What’s the Alternative

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Naturopathy (also known as naturopathic medicine or natural medicine) is an eclectic alternative medical system that focuses on natural remedies and the body's vital ability to heal and maintain itself. Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach and minimal use of surgery and drugs. Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities of varying degrees of acceptance by the medical community; diet and lifestyle advice may be substantially similar to that offered by non-naturopaths, and acupuncture may help reduce pain in some cases, but homeopathy is often characterized as pseudoscience or quackery.

Naturopathy has its origins in the Nature Cure movement of Europe. The term was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and popularized by Benedict Lust, the "father of U.S. naturopathy".

Naturopathy is practiced in many countries, especially the United States and Canada, and is subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance. The level of medical education among naturopaths also varies, though no naturopathic training program reaches the same level of training as an MD or DO. In the United States and Canada, the designation of Naturopathic Doctor (ND) may be awarded after completion of a four year program of study at an accredited Naturopathic medical school that includes the study of basic medical sciences as well as natural remedies and medical care. The scope of practice varies widely between jurisdictions, and naturopaths in unregulated jurisdictions may use the Naturopathic Doctor designation or other titles regardless of level of education.

Nutritional therapy

Nutritional therapy combines science (biochemistry and nutrition) with naturopathy (natural, drug-free medicine) in order to return the patient to a state of good health. Nutritional therapy is wholistic because it is designed to treat the body as a whole - curing the causes of problems, not just the symptoms as is too often the case in conventional medicine.

As well as training in the traditional Naturopathic philosophy to reach a diagnosis, Nutritional Therapists use modem clinical sciences alongside the latest scientific research in nutritional medicine to advise their patients.

Treatment involves using higher range dietary supplements combined with dietary advice. Supplements, and their dosage are carefully selected according to factors such as absorption rate and relative balance of each individual nutrient. In certain circumstances, herbal supplements may also be prescribed to help stimulate digestive juices, or liver function.