Naturopathy is a medical system based on a collaboration of health care approaches and traditional healing practices that were popular and commonly used in the European region during the 19th century. There are several reasons why individuals elect to be seen by naturopathic practitioners, such as the treatment of disease or illness, primary care, and overall well-being. In regions such as the United States, traditional naturopaths, naturopathic physicians, and other providers of health care practice naturopathy. Examples of specific approaches commonly utilized by naturopathic practitioners include lifestyle and dietary changes, reduction of stress, homeopathy, exercise therapy, psychotherapy, dietary supplements, herb supplementation, manipulative therapies, practitioner-guided detoxification, acupuncture, massage, and counseling. Common health problems that bring patients to visit naturopaths include all types of allergies, issues with fertility, obesity, chronic pain, frequent headaches, digestive problems, hormone imbalances, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
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How It Works
The ultimate objective of naturopathy is to treat a patient as a whole, including healing the body, mind, and spirit. Naturopathy also focuses on the healing of the underlying causes of a patient's symptoms instead of just trying to heal the symptoms themselves. An initial examination by a naturopathic practitioner may take a couple of hours. They will inquire about a patient's stress, lifestyle habits, medical history, diet, and other aspects of their life. A naturopath may order lab tests to look for nutritional deficiencies or other clues to the underlying cause of a patient's symptoms. They then put together a personal health plan for the patient, focusing on the aspects of prevention and education. The naturopath may offer the patient tips on how to manage their stress properly, what to include in (and exclude from) their diet, and what kind of exercise regimen to follow. Naturopathic physicians are also referred to as doctors of naturopathic medicine and naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic physicians have an accredited four-year degree and learn the same standard principles of science conventional doctors do. However, doctors of naturopathy study further into psychology, nutrition, herbal medicine, and homeopathy. In some states, naturopathic physicians have to become licensed to practice.
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