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Naturopathy is a type of complementary and alternative medicine in which practitioners use natural treatments to treat the whole person. One of the underlying principles of naturopathy seeks “to identify and remove obstacles to the body’s natural processes for maintaining and restoring health,” according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Depending on the type of naturopathic practitioner a patient sees, she may not receive any conventional treatments. For example, traditional naturopaths, which are different from naturopathic physicians, do not use surgery, prescription drugs or injections as part of their treatments. Instead, they focus on healthy lifestyle changes and noninvasive treatments.
One area of treatment used by naturopaths includes nutritional counseling. Better Health Channel noted that nutritional counseling is one of the foundations of naturopathy, with the theory that “a poor diet stops the body from functioning well and a build-up of toxins can contribute to a range of illnesses.”
Certain diagnostic techniques used by naturopaths, such as a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis, will help the naturopath determine what nutrients the patient’s body is absorbing. Recommendations from nutritional counseling may include eating unprocessed foods, fresh foods, or taking minerals, supplements and vitamins.
Hydrotherapy is another type of treatment used by naturopaths. The thought behind hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is that the different uses of water help the body heal and strengthen the patient’s immune system, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
A naturopath may prescribe treatments such as drinking natural spring water or exercising in water. Other hydrotherapy interventions include alternating between applications of hot and cold water, and taking baths.
Naturopaths may also use physical interventions as treatments. For example, patients may undergo exercise therapy as part of their treatment. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine added that physical medicine interventions, such as joint manipulation and therapeutic massage.