Homeopathy? Naturopathy? What’s the Difference Anyway?

           (Here’s an article I wrote for VIVA Magazine) 

        In our ever changing environment we have become increasingly aware of natural alternatives to our once thought, only option of conventional medicine and treatment.  Illness and dis-ease now have more than one nemesis in the battle for health.  New found awareness has lead us to the door step to the practice of prevention through nutrition, and alternative health treatments such as: Homeopathy, and Naturopathy. These two completely different forms of alternative health care have become somewhat commonplace as debates regarding this choice have resonated in political arenas, school forums, and let’s not forget the plethora of alternative health care books that have been spilling over the shelves in your local bookstore. But, what exactly is Homeopathy? and Naturopathy?  And what alternative treatment is right for you?

          Homeopathy from the Greek word “Homoios” meaning similar, and “pathos” meaning disease, was developed in the late 1700’s based on work by Samuel Hahnemann.  Homeopathy delves into the thought of “Simila Similibus Curantur” or “let likes be cured by likes”.  According to the Homeopathic College of Canada:  Homeopathy is a system of medicine which treats disease by the use of natural substances which will produce the symptoms of the illness when administered in a high dose, but when this substance is administered to the patient is such a small often infinitesimal dose it will stimulate the body’s own healing abilities to effect a deep and long lasting cure.  In simple terms, homeopathy heals the condition by stimulating the body’s immune system to react and develop antibodies against the disease or illness.  The preparations will have had the toxic effect of the substance removed by dilution (usually with sugar, water, or alcohol) and shaking process but retaining the essential qualities of the preparation.  Homeopathic remedies are assigned not only the basis of the physical symptom but also the physiology of the patient. Remedies are quite safe with little to no side effects therefore, have become increasingly popular among expectant mothers, the elderly, and children.  The World Health Organization publication in 1999 stated: “homeopathy is one of the most widespread non-conventional approaches to treatment known to the world” With this knowledge and understanding a Homeopathic Doctor may have exactly what you’re looking for.  However, keep in mind a Homeopath does not diagnose but will treat symptoms.

          Naturopathy covers the arena once and still practiced by a variety of indigenous peoples.  It is designed to treat the whole person through more than one modality.  Naturopathic Doctors (ND) aim to uncover the root causes of the illness, and provide treatment accordingly.  This treatment may include: (according to The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine) acupuncture, botanical medicine, massage or hydrotherapy, clinical nutrition, and lifestyle counseling. “It supports your own body’s healing using an integrated approach to disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.”   Most health care plans will cover Naturopathic visits however; it is your responsibility to known what type of education your Naturopath has received.

 Disease,or symptoms of disease are viewed as alarms to the ND and the individual that there is an improper function of the system.  Naturopathy aims to uncover and treat these issues with the primary goal being treatment and prevention to the whole. Naturopathy has been successful in treating both chronic and acute conditions.

 For more information please contact the Homeopathic College of Canada, and The Canadian Collage of Naturopathic Medicine.

 Tania Geetika Ibrahim RHN


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