Naturopathy: Healing the Natural way
Introduction of Naturopathy
An approach to correct imbalances and problems in the body is the idea over which Naturopathic medicine is based. It incorporates many natural, non-toxic therapies like herbs, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional counselling to restore physiological, psychological, and structural balance. Naturopathy believes in holistic treatment of conditions, offering complete healing and preventing any chances of recurrence. We will give you an insight into the history, working, and the benefits behind naturopathic medicine.
Having originated in Germany, trained doctors of the 16th and 17th centuries practiced the principles and philosophies of Naturopathic medicine. Earlier, practitioners used hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, and other traditional forms of healing with naturopathy. Eventually, over the years, they incorporated traditional medicines from other countries with the theories, modalities, and traditions of naturopathic principles. Dr. Benedict Lust, the founder of naturopathy and the man responsible for popularising it, brought naturopathic practices like hydrotherapy from Germany to America and founded the American School of Naturopathy in 1902.
The Indian history of naturopathy dates back to the Vedic times. Swastha Vritta, mentioned as a part of Ayurvedic practice, is a part of naturopathic practices. It is seen since ancient times that physicians would not only treat people’s ailments, but would also educate their patients regarding good health practices. it was believed that regulating one’s diet would help people treat ailments without the need for medicines. Today, naturopathy is still practiced as a complementary treatment method along with modern medicine and provide a faster and holistic recovery of the body from diseases.
Working and Principle behind Naturopathy
With the motive to treat the whole person – the mind, body, and soul – naturopathy works by healing the root cause of the illness and not just the symptoms. A naturopathic doctor first understands all about your health history, stress levels, and lifestyle habits. Based on the study of the history of the individual, recommendations are given for diet, exercise, or stress management which may or may not be accompanied by complementary medicines like homeopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture. This is all a part of naturopathic manipulation therapy.
The practice of Naturopathy is based on 6 essential principles:
- Do no harm: Naturopathy believes in harmless treatment with no harmful side effects.
- Healing power of nature: Once the root cause of the problem is identified, recovery can be achieved naturally with the incredible ability our body possesses to self-heal.
- Treat the cause: Instead of focusing on treating the symptoms, naturopathy believes in treating the whole person by identifying and healing the underlying root cause.
- Doctor as teacher: Naturopathic doctors don’t just treat but educate and empower people against ill health.
- Disease prevention and health promotion: Removal of toxic substances from your life to prevent problems from arising.
- Wellness: Naturopathic doctors aim to provide holistic treatment to individuals.
Benefits of Naturopathy
Naturopathic practitioners create personal treatment plans for an individual to cover all aspects of a person. When used alongside modern medicine, naturopathy can be useful in activating the self-healing mechanism of the body. This form of treatment is also cheaper as compared to other healthcare practices.
Methods and Techniques used in Naturopathy
Naturopathic practice makes use of several techniques for providing holistic treatment. Some of these techniques are mentioned below:
- Hydrotherapy – Uses the healing potential of water for treating ailments. Water used internally and externally in the forms of steam, liquid, or ice help to cleanse, restore, and rejuvenate health. Treatment options include hydro bath, wet pack, hydro jets/douches, compressions, immersions, colonic hydrotherapy, saunas, swimming, aquatic exercises, etc.
- Mud therapy – Mud, representing earth (one of the five elements of nature), has an immense therapeutic impact on the body. Full-body mud bath, Fomentation, etc., are part of this therapy. It restores and maintains health to prevent diseases. The trace elements present in mud enhance the healing effects, while its moisture holding property provides a localised cooling effect. Mud therapy and mud packs help treat skin conditions like pimples, acne, psoriasis, eczema. Mud packs also help retain moisture in the skin which is effective in reducing body temperature. Mud therapy is useful in increasing circulation, tightening superficial tissues, reducing muscle tension, and soothing overstimulated nerves.
- Massage therapy – This therapy helps in improving the blood circulation in the body, detoxification, removing blockages, building high levels of fitness and flexibility, relieves stiffness and spasms, relaxes and refreshes the mind and senses, etc. Some of the techniques included in this therapy are aroma oil massage, underwater massage, tai massage, Swedish massage, hot stone therapy, etc.
- Nutrition and diet – As per Ayurveda and Naturopathy practitioners, fasting helps give rest to the digestive system and enhances the body’s natural healing properties. Wholesome and natural diets also enhance the quality of life by balancing nutritional requirements. It helps combat allergies, digestive disorders, and builds resistance to disease.
- Acupressure – Different points on our body are associated with different organs. Application of pressure on these points helps get rid of ailments and restore normal functioning of the organ systems. It is effective in alleviating pain, relaxes muscle spasm, helps in sciatica, and allergies like asthma and sinusitis.
- Magnet Therapy – Using the healing power of magnets to treat diseases. It is a non-invasive treatment involving no medications, radiations, or side effects. This therapy has proven beneficial in treating rheumatic and muscular aches and pains. The two poles of the magnet each have distinct properties that can be used to cure diseases. The south pole with its cooling and soothing properties is used to control inflammation, spondylitis, etc., while the north pole helps treat ailments like hernia, paralysis, etc.
Conditions and Treatment using Naturopathy
You don’t only get to benefit from naturopathy if you are sick, but can reap its benefits even if you aim to boost your overall health and prevent future illnesses. However, do not use naturopathy as a replacement for conventional medicine, especially if you are suffering from a serious condition like cancer or heart disease. When using conventional medicine and naturopathy as a combination, make sure both the healthcare providers are aware of the other treatment plan to work together and improve your health.
Some of the conditions where naturopathy can be used as a combination treatment option are:
- Fertility issues
- Digestive problems
- Hormonal imbalance
- Chronic pain
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Type 2 diabetes
Risks associated with Naturopathy
Largely, naturopathy believes in the power of self-healing, however, there may be some herbal supplements recommended to aid the treatment process. These herbs may, in some cases, interfere with the efficacy of the conventional drug and lead to side-effects. Therefore, it is important to keep your physician and naturopath in loop with what treatments you are undergoing in both modern medicine and naturopathy.
There are many detox diets recommended as a part of the naturopathic practice. It is essential to verify with a trained naturopath if the diet is suitable for you and your body type. These diets are to be used for only a short time. Using it for a longer time will cost your body essential nutrients resulting in ailments.
Naturopathy is an effective traditional complementary treatment option that works holistically to treat the whole individual. As this form of treatment is controversial with no consistent results and scientific backing, you must consult your doctor before opting for this treatment approach.