Expert advice: what is naturopathy ?
Naturopathy Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about this alternative natural approach, which is increasingly appreciated by Avril’s customers.
Origins of naturopathy
Naturopathy, as it is known in North America, traces back to John Scheel’s work on the subject, in 1895. Benedict Lust (1872 – 1945) built on this work and founded the first naturopathic school in the United States. Shortly after, Pierre-Valentin Marchesseau (1911 – 1994) introduced this practice to Europe. Today, naturopathy is a profession in many American states, in Ontario and Western Canada, where it is taught in universities. In Quebec, this practice is still not recognized and regulated by the Office des professions. However, several private schools and associations such as the ANAQ work in this direction.
What is naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a gentle medicinal method whose goal is to promote an optimal level of health through natural and ecological means. These are primarily aimed at activating, nourishing and strengthening the body’s natural mechanisms, rather than eliminating symptoms or directly attacking pathogens1. Among the preferred means of naturopathy are nutritherapy (personalized diets, vitamins and minerals), dietary supplements, medicinal plants and essential oils, physical activity, stress management programs, and so on.
The role of the natural health practitioner
During consultations, the naturopath conducts a health assessment (taking into account your family history, your medical history, your diet and your lifestyle), assesses your vitality indices (using appropriate naturopathic tools), and establishes a personalized therapeutic protocol. The latter may include dietary suggestions, the integration of natural health factors, the improvement of lifestyle habits, the drainage of toxin overloads that hinder the normal functioning of the body, the support of disturbed physiological functions, and so on.
What are the benefits of naturopathy?
Naturopathy can be used on three levels: for disease prevention, as an alternative to the treatment of functional health disorders (hypoglycemia, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, PMS, menopause, weight management, etc.), and as a complement to traditional medicine2. Although allopathic medicine is the best method of treating a disease, naturopathy is an interesting solution to optimize the health of the patient in order to slow down the evolution of one’s illness. To do this, the naturopath will go for personalized natural recommendations to allow the patient to improve his health without harming his medical treatments, help him to review his lifestyle, and guide him to the appropriate health professionals (psychologists, kinesiologists, etc.)
(Thank you to Mario Chaput, certified natural health practitioner at Avril Supermarché Santé, for collaborating to this article.)