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Definition of «Naturopathy»


Naturopathy: A system of therapy based on preventative care, and on the use of heat, water, light, air, and massage as primary therapies for disease. Some naturopaths use no medications, either pharmaceutical or herbal. Some recommend herbal remedies only. A few who are licensed to prescribe may recommend pharmaceuticals in those cases where they feel their use is warranted.

Naturopathy is an American healthcare profession. It was founded in the US as a formal healthcare system at the turn of the 20th century by medical practitioners from various natural therapeutic disciplines. By the early 1900s, more than 20 naturopathic medical schools existed, and naturopathic physicians were licensed in most States. Today there are more than 1,000 licensed naturopathic doctors in the US.

As practiced today, naturopathic medicine integrates traditional natural therapeutics -- including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, traditional oriental medicine, hydrotherapy, and naturopathic manipulative therapy -- with modern scientific medical diagnostic science and standards of care. The medical research base of naturopathic practice consists of empirical documentation of treatments using case history observations, medical records, and summaries of practitioners' clinical experiences.

At present, the two accredited naturopathic medical schools in the US have active research departments. Naturopathic researchers have investigated the pharmacology and physiological effects of nutritional and natural therapeutic agents, and naturopathic physicians have been active in the investigation of new homeopathic remedies and in the natural treatment of women's health problems. The most recently completed naturopathic study in women's health tested the clinical and endocrine effects of a botanical formula as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy.

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