Naturopathy is a natural healing technique using the healing powers of nature.
- Hydrotherapy Methods
- Mud Therapy
- Fasting Therapy
- Reflex Therapy
- Naturopathic Manipulation
- Massage Therapy
- Yoga and Pranayama
- Botanical Medicine
- Counseling and Lifestyle Modification
Hydrotherapy is a treatment that utilizes water to deal with different types of diseases and their associated aches and pains. In some cases, treatment involves the use of hot water, while cold water is helpful in other situations. This type of water treatment may involve procedures that include immersing the patient in water or combining the water with oils and herbs as a part of the treatment process.
How does Hydrotherapy work?
The healing properties of hydrotherapy are based on its thermal effects on body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli. The nerves carry impulses felt at the deeper levels of the skin into the body, where they are instrumental in stimulating the immune system, influencing the production of stress hormones, invigorating the circulation and digestion, encouraging blood flow, and reducing pain sensitivity. Generally, heat quiets and soothes the body, slowing down the activity of internal organs while causing the blood vessels to dilate resulting in removal of waste from the body. Cold, in contrast, stimulates and invigorates, increasing internal activity and shunting the organs.
Types of Hydrotherapy
Jacuzzi Here the bathtub is equipped with a powerful water pump, which produces a strong jet stream of water within the tub.
- The effects of Jacuzzi are similar to those of a whirlpool bath. The powerful jet causes friction and massages the body, relaxes the muscles, relieves tension, and increases circulation to the skin thereby removing morbid matter from the body. It also enhances functioning of the heart and lungs.
Hydro Jets This is a tub of hot water which uses jets of forced air to produce currents and bubbles, for therapeutic purposes.
- Helps in reducing the pain of arthritis, tendonitis/bursitis and inflammation resulting from sports injuries and overexertion. The moist heat is extremely helpful to those who are suffering from respiratory ailments, such as congestion, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
Whirlpool Bath In this bath, a huge circular tub is used. It is equipped with powerful water pumps, to produce a powerful whirl (circular waves) in the tub.
- Helps in reducing the pain of arthritis, tendonitis/bursitis and inflammation resulting from sports injuries and overexertion.
- The moist heat is extremely helpful to those who are suffering from respiratory ailments, such as congestion, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
Colonic Hydrotherapy/Enema This detoxifying treatment involves a soothing, gentle flow of filtered, temperature-controlled water throughout the colon to flush out logged waste and toxins.
- Helps bring about efficient elimination of waste products.
- Helps restore tissue and organ function.
- Rebalances body chemistry.
Immersion Bath It is one of the hydrotherapeutic procedures where the body is either locally or completely immersed in water of different temperatures. Temperatures vary according to the condition of the patient and season.
- Cold Immersion Bath: Helps in high fever, heat stroke, skin diseases, paralysis, muscular dystrophy, polio, and other neuro-muscular disorders. It is contra-indicated in conditions like severe weakness, heart disease, elderly patients, and very young children.
- Hot Immersion Bath: Here the water temperature is 38-42◦C. It is useful in all the pain diseases, obesity, diabetes, weak digestion, flatulence, asthma, skin and hair problems etc.
- Neutral Immersion Bath: Used especially in the winter season. It is a sedative and gives relief to the body in all diseases. Helpful in high fevers, rheumatism, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism, chronic dysentery, etc.
Steam Bath The patient is made to sit on a stool inside a specially designed chamber with the face and head out. A cold compress is placed on the head. A steam of natural medicated water is given to the entire body except the face and head. The toxic elements from the body are excreted from perspiration. The duration of the steam bath is usually ten to twenty minutes. A cold shower is taken immediately after the steam.
- Medicated or herbal steam helps rejuvenate the body.
- Improves circulation of the blood and tissue activity.
- Relieves rheumatism, gout, uric acid problems, and obesity.
- Helps the skin maintain its natural moisture and softness.
Arm and Foot Bath Hands and legs are kept in a special tub filled with hot/cold water.
- Cold Foot Bath: Useful especially in excess menstrual bleeding.
- Hot Foot Bath: Useful in relieving headaches, sinus problems, frequent colds, menstrual disorders, joint pains, and blood pressure.
- Hot Foot & Arm Bath: Useful to treat all kinds of headaches, migraine, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and hypertension, etc.
Jet Spinal Bath In this type of bath, a powerful jet of water is applied to the spine. Temperature and duration vary according to the condition of the patient and season.
- Cold Spinal Bath: Useful in high blood pressure and emotional disorders such as stress, strain, insomnia, etc.
- Neutral Spinal Bath: Useful in high fevers, rheumatism, insomnia, etc.
- Hot Spinal Bath: Useful for back pain, cervical pain, lumbar spondylitis, obesity, muscle pain, and some gastrointestinal disorders.
Hip Bath For this bath, the tub is filled with water in such a way that it covers the hips and reaches up to the navel when the patient sits in it. Hip bath is given in cold, hot, neutral, or alternate temperatures.
- Stimulates the circulation toward the pelvic and digestive organs, relieves constipation, flatulence, and indigestion.
- Helps set right the menstrual disorders like dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, leucorrhoea.
- Helps bring about efficient elimination of waste products.
- Helps restore tissue and organ function.
- Rebalances body chemistry.
Mud is one of the five elements of nature which has a vast impact on our body. It contains important minerals which have positive effects on human health. Mud can absorb toxins from the human body, therefore, it is very useful in preventing many diseases. It is also known for its healing properties namely, it helps in cooling and relaxing the body as it can hold moisture for a long time.
How does Mud Therapy work?
The dark color of mud helps in absorbing different colors of the sun and conveys them into the body, giving it its therapeutic properties. Secondly, as the mud retains moisture for a long time, when applied over the body it provides a cooling effect. Thirdly, its shape and constancy can be easily changed by adding water, so it is easy apply.
Types of Therapeutic Mud
Mud found in different parts of the world has different properties. Mud composition varies with the place of origin. Firstly, a mineral constituent of mud varies with the kind of rocks found in the area and the process of soil formation. Secondly, mud property is influenced by kind of flora and fauna of the area. Therefore, it is important to learn about properties of mud before utilizing it. Different types of mud used:
- Moor – Peat-based organic muds.
- Fango – Thermal mud of hot springs.
- Brine Muds – Highly saline coastal muds.
- Healing Clay – Usually swelling mineral clays
Mud therapy is used in two forms: Mud Pack
- Mud Pack for Eyes: The pack is typically 9”x 6”, enough to cover the eyes completely. It is placed on the eyes for 20 to 30 minutes. An eye mud pack helps in relaxing the eyes; especially good for those who require to sit in front of a computer for long hours. Therapeutically, it reduces irritation, itching, or other allergic conditions such as conjunctivitis and hemorrhage of the eyeball. It also helps in correcting refractive errors like short/long sightedness. It is effective in glaucoma, where it works to reduce the eyeball tension.
- Mud Pack for Head: A head mud pack is usually thick, narrow band. It is applied over the forehead and helps to heal congestive headache pain quickly.
- Mud Pack for Face: Fine mud is used for the face. The paste is evenly applied on the face and kept for 30 minutes. It helps in improving the complexion of the skin. In cases of acne, it helps by absorbing excess oils and toxins from the skin. It also helps in reducing dark circles around the eyes.
- Mud Pack for Abdomen: The size of a mud pack for abdomen is usually 10” x 6” x 1” for adults. The mud pack is applied for 20-30 minutes. An abdomen mud pack helps in all kinds of indigestion. It is very helpful in decreasing intestinal heat and stimulates peristalsis.
- Here, mud is applied to the full body either in sitting or a lying down position. Mud is kept for 45 to 60 minutes and ideally exposed to sunlight, at least intermittently. A mud bath helps in increasing the blood circulation and energizing the skin tissues. It thus helps in cleansing and improving the overall skin condition. Regular mud baths may be considered as a natural beauty treatment procedure as it also helps in improving skin complexion and reducing spots and patches, possibly the result of some skin disorder like chickenpox or small pox. Mud baths are useful in many skin diseases such as psoriasis, urticarial, leprosy, and other skin allergic conditions.
According to Naturopathy, the root cause of most of the diseases is the accumulation of toxin matter in the digestive system. Fasting is considered as one of the most important methods of nature cure. In Naturopathy, fasting is practiced to enable nature to perform its cleansing process in the body, without any hindrance, and without any additional load of food to digest. The digestive organs are given a rest, to enable them to regain their health and working efficiency. As per Naturopathy, initially, one should fast for a limited period of time and then gradually increase the time period. One should break the fast with juice, vegetable juice, soups, and fruits. But the best and the safest way of fasting is the lime juice fasting. Before fasting, the bowel should be completely empty. Rest is advised during fasting. Benefits:
- Fasting helps to excrete accumulated poisons, toxins and waste materials. Dead cells are removed, and new cell formation is sped up.
- Fasting provides rest to the different organs of the body, especially the digestive and assimilative ones.
- Fasting is good in treating of disorders like indigestion, gas formation, obesity, asthma, high blood pressure, and other digestive disorders.
Reflex Therapy involves the physical act of applying pressure to the hands, feet, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. Reflexologists believe that different areas on your hands and feet correspond to other parts of your body, and massaging them stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system to heal itself. Benefits:
- If you have been injured or lacking energy then reflexology can help to restore balance and coax your body into healing itself.
- It also can increase a sluggish circulation and is useful for treating stress, anxiety, back pain, migraine, poor digestion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), respiratory problems, asthma, headache, bladder problems, menopausal symptoms, and period pain.
According to Naturopathy, diet is one of the necessary components in managing diseases. Eating natural foods has a cleansing and purifying effect on our body and also helps in warding off diseases. A balanced diet should be alkaline rich. Acidic food builds up greater levels of toxic waste in our body, which makes our body prone to various ailments. The diet should comprise 20 percent of acidic and 80 percent of alkaline foods for maintaining good health. To make the pH of our blood more alkaline we need to increase intake of food which is rich in vitamin B complex; Vitamin C helps the body to bounce back from stressful situations. Carbohydrates contain the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which increases the sense of well-being. According to Naturopathy, all food should be taken in a fresh form. Naturopathic diets are divided into three categories:
- Eliminative Diet: Juices and soups are come under eliminative diet. This includes, but is not limited to, lemon juice, citric fruits, tender coconut water, vegetable soups, buttermilk, and wheat grass juice.
- Soothing Diet: Examples of soothing foods are fruits, salads, steamed vegetables, sprouts, vegetable chutney, etc.
- Constructive Diet: Food such as wholesome flour, unpolished rice, little pulses, sprouts, yogurt, etc. come under this group.
Naturopathic manipulation is one of the fundamental techniques of naturopathic medicine. Using gentle force, the physician manipulates spinal segments and joints to re-establish normal movement and function. Naturopathic manipulation aims to correct these misalignments. In medicine, the nervous system is seen as the primary control mechanism of the body. The nerves of the nervous system flow in and out from the spinal cord to all areas of the body. They have to pass between the vertebrae of the spine in the back and neck. If the spinal vertebrae become misaligned through changes in the attached soft tissues, trauma, or repetitive injury, the nerves between the vertebrae can become compromised. Since these nerves are connected to all areas of the body, it is easy to understand how misalignments in the spine can cause a wide range of health problems. This is a comprehensive adjustment process and is much more than just a process of moving bones. It involves a detailed evaluation of the spine, the extremities, and the associated reflex mechanisms of the nervous system. Based on this comprehensive evaluation, a series of targeted adjustments is performed. The adjustments are very gentle, precise, and highly effective. Examples of health problems treatable with naturopathic manipulation:
|Back Pain||Frozen Shoulder|
|Shoulder Pain||Athletic Performance|
|Reduced range-of-motion||Healing after injury|
|Nerve Pain||High Blood Pressure|
Acupressure is often called acupuncture without the needles. Instead of needles, acupressure is done by using the thumb, finger, or knuckle to apply gentle but firm pressure (usually with the fingertips) to specific points on the body which influences the autonomic nervous system. The pressure is usually increased for about 30 seconds, held steadily for 30 seconds to two minutes, and then gradually decreased for 30 seconds. It’s often repeated three to five times. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, the body has vital energy called “chi” or “qi” that flows along invisible lines of energy flow called “meridians.” There are thought to be at least 14 meridians connecting our organs with other parts of our body. Acupressure points lie along these 14 meridians. If the flow of qi is blocked at any point on a meridian, it is thought to be the cause of ailments and can lead to disease anywhere along the meridian. Acupressure is used both as a preventive, and a therapeutic treatment. It helps alleviate pain and fatigue, and addresses musculoskeletal problems. Benefits:
- Induces relaxation and restores balance.
- Stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic system.
- The therapeutic touch stimulates certain chemicals in the brain that boost the immune system to lift depression and relieve stress.
Massage is one of the important treatment modalities used for treating many disorders and also to preserve good health. Massage improves blood circulation, provides strength to body organs, and helps regenerate muscles. Massaging with oil is very useful and has therapeutic benefits. The oils that are usually used in massage are mustard oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and aroma oil. The process of massaging activates all the body organs. Different massage techniques:
- Stroking (Effleurage): This is essentially a circular stroking movement made with the palm of the hand and is used to warm up the muscles before a deep tissue massage.
- Rubbing or Cross Fiber (Friction): This technique uses friction to create a stretching or broadening effect in large muscle groups.
- Kneading (Petrissage): This is a deep massage where the pressure is applied to compress the muscles; hands are molded to the area and movements are slow and rhythmical.
- Percussion or Rhythmic Tapping (Tapotment): This is a rhythmic percussion used to “wake up” the nervous system.
- Shaking/Trembling (Vibration): This involves the use of mechanical devices which passes on the vibrations to the area being massaged.
- Very effective in toning the muscles, and nervous system.
- Helps to eliminate body waste/poison through the kidneys, bowel, skin, and lungs.
- Improves blood circulation and respiration.
- Relieves pain and fastens the metabolic rate.
- Delays the appearance of facial wrinkles.
- Eases body stiffness.
Yoga and Pranayama
Naturopathy is based on several principles such as the body’s intrinsic healing capacity and the importance of educating the individual in relation to the general care of one’s body and mind. That is why yoga is complementary to Naturopathy, because yoga teaches how to inhabit the body more fully, while being more conscious of the thought processes. The Yoga kriyas, asanas, pranayamas, meditation, and relaxation techniques help all aspects of wellbeing. We teach disease specific yoga asanas and pranayamas depending on the client’s condition. Pranayama or yogic breathing practices constitute volitional control of breathing. Regulation of the flow of inhalation and exhalation is Pranayama. The process of breathing fulfills the requirements of oxygen for the body; control of intake of oxygen and elimination of carbon-di-oxide keeps our vital organs fit and healthy. Hence, it helps in detoxification, regeneration, and rejuvenation of the body and mind. Pranayama has a high beneficial effect on the nervous system. It makes the mind calm, quiet, and brings mental tranquility. Mental tranquility helps to reduce mental stress and strain. This is certainly helpful in cases of insomnia. As a result, pranayama is generally considered to be a readily available remedy for psychosomatic disorders.
Naturopathy utilizes various components of plants for their healing properties. These can include the flowers, leaves, roots, stems, berries, fruits, seeds, bark, rhizome, etc. Chemically derived drugs may address only a single problem with many side effects, whereas botanical medicines are able to address a variety of problems simultaneously, with minimal or no side effects. Herbs work by correcting imbalances and triggering the body’s healing response.
Counseling and Lifestyle Modification
Counseling and lifestyle modification techniques are essential to naturopathic medicine. A naturopathic physician is formally trained in the following counseling areas:
- Interviewing and responding skills, active listening, body language assessment, and other interpersonal skills necessary for the therapeutic relationship.
- Recognition and understanding of prevalent psychological issues including developmental problems, sexual dysfunction, abnormal behavior, addictions, and stress.
- Various treatment measures including hypnosis and guided imagery, counseling techniques, correction of underlying organic factors, and family therapy.