History of Naturopathic Medicine

The roots of naturopathic medicine go back thousands of years, drawing on the healing wisdom of many cultures including Indian (Ayurvedic), Chinese (Taoist), Greek (Hippocratic), Arabian, Egyptian and European (Monastic medicine) traditions.

By the end of the nineteenth century, conventional medicine relied almost exclusively on the attack of disease entities with surgery and drugs. Some practitioners in Europe and America, however, returned to empirically proven natural therapies. They sought to promote health through education and the use of natural agents.

As a distinct American health care profession, naturopathic medicine is over 100 years old. A committee of practitioners met in 1900 and determined that the practice should be expanded to incorporate all natural methods of healing, including botanical medicines, nutritional therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, homeopathy, and the manipulative therapies. They called their profession "Naturopathy."

Naturopathic medical conventions in the 1920's attracted more than 10,000 practitioners. There were more than 20 naturopathic medical colleges, and N.D.s were licensed in a majority of states. Naturopathic medicine experienced a decline in the 1940's and 50's with the rise of pharmaceutical drugs, technological medicine, and the idea that drugs could eliminate all disease. As this is proving to be untrue, the profession has experienced a resurgence in the past two decades and a health conscious public has sought alternatives to conventional medicine.