Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a type of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathy favors a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment by encouraging minimal use of surgery and drugs. The term "naturopathy" is derived from Greek and Latin, and literally translates as "nature disease". Naturopathic practitioners are split into two groups, traditional naturopaths and naturopathic physicians. Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices. Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities of varying degrees of acceptance by the conventional medical community; these treatments range from standard evidence-based treatments, to homeopathy and other pseudoscientific practices.

Naturopaths use a wide variety of treatment modalities, focusing on natural self-healing rather than any specific method. Some methods rely on immaterial "vital energy fields", the existence of which has not been proven, and there is concern that naturopathy as a field tends towards isolation from general scientific discourse. The effectiveness of naturopathy as a whole system has not been systematically evaluated, and efficacy of individual methods used varies.

The traditional naturopath focuses on lifestyle changes and approaches that support the body's innate healing potential. Traditional naturopaths do not undertake to diagnose or treat diseases but concentrates on whole body wellness and facilitating the body healing itself. Traditional Naturopaths neither prescribe nor undertake to engage in the use of drugs, serums, potions, surgery or disease specific treatments or otherwise practice conventional medicine. Naturopaths do not necessarily recommend vaccines and antibiotics, and may provide inappropriate alternative remedies even in cases where evidence-based medicine has been shown effective.

"All forms of naturopathic education include concepts incompatible with basic science, and do not necessarily prepare a practitioner to make appropriate diagnosis or referrals."

The qmedicine editorial team acknowledges the relatively poor scientific validation of such forms of alternative medicine and encourages you to research further into these topics before undergoing therapy or abandoning treatment modalities with established scientific validation.

Be sure to let your medical doctor (M.D.) know about any naturopathic treatment. Some treatments can interact with each other, and your health care practitioners will be better able to treat you if they know every therapy you are using.

Coming Soon: List of Naturopathy Practioners by Region

If you are an established practioner of Alternative Medicine in the National Capital Region and desire to be featured on Qmedicine, we request you to send in your details in Microsoft Word format to

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