What is the history of Naturopathy?

Mortar with spices

The modern form of naturopathy can be traced to 18th- and 19th-century natural healing systems. Such systems include hydrotherapy (water therapy), which was popular in Germany and nature cure, developed in Austria, based on the use of food, air, light, water, and herbs to treat illness.

Benjamin Lust, a German immigrant, first introduced naturopathy to the United States in 1902 when he founded the American School of Naturopathy. The school emphasized the use of natural cures, proper bowel habits, and good hygiene as the tools for health. This was the first time that principles of a healthy diet, like increasing fiber intake and reducing saturated fats, became popular.

In the mid-1920s to 1940, the use of naturopathic medicine declined. It was not until the 1960s that naturopathic-style holistic medicine became popular again. They offer a variety of natural therapies, including homeopathy, vitamin and mineral supplements, traditional Chinese Medicine, relaxation techniques, herbal remedies and essential oils.

What should I expect from a visit to a Naturopath?

A first visit to a naturopath will be around 40 minutes.  A big part of that will be discussing your history, asking about your diet, lifestyle, stress, and environmental exposures. 

Naturopaths treat the whole person, which means they consider a variety of factors before they make a diagnoses. An N.D. might look at your mental, emotional, and spiritual state; your diet; your family history; your environment; and your lifestyle before making a diagnosis.

Some of the more common treatments used by a Naturopath include:

Nutritional counseling
Herbal medicine
Essential oils
Homeopathic medicine
Detoxification — This therapy removes toxins from the body by fasting, using enemas, and drinking lots of water.
Spirituality — Personal spiritual development is encouraged as part of an overall health program.

Lifestyle and psychological counseling — An N.D. may use guided imagery or other counseling methods as part of a treatment plan.

Naturopaths consider patients to be participants in their health care, so you may be asked to make lifestyle changes (such as changing your eating, sleeping, eating, and exercise habits).