Naturopathic practitioners range from physicians to massage therapists, and their approach to diagnosis varies accordingly. Among all practitioners, evaluation of diet and lifestyle is considered crucial. However, if your practitioner has a high level of medical expertise, diagnosis may also involve laboratory analysis, allergy testing, X-rays, and a physical exam. Recommendations for treatment may include any of the following, depending on your symptoms and the practitioner's experience and philosophy:
- Homeopathic Remedies: Preparations containing an extremely diluted amount of a substance that causes the symptoms, prescribed on the assumption that "like cures like."
- Herbal Medicines: Whole herbs or standardized extracts, prescribed as mild, natural alternatives to synthetic medications.
- Dietary Supplements: Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other food substances, recommended as a natural boost to health and resistance.
- Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarianism or elimination of certain food categories (such as dairy products), recommended to relieve sensitivity reactions and clear the body of toxins. Dietary advise often includes instruction on "proper combining" of groups.
- Physical Medicine: Manipulation of muscles, bones, and the spine, and physiotherapy using water, heat, cold, ultrasound, and exercise, employed to relieve a broad array of ailments.
- Stress Reduction: Counseling, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, and other methods, employed to heal physical damage from stress.
- Detoxifying Regimens: Fasting, using enemas, or drinking large amounts of water in an effort to purify the body.
Naturopaths typically recommend an assortment of these approaches in an attempt to boost your natural defenses (the immune system), restore good health, and prevent disease. The practice of Naturopathic Medicine emerges from six underlying principles of healing. These principles are based on the objective observation of the nature of health and disease, and are continually reexamined in light of scientific analysis