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Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a form of alternative medicine
based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital
nergy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism,
reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathic philosophy
favors a holistic approach, and, like conventional medicine seeks to
find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement
or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary
drugs. According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical
Colleges, "Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by
methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to
heal." According to the American Cancer Society, "Available scientific
evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure
cancer or any other disease, since virtually no studies on naturopathy as
a whole have been published."
The term "naturopathy" is derived from Greek and Latin, and literally
translates as "nature disease". Modern naturopathy grew out of the
Natural Cure movement of Europe. The term was coined in 1895
by John Scheel and popularized by Benedict Lust, the "father of U.S.
naturopathy". Beginning in the 1970s, there was a revival of interest
in the United States and Canada in conjunction with the
holistic health movement.
Naturopathic practitioners are split into two groups, traditional naturopaths
and naturopathic physicians. Naturopathic physicians employ the
principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical
practices. Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities
of varying degrees of acceptance by the conventional medical community;
these treatments range from standard evidence-based treatments, to
homeopathy and other practices sometimes characterized as
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