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Submitted by on May 18, 2022

Naturopathy, often known as naturopathic medicine, is a type of complementary and alternative medicine. It uses a variety of pseudoscientific techniques marketed as “natural,” “non-invasive,” or “self-healing.” Naturopaths, or practitioners of naturopathic medicine, have a vast range of techniques that are difficult to generalize. The concept and procedures of naturopathy are founded on vitalism and folk medicine, rather than evidence-based medicine (EBM), however some practitioners may utilize techniques backed by EBM. Treatments range from open quackery, such as homeopathy, to generally acknowledged practices, such as psychotherapy. Modern medical techniques, such as medical testing, medicines, immunizations, and surgery, are frequently advised against by naturopathic practitioners. Instead, naturopathic practice is based on irrational beliefs, resulting to diagnoses and therapies that have no scientific basis.

The medical profession considers naturopathy to be ineffectual and hazardous, creating ethical concerns regarding its practice. Naturopaths have been regularly criticized as charlatans and accused of practicing quackery, in addition to condemnations and criticism from the medical establishment, such as the American Cancer Society.

Naturopaths are well-known in the United States for their numerous campaigns for legal recognition. In two states, it is outlawed, and in many others, it is strictly controlled. However, other states have looser standards, allowing naturopaths to do minor surgery or even prescribe medications. While there are certain schools for naturopaths and some countries allow them to call themselves physicians, they lack the certification and scientific medical training that actual medical doctors have.

The name “naturopathy” is derived from the Latin words “natura” (birth) and “pathos” (suffering) and means “natural healing.” Naturopaths argue that Hippocrates, the ancient Greek “Father of Medicine,” was the first proponent of naturopathic medicine, long before the name was coined. Naturopathy has its origins in Europe’s Natural Cure movement of the nineteenth century. In the 1880s, Thomas Allinson began pushing his “Hygienic Medicine” in Scotland, which advocated a natural diet and exercise while avoiding tobacco and overwork.

In 1895, John Scheel developed the word “naturopathy,” which was purchased by Benedict Lust, dubbed the “Father of U.S. Naturopathy” by naturopaths. Father Sebastian Kneipp had taught Lust hydrotherapy and other natural healing procedures in Germany, and Kneipp had dispatched Lust to the United States to disseminate his drug-free ways. Naturopathy, according to Lust, is a wide field rather than a specific practice that includes procedures like hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, and homeopathy, as well as avoiding overeating, teacoffee, and alcohol. He regarded the body as spiritual and vitalistic, with “complete reliance on man’s natural cosmic forces.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “naturopathy” was first used in print in 1901.

Lust established the American School of Naturopathy in New York in 1901. The original North American Kneipp Societies ceased operations in 1902 and were renamed “Naturopathic Societies.” The Naturopathic Society of America was disbanded in September 1919, and Benedict Lust created the American Naturopathic Association to take its place. In the first three decades of the twentieth century, naturopaths were licensed under naturopathic or drugless practitioner legislation in 25 states. Several colleges provided both Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) and Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degrees, and many chiropractors accepted naturopathy. The number of naturopathic schools in operation in the United States at this time ranges from one to two dozen.

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