Therapeutic Order

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

See Also Naturopathic Theories and Practice

The naturopathic therapeutic order was first developed by Jared Zeff and Pamela Snyder.[1] Since it was originally proposed there have been some modifications to this theory.

Initial Theory

The basis of the naturopathic therapeutic order is that the body possesses an intrinsic nature to heal itself using the least possible force. The Therapeutic Order is a natural order in which Naturopathic Therapies should be applied in order to provide the greatest benefit with the least potential for damage. The following is the Therapeutic Order as described by Zeff and Snyder.[1]

1. Remove Obstacles to Health

  • Health, the “natural state” of one’s body, is disturbed by obstacles that lead to disease. The first step in returning to health is to remove those entities that disturb health, most commonly: poor diet, digestive disturbances, inappropriate stress levels, spiritual disharmony, among others.
  • Naturopathic Doctors construct a healthy regimen based on each individual’s “obstacles to health” in an attempt to change and improve the terrain in which the disease developed. This allows additional therapeutics to have the most beneficial effects possible.

2. Stimulate the Vis

  • The Vis is one’s vital force, the body’s innate self-healing ability.
  • Naturopathic Doctors use therapies, such as constitutional hydrotherapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, to facilitate the stimulation and strengthening of this powerful, curative force.

3. Strengthen Weakened Systems

  • Those systems that need repair, and not simply stimulation, are addressed at this level of healing. Naturopathic Doctors have an arsenal of therapeutics available to enhance specific tissues, organs or systems, including: botanical medicine, glandulars, nutraceuticals (professional grade vitamins/minerals), homeopathy, acupuncture, among others.

4. Correct Structural Integrity

  • Physical therapies such as spinal manipulation, massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, are utilized to improve and maintain skeletal and musculature integrity.

5. Use Natural Substances to Restore and Regenerate

  • Naturopathic Medicine’s primary objective is to restore health, not to treat pathology. However, when a specific pathology must be addressed naturopathic doctors employ safe, effective, natural substances that do not add toxicity, nor burden, to the already diseased body.

6. Use Pharmacologic Substances to Halt Progressive Pathology

  • When necessary pharmaceutical drugs are used to suppress symptoms. This, however, does not allow for the removal of the fundamental disturbing factors, nor the improvement of the underlying terrain. Some NDs prescribe these drugs and some refer, this typically depends on the license status of the state in which they practice.

7. Use High Force, Invasive Modalities: Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy

  • When life, limb or function must be preserved NDs refer to Medical Doctors who are expertly trained in these arenas. However, there are complementary, or supportive, therapies that Naturopathy can provide to decrease side effects and often increase the effectiveness of these invasive procedures.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Naturopathic Physical Medicine: Theory and Practice for Manual Therapists and Naturopaths