The Difference Between Naturopathic Medicine and Homeopathy

As Naturopathic Doctors, we are often confronted with a familiar refrain when explaining to people who we treat, how we treat, and why we treat patients. The phrase “homeopathy” or “homeopathic remedies” are, regrettably, often associated with our practice of Naturopathic Medicine. In this post, we are going to clearly define each and show the difference between Naturopathic Medicine and Homeopathy. Let’s get started!

What is the Definition of Naturopathic Medicine?

As defined by the AANP, Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage an individual’s inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern, traditional, scientific and empirical methods. In training to become a Naturopathic Doctor, homeopathy is simply one of the philosophies studied.

What is the Definition of Homeopathy?

According to WebMD, Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is a medical philosophy and practice based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. Homeopathy was founded in the late 1700s in Germany and has been widely practiced throughout Europe. Homeopathic medicine views symptoms of illness as normal responses of the body as it attempts to regain health. A homeopathic health practitioner (aka a homeopath) uses pills or liquid mixtures (called solutions) containing only a little of an active ingredient (usually a plant or mineral) for treatment of disease.

How Naturopathic Medicine Differs from Homeopathy

There are three main differences seen when comparing Naturopathic Medicine to Homeopathic Medicine. Those differences are seen in the methods of treatment, whether a practitioner needs a licensed degree, and the overall philosophy of medicine and treatment. Let us examine the comparisons, and ultimately the differences, between these naturopathy and homeopathy.

Methods of Treatment

Naturopathic medicine utilizes a variety of techniques to treat the whole body for well being. These methods of treatments by naturopaths include herbal medicine, nutrition, lifestyle guidance, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, natural supplements, physical medicine/body work, and counseling. On the other hand, homeopaths are confined to homeopathic remedies for treatment. Homeopathic remedies are made from diluted natural substances. As previously mentioned, homeopathy is an area of study for Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) and is an option for NDs to use as part of a treatment, rather than the only method of treatment as would be the case for a homeopath.

Does a Practitioner Need a Clinical Degree?

In order for someone to practice Naturopathic Medicine they need advanced training and an advanced degree. NDs are trained at accredited naturopathic medical schools. From there they receive a degree and a license. NDs can hold licenses in multiple states, but cannot practice naturopathic medicine in a state in which they do not hold a license or in a state in which prohibits naturopathic medicine. Homeopathic practitioners do not need a medical degree nor advanced training. Many who label themselves homeopaths only have “learned” via informal training methods. Once again, homeopathic medicine and treatments are taught to Naturopathic Doctors, but they are only one tool at their disposal for treatment options rather than the only tool.

Treatment Philosophies

Homeopathy follows what is known as The Law of Similars. This means they believe that “Like Cures Like.” A homeopathic remedy can resolve symptoms in a sick person if it can cause those same symptoms in a healthy person. The philosophy of Naturopathic Doctors are embodied in The Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine. Those principles are:

  1. Do No Harm
  2. The Healing Power of Nature
  3. Identify & Treat the Causes
  4. Doctor as Teacher
  5. Treat the Whole Person
  6. Prevention

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ND On Demand is the go-to source for all things health and wellness. Our team of licensed NDs have not only received their medical training from some of the nation’s top naturopathic medical clinics, but they have also been trained to provide their services via telemedicine. Contact us to learn more about our NDs or if you’re ready, you can book a naturopathic doctor appointment online today.