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Apr 25, 2008
Naturopathic medicine is a natural alternative form of medicine that is also known as naturopathy. It is used as a form of alternative medicine, or in tandem with more traditional and modern forms of medicine. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes and works with the body's ability to heal itself, which practitioners of natural medicines believe is an innate power in all living things. Naturopathic practice may include different modalities such as acupuncture, acupressure, cleansing the colon regularly, hypnosis, herbal teas, and a variety of other natural remedies.

Practitioners emphasize a more natural or holistic approach to a patient's care, and a good holistic doctor may also recommend that his or her patient's use modern forms of medical treatment along with the natural treatments. Practitioners of Naturopathic medicine usually prefer not to use invasive methods, such as surgery, or any of synthetic pills and other such drugs preferring to use natural remedies such as herbs and foods in their whole and non-chemically processed forms. Practitioners from accredited schools of Naturopathy are trained to use many of the diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, before deciding upon a course of treatment.

If the patient does not improve with the naturopathic treatments, they are referred to doctors in the standard field of medical care to help treat the illness or other condition. The origins of Naturopathy arises from a number of medicine practices from around the world, including Ayurveda, which began in India, and Nature Cure which originates in Europe. Naturopathy is practiced in many countries but is subject to different standards and levels of acceptance.

The Greek known as Hippocrates, also called the "Father of Medicine", is considered to be one of the first advocates of naturopathic medicine. In Scotland during the 1880s, a Doctor Allinson started promoting a natural form of medicine along with diet, exercise, plenty of rest, and the avoidance of tobacco and overworking.

In America, the term naturopathy was coined by John Scheel, sometime before the turn of the century, and used by a man called Benedict Lust. Lust was well-schooled in a form of natural medicine called hydrotherapy as well as a few other forms of natural health in by a German priest called Father Kneipp who in turn sent Lust to America to bring them Kneipp's methods of natural healing. In the very early 1900s Lust founded the American School of Naturopathy. Situated in New York, it was the first naturopathic college in the United States. Lust took pains to promote the profession and help make the passage of licensing laws in many states just before 1935 and help to found several more naturopathic colleges.

Unfortunately, interest in naturopathic medicine began to decline, along with many of the other natural health professions, after the 1930s due to the discovery of penicillin and the discovery of synthetic drugs.

After Lust's death the conflicts developed amongst the various schools of natural medicine, and with the rise of new medical technology, these were all contributing factors for the seeming death nell for the future of homeopathic and other forms of natural medicine.

Fortunately, Naturopathic medicine never completely ceased to exist, and has began to see a revival in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. There are now many accredited schools offering 4 year degrees in Natural medicine.
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