Naturopathy or Naturopathic Medicine is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach, and, like conventional medicine seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs.
Naturopathic practitioners are split into two groups, traditional naturopaths and naturopathic physicians. Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices. Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities of varying degrees of acceptance by the conventional medical community; these treatments range from standard evidence-based treatments, to homeopathy and other practices sometimes characterized as pseudoscience.
In India there is a 5½ year degree course offering a Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (BNYS) degree. The first college of Naturopathy was started in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh by Dr. B. Venkatrao which offered a Diploma in Naturopathy (ND) and now has full-time residential degree course. There are a total of 12 colleges in India, of which three are in the state of Karnataka, two colleges in Hyderabad, one each in Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and four colleges in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Naturopathy and Yoga, as an Indian system of medicine, falls under the Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and Government of India.