 25,000 cases reported in 1968. Outbreaks around 1971 and 1977 gave 75,000 and 57,000 cases, respectively. Cases were stable at a few thousand per year until an outbreak of 28,000 in 1990. Cases declined from a few hundred per year in the early 1990s to a few dozen in the 2000s.

Measles cases reported in the United States fell dramatically after introduction of the measles vaccine.

Naturopathy practitioners voice their opposition to vaccination. The reasons for this opposition are based, in part, on the early views which shaped the foundation of this profession.[63] A naturopathy textbook, co-authored by Joseph Pizzorno, recalls anti-vaccine beliefs associated with the founding of naturopathy in the United States: "a return to nature in regulating the diet, breathing, exercising, bathing and the employment of various forces" in lieu of the smallpox vaccine.[64]

In general, evidence about associations between naturopathy and pediatric vaccination is sparse, but "published reports suggest that only a minority of naturopathic physicians actively support full vaccination".[65][66] In Washington state from 2000 to 2003, children were significantly less likely to receive immunizations if they had seen a naturopath.[65] A survey of naturopathic students published in 2004 found that students at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine became less likely to recommend vaccinations to their patients and became more distrustful of public health and conventional medicine as they advanced in the program.[4]

The British Columbia Naturopathic Association lists several major concerns regarding the pediatric vaccine schedule and vaccines in general,[67] and the group's policy is to not advocate for or against vaccines.[68] The Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians reports that many naturopaths "customize" the pediatric vaccine schedule.[69]

As of 2016, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, which is the largest professional organization for licensed naturopaths in the U.S., is "still discussing its stance on vaccinations."[16]


Naturopaths represent a diverse group of practitioners. In general, they can be categorized into three groups: 1) those with a government issued license; 2) those who practice outside of an official status ("traditional naturopaths"); 3) those who are primarily another kind of health professional who also practices naturopathy.[10][70][71][72][73]

In Switzerland, these divisions fall between those with a federal diploma, those recognized by health insurances, and those with neither federal diploma nor recognition by health insurances. Naturopaths with federal diploma can be divided into four categories: European traditional medicine, Chinese traditional medicine, ayurvedic medicine and homeopathy.[74][75] The number of listed naturopaths (including traditional healers) in Switzerland rose from 223 in 1970 to 1835 in 2000.[76]

Licensed naturopaths

Licensed naturopaths may be referred to as "naturopathic doctors" or "naturopathic physicians" in 17 US states and 5 Canadian provinces.[77] Licensed naturopaths present themselves as primary care providers.[26][45] Licensed naturopaths do not receive comparable training to medical doctors in terms of the quality of education or quantity of hours.[6][7]In British Columbia, licensed naturopaths are permitted to refer to themselves as simply "doctor" or "physician".[78]


National University of Natural Medicinetrains students in naturopathic medicine who are eligible to become licensed in some jurisdictions in North America.

The herb garden at Bastyr University, another naturopathic program whose graduates can become licensed naturopaths in some North American jurisdictions.

Licensed naturopaths must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)[79] after graduating from a program accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).[45] Training in CNME-accredited programs includes basic medical diagnostics and procedures such as rudimentary physical exams and common blood tests, in addition to pseudoscientific modalities, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and energy modalities.[6][11][12][26] These accredited programs have been criticized for misrepresenting their medical rigor and teaching subjects that are antithetical to the best understandings of science and medicine.[12][80][81] The CNME as an accrediting authority has been characterized as unreliable and suffering from conflicts of interest.[82][83][84] The naturopathic licensing exam has been called a mystery by those outside the naturopathic profession[11][56] and criticized for testing on homeopathic remedies,[80] including for the use to treat pediatric emergencies.[38]

Naturopathic doctors are not eligible for medical residencies, which are available exclusively for medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine. There are limited post-graduate "residency" positions available to naturopathic doctors offered through naturopathic schools and naturopathic clinics approved by the CNME.[85] Most naturopathic doctors do not complete such a residency,[39] and naturopathic doctors are not mandated to complete one for licensure,[10] except in the state of Utah.[86] Continuing education in naturopathic modalities for health care professionals varies greatly.[46]

Political activity

Naturopaths affiliated with the CNME-accredited schools lobby state, provincial, and federal governments for medical licensure and participation in social health programs.[16][87] The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians represents licensed naturopaths in the United States;[16] the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors represents licensed naturopaths in Canada.[87] Naturopathic lobbying efforts are funded by vitamin and supplement makers[16] and focus on portraying naturopathic education as comparable to medical education received by physicians and on having high professional standards.[87][88] Medical societies and advocacy groups dispute these claims by citing evidence of licensed naturopaths using pseudoscientific methods without a sound evidence basis and lacking adequate clinical training to diagnose and treat disease competently according to the standard of care.[16][88][89][90] Jann Bellamy has characterized the process by which naturopaths and other practitioners of pseudoscience convince lawmakers to provide them with medical licenses as "legislative alchemy."[91]

Since 2005, the Massachusetts Medical Society has opposed licensure based on concerns that NDs are not required to participate in residency and concerns that the "practices" of naturopaths included many "erroneous and potentially dangerous claims."[92] The Massachusetts Special Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medical Practitioners rejected their concerns and recommended licensure.[93] The Massachusetts Medical Society states:

Naturopathic medical school is not a medical school in anything but the appropriation of the word medical. Naturopathy is not a branch of medicine. It is a hodge podge of nutritional advice, home remedies and discredited treatments...Naturopathic colleges claim accreditation but follow a true “alternative” accreditation method that is virtually meaningless. They are not accredited by the same bodies that accredit real medical schools and while some courses have similar titles to the curricula of legitimate medical schools the content is completely different.[56]

In 2015, a former naturopathic doctor, Britt Marie Hermes, who graduated from Bastyr University and practiced as a licensed ND in Washington and Arizona, began advocating against naturopathic medicine.[38][94] In addition to opposing further licensure, she believes that NDs should not be allowed to use the titles "doctor" or "physician,"[38] and be barred from treating children.[95][96] She states:

Naturopaths aggressively lobby for laws to issue them medical licenses. I would characterize this political effort as a perverted redefinition of the words “physician,” “doctor,” “medical school,” and “residency” in order to mask the inadequacy of the training provided in naturopathic programs. ND students do not realize that they are taking educational shortcuts and therefore do not possess any demonstrable competencies found in modern medicine.[97]

Traditional naturopaths

Hugh Mercer Apothecary in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Like all naturopaths, traditional naturopaths have a strong adversion to modern medicine and rely heavily on practices using herbs to treat diseases.

Traditional naturopaths are represented in the United States by the American Naturopathic Association (ANA), representing about 1,800 practitioners[98] and the American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA).[17]

The level of naturopathic training varies among traditional naturopaths in the United States. Traditional naturopaths may complete non-degree certificate programs or undergraduate degree programs and generally refer to themselves as Naturopathic Consultants. These programs often offer online unaccredited degrees, but do not offer comprehensive biomedical education or clinical training.

Traditional naturopathic practitioners surveyed in Australia perceive evidence-based medicine to be an ideological assault on their beliefs in vitalistic and holistic principles.[1] They advocate the integrity of natural medicine practice.[1]

Naturopaths graduating from accredited programs argued in 2002 that their training used evidence-based scientific principles unlike traditional naturopathic programs,[99] but this claim remains inaccurate.[6][12]

Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment


Naturopathy is practiced in many countries and is subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance. The scope of practice varies widely between jurisdictions. The practice of naturopathy is illegal in two USA states.[35][36][37]


In 1977, a committee reviewed all colleges of naturopathy in Australia and found that, although the syllabuses of many colleges were reasonable in their coverage of basic biomedical sciences on paper, the actual instruction bore little relationship to the documented course. In no case was any practical work of consequence available. The lectures which were attended by the committee varied from the dictation of textbook material to a slow, but reasonably methodical, exposition of the terminology of medical sciences, at a level of dictionary definitions, without the benefit of depth or the understanding of mechanisms or the broader significance of the concepts. The committee did not see any significant teaching of the various therapeutic approaches favoured by naturopaths. People reported to be particularly interested in homoeopathy, Bach's floral remedies or mineral salts were interviewed, but no systematic courses in the choice and use of these therapies were seen in the various colleges. The committee were left with the impression that the choice of therapeutic regime was based on the general whim of the naturopath and, since the suggested applications in the various textbooks and dispensations overlapped to an enormous extent, no specific indications were or could be taught.[31]

The position of the Australian Medical Association is that "evidence-based aspects of complementary medicine can be part of patient care by a medical practitioner", but it has concerns that there is "limited efficacy evidence regarding most complementary medicine. Unproven complementary medicines and therapies can pose a risk to patient health either directly through misuse or indirectly if a patient defers seeking medical advice." The AMA's position on regulation is that "there should be appropriate regulation of complementary medicine practitioners and their activities."[100]

In 2015, the Australian government found no clear evidence of effectiveness for naturopathy.[53]


In India, naturopathy is overseen by the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH); there is a 5½-year degree in "Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences" (BNYS) degree that was offered by twelve colleges in India as of August 2010.[101] The National Institute of Naturopathy in Pune that operates under AYUSH, which was established on December 22, 1986 and encourages facilities for standardization and propagation of the existing knowledge and its application through research in naturopathy throughout India.[102][103]

North America

In five Canadian provinces, seventeen U.S. states, and the District of Columbia, naturopathic doctors who are trained at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine in North America, are entitled to use the designation ND or NMD. Elsewhere, the designations "naturopath", "naturopathic doctor", and "doctor of natural medicine" are generally unprotected or prohibited.[37][71]

In North America, each jurisdiction that regulates naturopathy defines a local scope of practice for naturopathic doctors that can vary considerably. Some regions permit minor surgery, access to prescription drugs, spinal manipulations, midwifery (natural childbirth), and gynecology; other regions exclude these from the naturopathic scope of practice or prohibit the practice of naturopathy entirely.[37][104]


Five Canadian provinces license naturopathic doctors: Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.[105][106] British Columbia has the largest scope of practice in Canada allowing certified NDs to prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform minor surgeries.[107]

United States

United Kingdom

Naturopathy is not regulated in the United Kingdom. In 2012, publicly funded universities in the United Kingdom dropped their alternative medicine programs, including naturopathy.[109]


The Swiss Federal Constitution defines the Swiss Confederation and the Cantons of Switzerland within the scope of their powers to oversee complementary medicine.[110] In particular, the Federal authorities must set up diplomas for the practice of non-scientific medicine. The first of such diplomas has been validated in April 2015 for the practice of naturopathy.[74] There is a long tradition for naturopathy and traditional medicine in Switzerland[citation needed]. The Cantons of Switzerland make their own public health regulations. Although the law in certain cantons is typically monopolistic, the authorities are relatively tolerant with regard to alternative practitioners.[75]

See also


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Jagtenberg, Tom; Evans, Sue; Grant, Airdre; Howden, Ian; et al. (April 2006). "Evidence-based medicine and naturopathy". Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 12 (3): 323–328. doi:10.1089/acm.2006.12.323. PMID 16646733.
  2. Jump up^ Wilson, K. (1 March 2005). "Characteristics of Pediatric and Adolescent Patients Attending a Naturopathic College Clinic in Canada". Pediatrics. 115 (3): e338–e343. doi:10.1542/peds.2004-1901. PMID 15741360.
  3. Jump up^ Busse, Jason W.; Wilson, Kumanan; Campbell, James B. (November 2008). "Attitudes towards vaccination among chiropractic and naturopathic students". Vaccine. 26 (49): 6237–6243. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.07.020. PMID 18674581.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Wilson, Kumanan; Mills, Ed; Boon, Heather; Tomlinson, George; Ritvo, Paul (January 2004). "A survey of attitudes towards paediatric vaccinations amongst Canadian naturopathic students". Vaccine. 22 (3–4): 329–334. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2003.08.014.
  5. Jump up^ Mielczarek, Eugenie V.; Engler, Brian D. (2014). "Selling Pseudoscience: A Rent in the Fabric of American Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer. 38.3. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Atwood, Kimball C., IV (2003). "Naturopathy: A critical appraisal". Medscape General Medicine. 5 (4): 39. PMID 14745386.(registration required)
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b "Family Physicians versus Naturopaths" (PDF). American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  8. Jump up^ Gorski, David H. (18 September 2014). "Integrative oncology: really the best of both worlds?". Nature Reviews Cancer. 14: 692–700. doi:10.1038/nrc3822. PMID 25230880.
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  110. Jump up^ "Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation". CH. Art. 118a Complementary medicine. (English translation)

Further reading

External links