This review, conducted by the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF), looks at how Naturopathic practitioners provide healthcare for a diverse set of conditions in 14 countries. The most prevalent category of health conditions was musculoskeletal (18.5%), gastrointestinal (12.2%), and mental illness (11.0%).
The survey also included items that asked naturopaths to identify the treatments prescribed or recommended to the patient based on a list of treatment categories, with the most common treatment categories prescribed or recommended to patients by the participant naturopaths were dietary changes (60.5%), lifestyle and behaviour changes (56.9%), herbal medicines (54.2%) and nutritional supplements (52.1%)
We can use this information in Denmark to help target the broad area of services that fall under the scope of naturopathic practice to our target markets and see which conditions our services have the most clinical relevance. In addition, this information can help inform us on how to market our services better and give us some direction for potential areas of specialization and professional development.”
Steel A, Foley H, Bradley R, et al. Overview of international naturopathic practice and patient characteristics: results from a cross-sectional study in 14 countries. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020;20(1):59. Published 2020 Feb 18. doi:10.1186/s12906-020-2851-7
Steel et al. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies (2020) 20:59 doi.org/10.1186/s12906-020-2851-7
Overview of international naturopathic practice and patient characteristics: results from a cross-sectional study in 14 countries
Amie Steel1* , Hope Foley1,2, Ryan Bradley1,3,4, Claudine Van De Venter1, Iva Lloyd5, Janet Schloss1,2, Jon Wardle1 and Rebecca Reid1,2
Background: Naturopathy is a distinct system of traditional and complementary medicine recognized by the World Health Organization and defined by its philosophic approach to patient care, rather than the treatments used by
practitioners. Worldwide, over 98 countries have practicing naturopaths, representing 36% of all countries and every world region. The contributions of naturopaths to healthcare delivery services internationally has not been
previously examined. Thus, the primary intention of this research was to conduct an international survey of naturopathic practice and patient characteristics in order to gain insight to the breadth of their practices and the
type of clinical conditions routinely encountered.
Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted in naturopathic clinics in 14 countries within 4 world regions including the European (Portugal, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain), Americas (Canada, United States, Chile, Brazil), Western Pacific (Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand) and African (South Africa). Naturopathic practitioners in
each country were invited to prospectively complete an online survey for 20 consecutive cases. The survey was administered in four languages.
Results: A total of 56 naturopaths from 14 countries participated in the study, providing a mean of 15.1 cases each (SD 7.6) and 851 cases in total. Most patients were female (72.6%) and all age categories were represented with a similar proportion for 36–45 years (20.2%), 46–55 years (19.5%), and 56–65 years (19.3%). A substantial majority (75%) of patients were considered by the participant to be presenting with chronic health conditions. The most prevalent category of health conditions were musculoskeletal (18.5%), gastrointestinal (12.2%), and mental illness (11.0%). The
most common treatment categories prescribed or recommended to patients by the participants were dietary changes (60.5%), lifestyle and behaviour changes (56.9%), herbal medicines (54.2%) and nutritional supplements (52.1%). Many patients were known by participants to be receiving care from a general practitioner (43.2%) or a specialist medical practitioner (27.8%).
Conclusions: Naturopathic practitioners provide health care for diverse health conditions in patients in different
age groups. The global population would benefit from researchers and policy makers paying closer attention to the
potential risks, benefits, challenges and opportunities of the provision of naturopathic care within the community.
Keywords: Naturopathy, Primary care, Health services research, Survey, Practice behaviours
* Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
1Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine,
Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Level 8, Building 10,
235-253 Jones St, Ultimo, NSW 2006, Australia
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article.
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Summary and article is contributed by Rick Sørensen Scott