This comes up a lot for me.
It's a funny sounding, semi-longish word with a mysterious feel to it. Let me demystify it for you!
Naturopathy is an all encompassing term for all drug-less, non-invasive natural tools for healing. It includes the use of medicinal plants, homeopathic remedies, many types of bodywork and energy work, color therapy, sound therapy, reflexology, emotional clearing work such as EFT (emotional freedom technique), essential oils, flower essences, acupuncture and chiropractic. It also includes the cleansing of the body through detoxification or pollutants and environmental poisons, the use of correct physical activities for your specific body type, and true Naturopathy ALWAYS involves observation of the eyes, face, skin, hair, nails, tongue, feet and more, showing us outward signs of inward problems.
Just like when you have a fever; you sweat, get hot, or chilled on the outside. Pretty easy to grasp this common concept. However, this simple clue to infection is only ONE WAY (of likely hundreds) that the body tells us what is happening with our interior terrain. It's pretty darn amazing! A skilled Naturopath learns to read the signs, to see with Naturopathic eyes.
Not all naturopaths are the same, however. Some are even trained to use pharmaceutical drugs, to do minor surgeries and they may use invasive diagnostic techniques. I am an Orthodox Naturopathic Doctor, one that adheres to the classic principles of Naturopathy which states to "first, do no harm", to use no tools, remedies, or techniques that can move the body away from it's innate ability to heal. We Naturopaths believe in the bodies ability to heal itself under the right conditions and an Orthodox Naturopathic Doctor is very simply put, a teacher. The term doctor itself comes from the latin word docere, which means "to teach" or "to instruct". The Naturopath is not a healer, but a facilitator to what the body instinctively knows how to do.
Naturopathy is as old as human kind. As soon as humans were human, they were learning what plants hurt or helped, what made illness better or worse in the realm of nature. And that is what naturopathy is. The tools of mother nature, being used for good in humanity.