History of Naturopathy and Modern Health-care

Hippocrates (400 BCE) the father of medicine (and the Hippocratic oath) understood the healing power of nature, and believed in the natural healing ability of rest, a good diet, fresh air and cleanliness. (The writings of Hippocrates, Penguin Classics.)

Early doctors such as Benedict Lust and Henry Lindlar were instrumental in bringing many of the healing practices from Europe to America in the late 1800’s. During the early 1900’s naturopathic medicine enjoyed much growth and acceptance. The 1920’s to the 1970’s were a time of tremendous struggle for the naturopathic profession as the focus of health care shifted toward pharmaceutical medicine and medical institutions.

Herbal medicine (also homeopathy and to some extent osteopathy) were mainstream up until the 1930’s when the emerging pharmaceutical industry, its profit driven mass-marketing, and legislation all helped to override naturopathy and herbalism, as medicine and heath-care moved forward into the modern age.

After the Second World War the trust of health care was placed on the advances in surgical techniques, the introduction of antibiotics and growth of the pharmaceutical industries. The more traditional healing practices lost ground. This was an era of scientific reductionism and an almost blind faith in the medical ‘miracle’. This approach continued through the 1950’s.

In the last twenty years, public desire for greater control in their Health care process and a growing dissatisfaction with high tech solutions to health problems has resulted in a resurgent interest in the natural methods of preventive health care. This trend has increased demand for naturopathic and traditional medicine as people seek ways to improve their health, cope with day-to-day stresses and avoid illness.



christchurch   osteopathy   acupuncture

mike inman   osteopath


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