Three Approaches to Integrative Health: Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Homeopathy
If you're interested in integrative health, then you've likely heard about the three popular integrative health approaches of Ayurveda, naturopathy, and homeopathy. The three have some important differences, and they also overlap in some important ways. For example, someone who practices naturopathy may sometimes use ayurvedic and homeopathic treatments, among others. There are also practitioners who stick solely to ayurvedic or homeopathic medicine.
Let's take a closer look at what Ayurveda, naturopathy, and homeopathy are, as well as at the unique benefits of visiting Homeopaths and Naturopaths.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient medical system first developed in India over 2,500 years ago. As one of the oldest medical systems in the world, Ayurveda is considered by its practitioners to also be one of the most rigorously tested and consistently proven of the world's health care approaches. Ayurveda clinics in Connecticut, New Jersey and NYC are popular among people seeking alternative forms of treatment.
Ayurvedic approaches to treating diseases rely heavily on prescribing special diets and herbal compounds. Ayurvedic treatments often contain a variety of plant products - such as leaves, fruits, roots, bark, and seeds - as well as animal products, such as bones and milk. Fats are sometimes prescribed, either for ingestion or for external use, and minerals can also be added to the herbal medicines depending on the ailment to be treated.
What Are the Benefits of Ayurveda?
As a comprehensive medical system, Ayurveda contains treatments and remedies for just about any ailment that would cause someone to want to visit a medical practitioner. Among just some of the many ailments that Ayurveda practitioner can treat include:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Uterine fibroids
Ayurveda can be used to treat numerous psychological problems as well. People sometimes visit practitioners for help with anxiety, depression, stress, fatigue, premenstrual syndrome, and even symptoms of dementia.
While Ayurveda is not widely studied, there are some studies which offer interesting statistics about its potential benefits:
- A 2011 study published in AYU found that diabetic nephropathy patients who took Ayurvedic medicine in an inpatient setting showed a 14.79% decrease in serum creatinine and a 23.41% in blood urea.
- Another 2011 study, this one published in the International Journal of Ayurveda Research found that 80% of rheumatoid arthritis found relief from their symptoms within the first month of treatment.
What is Naturopathy?
A naturopath is someone who applies natural remedies and therapies to disorders and diseases. Naturopathy centres may make use of Ayurvedic treatments, but they also make use of other approaches to integrative health such as acupuncture, massage therapy, exercise therapy, nutritional therapy, dietary and lifestyle changes, and many more.
Naturopathy is such a diverse branch of integrative health management because it strives to find the best natural solution for an individual depending on their condition and on their unique needs. Naturopathy looks at the person as a whole, not just the disease inflicting them. Full-body health is seen as an interconnected web influenced by a whole host of lifestyle factors which all need to be taken into consideration. While naturopathy does focus on treating illnesses, it also always keeps in mind the bigger picture of overall well-being.
What Are the Benefits of Naturopathy?
Like Ayurveda, naturopathy is a complete system of health and wellness which can assist people with just about any aches, pains, conditions, and ailments which may be bothering them. You could benefit from the help of naturopaths or great herbalists if you're suffering from:
- Back pain
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Iron deficiency
Don't forget that naturopaths also have numerous tools to help improve your state of mind. Our mental condition is often a reflection of our physical state. By providing you with the right nutrition and exercise plans, naturopaths can help you deal with stress, fatigue, mental fogginess, memory problems, anxiety, depression, and other mood-related problems.
Naturopathy is difficult to study because of its broad and eclectic approach. Nevertheless, a few studies on naturopathy have show promising results:
- A 2012 study found that type 2 diabetes patients who took part in a naturopathic nutrition program showed a 19% improvement on scores of diabetes problem areas.
- A 2016 study, also on type 2 diabetes, found that 65% of patients achieved favorable outcomes from adjunctive naturopathy.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a natural health system that a naturopath can apply to their work, or that someone can specialize in exclusively. Developed over 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy is based on the idea that "like cures like." What this means is that homeopathy uses a medicine which, in a healthy person, would cause similar symptoms to the disease that needs to be treated.
Homeopathy uses safe, gently micro-doses of medicine which pose no risk of adverse side-effects but which encourage the body to tap into its own natural healing ability. Because the symptoms of a disease represent the body's attempt to health itself, homeopathy seeks to boost rather than stifle the symptoms. For example, coughing and sneezing while you have a cold is unpleasant, but an important part of ridding your body of cold germs. Helping the body in its natural healing response can, in theory, help the cold pass faster.
Homeopathy is one of the most widely practiced medical systems in the entire world. It can be widely applied to a variety of different diseases and ailments because it focuses on the symptoms of those ailments rather than the ailments themselves.
What Are the Benefits of Homeopathy?
People visit homeopaths for a variety of different conditions. Some of the physical ailments that people often find relief from upon trying homeopathic treatments include:
- High blood pressure
- Hay fever
- Inflammatory conditions
Homeopathy can also be effective for mental and emotional ailments, including:
- Panic attacks
- Eating disorders
The effectiveness of homeopathy for certain physical ailments has been successfully demonstrated in some intriguing studies:
- A 2000 study which looked at using homoeopathy to treat allergic rhinitis (hay fever) showed that patients who received homeopathy showed a 28% improvement in symptoms, compared to a 3% improvement with placebo.
- A 2007 study found that, when used to treat acute respiratory and ear complaints, homeopathy (with success rates of 86.9%) was just as effective as conventional treatments (with success rates of 86%). It also caused fewer adverse reactions.
Ayurveda, naturopathy, and homeopathy are three treatment avenues that are very much worth exploring with a variety of different conditions and ailments. All three seek to heal the body by promoting the body's own natural capacity for healing. Finding a practitioner who is capable of safely and effectively using one or more of these systems can have immense benefits for your physical and mental health.