The term natural medicine denotes a range of different methods intended to activate the body’s own capacity for spontaneous healing, and that preferentially make use of resources and stimuli found in nature. For example, these include the sun, light, fresh air, movement, rest, food, water, cold, earth, breathing, thoughts, feelings, and processes of the mind.
A broader understanding also includes natural remedies, principally medicinal plants and their preparations. Today, natural medicine largely belongs to the area of alternative medicine, and in a narrower sense, to complementary medicine. An important pioneer was the German physician Hufeland.