What is Naprapathy?

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

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.

Narapathic therapy might relieve headaches.
Narapathic therapy might relieve headaches.

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.

A whiplash injury may respond well to naprapathy.
A whiplash injury may respond well to naprapathy.

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.

Narapathy is based on the principles of osteopathy and chiropractic techniques.
Narapathy is based on the principles of osteopathy and chiropractic techniques.

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.

Naprapathy therapy may offer relief for problems with the sciatic nerve, which can cause pain and numbness down the leg.
Naprapathy therapy may offer relief for problems with the sciatic nerve, which can cause pain and numbness down the leg.

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.

Naprapathy often incorporates massage with other therapies, such as nutritional counseling and electrical muscle stimulation.
Naprapathy often incorporates massage with other therapies, such as nutritional counseling and electrical muscle stimulation.

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.

Carpal tunnel, which may occur as a result of repetitive typing, may be treated with naprapathic techniques.
Carpal tunnel, which may occur as a result of repetitive typing, may be treated with naprapathic techniques.
A practitioner of naprapathy may be concerned with a person's emotional health.
A practitioner of naprapathy may be concerned with a person's emotional health.
Some practitioners of naprapathy may also be trained in psychotherapy.
Some practitioners of naprapathy may also be trained in psychotherapy.
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to wiseGEEK is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

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Discussion Comments

anon127991

"I shall laud you (Jehovah) because in a fear inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware. Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing."--Psalm 139:14, 16 Amazing we were created with magnificent design, as this and other alternate health-care modalities prove, able without a doctor (except maybe with emergency medicine) to help our bodies heal themselves with the help of this knowledge. Facts.

anon113278

To the person who posted about Naprapathics being charlatans, obviously has never gone to a Naprapath. If they had gone they would know the difference between a faith healer and a person who is licensed and board certified by the state to perform medical procedures according to their scope of practice with an amazing amount of success. They are the profession least sued by the general public for malpractice of them all.

anon101876

anon100956 - sounds like you're not open to the idea that you may know nothing about the human body. the only true wisdom is that we know nothing. - socrates.

anon100956

A bunch of baloney therapy. It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Naprapathics are charlatans like Faith-healers. at best, just a deceptive masseuse. It's disgusting and pathetic.

anon54514

Do naprapathic doctors "adjust" the spine like a chiropractor does?

anon35967

Yes, the cartilage and ligaments surrounding the rib is perfectly fit for the naprapath as this is exactly connective tissue of which they are the manual medicine specialists. However, in addition, most manual medicine specialists such as chiropractors and osteopaths and even some physical therapists can help a "slipped" rib.

anon22579

Can a Naprapathic Doctor help a slipped rib?

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