The practice of naturopathic medicine is guided by six core principles, as defined by American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP).
1. First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): The naturopathic physician follows three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
- Uses methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects
- Uses the least force necessary to diagnose and treat; avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms
- Acknowledges, respects, and works with individuals’ self-healing process
2. The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): The naturopathic physician recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. The naturopathic physician acts to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
3. Identify and Treat the Causes (ToIle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying cause(s) of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
4. Doctor as Teacher (Docere): The naturopathic physician educates patients and encourages self-responsibility for health. The physician also recognizes and employs the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
5. Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totem): The naturopathic physician treats each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, the naturopathic physician encourages individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
6. Prevention (Preventir): The naturopathic physician emphasizes the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with the patient to prevent illness.