Naturopathic medicine (or naturopathy) is based on the belief that the body can heal itself. It aims to improve health, prevent disease, and treat illness through the use of organic foods and exercise; a healthy, balanced lifestyle; and the use of treatments from other areas of complementary medicine. (These treatments include ayurveda, homeopathy, and herbal therapies.)
Naturopathy was developed in the late 1800s in the United States. Today, both naturopathic doctors and traditional naturopaths practice naturopathic medicine. A licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a 4-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school where he or she studies basic sciences and therapies such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, and bodywork. Naturopaths may attend training programs that vary in length and content, but they usually aren't licensed.
Most naturopathic doctors and naturopaths believe in natural therapies, such as nutrition and lifestyle counselling. They may also suggest herbal medicines, homeopathic dilutions, physical medication (for example, therapeutic massage) or nutritional supplements. In some provinces, naturopathic doctors can also prescribe medications such as antibiotics.