Naturopathy, which draws on practices from many cultures, began as a formal health care system in the United States in the early 1900s. Founded on the notion of the healing power of nature, naturopathy emphasizes the following:
Naturopathy also focuses on finding the cause of the disease rather than merely treating symptoms. Some of this system’s principles are not that different from those of traditional healing systems such as Ayurveda Ayurveda Ayurveda is the traditional medical system of India, originating more than 4,000 years ago. It is based on the theory that illness results from the imbalance of the body’s life force or prana... read more and traditional Chinese medicine Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Originating in China several millennia ago, traditional Chinese medicine is based on the theory that illness results from the imbalance of the life force (qi, pronounced chee) through the body... read more .
Naturopathy uses a combination of therapies, including the following:
Some naturopathic practitioners advocate practices that are not supported by scientific evidence. Hydrotherapy is an example. Also, some practitioners discourage childhood vaccinations despite studies having proven that vaccinations Childhood Vaccinations Children should be vaccinated to protect them against infectious diseases. Vaccines contain either noninfectious fragments of bacteria or viruses or whole forms of these organisms that have... read more prevent disorders and death and that benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh risks.
Few well-designed studies of naturopathic therapies have been done.
(See also Overview of Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine Overview of Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine Integrative medicine and health (IMH) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) include a variety of healing approaches and therapies that historically have not been included in conventional... read more .)