From Roots to Research: A Research Strategy for the Naturopathic Profession in Europe
Naturopathy is a traditional medicine system originating in Europe and is practiced in 108 countries worldwide, representing the most geographically diverse traditional medicine in the modern era. However, the European roots of the naturopathic profession are still prevalent, with just over half of the international population of naturopathic practitioners in European countries. Despite the history and size of the naturopathic profession in Europe, only 8.8% of the more than 2000 peerreviewed research publications produced by naturopathic researchers in the last 30 years are based on studies conducted by researchers in Europe. In 2019, representatives from the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF) European Regional Group met in Lyon, France, to develop a strategy for naturopathy research in Europe. Attendees represented naturopathic organizations in France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, and the Czech Republic. The outcome was a co-designed strategy based on shared ideas and goals, linked to implementation activities. The goals for the first four years were: (1) Establish research capacity through research training and infrastructure; (2) Strengthen research training and infrastructure; (3) Secure continued research capacity through formalized research training in naturopathic courses; (4) Establish research-sustainability through university-level naturopathic education. While the COVD-19 pandemic has delayed the timeline of initiating this strategy, the priorities, goals, and planned activities remain the same for the WNF European Regional Group. The strategy not only reflects a vision for the future of the profession in Europe, it also reflects an acknowledgement that the European naturopathic community is not only the custodian of the historical roots of the global naturopathic profession but also has an important role to play in its future.
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