Natural Therapies

Natural Therapies is one of several terms used to refer to the many modes of treating or some people would say "re-balancing" physical, mental, emotional or spiritual dis-eases which are not universally offered, or perhaps are not funded, by conventional medical provisions in the time and location concerned.

Connotations of the word 'natural' include the notion that all aspects of the product or treatment are as simple and unprocessed as possible. For example, this would usually mean that products or ingredients derived using artificial means and highly processed substances, e.g. from petro-chemicals, are not used as part of the treatment or therapeutic process.

Inevitably, the word 'natural' in this context is not tightly defined so expressions on packaging such as "all natural ingredients" might be mis-leading if the users' definitions of what is 'natural' differ from those of the manufacturer or regulatory authority (if applicable - regulations, if any, vary with jurisdiction).

In general terms, 'natural' medicines are often understood to be non-pharmaceutical and not based on chemicals derived from the petro-chemical industry or otherwise artifically synthesized. In many (but not all) cases, 'natural' products are produced organically. When this applies they tend to be clearly labelled as 'organic'.

Just because something is promoted as a 'natural' product does not necessarily mean that it and its ingredients have not been tested on animals. Although it may seem fair to assume that most users of natural healthcare or lifestyle products would prefer to avoid using products that have been developed using processes cruel to animals, information about this should be sought and confirmed separately from the product's 'natural' status. The same applies to environmental impact and 'sustainability' considerations about 'natural' products and their packaging.

Finally, it is also worth remembering that there are many 'natural' poisons; not everything 'natural' is beneficial.

Other related terms include alternative therapies, complementary therapies, holistic therapies, traditional medicine, and other similar expressions.

Examples of treatments that may be referred to using these terms include:

For more about the distinctions between these and similar terms see the terminology page.

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