Naturopathy appeared in antiquity as part of Ayurvedic medicine and is widespread worldwide. In the 1940s, modern naturopathy was introduced in France by the biologist Pierre Valentin Marchesseau. This practice is based on using natural medicines to help the body heal itself. What principles does it rely on? What are the health benefits? Who to consult? So many questions that we will answer in this article.
Definition of Naturopathy
Part of traditional medicine, naturopathy is based on preserving the body’s vital energy. The World Health Organization defines it as “a set of care methods aiming at reinforcing the body’s defenses by means considered as natural and biological”.
Naturopathy is part of holistic medicine. According to this theory, pathologies are caused by an inadequate diet, an emotional imbalance, the presence of toxins in the body, and deficiencies.
The Guiding Principles of Naturopathy
Naturopathy uses natural methods to prevent and cure diseases. Its goal is to restore the body’s vital balance. To do this, it encourages patients to respect 4 main rules of lifestyle, including
– Food hygiene: ensure the body receives all the nutrients necessary for functioning. Thus, the patient must adopt a healthy and balanced diet;
– Emunctorial hygiene: eliminate waste and toxins that accumulate in the body;
– Physical hygiene: practicing physical and relaxing activities to keep the body and the nervous system in good health;
– Emotional hygiene: knowing how to manage stress and depression using various techniques proposed by the naturopath: breathing, meditation, relaxation, etc., to avoid somatization.
The Benefits of Naturopathy
Several disciplines are included in naturopathy: aromatherapy, colon hydrotherapy, lithotherapy, balneotherapy, therapeutic massages, energy practices. Nevertheless, phytotherapy has been the subject of numerous clinical trials. At the end of these trials, practitioners have been able to affirm that the medicinal plants and supplements used produce favorable effects on the body.
During the consultation, the naturopath first establishes an assessment. According to the person’s profile, he will propose measures adapted to facilitate weight loss. His accompaniment consists of a close follow-up of the patient’s eating habits and physical practices. The goal is to eliminate fat and toxins from the body.
Strengthening the Immune System
Immune system disorders often lead to allergies. The practice of naturopathy allows the body to become resistant to these. Thus, the patient is offered dietary measures, diets, natural remedies such as medicinal plants in infusion, in the form of essential oils, etc.
Prevention of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms
In naturopathy, the patient is asked to pay attention to his or her diet, which helps reduce specific symptoms related to PMS. For example, foods rich in vitamin D and calcium help relieve menstrual pain. Similarly, certain plants such as valerian, passionflower or lemon balm help to rebalance hormones.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis
Lifestyle has an impact on the evolution of osteoarthritis. After the consultation, the patient is led to use plants such as ginger, devil’s claw, boswellia, harpagophytum, or blackcurrant leaves. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic virtues, they reduce the pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis. Foods that are high in omega-3, minerals and vitamins can also be prescribed by the naturopath.
See a Naturopathic Practitioner
There are workshops and courses that teach naturopathic techniques. People who wish to improve their health can participate in these workshops. However, they do not replace consultations with practitioners. Like a general practitioner, the naturopath can carry out examinations, establish diagnoses, prescribe treatments, and even perform minor surgeries (suturing a wound, removing a wart…). In short, he provides a personalized follow-up.