Origin of the Word 'Naturopathy'
The term Naturopathy was first coined by Dr John Scheel of New York in 1895.
Its body of knowledge derives from the rich heritage of writings and practices from western and non western nature doctors since Hippocrates c.400BC.
Hippocrates looked for the cause of diseases, in the patients' relationships with air, water and food, not just at the disease effect (Micozzi, 2011).
Conventional medicine cites Hippocrates as the father of modern medicine, although rejects his belief in vitalism and instead focuses on the assertion that doctors should 'take the art of healing out of natures hands'. Whilst this is essential when a life threatening disease, illness or traumatic injury has occurred, in more every day or ongoing circumstances the natural healing mechanisms of the body may be encouraged by assisting them to return to their most healthful homeostasis.
A cut or wound will heal itself naturally over time and science documents the extraordinary mechanisms of the body that exist in cells, structures and physiology that it relies on to maintain its own life. This vital action, vitalism or vital life force within the body is recognised by Naturopathy and endeavours are made to assist the body to heal itself by nurturing natural structure and function processes.
In a moment of inspiration recently I wrote on the subject of vitalism that...
“Vitalism doesn’t describe something other than what is. It describes the synergy of action within a living organism. It is the very function of the organism as a whole. The activity of interrelated systems, that combines to animate matter. It is another word for Life, the life force, the positive balance of energy that is used and produced when cells are alive. Life = vitality and vitality = life. In fact Vitality is vital to life“ (Shairin,2015).
So assisting the vital force of the body, as is done by Naturopaths, is the very act of working with the cells and whole system to propagate, nurture and maintain the positive energy balance that ensures the continuation of life and the vitality of the body.
Benedict Lust Purchased the name Naturopathy, also known as Nature Cure, in 1902. He described it as
“both a way of life and a concept of healing that used various natural means selected from various systems and disciplines of treating human infirmities and disease states” (Micozzi, 2011).
Benedict published a monthly journal and promoted a new way of thinking of health care. In the editorial of the first journal, titled The Naturopathic and Herald of Health, he wrote:
“We believe in strong pure beautiful bodies … of radiating health. We want every man woman and child in this great land to know and embody and feel the truths of right living that mean conscious mastery” (Micozzi, 2011).
Micozzi, M. (2011). Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Missouri: Suanders Elsevier
Shairin is a Naturopath and Usui Reiki Master/Teacher with a Bachelor of Health Science in (Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Medical Systems).