Many people are confused about the differences between naturopathic and homeopathic approaches to health. Both homeopaths and naturopaths share the belief that the body is capable of healing itself if given proper attention and care. While both approaches seek to identify and address the root cause(s) of imbalance in a person’s system, how they go about doing this and the treatments/therapies used vary dramatically. Both naturopathy and homeopathy are considered alternative or complementary approaches to health, which is often termed “holistic”.
This post will highlight some of the key points and differences between homeopathy and naturopathy so you get a better understanding of when each may be appropriate for your health care.
Homeopathy is based on the belief that “like cures like”, which means that the homeopaths job is to determine the exact remedy that a person needs at that particular time to help remove and/or address the physical, mental and emotional blocks that are preventing the person from being well. In order to accomplish this, a homeopath conducts an incredibly extensive interview with the patient, often taking 2-4 hours, during which they try and determine the physical, mental and emotional causes of their patient’s current state of health. The goal then becomes finding the exact remedy to address these causes.
Homeopathic remedies consist of dilutions of specific botanicals, minerals, glandulars and/or other substances that carry the energetic imprint of the solution needed to allow the patient to recover optimal health. The term “potency” in regards to a homeopathic remedy refers to the number of times it has been diluted; the more dilutions, the more potent. From an objective standpoint, there is very little to no of the actual original botanical, mineral or other compound used to make the homeopathic remedy, however, the essence or energy of that substance remains; this is often why homeopathy is referred to as a form of “energy” medicine.
Homeopathic training can vary widely from state to state. Some homeopaths take course equivalent to 3-4 years of college and/or graduate education; others can call themselves “homeopaths” after attending a weekend course. Because the effectiveness of the remedy is so dependent on the case history, it is best to find a homeopath that has had extensive training and experience working with homeopathic medicine.
Naturopathy, like homeopathy, is a philosophy of disease and healing built up as a result of many years of client investigation and research into the nature and cause of disease. A naturopath, like a homeopathy, seeks to determine the underlying cause(s) of dysfunction in the body and address them using natural healing methods. Unlike a homeopath, a naturopath can use a number of investigative tools and test to look for the physical cause(s) of disease and dysfunction. In addition, a naturopath often uses several healing modalities to address each person’s underlying imbalances. These may include dietary changes, botanical preparations, supplementation, stress management techniques, hydrotherapy, body work, meditation, visualization and various other lifestyle changes. A naturopath can also employ homeopathic remedies as part of their treatment program. Click here to learn more about naturopathy and naturopathic principles.
Even though most naturopaths have a broad range of assessment and correction techniques available to them, many specialize in one or several areas of assessment and/or correction, so be sure and find a naturopath that fits what you are looking for.
Naturopathic training also varies widely from state to state. Some states require a naturopath to have completed a course of study at a 4-year naturopathic medical school; in these status, naturopathic physicians can practice as primary care doctors. As such, their approach to diagnosis is often more embedded in the conventional medical model;however, they will usually employ various complementary techniques, including botanicals, homeopathic remedies, dietary and/or lifestyle changes in their treatment programs. For states that do not require a license to practice naturopathy, the training of a naturopath can vary from a 4-year graduate course to a weekend seminar. As with homeopathic practitioners, it is best to find a naturopath that has extensive training and experience; obtaining references is often helpful in this regard.
Naturopathy vs. Homeopathy
In summary, naturopathy and homeopathy are both holistic philosophies that strive to remove blockages and provide the body what it needs to achieve optimal health. Homeopaths use an extensive interview process to determine the exact remedy that a person needs to restore balance. Naturopaths often use specific testing and/or other assessment techniques in additional to an interview to determine the physical causes of imbalance. A naturopath will then use some combination of therapies – which may include dietary and/or lifestyle changes, botanical preparations, homeopathic remedies, supplementation or other natural healing techniques – in an attempt restore the body to optimal health. Both systems of medicine require extensive study and experience to maximize effectiveness, so be sure and ask questions in order to find the provider that fits what you are looking for.