Naturopathy has different meanings to different people. In the old traditional sense, used up to and in the earlier half of the last century, the term naturopathy was generally considered to cover healing systems based on fasting, resting, water baths, the ‘Natural Hygiene’ system, gentle massage and other similar therapies.
This, as a total healing regime, had a relevance in the less polluted world of that time and it produced results.
It was also appropriate in a time when, compared to our knowledge of to-day, there was limited knowledge of the biochemistry of the body and of foods, herbs and other remedies, and when considerations of the electromagnetic fields and other subtle aspects of the body had not been researched as they have to-day. In some centres and in some countries this relatively limited meaning of the term ‘naturopathy’ is still used.
However in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and many parts of the United States, where modern naturopathy is making huge strides, there is a growing recognition of how much more it has to offer. It is producing significant health benefits and the term has grown to encompass a much larger view of health care. Recognition and understanding of the term are growing in the UK but only slowly and it is generally still necessary to explain the term when talking to people.
In more recent times and in general the term ‘Naturopathy’ has grown to include a much wider concept of health and healing. In Australia, for instance, where I trained, taught and practiced, from 1973 to 1996 the term Naturopathy included:
- Nutrition with a full understanding of metabolic biochemistry and the biochemical interactions of nutrients and cellular metabolism
- Herbal medicine including studies and knowledge of pharmacology and pharmacognosy, of the chemistry of the active ingredients of plants and related remedies, and their roles in health and healing.
- Homoeopathy both classical and combinations, plus flower remedies, tissue salts and related substances
- Various diagnostic tools such as iridology, the use of dark field microscopy a range of blood tests and many others.
- Reflexology for both diagnosis and treatment
- Massage and related therapies
When you come in for a consultation you will find that a naturopathic consultation generally takes at least half an hour and generally a full hour, possibly more. A thorough case history is taken. This will usualy include details of your health history and possibly that of your family. Information about your diet, your lifestyle and more detailed topics may be requested, and you will be asked about all aspects of the problem that is currently concerning you.
Tests may be advised. A recovery plan will then be discussed and a plan laid out for you. You will generally be given sufficient time to ask questions and discuss your options. These can be further considered in subsequent consultations.