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Naturopathy is a method of healing that employs various natural means to empower an individual to achieve the highest level of health possible.
The new paradigm in medicine also focuses on the interconnectedness of body, mind, emotions, social factors, and the environment.
While the old paradigm viewed the body basically as a machine that can be fixed best with drugs and surgery, the emerging new model considers these measures secondary to natural, noninvasive techniques that promote health by supporting the body's own healing processes. The relationship between the physician and patient is also evolving with patient-empowerment approach.

"Naturopathy" (to quote Benedict Lust) is a distinct school of healing, employing the beneficent agency of Nature's forces, of water, air, sunlight, earth power, electricity, magnetism, exercise, rest, proper diet, various kinds of mechanical treatment, and mental and moral science. As none of these agents of rejuvenation alone can cure every disease, the Naturopath rightly employs the combination that is best adapted to each individual case. The result of such ministrations is wholly beneficent. The prophylactic power of Nature's finer forces, mechanical and occult, removes foreign or poisonous matter from the system, restores nerve and blood vitality, invigorates organs and tissues, and regenerates the entire organism"

Dr. J. E. Cummins' definition of Naturopathy: "Naturopathy is the science, art and philosophy of adjusting the framework, correcting the mental influences, and supplying the body with its needed elements. Osteopathy, chiropractic, mechano-therapy, dietetics, Christian Science and other 'single branch' systems all have their day. They all do some good and gain many adherents, but it cannot be denied that all such 'branches' have their limitations, and for that reason they will all eventually have to make room for a system that includes the best of the underlying principles of all of them- and that system is Naturopathy.”

From a technical perspective, modern naturopathy can be defined as an eclectic system of healthcare, which integrates elements of alternative and conventional medicine to support and enhance self-healing processes. The different therapeutic interventions and modalities vary according to the jurisdiction of practice, but generally include the historical crafts of herbal or botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, dietetics, exercise, and meditation, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, spinal manipulation, iridology, acupuncture, pharmacotherapy, minor surgery, life-style counseling and traditional Chinese medicine.

Naturopathic medicine has been described as a science and an art. Proponents of evidence-based practices argue that in cases where unbiased evidence exists, science should prevail. Clinical practice is also an art, attending to characteristics of individual human beings. Naturopathic medicine takes into account individual attributes in the context of available evidence.

To a large extent, contemporary naturopathic practitioners have shored-up traditional naturopathic empiricism with the principles of evidence based medicine to diagnose and manage health conditions. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) can be contextually defined as "an approach to practicing medicine in which the clinician is aware of the evidence in support of clinical practice and the strength of that evidence."

Naturopathic medicine is vitalistic, holistic, and eclectic, as shown in the six principles that inform this practice of medicine:

First, do no harm
This fundamental principle of naturopathic medicine is shared with allopathic physicians.
Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.

Cooperate with the healing power of nature
Underlying the practice of naturopathic medicine is a profound belief in the healing power of nature that recognizes an inherent, or natural, ability in the body to heal itself. The Vis is a vital force that promotes recovery from illness and restores wellness. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery, and facilitate and enhance this healing ability by following established therapeutic protocols.

View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions (holism).
Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and spiritual factors. They look for disturbances in the body-mind-spirit. Power of the spirit on the mind and emotions during active treatment offers the patient a sense of hope, and that hope is the medicine that patients need. Outcomes research has shown that this sense of hope not only impacts the patient’s quality of life during active treatment if needed but also after the therapeutic protocol is completed.

Identify and treat the cause, look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
The exploration of the cause in naturopathic medicine goes beyond focus on suppressing symptoms, it views symptoms as expression of the body’s attempt to heal, but not the cause of disease. Naturopathy identifies and removes the underlying cause of the illness in order to establish and support conditions for health and healing.

Practice preventive medicine, prevention is the best cure.
Naturopathic physicians focus on the principle of disease prevention. Naturopathic medicine strives to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive in symbiosis with the planet. This constitutes wellness, the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance. Wellness is a state of being healthy in body, mind, and spirit, characterized by positive emotion, thought, and action. Wellness is inherent in everyone, no matter what disease is being experienced; it is the innate ability to heal oneself, the Vis medicatrix naturae. True primary prevention involves addressing a patient's risk for disease and instituting a course of action designed to reduce controllable risk factors. The health benefits and cost-effectiveness of disease prevention programs have been clearly demonstrated. Studies have consistently found that participants in wellness oriented programs had a reduced number of days of disability, a lower number of days spent in a hospital and a lower amount spent on health care.

Doctor as a teacher, teach the principles of healthy living
Naturopathic physicians educate patients about their health, empower, motivate and encourage self-responsibility for health and well being by adopting a healthful attitude, lifestyle and diet. This is the core principle of patient empowered medicine. This also acknowledges the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship and how that therapeutic milieu becomes part of the healing process for the patient.

Most naturopaths believe that each individual is responsible for making decisions about his/her own health. Naturopathic doctors do not prescribe treatments for disease. They educate (the word doceō means teach) and inform their clients about natural health and some of the options of which they know. They offer recommendations and accompany patients on their journey of the healing process. However, not everyone is willing and ready to take responsibility for their own health and prefer to look for “magic pill” taking their uncomfortable symptoms away.

Naturopathy is an eclectic mixture of modalities intended to encourage the body to heal itself.
Naturopathic practices include such modalities as lifestyle counseling, mind-body therapy, botanical medicine, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, physical medicine and hands- on modalities like Reiki and cranio-sacral therapy.
To stimulate the healing power of nature and self-healing processes therapist chooses modalities that are individualized for each specific patient: botanical medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, diet, counseling and health psychology, nature cure, detoxification and cleansing, natural hygiene, mind-body practices, spirituality and healing, other traditional and indigenous world medicine disciplines and practices.

Establishing and maintaining optimal health and promoting wellness are the primary goals of the naturopathic physician. While health is defined as the state of optimal physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, wellness is defined as a state of health characterized by a positive emotional state. The naturopathic physician strives to increase the level of wellness regardless of the disease or level of health. Even in cases of severe disease, a high level of wellness can often be achieved.