Naturopathy is a "system of treatment of disease that avoids drugs and surgery and emphasizes the use of natural agents (as air, water, and sunshine) and physical means (as manipulation and electrical treatment)."
In 21st century America, the health care industry is dominated by pharmaceuticals. According to a 2003 report called "Death by Medicine," by Drs. Gary Null, Carolyn Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio, and Dorothy Smith, 783,936 people in the United States die every year from conventional medicine mistakes. Of those deaths, roughly 106,000 were from prescription drugs although—due to underreported cases of adverse drug reactions?that number may actually be as high as 200,000. It should come as no surprise that (so-called) alternative medicine has hit the mainstream and is now a $50-billion health care industry in the US. A recent survey found that 14 of the 18 major HMOs and insurance providers cover at least 11 of 34 alternative therapies and 74% of Americans have chosen this approach at least once.
Which brings us back to naturopathy. This practice dates back to at least 19th century Germany, if not earlier, and today's naturopathic physicians (NDs) are trained at accredited medical colleges to follow a system of medicine that assists in the restoration of health by following a set of specific rules. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians explains the basic assumption "that nature is orderly, and this orderliness is designed to result in ongoing life and well being." They further detail that this orderliness is "guided by a kind of inner wisdom that everyone has. This inner wisdom can be assisted to return a person to their best balance by naturopathic treatments."
Of the Americans who have visited an ND, 62% did so because they believed naturopathy combined with conventional medicine would help while 53% did so because they felt conventional medical treatments would not help. More information can be found here.
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