Use Of Naturopathic Practice Interventions And Therapy Term Paper

Length: 8 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Healthcare Type: Term Paper Paper: #19204539 Related Topics: Massage Therapy, Meaningful Use, Animal Therapy, Physical Therapy
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Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) Systems

Complementary and alternative medicine systems are health care approaches that are characterized by a history of use or origins that are external to mainstream medicine or health care practices. These health care systems or approaches have lasted for centuries since different kinds of complementary and alternative medicines have been reported. According to the World Health Organization, different types of complementary and alternative medicines have acted as the basic health practice in developing countries and are increasingly used in countries with predominant conventional medicine (Kramlich, 2014, p.50). CAM therapies have become common in the recent past and are used for treating various conditions including chronic pain conditions. Actually, several CAM therapies and practice interventions such as acupuncture and massage therapy are increasingly used in chronic pain management.

Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine, which is also known as naturopathy or alternative medicine, is a term that is used to refer to a unique system of primary health care that focuses on the use of non-conventional or natural therapies and self-healing process to prevent and treat diseases. Generally, this unique health care profession or system combines the various aspects of modern science with the wisdom of nature to help in treatment of diseases. This combination is based on the premise that the wisdom of nature and knowledge of modern medicine is the most appropriate and effective healer. Naturopathic health systems and initiatives emphasize identifying the root causes of disease and integration of scientific, traditional, and empirical health practices to help in treating several conditions.

The history of naturopathic medicine can be traced back to 1892 when the term was first coined to refer to a rapidly developing system of natural or traditional therapies. These therapies were initially developed because of the widespread disillusionment of doctors and patients with ineffective and toxic techniques of the emerging heroic age of medicine. Practitioners from various medical disciplines combined in the 1800s to develop the first naturopathic professional societies. The formation of the first naturopathic professional societies in the 1800s played a major role in the development of this distinct primary health care system since the societies facilitated the development of over 20 naturopathic medical colleges by the beginning of the 20th Century. In addition to the emergence of naturopathic medical colleges, several naturopathic physicians were licensed in various states whereas naturopathic medical conventions attracted a huge number of practitioners i.e. more than 10,000 ("History of Naturopathic Medicine," n.d.).

The other historical event that shaped naturopathic practice occurred in mid-1800s when it first became a unique medical profession in Germany. Naturopathic became a distinct profession in Germany based on philosophies and therapeutic measures derived from Hippocrates and the indigenous and traditional medicines across the globe. Naturopathic medicine was introduced in the United States in 1896 by Dr. Benedict Lust through the establishment of Yungborn Health Institute in New Jersey, which was the first naturopathic college in the country. Since then, this profession has experienced tremendous growth and resulted in the existence of two differing views of medicine. Currently, naturopathic medical practitioners combine contemporary therapeutic procedures and research with ancient and conventional medicines and treatment procedures.

Naturopathic medicine is based on six major protocols or principles that distinguish it from modern therapeutic procedures and research. The first protocol of naturopathic medicine is nature's healing power based on the belief that the body has an intrinsic capability to establish, sustain, and restore health. The second protocol is identification and treating the cause since diseases or illnesses do not develop without a cause, which needs to be identified, treated or removed in order for a patient to recover fully. The third protocol is do no harm, which implies that therapeutic interventions and measures must complement the healing process that usually generates symptoms. Fourth, naturopathic medicine is based on the protocol of treating the whole person given that diseases and health are situations of the entire organism that is characterized by complex spiritual, genetic, mental, physical, social, and environmental interactions. The fifth protocol is the physician as


The final protocol is prevention, which is the eventual objective of naturopathic medicine that is realized through education and fostering healthy lifestyle habits.

Chronic Pain and Naturopathic Medicine

According to Pongparadee et. al. (2012), chronic pain is a multifaceted problem that is relatively difficult to define and is also seemingly clinically difficult to diagnose and treat (p.341). Chronic pain continues to affect a significant portion of the population and is a major public health issue in today's health care system. Most of the people who suffer from chronic pain struggle with rheumatic, musculoskeletal or osteoarthritis pain, which accounts for a significant portion of the disease burden. Actually, many individuals are forced to live with pain as their health deteriorates and they lose capability to perform various activities of daily living. Chronic pain is generally described as pain that lasts for a long period of time that varies from several weeks to years. People suffering from chronic pain of any kind are sometimes forced to watch their health and well-being deteriorate because of the difficulties in obtaining effective treatment of the pain.

While chronic pain is generally described as pain that lasts for weeks to years, it viewed differently from a naturopathic physician perspective. A naturopathic physician views chronic pain as pain brought by imbalances in the body that aggravate tissues and nerves. From the perspective of a naturopathic physician, chronic pain is relatively difficult to treat using modern medicine and therapies because it has no identifiable cause. Therefore, modern physicians struggle to identify and effectively treat chronic pain because existing strategies or initiatives do not help in detecting the root causes of the pain. Naturopathic physicians treat chronic pain through examining body imbalances that causes irritation on tissues and nerves and result in the unending or recurring pain. This provides a different approach from the common one used in treating chronic pain i.e. through prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Naturopathic physicians diagnose chronic pain through focusing on identifying the nature and source of the pain. During this process, the physicians attempt to determine whether the pain is brought by enhanced levels of acid tissues or the chronic pain is caused by toxins or stress. The general principle in diagnosis of chronic pain through naturopathy is that if the pain is confined to a single body location, it is probably caused by an injury and if it occurs in different body parts, it is likely because of increased acid levels in tissues or nerves.

Once naturopathic physicians diagnose chronic pain, the use several measures of treatment depending on the location of the pain in the body and its root cause. Generally, chronic pain is treated or relieved through drug-free treatments in naturopathic medicine. Unlike conventional Western medicine where pain is treated using anti-inflammatory medications, naturopathic physicians do not use such methods or drugs. Actually, naturopathic physicians use drug-free therapies and treatments because they believe the pain could be brought by several inter-related factors (Schulenburg, 2015, p.320). These drug-free treatments are based on the premise that this unique health system focuses on dealing with contributing factors linked to the unending or recurring pain. In some cases, naturopathic physicians combine complementary and alternative medicine with conventional Western medicine by incorporating them in patient care plans, which helps in supplementing physical therapy and impact of pharmaceuticals or drugs. Some of the most commonly used methods of treating chronic pain through naturopathy include traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure, acupuncture, massage, magnetic field therapy, relaxation training, and hydrotherapy. These common naturopathic treatments are classified into several categories including biologically based therapies, energy therapies, mind-body therapies, and manipulative, systems of care, and body-based therapies (Kramlich, 2014, p.52).

Potential Cultural Challenges

Since inception, contemporary and alternative medicine has emerged as an important part of the modern health care system, especially for critical and acute care nurses. The significance of naturopathy in acute and critical care is because of the rapid changes in the demographics of patients in this care setting due increased life expectancy and immigration. However, the use of contemporary and alternative medicine has some potential cultural challenges that are faced by the afflicted patient population and naturopathic physician and practitioner. These potential cultural challenges by the patient population and practitioner may delay access to contemporary care and lessen medical compliance, which could generate catastrophic results or outcomes.

One of the potential cultural challenges surrounding the use of complementary and alternative medicine is differences in cultural beliefs regarding health and illness. The differences in cultural beliefs about health and illness can act as an obstacle to access to modern health care and lessen medical compliance. This is a major potential cultural challenge because different population groups have different beliefs regarding various issues such as heath and illness. An example of this cultural challenge is the belief by Latino and Asian…

Sources Used in Documents:


"History of Naturopathic Medicine." (n.d.). North Carolina Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Retrieved August 17, 2015, from

Kramlich, D. (2014, December). Introduction to Complementary, Alternative, and Traditional Therapies. Critical Care Nurse, 34(6), 50-56.

Pongparadee et. al. (2012, August). Current Considerations for the Management of Musculoskeletal Pain in Asian Countries: A Special Focus on Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitors and Non-steroid Anti-inflammatory Drugs. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases,15(4), 341-347.

Schulenburg, J. (2015). Considerations for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Interventions for Pain. AORN Journal, 101(3), 319-326.

Cite this Document:

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