Naturopathic Medicine

What is Naturopathic Medicine?


Naturopathic medicine is a system of health care – an art, science, philosophy, and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is not defined by the substances used in treatment but rather by the principles, which underlie and determine its practice. These principles include: the healing power of nature, find the cause, do no harm, treat the whole person, doctor as teacher, prevention and wellness. Infused in this practice is a profound respect for the art of medicine, reverence for the wisdom of nature, and the effective application of the latest scientific research – all of which combine to ensure optimal patient outcomes.


 The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine


˜˜  The Healing Power of Nature  Vis Medicatrix Naturae

Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in the body that is ordered and intelligent.   Naturopathic Physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery as well as to facilitate and augment this healing ability.

˜˜  First Do No Harm  Primum Non Nocere 

Naturopathic medicine follows three principles to avoid harming the patient:  (1) Utilize methods and medical substances that minimize the risk of harmful side effects (2) Avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms (3) Acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.

˜˜  Find the Cause  Tolle Causum

Underlying causes of illness must be identified and removed before complete recovery can occur.  The Naturopathic Physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to eliminate or merely suppress symptoms.

˜˜  Treat the Whole Person  Tolle Totem

Naturopathic Physicians treat each individual by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors.  Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.

˜˜  Doctor as Teacher Docere 

The original meaning of the word “doctor” is teacher.  One of the main objectives of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self –responsibility for health.  Naturopathic physicians also acknowledge the therapeutic value of the doctor – patient relationship.

˜˜  Prevention 

Naturopathic Physicians emphasize disease prevention, assessment of risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions to prevent illness.Naturopathic medicine strives to create a healthy world in which humanity may thrive.

˜˜  Wellness 

Wellness follows the establishment and maintenance of optimum health and balance.Wellness is a state of being healthy, characterized by positive emotion, thought and action.  Wellness is inherent in everyone, no matter what dis-ease(s) an individual mightexperience.  If wellness is truly recognized and nurtured within that individual, he/she will more quickly heal, as compared to their healing with direct treatment of the dis-ease alone.  (This principle was adopted by Bastyr University and added to the original six principles.)


                                                                Bastyr University 2001 / 2002 catalog
                                                                Position Papers and Organizational Documents or the AANP – Revised 8/30/02
clinic/handouts/Principles of Naturopathic Medicine