1. Conventional western medicine: "M.D.'s"
2. "Indian Doctors" or "Botanics" - European settlers who studied with Native American medicine men and women to learn their use of herbal medicines, hydrotherapy and body work - including a type of Reflexology.
3. Samuel Thompson developed a system of healing based on the cleansing properties of the herb Lobelia, and steam baths. As many as 3,000,000 people used his system and bought 100,000 copies of his book. By 1840 the Thompsonians and the Botanics had merged, forming the Eclectic School of Medicine, producing excellent books on herbal medicine that continue to be used today.
4. In 1825, Samuel Hahneman, M.D. developed Homeopathy, which views the symptoms of disease as a disruption of the individual's "Vital Force." Patients were given specially prepared powders and dilutions - usually made from plant material, combined with a rational and moderate living regime of fresh air, pure foods, sufficient rest and water, and an avoidance of over-stimulation. Homeopaths emphasized patient self-care, education and responsibility, encouraging the involvement of the patient in their own healing process.
5. Hydrotherapy and the Hygienic Movement combined "water cures" and spa treatments with the simple principles of a healthful diet and lifestyle. Widely used through the early 1900's, the movement faded into disuse due to the growing popularity of modern drugs, combined with the passage of suppressive laws governing the practice and definition of medicine and medical education. In the west, improvements in public hygiene and nutrition had significantly reduced the outbreak of epidemics and produced an over-all improvement in health.
While antibiotics, steroids, thyroid replacement and insulin have benefited many, we're beginning to see the results of over-use of prescription drugs, and poor lifestyle and diet choices. Chronic disease and declines in mental, emotional and physical well-being have replaced the epidemics of the past. It's time to take a fresh look at Naturopathy!
Today's Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine (ND's) start with a bachelor's degree with an emphasis on science and pre-medical studies, then complete 4 to 5 years of post-graduate study at an accredited Naturopathic Medical school - including around 4,000 academic hours and 1500 supervised clinical hours. Basic science boards are usually taken the summer after the second year and clinical board exams after graduation to obtain a license to practice Naturopathic Medicine. Illinois does not yet license N.D.'s, nor does Iowa.
Rather than being based on a specific set of treatment modalities, Naturopathy today is a discipline based on six principles: 1. The Healing Power of Nature; 2. Remove the Cause; 3. First, Do No Harm; 4. The Doctor as Teacher; 5. Treat the Whole Person; 6. Prevention. While each ND has their own style of practice, it is always based on individualized restoration of health. Naturopathy has always combined the best of current and traditional health care practices and modalities, guided by these six principles.
The human body was created with an inherent healing ability. Diet, exercise, lifestyle - including a balanced and healthy spiritual life and healthy interpersonal relationships - along with appropriate natural therapies - enhance the body's ability to ward off and combat disease, and regenerate.
Support the licensure of Naturopathic Medicine in your state by contacting your state congressmen/congresswomen and senators. Request that they support and sponsor legislation to license Naturopathic Medicine. In states where Naturopathy is licensed it is covered by most major health insurance companies.
Would you like more information? Check out these links:
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)
National College of Natural Medicine
National University of Health Sciences
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
College of Naturopathic Medicine, University of Bridgeport