Naturopathy literally means treating a disease by adhering to the laws of nature. In the year 400 B.C, Hippocrates had referred to the healing power of nature in his writings. The term ‘Naturopathy’ was first used by a Homeopath, John Scheel. But many practitioners have added their knowledge to this field. One of them was Father Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) who cured himself of a lung disorder by immersing himself in cold water and then alternatively warming himself with exercise. He also recommended walking barefoot on wet grass and on cold streams. The idea was that intense cold followed by resurgence of blood to the limbs by heat increases the blood flow to the affected parts of the body.
A group of Kneipp practitioners met in 1900 A.D and formed the American school of Naturopathy in New York and it was popular till the1960’s. With the advent of industrialization, the antibiotic era and tremendous strides of Allopathy, Naturopathy saw a gradual decline in the U.S.
Naturopaths believe that there is a life force that flows through the body in various channels called as ‘Nadis’ in Sanskrit. Any blockage in these channels produces diseases and manifest as disease of specific organs.
The principles of Naturopathy are Holistic and the person is treated as a whole; mind, body and soul. The Naturopath focuses on taking a detailed history, details of life-styles, diet, exercise etc and then aims to cure the disease by re-vitalizing the body by eliminating the toxins within. Naturopaths believe that diseases are as a result of poor eating habits, emotional factors, bad breathing practices, improper posture and muscular tension. Naturopaths usually combine nutritional correction with mineral and natural vitamins, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Massage therapy, Acupuncture, Mud baths, Hydrotherapy, Homeopathy, Iridology and Meditation.
Naturopathy thus aims at nourishing the depleted body with pure food and water. It nourishes the mind with pure thought and peace. Thus, the body is cleansed of all the toxins. Overall, the Naturopath seeks to restore the vitality and the energy of the body and build the body’s natural defense and thus build up the natural capacity for Holistic health.