Healing Power of Nature

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See Also First, Do No Harm (primum non nocere)
See Also Treat the Cause (tolle causam)
See Also Treat The Whole Person (tolle totum)
See Also Doctor as Teacher (docere)
See Also Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

During the healthy condition of man the spirit-like force which animates the material body rules supreme as 'dynamis'. All parts are wonderfully maintained by it as a harmonious vital process, both in feelings and functions, in order that our intelligent mind may be free to make the living, healthy, bodily medium subservient to the higher purpose of our being. Samuel Hahnemann, MD (1755 - 1843)

The Healing Power of Nature is one of the key principles of naturopathic medicine.

Article Ecotherapy: Embodying the Vis Medicatrix Naturae in Clinical Practice, Vital Link; 2009 Fall


The term vis medicatrix naturae which means the healing power of nature was established by Hippocrates to denote the body's ability to heal itself or innate healing. This healing power is an inherent self-organizing, ordered healing process of living systems which establishes, maintains and restores health.[1] The Vis Medicatrix Naturae is the power of nature to heal, an extension of creator consciousness or cosmic consciousness. While everything on the planet has become somewhat disharmonious, this energetic template or spiritual blueprint is held, inviolable, within our nature and is made avilable as a exemplar during the process of healing.[2]


"The problem of the healing power of nature is a great, perhaps the greatest of all problems, which has occupied the physician for thousands of years. Indeed . . . the aims and limits of therapeutics are determined by its solution."

Although nature doctors, including naturopathic doctors, have been the greatest champions of this doctrine, the mystery surrounding the healing power of the body has been part of medicine since the beginning of time. The medical historian, Max Neuburger stated [3]

Article Putting Nature Back into Naturopathic Medicine, Vital Link; 2009 Winter/Spring
  • There are innate or natural laws surrounding life, health and disease. These laws involve man living in harmony with nature and recognizing the wisdom of the body to heal itself.[4]
  • It is the naturopathic doctor's role to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.[5]
  • Symptoms are often the manifestation of the body's attempt to defend and heal itself. When the root cause of the symptoms and the obstacles to cure are identified and addressed the body will often be able to initiate the healing process on its own.
  • With the use of natural therapies, such as herbs, foods, water, fasting and tissue manipulation, the vis medicatrix naturae, or the healing power of the body, is supported.[6]

Examples of the vis medicatrix naturae

  • when we cut our finger the wound automatically starts to heal
  • fever is a natural response to the flu
  • vomiting or diarrhea are the body's way of responding to food poisoning
  • fractures heal often on their own
  • after major surgeries or treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, the body will initiate healing

Aim Of Naturopathic Treatments

  • Treat the patient; not the disease
  • Remove obstacles to healing by identifying and treating the cause of disease
  • Direct the vital force to stimulate the body's own defences and healing ability
  • Decrease a person's susceptibility to disease


  1. American Association of Naturopathic Physicians [http:www.aanp.org]
  2. Godrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gilbert Cyndi, Gowan Matthew, Smith Fraser (2010) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Vol 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. Neuburger 1932 as it appeared in Kirchfield Friedhelm & Boyle Wade (1994) Nature Doctors: Pioneers in Naturopathic Medicine NCNM Press, Portland Oregon
  4. Lindlahr Henry Philosophy of Natural Therapeutics Maidstronge, England.
  5. Lloyd Iva (2009) The Energetics of Health, a Naturopathic Assessment Elsevier
  6. Kirchfield Friedhelm & Boyle Wade (1994) Nature Doctors: Pioneers in Naturopathic Medicine NCNM Press, Portland Oregon.