Physical Medicine

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-12 (EDT)

See Also Naturopathic Therapies

Physical Medicine is the term used to describe all forms of manual therapy, such as those involving the use of hands or machines on the body to address structural, postural misalignment, neuromuscular concerns or functional imbalances in the body.

Article Maintaining Ownership Over Physical Medicine, Vital Link; 2011 Spring


Physical medicine has always beens a component of naturopathic medicine. In fact, physical medicine has been part of most healing systems since the beginning of time. The introduction of naturopathic medicine to America coincided with the founding of osteopatic and chiropractic medicine. Many of the early naturopathic doctors held degrees and licenses in many of the different facets of natural medicine. The early physical medicine techniques used by naturopathic practitioners included: Ling massage, mechanotherapy, zone therapy and reflexology, vibrational and membraneous massage, neurotherapy, manual therapy techniques, neuromuscular techniques, high velocity with low amplitude mobilization, graded mobilization, lymphatic drainage, exercise therapy, and the more modern approaches of visceral manipulation, hydrotherapy, and electrotherapy. Many of the intitial physical medicine terms are not currently used and over time techniques have been either integrated into a more umbrella term or lost due to a lack of documentation and integration into an established system of medicine.



The central concept that distinguishes naturopathic physical medicine from the other forms of manual medicine is the premise that human beings are vitalistic and holistic organisms. It is the recognition that the physical structure shifts and adapts to internal and external stressors. This adaptation can result in changes in internal functioning, psychological well-being as well as physical misalignment. There is the realization that every aspect of the body is connected and that imbalances on the structural level often affect other aspects of health.


The physical medicine therapies practiced by naturopathic doctors can include: