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Natural therapy may also be called naturopathy. These terms refer to alternative healing methods. Such methods are classified as alternative because they are often practiced and chosen as replacements for common medical practices, which rely heavily on synthetic treatments.
There are many branches of natural therapy, including homeopathy, traditional medicine, and ayurveda. These medical systems can be used to address a variety of physical, emotional, and psychological ailments. These medical systems generally limit or wholly reject the use of synthetic drugs. Surgical procedures are also commonly viewed as measures that should be used sparingly.
Natural therapy is often based on the theory that man-made products are not necessary for healing. Instead, treatments often involve herbal remedies and unintrusive techniques. There is often a great amount of emphasis placed on the connection between bodily health and spiritual health. Spiritual practices are often included or encouraged as part of treatment regimens.
Some natural therapy professionals are self-proclaimed. They may believe that they were born or endowed with the gift to assist in the healing of others. Their training may be limited to informal apprenticeships or personal secrets from unverifiable sources. In many cases, however, these people are formally trained and accredited.
The groups who practice and seek natural therapy and those who practice medicine that is based on modern science are often at odds. Both tend to argue that the treatments outlined by the other group can be ineffective or counterproductive. The two types of medical systems are not always at odds, however. Some professionals in the medical community recognize and admit that some natural therapies are effective. Likewise, some people in the natural therapy community recognize that there are occasions when common medical practices are useful.
Natural therapy is practiced globally. The popularity of such medical systems is often associated with trends in developed societies. In less developed countries, however, natural therapy is often heavily relied upon and consistently practiced among large portions of the population. Many people, even when given the option, will reject medical treatments based on modern science. These people tend to place more faith in natural remedies, many of which have been passed from one generation to another.
The history that accompanies natural medical systems is often extensive. Some practices date back centuries. One of the major differences between most modern medical practices and natural therapies is that modern practices tend to be based on science and medical trials. Natural therapies often lack the support of evidence to prove their effectiveness. Instead, many of these practices rely on their lasting existence as evidence.