Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called “vital energy” or “vital force” guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathy favors a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment and generally avoids the use of surgery and drugs.
The term “naturopathy” is derived from Latin and Greek, and literally translates as “nature disease”. Modern naturopathy grew out of the Natural Cure movement of Europe. The term was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and popularized byBenedict 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. Today, naturopathy is primarily practiced in the United States and Canada.
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. Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices. Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities, including nutritional and herbal medicine, lifestyle advice, counseling, flower essence, homeopathyand remedial massage.