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Discover Naturopathy, a form of complementary and integrative health focused on natural healing to treat illness and promote well-being.

By Karina Jimenea on Jun 16, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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Naturopathy: What is it?

What is naturopathy?

Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine embraces holistic healthcare principles, integrating traditional and modern approaches to treat and prevent medical conditions, emphasizing prevention, identifying root causes, and promoting the body's self-healing abilities through natural therapies administered by licensed naturopathic doctors who undergo rigorous training and exams (Bastyr University, 2016).

Naturopathy traces back to ancient healing traditions, encompassing various cultures and practices. The term 'Naturopath' comes from 'physician,' a term used by Hippocrates, and is derived from the Greek root word 'physikos,' meaning 'nature,' emphasizing the importance for practitioners to comprehend the relationship between humans and nature, including how diet and occupation impact health (Society of Naturopaths, n.d.).

It emerged as a distinct discipline in the late 19th century, blending traditional wisdom with modern scientific knowledge. Over time, naturopathy has evolved into a comprehensive approach to health, emphasizing natural remedies, lifestyle interventions, and holistic principles to support well-being.

How does it differ from homeopathy?

As we explore naturopathic medicine, we must compare it to other alternative healthcare methods. Let's take a look at how it differs from homeopathy.

Naturopathic medicine and homeopathy are holistic healing practices that prioritizes the body's self-healing abilities. Naturopathic doctors use various integrative techniques, while homeopaths focus solely on homeopathic medicine. Naturopathy offers a comprehensive, preventive approach, appealing to those seeking natural remedies.

In contrast, homeopathy traces its origins to the late 18th century when German physician Samuel Hahnemann pioneered the practice. Hahnemann's disillusionment with the efficacy of conventional medicine led him to discover the "like treats like" concept wherein substances inducing symptoms in healthy individuals could alleviate similar symptoms in the sick (Homeopathy UK, 2022).

Through extensive "provings" conducted by Hahnemann and his followers, homeopathy evolved as a treatment modality based on similar symptoms observed in healthy subjects.

Both naturopathic medicine and homeopathy offer distinct perspectives on healthcare, necessitating careful consideration and consultation with qualified professionals before integration into one's wellness regimen.

The six naturopathic principles

As practitioners of naturopathic medicine, naturopathic medical doctors abide by foundational principles guiding their approach to primary care practice. These principles underscore commitment to treating the whole person, utilizing natural therapies, and honoring the body's innate ability to heal itself.

1. First, do no harm (primum non nocere)

Naturopathic physicians adhere to three principles to prevent harm to patients: they employ methods and medicines with minimal risk, avoid symptom suppression to support the body's healing process, and respect the body's innate ability to heal itself. Their approach emphasizes natural, non-invasive, and low-toxicity therapies, and they refer patients when necessary for conditions beyond their expertise.

Moreover, their goal is to promote healing while minimizing potential adverse effects.

2. Identify and treat the causes (tolle causam)

This principle asserts that illness always has underlying causes, which can originate from various sources. Complete recovery hinges on identifying and addressing these root causes rather than suppressing symptoms. While symptom suppression has its place, naturopathic physicians prioritize uncovering and removing obstacles to cure for most patients.

3. Use the healing power of nature (vis medicatrix naturae)

Naturopathic medicine recognizes that nature can heal, which works intelligently within our bodies to keep us healthy. Naturopathic doctors help this process by finding and getting rid of things that might be blocking our health while promoting a lifestyle and environment supporting healing. They use natural remedies and encourage healthy habits, relying on the body's natural smarts to guide people toward overall wellness.

4. Doctors as teachers (docere)

Naturopathic doctors serve as educators to enhance patients' understanding of wellness and self-care. By fostering trust and providing education, patients gain insight into the actions needed to attain and sustain good health. Embracing the role of "doctor as teacher," naturopathic physicians prioritize patient education and empowerment while leveraging the healing potential of the doctor-patient bond.

5. Treat the whole person (tolle totum)

The principle emphasizes the interconnectedness of the body, environment, and lifestyle in achieving overall health, aiming to restore balance through a holistic approach. Recognizing that health and disease stem from various factors such as physical, mental, and environmental influences, naturopathic doctors provide personalized and comprehensive care. They address all aspects of an individual's well-being, including spiritual health, as integral to promoting optimal health and healing.

6. Focus on prevention (preventare)

Naturopathic treatment prioritizes preventing illness and promoting overall well-being by combining six principles to identify and address patient imbalances. Emphasizing health and disease, practitioners are educated to avoid disease and promote optimal health through lifestyle changes. Naturopathic physicians work with patients to assess risk factors, heredity, and disease susceptibility, intervening to prevent illness and create healthier environments for individuals to thrive.

Who are naturopaths?

Naturopathic medicine is utilized by doctors, traditional naturopaths, and other healthcare professionals who provide naturopathic treatments and services.  They diagnose patients by assessing their overall health, including lifestyle factors, and may use laboratory tests and physical exams.

Treatment approaches may include dietary changes, herbal medicine, exercise therapy, acupuncture, lifestyle counseling, and other natural therapies tailored to individual needs. Naturopaths aim to address the root cause of illness and support the body's innate healing abilities rather than simply treating symptoms. They often emphasize patient education and empowerment to promote long-term health and wellness.

Naturopathic doctors typically complete a four-year program recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, potentially needing licensing in certain areas. At the same time, traditional naturopaths may lack standardized training for licensing. Other healthcare providers might offer naturopathic treatments after additional training with varying educational backgrounds (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2017).

What are the benefits and risks of naturopathic treatments?

Naturopathic treatments, provided by naturopathic doctors, prioritize holistic health through lifestyle adjustments and natural remedies. While offering benefits such as prevention-focused care, it's crucial to acknowledge and address potential risks like medication interactions and the importance of consulting qualified practitioners for safe treatment.


  • Emphasis on prevention helps individuals make healthier lifestyle choices.
  • The collaborative relationship between naturopathic doctors (NDs) and patients promotes education and empowerment.
  • Treatment approaches prioritize non-invasiveness.
  • It can be safely used alongside conventional medicine, providing additional treatment options.
  • Offers holistic care tailored to individual needs and preferences.


  • Lack of proper oversight and regulation for unlicensed practitioners.
  • Risks associated with seeking advice from unqualified individuals without proper training or expertise.
  • Patients may delay or forego conventional medical treatments in favor of naturopathic approaches, potentially worsening health outcomes.

Research and evidence

Here are some studies highlighting the efficacy of naturopathy in addressing various health conditions. They add to the evidence supporting the use of naturopathic ideas in regular healthcare.

As the prevalence of lifestyle and metabolic disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), continues to rise, there is a growing interest in exploring alternative treatment modalities. In a recent case study conducted by Shrivastava et al. (2022), the effectiveness of integrated yoga and naturopathy in managing PCOS was investigated over six months. The findings revealed notable outcomes, including weight reduction, regularization of menstrual cycles, and morphological improvements in the ovaries. Despite these promising results, further research involving larger samples and extended observation periods is needed (Shrivastava et al., 2022).

Similarly, in a study conducted by Shete et al. (2022), the impact of a 30-day yoga and naturopathy intervention on a 42-year-old woman suffering from severe anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia was explored. The intervention yielded significant improvements across various psychological and physiological parameters. Reductions in depression, anxiety, stress, and musculoskeletal pain, coupled with enhancements in sleep quality, underscored the potential efficacy of integrated yoga and naturopathy therapy in addressing anxiety disorders and insomnia.

These studies suggest that when integrated with practices like yoga, naturopathy can effectively address health conditions. They emphasize the importance of incorporating naturopathic principles into mainstream healthcare for optimal patient outcomes and well-being.

Why use Carepatron as your naturopathy software?

Naturopathy treats the root cause of ailments by harnessing the body's innate healing abilities. Naturopathic doctors are pivotal in promoting wellness through complementary and alternative medicine, emphasizing the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit to enhance overall functionality and vitality. Why choose Carepatron for your naturopathic practice?

  • Telehealth integration: Carepatron seamlessly integrates telehealth capabilities, allowing a naturopathic doctor to connect with patients virtually.
  • Abundant resources: We offer a wealth of resources tailored to your private practice, including guides, treatment plans, and worksheets, empowering practitioners to stay informed and provide comprehensive care while advancing medical education.
  • Efficient Billing Solutions: With Carepatron's intuitive billing features, naturopathic practitioners can streamline financial processes, manage invoices, and track payments effortlessly, ensuring a smooth and transparent revenue cycle.
  • Integral electronic health records (EHR): Carepatron's EHR system is for integrative health practices to securely store and access patient data, streamline documentation, and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration for optimal patient outcomes.
  • Seamless appointment scheduling: We simplify appointment scheduling with customizable calendars, automated reminders, and patient self-scheduling options, maximizing efficiency and minimizing administrative burdens for naturopathic practices.

By choosing Carepatron, you can elevate naturopathic treatment to new heights. Experience the difference with Carepatron and unlock the full potential of your naturopathic therapies today.

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Bastyr University. (2016). What is naturopathic medicine? In YouTube.

Homeopathy UK. (2022, January 24). Samuel Hahnemann & the beginnings of homeopathy. Homeopathy UK.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2017). Naturopathy. NCCIH; NCCIH.

Shete, S., Verma, A., Prasad, R., Badave, A., & Pathak, S. (2022). Yoga and naturopathy treatment for insomnia: A case report. Journal of Primary Care Specialties, 3(1), 13.

Shrivastava, R., Mishra, S., Singh, R., & Shrivastava, P. (2022). Effect of integrated approach of yoga and naturopathy on polycystic ovarian syndrome: A case study. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 11(4), 1525.

Society of Naturopaths. (n.d.). History of naturopathy. Society of Naturopaths. Retrieved March 30, 2024, from

Commonly asked questions

When should I consider naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine can be considered when seeking holistic approaches to health or when conventional treatments haven't provided the desired results. However, treatment must always be provided by qualified practitioners.

Who benefits from naturopathic medicine?

Anyone seeking personalized, natural healthcare solutions tailored to their needs may benefit from naturopathic medicine.

How is naturopathic medicine practiced?

Naturopathic medicine is practiced through natural therapies, lifestyle modifications, and dietary adjustments to support the body's innate healing abilities.

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