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What is Naturopathy?

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Naturopathy is a 19th century word meaning 'nature cure', and a naturopath is one who applies natural therapies in professional medical practice. The tradition of Naturopathic medicine was originally European, with many influential figures as far back as Hippocrates, Galen, Paracelsus, Hahnemann to name a few. The Naturopath not only uses fasting, nutrition, hydrotherapy (water cures) and exercise in natural healing, but also the approved practices of such disciplines as Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and many more lesser known but effective therapies.

Given the right conditions the body will self heal or self-correct. It is the role of the Naturopath to help nature cure. A Naturopath treats the whole person to restore health. The Naturopath takes into consideration the following three factors:

  • Physical
  • Mental/Emotional
  • Circumstantial/Environmental.

The Naturopath will refer to all of these factors in order to diagnose and treat any condition.

In assessing a patient, a Naturopath may use various diagnostic tools:

  • Iridology is a traditionally flavoured tool for Naturopathic diagnosis. The eyes indicate the truth of body organ systems even before it manifests as a disease. Iridology can be uncannily accurate.
  • Visual Diagnosis: the face, tongue/mouth, and nails give indications of the conditions the patient is experiencing.
  • Pulse Diagnosis: used by practitioners schooled in Chinese Medicine.
  • One can also diagnose through reflex zones areas which link to various inner organ systems.
  • Kinesiology, or muscle testing, is another informative diagnostic technique.
  • Above all, perceptive questioning, the patient often has his or own answers, though they may not be aware of it.
  • Above all is the art of listening. The skilled practitioner listens nothing is dismissed as incidental, not even the person's despondency in their work or home life.

In addition, Naturopaths will also refer to conventional test results that the patient may bring from their doctor or request certain medical tests be done. The Naturopath concentrates on the patient's state of health and will seek to identify where the cause of the disease lies, not the symptoms of disease. In other words, the Naturopath is more interested in why a patient is ill. How often do we fail to ask why am I sick, what is the cause? Instead, pain-relieving drugs are sought. Naturopaths teach that you cannot treat bodily toxicity with drug toxicity, and so adopt their natural approach. In order to identify where the cause of disease lies, the patient is encouraged to discuss at length their lifestyle. The relationship between the practitioner and patient is vital to the patient's recovery. Perceptive questioning, an empathy with the patient, and drawing upon intuition and insights of the human condition, are very important to the Naturopath.

Much of the work of the Naturopath today lays in resolving body toxicity from un-excreted metabolic wastes, chemical pollution by industry (of the air, food and water) and drugs. Detox programmes are central to the quest for health and self-healing. Most often no further treatment is needed when a thorough cleansing programme of the bowel, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin have been undertaken. This is achieved by supervised fasting (no food intake other than water), or a restricted dietary regimen such as juices of vegetables, fruit or grains, and herbal preparations.

Conditions regularly treated by the Naturopath include:

  • Menstrual problems
  • Adverse menopause symptoms
  • Fibroids
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Uterine conditions
  • IBS
  • Candida
  • Crohn's
  • Bowel irregularity
  • Headache and migraines


By Herman Keppler
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Biography: Herman Keppler is the Principal and founder of the College of Naturopathic Medicine, since 1983 with Colleges in London, Manchester, Belfast, Dublin, Galway and Cork. He is a member of the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners, British Complementary Medicine Association, Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners, British Association of Nutritional Therapists, Council of Homoeopathic Colleges and Council of Traditional Acupuncture Colleges.

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