The following is an excerpt from Naturopathy for the 21st Century by Dr. Robert J. Thiel, PhD; it provides such a beautiful description of how naturopathy can impact your health that we felt strongly about including it on our website. Naturopathy was the earliest known healing system. Before surgery and synthetic isolation of chemical substances, foods, water, and whole herbs were used by many cultures for a wide range of problems. The Chinese for example used kelp 3,000 years ago for thyroid health. The ancient Egyptians used liver for night blindness. Native American cultures used various herbs to promote healing. Various forms of hydrotherapy have been used by many cultures for thousands of years. In the Western sense, Hippocrates, who studied in Egypt, was possibly the best known of the older naturopathic scientists. Throughout his professional life he exhibited the greatest respect and reverence for Nature and taught his followers, students, and initiates that the healing of all disease was up to Nature... He taught that only Nature could cure, and that the province of the Physician was merely to assist, to make the healing more pleasant or less painful. A true healer does not focus on naming diseases, but rather identifying those underlying factors that if not addressed, could result in the manifestation of disease and illness. These factors can be identified and corrected long before it is even possible to make any diagnosis. Even after a diagnosis is made, the same concepts of healing used by naturopathic doctors are equally effective, because once balance is restored the body automatically heals itself. "Naturopathy is not the practice of medicine or surgery.. All the methods of a Naturopath are natural methods, the agents of life such as food, air, sun, exercise, relaxation, sleep, the use of herbs" Dr. Benedict Lust, ND, DC., DO Naturopathic Philosophy Naturopaths practice and believe in the healing power of nature. This belief includes the concept that the body can heal itself of just about anything if clear of toxins and given proper nutrition, rest, mental out-look, and natural stimulation. The naturopath trusts that the natural processes within the body want it to heal. This is one of the reasons why naturopaths tend to recommend whole herbs, natural vitamins in foods, water, breathing clean air, avoidance of toxins, and rest. Naturopaths deal and work with the whole person and understand that there is a multi-factorial nature of health and disease. Naturopaths believe in prevention. Prevention is the best cure. Naturopaths and the modalities that we employ do not cure. The body cures itself. Naturopaths are facilitators. They try to identify the cause of problems, eliminate toxins, and stimulate the body's own natural healing abilities. A Doctor of Naturopathy specializes in wellness. That is to say teaching clients how applying natural lifestyle approaches can act to facilitate the body's healing and health building potential. The Doctor of Naturopathy does not undertake to diagnose or treat disease but recognizes that the majority of sub-health conditions are cumulative effects. Also, the underlying causes of disease are improper diet, unhealthy habits and environmental factors that cause biological imbalances leading to a weakening of the body's defenses and subsequent breakdown of health. All disease is one and what medical doctors call disease are only symptoms of a greater underlying problem. Disease is nothing more than a manifestation of our body trying to correct imbalances. Imbalances that are due to faulty nutritional patterns, improper rest, stress management and other lifestyle considerations which, over time, result in a weakening of the body. By the time disease appears on the scene, it is very late in the game. Naturopathy concentrates on identifying destructive aspects in lifestyles that lead to imbalances. Before symptoms manifest and long before a diagnosis can be rendered, these destructive aspects of our lifestyle can be identified and corrected. Once corrected, the body automatically heals itself. Diagnosing disease and illness is totally unnecessary to correcting underlying problems that result in disease and illness.