Naturopathy is a philosophy, which encompasses a view of life, a model for living a full life. The word naturopathy is a Latin-Greek hybrid, which can be defined as being close to or benefiting from nature.
Although the term "Naturopathy" originated in the late 19th century, the art can be traced back through Germany into Greece, to Hippocrates himself, and even beyond. There have always been people who understood that healing occurs naturally in the human body, if it is given what it truly needs -- proper diet, pure water, fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and rest. For these people, the emphasis has not been on finding a disease and killing it, but rather on helping the body establish its own state of good health. Today, these people are known as Traditional Naturopaths. Traditional Naturopaths recognize that allopathic health care is, at times, necessary. They also know that many people can maintain good health through the use of naturopathy.
In looking at the natural healers and naturopaths of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, one can find many common points. All of them believed in healing by bringing strength to the individual rather than by curing specific diseases. All had a reverence for nature, and many of them could point to specific observations that led to the formation of theories and practices. Personal experience of illness and recovery often led them to practice natural healing. They frequently learned from each other or studied on their own, instead of, or in addition to, receiving a formal education. The medical establishment persecuted most. Those on record were highly successful, bringing good health to many people.
While Traditional Naturopaths recognize that allopathic health care is, at times, necessary, they understand that many accepted allopathic treatments can be harmful. Allopathic philosophy holds those external agents, chiefly bacteria and viruses cause disease. According to this belief system, a cure will result when these offending agents are eliminated. In addition, allopathic belief also tends to look at the symptom and the disease as one in the same, so that when the symptom has been eliminated, it is presumed that the disease is "cured."
The Traditional Naturopath, however, sees a symptom as nothing more than a signal that something is wrong. According to Naturopathic belief, when a symptom alone is eliminated, it is most likely being suppressed. Unless the original cause has also been eliminated, the symptom may return later in a chronic form.
Although the term "Doctor" is generally held to mean "Medical Doctor," the practice of the Traditional Naturopathy may be more true to the old meaning of that word. The origin of the word "doctor" was the Latin "docere," which meant "to teach." A Traditional Naturopathy does exactly that, teaching skills that will carry clients into a healthy, strong, and independent future.
A Traditional Naturopathy avoids procedures common to medical care. Among them are: diagnosing disease, treating disease, prescribing drugs and pharmaceuticals, and performing invasive procedures. In determining the root cause of a clients problems, Traditional Naturopaths do not diagnose or treat disease, but instead focus on health and education. They teach clients how to create an internal and an external environment that is conducive to good health, enabling the clients to make their own choices. Traditional naturopathy is not a medical practice. Major and minor surgery, prescribing drugs and pharmaceuticals, giving injections and drawing blood should be limited to medical doctors only and not performed within the scope of naturopathy.