Naturopathic medicine is a holistic (whole-body) medical system that relies upon the capacity of nature to strengthen, cleanse, and heal the body.
The practice of naturopathic medicine originated in Germany in the 19th century. Today, with the goal of providing the most natural, least invasive treatments, practitioners use both conventional and alternative therapies — such as massage, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and lifestyle coaching. Naturopathic doctors strive to be teachers for their clients, to prevent illnesses, and to address the causes of illness, rather than merely the symptoms. While some naturopathic doctors (NDs) receive specialized training, practitioners educated in other disciplines (for example, chiropractors, acupuncturists, dentists, and nurses) often incorporate naturopathic methods into their diagnoses and therapies.
An initial visit with a naturopathic medical practitioner, who can be a primary care provider in some states, usually lasts between one and two hours. The practitioner conducts an extensive interview about the client’s medical history and then runs any necessary tests in order to decide, along with the client, the most appropriate form of care. The practitioner will assess the effectiveness of the chosen therapy during follow-up visits.
Naturopathic medicine is effective in treating chronic pain, sleep disorders, headaches, cancer, menopause, and other conditions.