Naturopathy is a label for any alternative medical practice that focuses upon "all natural" means of healing as opposed to drugs and other "unnatural" treatments. According to traditional naturopathy philosophy, the human body is naturally designed to heal any disease and can in fact do so as long as it is kept in tune with the natural environment. Thus, a person must get as much clear air, sunlight, and natural foods as possible.
Of course, there is very little money is getting people to breathe clean air - so naturopathy has also come to include a wide variety of additional treatments from other forms of alternative medicine like herbs, homeopathy, reflexology, etc. The common thread among all of them must be that they remain "natural" and not employ drugs created in a laboratory. Naturopathy also incorporated many elements of Hygieotherapy, in particular the principle that living a good, clean life was just as much a matter of morality as it was a matter of clean air and healthy food. Thus, early naturopathy was infused by many religious elements urging people to "come clean" morally and spiritually well as physically. Such aspects may not be as strong today, but they can still be found in many naturopathic regimines.
Naturopathy tends to rely upon the principle of vitalism as well, arguing that healing the body requires not simply focusing upon the body itself but also a person's soul. Thus, with the right mind-set, a person can heal themselves of whatever ails them - even serious illnesses like cancer or AIDS. However, there exists no credible scientific evidence either that the premises of naturopathy are true or that its treatments have any serious medicinal value beyond a placebo effect.
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What is Alternative Medicine?
There's an awful lot in the news and in society about "alternative medicines" these days. By some estimates, it's an industry doing between $15 and $20 billion annually - and growing! But what is alternative medicine - how does it differ from scientific medicine and why do people use it?
Skepticism & Critical Thinking
This is the main index for issues dealing with skepticism, critical thinking, logic and arguments. The first section is Critical Thinking itself - how to think about claims and arguments you hear, how to critique arguments, and how to formulate your own arguments such that they are more likely to be sound and valid. The second section is about Skeptical Investigations - the practical application of the critical thinking skills covered in the first section. Here you will find critiques of things like astrology, alternative medicine, parapsychology, the New Age and more.