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Naturopathic Medicine: The 6 Principles

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on September 15, 2023

Naturopathic medicine is a distinctive approach to health and healing that emphasizes the body's inherent power to maintain and restore health. Rooted in tradition but supported by scientific research, naturopathy offers a holistic take on modern healthcare.

Central to this philosophy are the six fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine. Below, we explore these guiding principles and delve into their significance.

1. The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)

This principle recognizes the body's inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to recovery, facilitating the body's natural healing processes.

2. Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam)

Rather than merely alleviating symptoms, naturopathic doctors aim to identify and treat the underlying causes of illness. By addressing the root causes, they ensure that treatment is targeted and long-lasting.

3. Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)

Naturopathic practitioners commit to using methods that minimize the risk of harm. These methods involve employing natural remedies, avoiding invasive procedures when possible, and always seeking therapies that have the least potential for adverse side effects.

4. Doctor as Teacher (Docere)

Naturopathic physicians educate their patients, empowering them to take responsibility for their own health. They aim to foster sustained health and wellness in their patients by imparting knowledge and understanding.

5. Treat the Whole Person

This holistic approach recognizes that illness affects more than just a particular body part or system. Naturopaths look at the body as an interconnected whole, considering factors like mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as genetics and environmental impacts.

6. Prevention

Naturopathic medicine emphasizes preventive care. By assessing risk factors and suggesting appropriate interventions, naturopaths help patients prevent future ailments.

The principles of naturopathic medicine not only shape the patient-doctor relationship but also dictate how treatments are approached and carried out. By adhering to these principles, naturopathic physicians promise a more personalized and comprehensive approach to health and wellness.


  1. American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). The Healing Power of Nature. Retrieved from https://www.naturopathic.org
  2. Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC). Principles of Naturopathic Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.aanmc.org
  3. Bastyr University. Naturopathic Medicine Principles. Retrieved from https://www.bastyr.edu
  4. National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM). The Role of a Naturopathic Doctor. Retrieved from https://nunm.edu
  5. Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND). What is Naturopathic Medicine? Retrieved from https://www.cand.ca
  6. Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA). Principles and Practice. Retrieved from https://anpa.asn.au

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