Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a form of natural medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which states that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach and seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, “Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.”
A Naturopath’s role as a primary healthcare professional is to diagnose and then treat the cause of human illness, utilising only effective and safe natural health care methods. Naturopathic medicine is totally drugless and non surgical. Naturopathy is “wholistic”, meaning the naturopath treats the person as a whole, rather than only assessing one specific area. Time honored natural treatment methods including western herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, vitamin and mineral supplementation, dietary therapy, therapeutic massage, therapeutic exercise and positive lifestyle advice are typically used in Naturopathy.
Naturopathic diagnosis is made via standard pathology testing and thorough case history taking. Many Naturopaths may also perform nutritional tests, salivary hormone tests, hair analysis and iridology (careful examination of the iris of the eye) to aid in determining the diagnosis and the cause of the person’s condition. Once the initial complaint is addressed, Naturopathy is then aimed at helping patients maintain this newly acquired health for life through regular Naturopathic assessment and care.