Traditional naturopathy uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself by strengthening the body's own vital curative energy and has been practiced in one form or another since antiquity.
It is based on three premises: that all disease is caused by an accumulation of waste material or toxins in the body; that there is a vital curative force within the human organism; and that the body has the power to heal itself, given the right circumstances.
Naturopathic treatment depends on assessing the failure of the body's normal adaptive mechanisms and providing the optimal circumstances for the body to restore its own homeostasis. Assessment is necessarily holistic in approach, including not only the patient's physical symptoms but also psychosocial matters and lifestyle. It may also include analyses of the blood, urine, and hair, looking for biochemical evidence of nutritional deficiency or the accumulation of toxic metals.
Naturopathy employs a range of nutritional, physical, and psychological therapies. The nutritional therapy frequently starts with fasting or a restricted diet that is supposed to allow the body a physiological rest, during which time it has the opportunity to remove metabolic waste and restore homeostasis. Following this, an individually designed diet may be prescribed with an emphasis on the consumption of natural foods and with supplements of vitamins, trace elements, essential fatty acids, and amino acids.
Many patients with advanced cancer receive naturopathic treatment. This may result in an improvement in their nutritional state, provided the initial restrictive phase is not too severe. Patients who have not received appropriate psychosocial treatment elsewhere may appreciate the support given by the holistic approach of naturopathy.
Woodruff R. Palliative medicine evidence-based symptomatic and supportive care for patients with advanced cancer. 4th ed. Oxford University Press, 2004. p. 350.