By Dr. Peter Klapper Ph.D.
Alternative medicines have been around for ages. Some, such as homeopathy and naturopathy, remain popular today. These holistic forms of treatment utilize natural substances to boost the body’s healing ability.
Homeopathy and naturopathy may both be forms of Eastern or alternative medicines and seem synonymous with each other to the untrained eye.
However, they are not the same and instead have distinct differences. Keep reading to learn more about homeopathy vs. naturopathy and how each treatment can benefit your health.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathic medicine is a medical philosophy and practice that bases its methods on the body’s ability to heal itself. Homeopathy practitioners often see symptoms of illnesses as the body’s normal responses during recovery. Therefore, they prescribe alternative medicines containing small amounts of natural substances, specifically those from plants and minerals.
This medical philosophy also follows two laws: “like with like” and “law of minimal doses.” The first law involves stimulating the healing process through substances that mimic the individual’s symptoms when administered to a healthy person. The second principle believes that the lower the substance dose, the greater its efficacy.
Homeopathy is a popular alternative medicine that has withstood the test of time due to its effectiveness. The German physician Samuel Christian Hahnemann
first developed this practice in the 1700s, but it is still a popular form of medicine 200 years later. From its prominence in Europe, this medical practice has reached different parts of the world.
What Conditions Does Homeopathy Treat
Homeopathy treatment can cure many acute and chronic diseases. As such, most find this alternative an appropriate treatment program. Some medical conditions that it addresses include:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- irritable bowel syndrome
- premenstrual syndrome
It can also heal minor health issues such as bruises, scrapes, toothaches, headaches, nausea, coughs, and colds.
Why is Homeopathy a Good Choice?
Homeopathy provides multiple benefits to its patients, which is why many opt for this alternative medicine to cure specific ailments.
First, this medical practice takes on a holistic approach. It zeroes in on the personal aspect of the treatment by considering the individual’s personality, lifestyle choices, hereditary factors, and the disease’s history. This way, health teams can tailor treatment programs according to the patient’s needs.
The medicines this practice employs are safe and natural. Qualified homeopathic practitioners derive their treatments from natural sources such as plants, animals, and minerals. As they only contain small doses, they are non-toxic. In other words, they won’t cause adverse effects on digestion or severe allergic reactions.
Lastly, homeopathy is a long-standing healing tradition due to its efficacy. It has become a popular form of holistic medicine due to its effective treatments throughout time, especially for many acute and chronic medical conditions.
What is Naturopathy?
Compared to homeopathy, naturopathy is a “distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process.”
Both medical practices believe in the body’s self-healing process. However, the main difference between homeopathy vs. naturopathy is that the latter sees the disease as a consequence of the body’s changes during its healing process. Therefore, this practice focuses on preventive measures and patient education as part of naturopathic medicine’s six principles:
- The Healing Power of Nature
- Identify and Treat the Causes
- First Do No Harm
- Doctor As Teacher
- Treat the Whole Person
Practicing naturopathy is also often in conjunction with conventional medicine. As it recognizes the body’s inherent self-healing ability, this medicinal form removes obstacles that hinder this process. In fact, European doctors popularized naturopathy in the 1600s and 1700s by incorporating herbal medicine with traditional therapies.
Today, practitioners combine modern, traditional, scientific, and empirical methods with therapeutic ones to treat their patients. But how exactly does naturopathy help patients?
What Conditions Does Naturopathy Treat?
Like homeopathy, naturopathy uses natural substances to treat patients. However, it also employs different tools to address patients’ concerns, especially when treating the root cause of the disease. Practitioners commonly use herbs, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional counseling.
Some medical conditions that naturopathy cures include:
- cardiovascular disease
- musculoskeletal pain
- type 2 diabetes
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- fertility issues
- digestive problems
- hormonal imbalances
- chronic pain
- chronic fatigue syndrome
Why is Naturopathy a Good Choice?
Another difference between homeopathy and naturopathy is that the second practice often supplements conventional medicine. In fact, practitioners must undergo a graduate-level four-year course before they can administer naturopathy treatments. Moreover, it makes traditional medicine more effective by activating the body’s self-healing mechanisms.
It also takes on a personal approach. Practitioners make patients accountable for optimizing their health. They work closely with patients, removing obstacles that prevent the body’s self-healing process. In creating a personalized treatment program, naturopathic doctors consider physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors.
Homeopathy vs. Naturopathy: Which is the Right Choice?
Sometimes, it’s easy to confuse homeopathy for naturopathy and vice versa. However, you can always differentiate between the two philosophies and how they administer treatments.
For example, homeopathy follows the “like with like” concept. Practitioners treat patients with diluted substances that mimic the illnesses symptoms when used on a healthy person.
On the other hand, naturopathy pays attention to patient education and preventive measures that often supplement conventional medicine.
While Western medicine can help treat illnesses, you may want to explore other options, like homeotherapy, to cure medical conditions naturally. Check out Forces of Nature to know what homeopathic medicines you can use to treat specific medical concerns.