The years 1895 and 1896 were very important to the history of Eclectic Medicine and ultimately to the modern day licensed and accredited version of a practice known as naturopathy. Naturopathy is both an accedited-licensed and unaccredited-unlicensed form of medicine taught and practiced in the United States. No other medicines use the same name to define their philosophy and practice and are allowed to do so without much political or governmental dissent on behalf of individuals against this form of healing. This means that the practice of naturopathy in the United States has its well trained licensed and accredited practitioners who have received considerable amounts of classroom training in a formal 4+ accredited academic setting, as well as those naturopaths who received some form of home schooling for most of their training, engaged in this through some form of mailing or electronic training program in which lessons and training materials are provided and closely monitored by a few “certified” individuals allowed to score the failure and success of these students. Unlicensed-unaccredited naturopaths are medical care givers who have a strong familiarity with some of the more common teachings on “nature cure” or “natural medicine”, but lack the scientific training for the most part to be able to distinguish between diseases based on a broad based professional training in a clinical setting.
During the late 19th century, as Eclectic medicine was fading away, the practice of naturopathy was born. Ultimately, the schools of naturopathy that developed would take over much of the philosophy and beliefs with which Eclectic physicians defined their faith. In order for eclectic physicians to continue remaining active in the field of medicine, they would ultimately have to relinquish some of their basic philosophy in order to receive both professional and public approval. Not all eclectic physicians were above to relinquish their claims that “germs” or bacteria were not at all the cause for any diseases, that instead they were simply victims of their presence in an already unhealthy body. Eclectic physicians had to also content with the truths about some of their theories, which at times were too philosophical and metaphysically based at times, an ideology that worked a century before but by the turn of the twentieth century was about to endure substantial amounts of public criticism. Eclectic physicians had begun fostering the notion that natural cures were better, that certain practices like exercise and nutritional management were good for the body, and they had the potential for becoming highly popular by promoting the physical exercise programs mastered by the first guru in fitness and human body form, Bernarr MacFadden.
Eclectic physicians however lost their political momentum very quickly as the nineteenth century passed. There were a number of schools still around, now in their dying years and days. This set the stage for several changes to take place as naturopathy took control over the Eclectic field of medicine. This process of change however wasn’t done in any clearly defined way between 1910 and 1940. As a result momentum in naturopathy was lost as well, were it not for the ability for naturopathy classes to be taught as part of another alternative form of medicine–chiropractics. In the meantime, the last of the remaining Eclectic MDs died out, resulting in the extinction of a certified MD trained in Eclectic Medicine. With the departure of the last Eclectic MDs also came the departure of the last members of the State Medical Boards considered the experts and overseers of this field. (The only other member of the board approved and required by State statutes was the Homeopath.) With the loss of the last Eclectic MD came the monopolization of the State Medical Board by regular or allopathic MDs once the remaining homeopaths became deceased. The Naturopath in the meanwhile could not earn the MD degree. For completion of their programs they were allowed to claim the degree N.D. In some ways, allopathy finally won its long war against the alternative physicians during the last years of the Eclectic MD profession. The individuals attending this conference in Portland, Oregon represent the last of a dying breed of 19th century alternative medical practitioners.