4 thoughts on “how many people know about naturopathic medicine?

  1. Naturopathic medicine (also known as naturopathy) is a school of medical philosophy and practice that seeks to improve health and treat disease chiefly by assisting the body’s innate capacity to recover from illness and injury. Naturopathic practice may include a broad array of different modalities, including manual therapy, hydrotherapy, herbalism, acupuncture, counseling, environmental medicine, aromatherapy, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, and so on. Practitioners tend to emphasize a holistic approach to patient care. Naturopathy has its origins in India along with Ayurveda[1], but is today practiced in many countries around the world in one form or another, where it is subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance.

    Naturopathic practitioners prefer not to use invasive surgery, or most synthetic drugs, preferring “natural” remedies, for instance relatively unprocessed or whole medications, such as herbs and foods. Licensed physicians from accredited schools are trained to use diagnostic tests such as imaging and blood tests before deciding upon the full course of treatment. Naturopathic Practitioners also employ the use of prescription medications and surgery when necessary and refer out to other medical practitioners.

    The term naturopathy was coined before 1900, by John Scheel, and used by Benedict Lust. Lust had been schooled in hydrotherapy and other natural health practices in Germany by Father Sebastian Kneipp, who sent Lust to the United States to bring them Kneipp’s methods. In 1905, Lust founded the American School of Naturopathy in New York, the first naturopathic college in the United States but “according to the New York Department of State, and the Florida Report to Governor Leroy Collins, it appears that this naturopathic school was never anything but a diploma mill”. [2]. Lust took great strides in promoting the profession, culminating in passage of licensing laws in several states prior to 1935, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington and the founding of several naturopathic colleges.

    Naturopathic medicine went into decline, along with most other natural health professions, after the 1930s, with the discovery of penicillin and advent of synthetic drugs such as antibiotics and corticosteroids. In the post-war era, Lust’s death, conflict between various schools of natural medicine (homeopathy, eclectics, physio-medicalism, herbalism, naturopathy, etc.), the rise of medical technology, and consolidation of political power in conventional medicine were all contributing factors. In 1910, when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published the Flexner Report which criticized many aspects of medical education in various institutions (natural and conventional), it was mostly seen as an attack on low-quality natural medicine education. It caused many such programs to shut down and contributed to the popularity of conventional medicine.

    Naturopathic medicine never completely ceased to exist, however, as there were always a few states in which licensing laws existed—though at one point there were virtually no schools. One of the most visible steps towards the profession’s modern renewal was the opening in 1956 of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. This was the first of the modern naturopathic medical schools offering four-year naturopathic medical training with the intention of integrating mainstream science and naturopathic principles and practice.

    There are two groups in the United States calling themselves “naturopaths” who have recently been engaged in legal battles. The term when originally coined by John Scheel, and popularized by Dr. Benedict Lust (a German name pronounced “loost”) was to apply to those receiving an education in the basic medical sciences with an emphasis on natural therapies:

    Naturopathic Physicians (formally educated at an accredited school, board-licensed, and exclusively designated ND or NMD in jurisdictions where these titles are protected)
    “Traditional” naturopaths (no standardised education, not board-licensed, sometimes self-designated as DNM, but sometimes claiming ND designation in jurisdictions where titles are not protected)

    [edit] Naturopathic Physicians
    Naturopathic physicians in North America are primary care providers trained in conventional medical sciences, diagnosis and treatment, and are experts in natural therapeutics. Licensing and training requirements vary from state to state, but at least 14 states and the District of Columbia have formal licensing and educational requirements.[3]

    Traditional Naturopaths do also have a licensing and accrediting body, but may allow non-traditional students (those who cannot attend a four-year institution) to obtain the training necessary to provide naturopathic care. The licensing and accrediting bodies for traditional naturopaths are not recognized by the U.S. Government or any U.S. State or Territory.

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