These are regularly confused, and there can even be overlaps between the two, as Homeopaths will give lifestyle advice and Naturopaths use homeopathic remedies.
When you go by mainstream medical definitions both are holistic forms of treatment that avoid the use of pharmaceutical medicines. Both health professionals have an in depth first consultation that takes time, and will often spend time after the consultation to look at things holistically and come up with a remedy or plan, however they have a different way of working.
Naturopaths use a variety of methods to find the root cause of what is happening, and then to treat the condition. This can include testing genetics, microbiome, metals, allergies or others, via machines, blood tests, kinesiology, and then use a wide range of vitamins, minerals, herbs, aromatherapy and even sometimes homeopathic remedies to treat. There is a focus on nutrition – you are what you eat – as well as other lifestyle medicine factors including but not limited to stress, exercise, and breathing. Different Naturopaths can have different skill sets depending on their qualifications and focus- one trained in aromatherapy will have a different focus and treatment plan than one who is a medical herbalist, or vice versa. Some will be more appropriate for some conditions than others.
Naturopathy can work in a similar manner to conventional medicine- the herbs and supplements are targeting particular pathways in the body and having a therapeutic effect in a similar manner to a pharmaceutical product, but there is usually a holistic overview, instead of a mechanistic isolation of one part of the body and only treating that organ system.
Homeopaths also have a long consultation to find out everything that is going on, and then use homeopathic remedies to stimulate the body to heal itself. While sometimes there can be lifestyle advice as part of the consultation, it is not the focus, instead finding a remedy or remedies that encompass everything that is happening. Homeopathy works on the law of similars – a substance that can cause symptoms in a well person can, in the form of a homeopathic remedy, support the body to resolve the same symptoms in a sick person. While Homeopaths can also vary in the way they work, and some may also be qualified in other health modalities, it is using the highly dilute energy medicines, aka homeopathic remedies, and treating the person as a whole, not breaking down to parts of the body, that Homeopathy focuses on.
To use an analogy:
Naturopaths are the builders for the house of your health – if the nutrition is not right, the foundations will not be stable, the herbs and supplements, the naturopathic management of sickness, keeping the gut healthy, make sure that all the building materials are good quality, and using diet, supplements and lifestyle to repair any gaps.
This is a 21st century house, so Homeopaths are the engineers for this smart house that can repair itself. By applying the smallest amount of programming (an appropriate homeopathic remedy) the house will return to balance, and glitches will be smoothed over. Sometimes this will free up the nano-bots to repair the foundations and any other parts of the house that need help (change the lifestyle), other times the house may need that builder support to fulfill its show-home potential.
When a house has some complex problems going on, it’s not a one person job to support the repair process, instead it may require a builder (naturopath), engineer (homeopath) as well as other members of the team for structural integrity (such as a chiropractor, osteopath, physio or someone else). The good news is all of these experts can work together to best support you.
If you are looking for support on your health journey, it is important to find a practitioner who you can work with – because holistic treatment means it is not usually a one appointment and you’re fixed. You may want to enquire how the practitioner practices- for a Naturopath what their qualifications are, or what areas they specialise in, what sort of testing they do, for a Homeopath, if they specialise in anything, and if there is anything specific you are wanting like detoxing or Homeoprophylaxis.