Naprapathy is a form of bodywork that is focused on the manual manipulation of the spine and connective tissue. Based on the fundamental principles of osteopathy and chiropractic techniques, naprapathy is a holistic and integrative approach to restoring whole health. In fact, naprapathy often incorporates multiple, complimentary therapies, such as massage, nutritional counseling, electrical muscle stimulation and low-level laser therapy.
Naprapathy also targets vertebral subluxations, or physical abnormalities present that suggest a misalignment or injury of the spinal vertebrae. This analysis is made by a physical inspection of the musculoskeletal system, as well as visual observation. The practitioner will also conduct a lengthy interview with the client to help determine stress level and nutritional status as well. An imbalance along one or more of these lines may signal trouble within the musculoskeletal structure.
The naprapathy practitioner is particularly skilled in identifying restricted or stressed components of the fascial system, or connective tissue. It is believed that where constriction of muscles, ligaments, and tendons exists, there is impaired blood flow and nerve functioning. Naprapathy attempts to correct these blockages through hands-on manipulation and stretching of connective tissue. However, since this discipline embodies a holistic approach, the naprapathy practitioner is also concerned with their client’s emotional health. To that end, many practitioners are also trained in psychotherapy and even hypnotherapy.
In some countries, such as Sweden, naprapathy practitioners are designated Doctors of Naprapatic medicine (D.N.). In the U.S., however, practitioners may freely practice in states where licensing is not required. In other states, they are regulated. Only a handful of states in the U.S., such as New Mexico and Illinois, offer and require licensing.
Eligibility to become a naprapathy practitioner may occur via secondary disciplines as well. For instance, many massage therapists consider naprapathy an extension of their work and seek designation as a D.N. practitioner. For those practicing in states where licensing is not mandatory, they may obtain accreditation through an online program accepted by the American Manual Medicine Association, the North American Naprapathic Association, and/or the American Institute of Naprapathic Medicine. However, the most popular and best-recognized school is the National College of Naprapathic Medicine located in Chicago, Illinois.
Many different types of conditions may be treated with naprapathic techniques. The list includes chronic migraine headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), among others. Of course, naprapathy is also used to treat recreational and sport-related injuries, such as sprains and even whiplash. In addition, many people with age-related joint, neck, and back pain obtain relief from naprapathic therapy. Aside from the available anecdotal evidence, several studies support the effectiveness of this bodywork in the treatment of these and other conditions.