The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

1.   Briefly trace the evolution of naturopathic medicine from the time of its inception to the present day. (500 words)

Alternative medicines and treatments were already being practiced as early as 5,000 years ago in China’s traditional method of acupuncture (Singer, 2006, par.1).[1]  During the time of Hippocrates, though—about 2,400 years ago—the use of naturopathic medicine was introduced to the west when the Hippocratic School of Medicine was put up, with Hippocrates teaching about the laws of nature and what he called the ‘healing power of nature’ (Young, 2001, par.1).[2]  He proclaimed that the body has the ability to heal itself from its diseases.  By using herbs and healing therapies, ‘naturopathy’ entered the realm, with Hippocrates using certain techniques like hygienics and hydrotherapy.

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By mid-1800s alternative medicine started to become popular, with theories and “concepts of Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), Benedict Lust (1872-1945), Henry Lindlahr (1853-1925), Bernarr Macfadden (1868-1955), and John H. Tilden (1851-1940)” (Barrett, 2003, par.9).[3]  The term ‘nature cure’ emerged in 1895 when American doctor John Scheel wrote about his method of health care (Young, 2001, par.3).  By 1901, Benedict Lust did a national convention about the use of herbs, massage, homeopathy, spinal manipulation, and other techniques for alternative medicine (Barrett, 2003, par.10).  This started the school of naturopathy, with Lust officially using the term starting in 1902, after purchasing rights from John Scheel who used it in 1895 (Barrett, 2003, par.10).  This started the American School of Naturopathy, wherein the first graduates went up the stage in the year 1902 (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, n.d., par.1).[4]  From here the practitioners formed what is called the Naturopathic Society of America, establishing colleges and health centers all throughout North America.  By the 20th century, naturopathy grew by and large… “rivaling conventional medicine in popularity” (Young, 2001, par.4), with North America being responsible for much of its development… as well as its deterioration.

As much as naturopathic medicine was concerned, North America has heavily influenced its boost and development in the 20th century.  In Canada, for example, it was already well established some time in the 1920s, wherein specific laws regulating its practice was enacted starting in 1925, when it was accepted in Ontario (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, n.d., par.1).  In the British Columbia, however, it was recognized in 1936, followed by Manitoba in 1943, and Saskatchewan by 1952 (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, n.d., par.1).  Naturopathic associations like the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, on the other hand, entered in the mid-‘50s.  However, as the ‘30s gave way to economic and political instability, it led to ‘health care monopoly’—all to the benefit of the sophisticated drug manufacturers.  By the mid-‘40s, the economy was back on track, so that by 1950s, antibiotics and vaccines were the center of global medicine.  In the 1960s, increase in science and technology made way to the discovery of side effects when using advanced and sophisticated drugs, so that in the 1970s, people started to look for other alternatives, and then started to establish naturopathic colleges and associations.  In 1980s, there were already colleges, medical institutions, councils, associations, foundations, and academies around North America, and for the past twenty years, naturopathic medicine continued to be in demand.

2.  What are the current challenges faced by the naturopathic profession? How would you work to overcome these challenges? (250 words)

There are many challenges that naturopaths are facing right now given the fact that naturopathic profession is just starting to be globally accepted.  First, not all naturopaths are licensed nowadays.  There are merely 13 states that have accepted and applied the licensing of naturopaths in America (Barrett, 2003, par.22), which means that people question the safety and accuracy of using naturopathy as means of medical treatment.  And without legitimate licenses, naturopaths would definitely face professional and financial problems.  Second, many laws concerning naturopathy medicine require certain educational attainments that many naturopaths are not able to meet, and this has led associations like the American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA) to forcefully oppose the licensing (Barrett, 2003, par.23).  For naturopaths, this means that the profession takes more time, more money, and more hard work.  Third challenge is that “[n]aturopathic services are not covered by Medicare or most insurance policies” (Barrett, 2003, par.24), which makes it less popular and less engaging in North America.  Fourth and final is that naturopathic services are usually limited.  Especially when it comes to serious medical problems and diseases, many believe that naturopathic services can only be applied if the disease is not life threatening.

Given this fact that the naturopathic profession faces disturbing challenges nowadays, we can still overcome them by proving to ourselves and to other people that the naturopathic profession has a bright tomorrow.  Nowadays, the gains are still limited, however, a few decades from now it shall become the health care control of the industry.  The first step during challenges is to believe in what we can do and in what our profession can do.  Despite all these, we know that naturopathic profession is just on the verge of getting acknowledged and accepted.  There is much, much more to hope for!

3.   Describe the importance of health and well being in your personal lifestyle. (250 words)

Life, for me, is one that is associated to an active, vibrant array of activities and events.  Everyday, what I do in my usual routine is attend class, study my lessons, help with the chores, hang out with friends and go to work.  There are other things that I do, too, that make the day apart from all the rest.  Since I am a lover of sports and active events, I make sure that, at least twice a week, I get to practice playing volleyball—one of my favorite sports!  This I do with my friends, family or neighbors… and I have fun doing it, since it is one sport that I have been playing ever since I was in elementary school.  That was more than a decade ago.

Playing sports is a part of my everyday routine for more than a decade now because it improves my health and my well being.  We all know that these two entities are very important to our everyday lives.  Without good health, we lack the energy and the reason to be alive and well.  Then again, without well being, we lack the desire to live and be happy.  These two are different, yet they are closely attached.  By playing sports, I get to maintain good health and well being by exercising my body, my mind, and my chi.   While going across the yard, pool, or gym it is like saying that exercising is the way to come across worldly battles.  Apart from health and happiness, is there anything else worth aspiring for that would give us plain satisfaction and glee?  Still, when it comes to dieting or good food intake, I just wish that eating the right way would be as easy and enjoyable as exercising the right way.  Here, I would need a lot more concentration.


Looking at myself in the mirror, I realize that, however tiresome life appears to be, there are two things that I should be happy and thankful for: my good health and my well being.  These two are the most important aspects of myself… next to my existence!