People often ask me about naturopathy. What is it? Why did I choose it over being a ‘regular’ (or alllopathic) doctor? I usually provide the abbreviated summary statement: naturopathy is the study of natural health. And I tell them that I am more of a “regular” or traditional health physician if you understand the history and definition of naturopathy.

Historical Reflections on the Evolution of Naturopathy

Looking back

Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1931, naturopathy is defined as the diagnosis and practice of physiological and material sciences of healing as follows: “the physiological and mechanical sciences such as mechanotherapy, articular manipulation, corrective orthopedic gymnastics, neurotherapy, psychotherapy, hydrotherapy, and mineral baths, electrotherapy, thermotherapy, phototherapy, chromotherapy, vibrotherapy, thalmotherapy, and dietetics which shall include the use of foods of such biochemical tissue-building products and cell salts as are found in the normal body; and the use of vegetal oils and dehydrated and pulverized fruits, flowers, seeds, barks, herbs roots, and vegetables uncompounded and in their natural state.”

Wow—what a mouthful! This congressional approval of the definition of naturopathy was based upon an act passed in 1929 that approved naturopaths to perform as doctors in the U.S. Over the years, efforts like the Flexner Report of 1910 have aimed to diminish the viability and effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical driven medical treatment.

Naturopathy Today

Naturopathy is a profession of healing and wellness. It is noninvasive and holistic in its approaches and is kind to the body. Naturopathy is rooted in the first Law of Medicine as stated by the Father of Medicine himself, Hippocrates – “First, do the body no harm.”

Though credible research and clinical studies tout the efficacy of naturopathic approaches, our ability to take part in traditional healthcare industries in all states is limited. Therefore, we are unable to take part in mainstream licensing, which limits our ability to participate in insurance programs—leading many people to have to support their health out of pocket.

Moreover, naturopaths do not intend for you to get to the end of a “bottle” before you experience healing because we know that only the body can heal itself if we only find the root cause. The cause may not be diet; it could be stress. It may not be psychological; it could be only pain. It may not be due to weight gain, but weight gain (being a symptom), could be due to the lack of sleep. The body represents a complex, integrated system. As a naturopath, I help the body to understand itself and this usually leads people to a state of healing—which doesn’t always lead itself to making the practitioner rich. I am in this to help people heal.