Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

The Healing Power of Nature.  Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in the person, which is ordered and intelligent.  Naturopathic doctors act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.

Identify and Treat the Causes.  The naturopathic doctor seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.

First Do No Harm.  Naturopathic doctors follow three precepts to avoid harming the patient:

Utilize methods and medical substances that minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat.

Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms.

Acknowledge, respect and work with the individual’s self-healing process.

Doctor as Teacher.  Naturopathic doctors treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. 

Prevention.  Naturopathic doctors emphasize the prevention of disease – assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.  Naturopathic medicine is committed to the creation of a healthy world in which humanity may thrive. 

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care.

A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) is a primary care general practitioner trained as an expert in natural medicine.  Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness – the medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care.  Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment.  For example, a food allergy or an environmental factor – a naturopathic doctor would focus diagnosis and treatment on these causal factors, might cause congestion.  Naturopathic doctors cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.

The History of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine has been a distinct American health care profession for over 100 years.  In the late 1800’s, practitioners from several medical disciplines combined to form the first naturopathic professional societies.  By the early 20th century, more than 20 naturopathic medical colleges had been founded in the US, and naturopathic doctors were licensed in a majority of states.  By the 1920’s, naturopathic medical conventions attracted more than 10,000 practitioners.

Naturopathic medicine experienced a decline in the middle of the 20th century with the rise of technological medicine, pharmaceutical drugs and the “quick fix” idea that drugs and surgery could eliminate all diseases.  Over the last three decades, however, a health conscious public has increasingly sought alternatives to conventional medical philosophy. 


American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

3201 New Mexico Avenue, NW
Suite 350
Washington, DC  20016

Referral Line: 866-538-2267
Phone: 202-895-1392     Fax: 202-274-1992

www.naturopathic.org