Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a natural approach to health and healing that is both a way of life and a concept of healing.
The Allied Health Professions Act  officially defines it as
“a system of healing based on promoting health and treating disease using the body’s inherent biological healing mechanisms to self-heal through the application of non-toxic methods”
Naturopathic treatments originated as a system of using food, herbs, air, sun, and water for medicine and as healing agents for the restoration of health. The same principles still apply in modern day practice, with some innovations, but primarily it still consists of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human disorders by the therapeutic use of diverse natural methods and materials, such as:
- Clinical nutrition, which incorporates micronutrient supplementation, diet, and fasting
- Botanical, aromatic and homeopathic medicine, which include herbals, homeopathic remedies, essential oils, flower essences and other energetic medicaments
- Iridology and other technical devices
- Physical medicine, which includes exercise, hydrotherapy, detoxifications, massage, manipulations, electromagnetics, electro-acupuncture, reflexology and aromatherapy
- Counseling, which incorporates diet, lifestyle and stress management, bio-feedback and stress management.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”
The seven core principles of naturopathic medicine are as follows:
- The healing power of Nature (Vis Medicarix Naturae)
- First do no harm (Primum Non Nocere)
- Find the cause (Tolle Causam)
- Treat the whole person (Holism)
- Preventative medicine
- Wellness and health promotion (emerging principle)
- Doctor as teacher (docere)
Example of Naturopathic Approaches to disease
The standard medical treatment for migraine headache is primarily to use drugs to relieve symptoms, a costly and recurrent practice. Nothing is done to address the underlying causes.
In contrast, the naturopath recognises that most migraine hadaches are due to food allergies, and abnormal prostaglandin metabolism caused by nutritional abnormalities results in excessive platelet aggregation.
The approach is straightforward, as follows
- Identify and avoid the allergenic foods, because 70% or more of patients have migraines in reaction to foods to which they are intolerant (Natero et al, 1989).
- Supplement with magnesium, because migraine patients have significantly lowered serum and salivary magnesium levels, which are even lower during an attack (Sarchielli et al, 1992) Several studies have shown the importance of magnesium in reversing the causes of migraine (Johnson, 2001).
- Re-establish normal prostaglandin balance by decreasing consumption of animal fats (high in platelet-aggregating arachidonic acid) and supplement with essential fatty acids such as fish oils (Woodcock et al, 1984).
- Supplement with riboflavin. “Forty nine individuals with recurrent migraines were given 400mg/day of the B-vitamin riboflavin for at least 3 months. The average number of migraines attacks fell by 67% and migraine severity improved by 68% (Gaby, 1998).
- Livestyle changes such as reducing stress, more sun exposure and the drinking of 33ml per 1 kg body-mass clear filtered water will then also be suggested
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