The philosophy, which was articulated by Hippocrates, is that the body heals itself and the task of the physician is to support this inherent healing potential.
The unifying philosophy of naturopathy is contained in the following six principles:
Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The Healing Power of Nature). The healing process is ordered and intelligent. The body has the inherent ability -the vitality -not only to heal itself and restore health, but also to ward off disease. Illness is not caused simply by an invasion of external agents or germs, but is a manifestation of the organism's attempt to defend and heal itself. The physician's role is to identify and remove agents blocking the healing process, bolster the patient's healing capacity, and support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
Treat the Whole Person. A person's health status results from a complex interaction of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, spiritual, environmental, social, and other factors. The harmonious functioning of all these aspects is essential to health. Within the body, the different systems are intimately connected, dynamically balanced. Dis-ease or imbalance in one part directly affects all other parts of the whole. There is never a single cause for disease. All the pieces must be integrated in order to create a whole picture of an individual and his or her illness. Therapy can be directed at underlying as well as immediate causative factors, thus treating the whole person.
Primum No Nocere (First Do No Harm). In respecting the inherent ability of the organism to heal itself, the physician must be ever mindful of the consequences or side effects of treatment. The more gentle and non invasive the therapy, the less disruptive it will be to the patient. Whenever possible, suppression of symptoms is avoided, as this may interfere with the healing process.
Tolle Causam (Identify and Treat the Cause). Illness does not occur without cause and symptoms (nausea, rash, headache) are not the cause. Symptoms are signals that the body is out of balance. They are an expression of the body's attempt to heal itself. Causes originate on many levels, but are more often found in the patient's lifestyle, diet, habits, or emotional state. When only the symptoms are treated, the underlying causes remain and the patient may develop a more serious, chronic condition.
Prevention Is the Best Cure. Health is a reflection of how we choose to live. Physicians help patients recognize their choices and how those choices affect their health. The doctor assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate intervention to prevent illness. One cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment and it is the responsibility of both the physician and patient to create a world in which humanity may thrive.
Docere (Doctor as Teacher). The original meaning of the word doctor was "teacher." One of a physician's responsibilities is to educate the patient and encourage self-responsibility. The physician must recognize each patient as an individual responding to and shaping his or her own environment. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value.

----William Collinge, American Holistic Medical Association

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