How therapy is practiced and what constitutes therapy? Clinical studies documenting the benefits of the therapy.
Available scientific evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure cancer or any other disease, since virtually no studies on naturopathy as a whole have been published. The individual methods used by naturopathic medicine vary in their effectiveness. Homeopathy, for instance, may be of little value. Other naturopathic methods have been shown to help in prevention and symptom management. Examples include diet for lowering the risk of severe illnesses such as heart disease and cancer and acupuncture to reduce pain.
Supporters claim that naturopathic medicine uses the healing power of nature to maintain and restore health. Their goal is to create a healthy environment inside and outside the body. Supporters claim naturopathic medicine prevents illness because people are taught healthy diets and lifestyles to avoid disease. Treatment is focused on the cause of disease, rather than on the symptoms.
Naturopathic doctors may diagnose illness with many of the same methods used in conventional medicine. They use x-rays, laboratory tests, and physical exams to try to identify the problem. However, naturopathic treatment does not generally use drugs, radiation therapy, or major surgery.
Naturopathic medicine is promoted for the treatment of conditions such as migraine headaches, chronic lower back pain, enlarged prostate, menopause, AIDS, and cancer. Practitioners claim to use "natural methods" to strengthen the body's ability to heal itself. They believe that this type of care causes fewer side effects and costs less than conventional treatment. However, practitioners often refer complicated cases or people needing major treatment to conventional medical professionals.
Most of the claims of effectiveness are based on individual cases, medical records, and summaries of practitioners' clinical experiences. One clinical study that looked at treatment of ear pain in children tested...