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When a disease or other medical condition arises, various treatments such as taking antibiotics, performing surgery or giving chemotherapy can serve as forms of treatment. But the holistic health practice of naturopathy supports the belief that the human body is capable of healing itself.
Early uses of naturopathy can be traced back to Germany in the 19th century. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), when Benedict Lust, a German man, became very sick, a healer used natural treatments such as physical exercise, herbal remedies, a balanced diet, and sun and air exposure. Due to the success of the alternative treatments, Lust named the treatments naturopathy, advocated for naturopathy in the US and founded the first college teaching naturopathy.
Naturopathic Doctors (NDs)
Naturopathic.org states that naming an illness and helping maintain a strong and healthy body are the primary roles of NDs. Although naturopathic practitioners treat ailments, they stress the importance of constantly making healthy lifestyle choices so the human body can maintain optimal health and rehabilitate itself when illnesses do arrive. Before working as an ND, individuals must gain practice from hospitals and other health care centers. However, it is required to attend a four-year school accredited by Council on Naturopathic Medical Education in order to receive the title of naturopathic physician, says NCCAM.
Principles of Naturopathy
According to naturopathic.org, the practice of naturopathy promotes the following six principles:
1) Allow nature to work as a healing force. Naturally, the human body is inclined to heal itself when illnesses arise. It is the physician’s job to destroy any obstacles preventing the body from self-healing. Examples of obstacles include unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise.
2) Find and treat the causes of illnesses. NDs focus on identifying then treating the source of a sickness so symptoms do not come back.
3) Do not harm the patient.