Naturopathy has been defined as a "drugless system of therapy, making use of physical forces such as air, light, water, heat, massage, etc. Treatments are often diet- and nutrition-oriented with attention given to the patient's personal history and lifestyle. It is an unproven healing technique when applied to disease, although some of its principles may help in health promotion.
Its origins are in 18th and 19th century Germany, where it encompassed the popular "cures" at bathing spas. It was introduced to the United States in 1902, by Benjamin Lust, a German immigrant. Some of its initial principles included things recognized today as healthy diet.
As a holistic form of alternative medicine, it draws from other techniques, including nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupuncture. Naturopathic practitioners, however, may be part of an integrative medicine program, in which attention is paid to herb-drug, drug-drug, and herb-herb interactions. The fact that some herbals have pharmacologic activity may challenge the contention that it is drugless. It also uses vitamin and mineral supplements, possibly in pharmacologic dosage.
- National Library of Medicine, Medical Subject Headings
- Medical Reference : Complementary Medicine: Naturopathy, University of Maryland Medical Center