Naturopathic medicine is a school of medical philosophy and practice that seeks to improve health and treat disease chiefly by assisting the body's ability to recover from illness and injury.
Naturopathic practice may include a broad array of different therapies, including massage therapy, herbalism, acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, counseling, environmental medicine, nutritional counseling, and so on.
Practitioners tend to emphasize a holistic approach to patient care.
It is practiced in many countries around the world in one form or another, where it is subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance.
Naturopathy is very popular in India, and there are many naturopathic hospitals in the country. There are also many doctors trained in conventional medicine who have acquired naturopathy degrees so as to integrate the insights gained into their practice.
Naturopathic medicine practitioners prefer not to use invasive surgery, or most synthetic drugs, preferring "natural" remedies, for instance relatively unprocessed or whole medications, such as herbs and foods.
Practitioners from accredited schools are trained to use diagnostic tests such as imaging and blood tests before deciding upon the full course of treatment. If the patient does not respond to these treatments, they are often referred to physicians who utilize standard medical care to treat the underlying disease or condition.
With only a few exceptions, most treatments have not been tested for safety and efficacy utilizing scientific studies or clinical trials. Causing concern in the scientific and medical communities that these treatments are used to replace well-studied and tested medical procedures thereby endangering the health of the patient.
There are two groups in North America calling themselves "naturopaths" who have recently engaged in legal battles.
1) Board licensed physicians: Those who have received a formal academic education and have completed clinical training at a college and certified by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.
2) And "traditional naturopaths": those without universal regulation.
Traditionalist are guided by the same natural philosophies and principles as board-licensed physicians and often prescribe similar treatments but do so as alternative or complimentary practitioners rather than as primary care providers
In some jurisdictions the practice of naturopathic medicine is unregulated and so the titles like "naturopath", "naturopathic doctor", and "doctor of natural medicine" are not protected by law making it difficult to ensuring that a practitioner is trained to a particular standard.
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