Naturopathy is an umbrella term for various treatment methods that aim to activate the self-healing powers of the body and thus gently and gently prevent, cure and restore health.
She uses a variety of means and stimuli that occur in nature. These means and stimuli are the sun, the light, the air, the movement, the rest, the food, the water, the cold, the earth, the respiration, the thoughts, the feelings and volitional processes, as well as all the medicines that are from nature especially can be obtained from plant substances.

In principle, a distinction is made between classical natural remedies and alternative medicine methods. Alternative medicine is an umbrella term for a range of treatment methods that are considered complementary to conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is often referred to as complementary medicine. The effectiveness of alternative therapies is often based on therapeutic experience and can not be scientifically proven in most cases.

Synonyms in the broader sense

Holistic medicine, complementary medicine, alternative medicine, natural healing, homeopathy


The classic naturopathic treatments include:

  • Water therapy (hydrotherapy and balneotherapy)
  • Nutrition / Dietetics
  • Phytotherapy (herbal medicine)
  • movement therapy
  • light therapy
  • Rules therapy

Alternative medicine includes:

  • homeopathy
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  • acupuncture
  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Anthroposophic medicine
  • neural therapy
  • Chiropractic / Manual therapy
  • osteopathy
  • Orthomolecular medicine
  • Bach flower therapy

The classical natural healing and alternative medicine have the claim of a holistic medicine, since they treat in their therapy concepts in addition to the body, the soul and the mind.

History of Naturopathy

The origin of naturopathy can be found 2000 years ago and goes back to Hippocrates. In this ancient understanding, the healing of man was conditioned by nature as a healing power. The doctor was only a practitioner who used the healing powers of nature.
The culmination of the practical implementation of these basics of naturärztlichen thinking can be found in Roman bathing. Emperor Augustus was already treated with top-castings, it was recognized that the massage relaxes the muscles, blood circulation and strengthens. Byzantine doctors used cold water treatments for feverish infections.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Paracelsus gives important impulses to the Hippocratic principle of the healing power of nature. In the 18th century, JS Hahn promoted the principles of water applications, diet and exercise, and Charite professor Hufeland promoted bathing and drinking cures. At the same time, S. Hahnemann founded homeopathy.
In the 19th century was the propagation of hydrotherapy by Prienitz, Oertel, Rausse and cock. As a result of their further development and massive expansion, three medical directions were created: conventional medicine, homeopathy and hydrotherapy.
Johann Schroth combined these water treatments with fasting and developed the Schroth cure. In 1850, the Bavarian military doctor Lorenz Gleich introduces the concept of natural healing and natural healing as an extension of hydrotherapy. Pastor Sebastian Kneipp, in addition to his more than 100 water treatments, also applies medicinal plants for internal and external use. The university teacher W. Winternitz hydrotherapy is for the first time scientifically founded and integrated into conventional medicine. Today, the boundaries between conventional medicine, classical natural remedies and alternative medicine are fluid, but these limits are constantly being changed and redefined.
For example, manual medicine and neural therapy are now recognized as part of medicine and were still viewed skeptically a few decades ago.
The situation is different with the discharging methods such as cupping, leeching and autologous blood therapy. These procedures are now considered an alternative therapy, whereas previously they were an integral part of medicine.

Proof of efficacy of naturopathic methods

Proof of efficacy is the temporal and causal relationship between a therapy and its therapeutic success.
The proof of efficacy of naturopathic procedures is scientifically usually difficult to prove, since a holistic approach many individual factors play a role that can not be grasped with scientific methods.
Users of naturopathic and alternative therapies often rely on their own therapeutic success in the question of the effectiveness of a procedure. It must be said that there is no causality in a patient's therapeutic success.
On the other hand, one must say that the effects of naturopathic procedures should not be regarded as non-existent, simply because they can not be proven with our common natural scientific methods.

Dissemination of naturopathic methods

If survey results are believed, the demand for naturopathic and alternative therapies has increased significantly in recent years. These procedures are usually not used as an alternative, but as a supplement to conventional medicine .
The naturopathic and alternative therapies are mainly used by:

  • women
  • chronically ill
  • Patients from higher social classes and
  • of patients with a high understanding of health


training opportunities

A number of naturopathic procedures, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, natural healing or manual therapy, can be learned and deepened in a series of continuing education events.
After the specialist examination, the doctor must take an exam for these procedures in front of the competent medical board, then may lead the appropriate additional designation and settle these procedures by the statutory health insurance. But there are also a number of naturopathic procedures that can be settled only by private medical.

Alternative remedies can be offered by doctors as well as other health professionals (non-medical practitioners), as well as by laymen.

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