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Naprapathy (Czech náprava, correction - from napravit, to correct) - is a branch of medicine, (manual medicine) that focuses on the evaluation and treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal conditions. Doctors of Naprapathy are connective tissue specialists.

  • Doctors of Naprapathy (naprapathic physicians) are not Doctors of Medicine (MD) (allopathic physicians) - an important distinction,

Naprapathic treatment consists of naprapathic manipulative techniques, adjunctive (additional) treatments, and nutritional counseling.



Naprapathy was founded in the early 1900s by Dr. Oakley Smith who called his manual medical technique naprapathy. It is an alternative to chiropractics which focuses on spine and subluxations. Naprapaths working with the spine emphasize the underlying ligaments.

The oldest and largest naprapathic school is the National College of Naprapathic Medicine in Chicago. The NCNM offers a four-year program, a 3 year accelerated program and a five-year program. Graduates receive a DN or Doctor of Naprapathy degree.

In Sweden, naprapaths - doctors of naprapatic medicine, (D.N. or DN) undergoing a 5 year full time education at the Scandinavian University-College of Manual Medicine currently are the biggest group practitioners of orthopaedic medicine. Naprapaths in Sweden are licensed by the state board of health and welfare. In Finland, naprapathic studies are held in Kotka at the University of Applied Sciences.

Naprapaths can accept insurance reimbursement, but some are cash-based practitioners. Naprapaths utilize their hands and also modalities (such as ultrasound, electical stimulation, cryotherapy and lasers) to manage neuromusculoskeletal and soft tissue related pain.

Naprapaths in the US are licensed as Doctors of Naprapapthy in Illinois and New Mexico, regulated in Ohio and may also practice in California, Florida and other states where freedom of access statutes permit naprapathic doctors to practice. Although the term Oakley Smith Method is trade marked, the word naprapathy may not be.

Massage therapists who want to practice naprapathy in California, Florida or other states in which naprapathy is not regulated can complete an unregulated online DN program, but this program is absolutely not supported by mainstream naprapaths nor by NCNM, the ANA, INA or NANA.

Naprapaths who practice psychotherapy are eligible for membership in the Chicago Open Chapter for the Study of Psychoanalysis.


A study conducted at the Department of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden compared naprapathy with evidence-based care for back or neck pain regarding pain, disability, and perceived recovery. The study is published in Clinical Journal of Pain.

Four hundred and nine patients with pain and disability in the back or neck lasting for at least 2 weeks, were included in a randomized controlled trial. The two interventions were naprapathy, including spinal manipulation/ mobilization, massage, and stretching and support and advice to stay active and how to cope with pain, according to the best scientific evidence available, provided by a physician (Control Group). Pain, disability, and perceived recovery were measured by questionnaires at baseline and after 3, 7, and 12 weeks.

The results showed that at 7-week and 12-week follow-ups, statistically significant differences between the groups were found in all outcomes favouring the naprapathy Group. At 12-week follow-up, a higher proportion in the naprapathy group had improved regarding pain, disability, and perceived recovery. Separate analysis of neck pain and back pain patients showed similar results.

The study concluded that naprapathy might be an alternative to consider for back and neck pain patients.

See also


Naprapathic Manual Therapy or Evidence-Based Care for Back and Neck Pain; A Randomized, Controlled Trial. by Eva Skillgate, Eva Vingard, Lars Alfredsson Clinical Journal of Pain, May 2007, 23:431-439.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Naprapathy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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