Naturopathic medicine, an American health care profession, is over 100 years old. There are more than 3,600 licensed naturopathic health care providers in the United States and five accredited naturopathic medical schools that have active research departments.
Though diagnostically naturopathy is a lot like standard or conventional medicine, the difference lies in the types of treatment. Naturopathic health care providers do not use drugs, medical technology, or major surgery to treat a patient. Instead, these health care providers use natural therapeutics, such as nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathy, and acupuncture as treatments.
Naturopathy's main goal is to use the natural healing power of the body to fight disease. Diagnosis is made through X-rays, laboratory tests, and medical exams, much like the standard or conventional diagnostic methods. Almost any illness is treated by naturopathic health care providers.
Naturopathic therapies may include:
- Use of botanical medicine
- Changes to nutrition
- Oriental medicine
- Hydrotherapy (use of water as a medical treatment)
- Manipulative therapy
Often, however, naturopathic health care providers will refer more complicated medical cases to standard or conventional doctors for treatment.
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