I want to follow up last week's post to talk about the differences between naturopathy and homeopathy. I remember before starting the doctor of naturopathic medicine program, people would default to saying I was going to be a homeopath instead of a naturopath. These words are often mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing!
Naturopathic medicine uses a wide range of natural healing modalities to improve health. I like to refer to modalities as "tools in the toolbox." Some tools we are trained to use as naturopathic doctors are botanicals, nutritional therapy, lifestyle counseling, minor surgery, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, and homeopathy.
Take note that homeopathy is one of the many tools in the naturopathic toolbox. Referring to a naturopathic doctor as a homeopath isn't usually correct, as the majority of naturopathic doctors will not specialize in homeopathy by becoming a Diplomate of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians (DHANP), although they may use homeopathy frequently or on occasion. Not all homeopaths are naturopathic doctors, as there are several other routes to learning homeopathic medicine.
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Homeopathy is based on the principle of "like cures like." Homeopathic remedies are made from minerals, plants, animals, and nosodes. They are highly dilute substances. For example, a common potency (strength) of a homeopathic remedy is 30c, which means that one drop of a tincture of the substance is succussed (mixed) with 99 drops of alcohol. One drop of this new solution is succussed with 99 drops of alcohol... and so on and so forth for a total of 30 dilutions.
I hope this brief overview helps clarify the differences between naturopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine. Sometime in the future, I will write more about the principle of "like cures like" because it will take an entire blog post to explain!
About the Author
I'm a naturopathic medical student at NUHS. I started the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Program in January 2014. I was born and raised in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, a beautiful town on Lake Michigan. My experiences interpreting (Spanish to English) in nearly all medical specialties solidified my decision to study naturopathic medicine, as I saw a deep need for treating the body as a whole, getting to the root causes of symptoms, and using minimally invasive low-cost therapies to restore health.