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The healing power of nature: Vis medicatrix naturae

Do you recognise the healing capabilities of the human body? Naturopaths value and acknowledge the healing actions of the human body.
An image representing health in your hands.
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The healing power of nature – Vis medicatrix naturae has long-standing roots within the Corpus Hippocraticum since 400BC.

The originals of Vis medicatrix naturae

The ancient Greek medical work conducted by the several philosophical thinkers that we discussed in Week 1 have contributed to the development of this naturopathic principle. During this time, the healing power of nature as a philosophical concept was described as “the natural healing power of nature stimulates the material, the inner warmth implanted in the body, is the reason and source of his life”. As conventional medicine was rising at the same time as the philosophical concepts that naturopathic medicine are built upon, it is not surprising that there has been some cross over. The philosophical concept of “The healing power of nature” – Vis medicatrix naturae was viewed within conventional medicine, however, as time has progressed, conventional thought stepped away from this view as science and medical knowledge advanced. The advancement in philosophical thought of this principle continue to develop with naturopathic medicine recognising this principle in clinical care.

The concept behind the healing power is evident in the healing process of living systems which inherently have the capability to create, sustain, and restore health and well-being. From a clinical care perspective, naturopaths view and support this principle in identifying obstacles that impact health and disease by removing them to support the innate healing of the human body. By removing internal and external obstacles to health, naturopaths can support their patient’s natural ability to establish, grow, repair, reproduce, maintain and restore health.

This principle had further adaption by Sir John Arthur Thomson who was a famous biologist and naturalist. While Sir Thomson was not a naturopath, he further provided an interpretation that this principle could be reflected in the modernised world we live in and that connecting to natural and green living can have profound affects on health and healing Logan & Selhub, 2012

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Fundamentals of Naturopathic Medicine

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