Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of “natural” treatments, including homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle counseling. Naturopaths favor a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment and generally avoid the use of surgery and drugs. Naturopathic philosophy is based on a belief in vitalism and self-healing, and practitioners often prefer methods of treatment that are not compatible with evidence-based medicine. Naturopathic medicine is replete with pseudoscientific, ineffective, unethical, and possibly dangerous practices.
The term “naturopathy” was created from “natura” (Latin root for birth) and “pathos” (the Greek root for suffering) to suggest “natural healing”. Modern naturopathy grew out of the Natural Cure movement of Europe. The term was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and popularized by Benedict Lust, the “father of U.S. naturopathy”. Beginning in the 1970s, there was a revival of interest in the United States and Canada, in conjunction with the holistic health movement.
Naturopathic practitioners in the United States can be divided into three categories: traditional naturopaths; naturopathic physicians; and other health care providers that provide naturopathic services. 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. Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices.
Much of the ideology and methodological underpinnings of naturopathy are in conflict with the paradigm of evidence-based medicine. Their training adds up to a very small amount of that of primary care doctors. Many[quantify] naturopaths oppose vaccination based in part on the early views that shaped the profession. According to the American Cancer Society, “scientific evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure cancer or any other disease, since virtually no studies on naturopathy as a whole have been published.
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