Naturopathy, which draws on practices from many cultures, began as a formal health care system in the United States in the early 1900s. Founded on the notion of the healing power of nature, naturopathy emphasizes the following:
Naturopathy also focuses on finding the cause of the disease rather than merely treating symptoms. Some of this system’s principles are not that different from those of traditional healing systems such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.
Naturopathy uses a combination of therapies, including the following:
Some naturopathic practitioners advocate practices that are not supported by scientific evidence. Hydrotherapy is an example. Also, some practitioners discourage childhood vaccinations despite studies having proven that vaccinations prevent disorders and death and that benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh risks.
Few well-designed studies of naturopathic therapies have been done.