What is naturopathy?

Here are about thirty of the most coherent and relevant definitions regarding Naturopathy, picked up from literature and professional sources from France, Spain, Great Britain, Canada or the United States. Each one is a fair reflection of one culture or other local legislation, but the homogeneity of the unity is only one common ground itself.

1. Naturopathy is a fundamental science encompassing studies, knowledge, teaching and application of life’s rules in order to maintain, find back and optimize health in a natural way.

(FENAHMAN, French Federation of Naturopathy, 1985, clause 1)

2. Naturopathy is the science of health; philosophy, art and science dealing with Laws of life applied for health and self healing.

(J.L.M. Garillon, in Ma Médecine, la Naturopathie (“Naturopathy, my medicine”), ed. S.A.E.P., Colmar 1994)

3. Naturopathy brings each natural method together helping to get back or maintain health. It is the art of staying in good health while respecting natural laws. It is as well the art of healing trusting Mother Nature.

(Shakra, in Principes de Naturopathie (“Principles of Naturopathy”), ed. Equilibres 1990)

4. Naturopathy is a creation of conditions helping the body to cure itself as much as possible. Its main idea is “vis medicatrix naturae”, meaning “healing power of Nature”.

(Roger Newman Turner, in La medicine naturopathe (“the Naturopathic medicine”), ed. Quebec/America 1984)

5. Naturopathy is a treatment system admitting the existence of a real curing and self vital control strength inside the body.

(British Naturopathic and Osteopathic association)

6. Naturopathy teaches how to live healthily (…), how to take care of oneself and of our environment (…), how to optimize one’s physical, mental and spiritual health with natural ways.

(Christian Limoges, in La nouvelle option: la Naturopathie (« the new option : Naturopathy »), ed. Trustar, Montreal 1995)

7. Naturopathy is based on the respect of natural laws. It is the science of natural nutrition; the art of promote health and how to prevent illnesses removing each origin. Naturopathy is as well a school of health which stands out thanks to its philosophy of prevention; its health valuation; its positive way of looking at the individual; its idea of toxemia; its attention about functional unhealthiness; its teaching focused on hygiene and sanitary basics; its entire respect of Nature; its way of emphasizing natural immunity and prophylaxis; its fight against every pollutions, and finally, its aim to improve health of a whole population through a teaching of naturalism’s principles.

(André Gagnon, in La Santé par la Naturopathie (“Health with Naturopathy”), ed. Les Editions de la Liberté, Quebec 1989)

8. Naturopathy is hygiene and natural medicine which works wonders in chronic illnesses. Non violent and eternal medicine, it is above all a hygiene, a pattern of living and eating correctly which are the only keys of maintaining health of a healthy man or reestablishing the one of chronic sick person. Here are the three postulates of Naturopathy: vitalism, Hippocratic temperaments and doctrine of causality.

(in Guide des médecines différentes (“guide of other medicines”), Marie Borel & Ronald Mary, ed. Pocket, l’âge d’être 1994)

9. Naturopathy is a therapeutic conception using natural ways to cure or prevent diseases. It helps people finding back principles of a basic life while respecting each individual according to his own specificity and using what Nature can give. It is a real simple medicine of human ecology. (Robert Masson, in Soignez-vous par la nature (“use Nature to cure yourself”), ed. Albin Michel 1977)

10. Naturopathy is a medicine system based on vitalism and using natural keys of curing like fast, phytotherapy, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, gym, outdoors, light and colors.

(Karolen Koleslar, Healthcare On-line, Ohio 2000/

11. Naturopathy is a therapeutic and healing system which mainly refers to natural methods like solar light, nutrition and massages. However, some naturopaths can use “less natural” treatments like colon’s hydrotherapy in case of asthma or arthritis crisis for example.

(Robert Todd Carroll, in Dictionnaire des sceptiques 1998/

12. Naturopathy, natural hygiene and medicine, is based on vitalism philosophy. It is explained scientifically by Hippocratic humors and applied by Naturalism. It is a non violent and optimistic method taking the whole Human being into in consideration. It is a different way of seeing Health because of the systematic research of reasons causing diseases and as well, because it rectifies every mistakes which have involved the equilibrium splitting.

Its main objective is to prevent in order to avoid curing. Therefore, it uses different ways to reach it: life being in accordance with needs; cultivate a strong immune system able to face any attack; avoid overabundance of humors; facilitate self curing while cleaning the toxics accumulated during a long whole wrong lifestyle. This way, Naturopathy stimulates each emunctory, stiring up self curing of every health troubles as far as tissues can support. It means as well that Naturopathy aims to perfect Human on humanism basics and biological sociologism basics (general psycho-physiological reeducation: reconsider human in accordance to his Nature and social being).

(Alfred BRID, in Allopathy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, ed.Groupe d’études des problems humains, Strasbourg 1974)

13. Naturopathy is a vital hygiene and medicine of depths! It is structured into three hierarchical cures (detoxification, revitalization, stabilization) and ten basic technics (food, baths, thoughts, movement, massages, breath, plants, magnetism, rays, reflexes). It aims at perfecting the ground. The fundamental concepts are Vitalism (philosophy), Hippocratic humours (science) and Hygienism (technical).

(Pierre-Valentin Marchesseau, in La Santé sans médicament (“health with no drugs”), livret N°2, Paris 1970)

14. Naturopathy is a philosophy, an art and a science of health which aims at a global well-being of someone into a bio-psychosocial view with natural and ecological help.

(Jean-Claude Magny, in La Naturopathie apprivoisée (« The domesticated naturopathy »), editions de Mortagne, Ottawa 1996)

15. Naturopathy is a system of human culture in harmony with constructive principles of Nature based on physical, mental, moral and spiritual areas of human being.

(Dr. Henry Lindlahr, in ibid)

16. Naturopathy is defined as a philosophy, an art and a science. It aims at giving to human the highest health degree possible while teaching him how to manage correctly his life habits.

(Guy Bohemier, Canadian naturopath)

17. Naturopathy is the philosophy, the art and the science of keeping human in a perfect health with natural helps.

(Raymond Barbeau, father of naturopathy in Quebec, in “L’origine des maladies” (“the causes of diseases”), Montreal 1978)

18. Naturopathy is a therapeutic system including an entire physianthropy using factors, strengths, processes and products of Nature, except main surgery.

(American Naturopathic Association)

19. Naturopathy is a biomimitic science. It means this is a medicine that draws its methodology out of an understanding of Nature, of defense mechanisms and of body rebuilding. More precisely, this medicine helps the body to control its homeostatic changes in each kind of attack, and this way, it assures the best recovery of its vital functions. Naturopathy is based on a ethiopathogenesis and multifactoral notion of disease. It personalizes, for each of us, a special cure according to a double requirement of efficiency and non iatrogenic effects.

(R. Rejean, university of medicine in Paris XIII)

20. Naturopathy is a whole curing method that aims at consolidating the immune system with considered natural helps: healthy life, nutrition, massages, phytotherapy, oligotherapy…

(in Hachette dictionary 1996)

21. Naturopathy is a doctrine saying that diseases can be avoided or cured with a healthy diet and natural ways (rested time, massages, spa…)

(in Petit Larousse Dictionary)

22. Naturopathy is a synthesis of every pieces of knowledge concerning health natural practices. It is based on naturalism, vegetarian diet and hygienism. It is a combination between hygiene and nutrition rules. It encourages organic structures and functions to normalize itself in harmony with a new-found nature’s way.

(Spanish Federation of Naturopathy: Manuel Navarro Lara, in Theoria de la Naturopatia, Sevilla 1998)

23. Naturopathy is the philosophy, the art and the science that aims at giving to human the highest degree of health he can reach while learning how to manage correctly his life habits (…). It is a curing method with an optimum health objective and an efficient management of the lifestyle. This way, the body can get the best conditions in order to reach a powerful and new-found innate health for a natural self healing.

(Naturopathy school of Quebec)

24. Naturopathy gathers every natural method together that could help to get health back or maintain it. It uses nutrition, curing fast, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, biochemistry, aromatherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, oligotherapy. Naturopathic tools keep, maintain and rebuild vital energy.

All improvement depends on this energy.

(in Revue des affaires socials HS may 1986, Ministery of employment and social affairs)

25. Naturopathy (…) is the medicine of a common sense in which ill people and practitioners work together to find the best faculty of self regulation, self adaptation and self healing of the body. It is a holistic system, using body, mind and soul (Lindlahr said that naturopathy is as well made up of mental and spiritual remedies like scientific relaxation, common suggestion, constructive reflexion and prayer).

(Robert J.Bloomfield, Naturopathic federation of Great Britain, in Traditional medicine and health insurance, World Health Organization, Genève 1983)

26. Naturopathy is a medical system focused on diseases’ prevention and using natural and non toxic therapies. It is based on seven principles: “first don’t damage” (Primum non nocere), “Nature is healer” (vis medicatrix naturae), “identify and treat the reasons why” (tolle causam), “treat the person in its entirety”, “the therapist is a teacher”, “prevention is the best cure”, “set-up health and well-being”.

(in Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Michael Murray & Joseph Pizzorno; Prima Publishing and communication 1997)

27. Naturopathy takes sense into two possible etymologies:

“Natura Pathos” means “what you feel, detect, live, conceived by natural way” (latin and greec roots); as well “pain examined in accordance with Nature” (P.V. Marchesseau 1935)

“Nature Path”, the Path of Nature (English roots, Benedict Lust 1898)

There is in this idea a pure preventing field focused on sanitary teaching: it is a natural vital hygiene and a therapeutic way going with “natura medicatrix”, this is clinical naturopathy.

28. Naturopathy is a huge synthesis of natural methods of health. It is an art, science and technical studying and applying Laws of Life at the same time. Neither doctor nor healer, the naturopath practitioner is a global holistic health teacher. He is as well a relations’ help practitioner who helps how to regenerate and use self curing processes as soon as possible.

It is perfectly completing “allopathy” (institutional main medicine) and alternative medicines (natural but often symptomatic nevertheless non iatrogenic ones).

Naturopathy is linked to life’s quality of the person (physical, energetic, psychological and spiritual).

It is deeply linked to social, cultural and worldwide balance (environmental ecology).

(Daniel Kieffer, in Naturopathie, la santé pour toujours (“Naturopathy, Health forever”), ed.Jacques Grancher 1991)

29. Naturopathy is a group of practices helping the body to reach a self curing via only natural ways. It is based on a theory saying that vital strength of the body helps this one to protect itself and spontaneously heal itself. Therefore it consists in strengthening defenses of the body with different hygienic measures (nutrition, fast, gym, relaxation, massages, spa…); a medical treatment only being an urgency.

For example, a naturopath can recommend a patient to eat more salads and fresh fruits, drink less coffee and tea. He can even suggest him to fast for a few days in order to give to digestive system a time off.

(Medical Larousse Dictionary 2006)

30. Naturopathy, based on vital energy of the body, gathers together traditional practices from Occident and lies on ten natural agents of health.

It aims at preserving and optimizing a global health of the patient, his quality of life and helps the body to regenerate itself with natural methods.

(French Federation of naturopathy FENAHMAN, Charter and deontology code, federal collective 2002)