As pointed out by Dr. J. M. Jassawalla, Naturopathy is not the invention of any one human mind. It does not place its origin at any given date, but is the accumulation of knowledge and practices pertaining to the natural methods of living and healing throughout the centuries.
The history of “Nature Cure” is as old as the origin of man. All living beings know and practice “Nature Cure” by instinct. A sick dog will automatically fast; cats and many other animals know the importance of a sun bath. Among aboriginal races there were very few diseases in comparison with the diseases found in civilized societies.
Through his work on the subject of diet, Dr. Tilden (in conjunction with such dietetic pioneers as Otto Carque, Dr. Kellogg, Dr. Lindlahr, Bernarr MacFadden and Alfred McCann) considered wrong feeding to be one of the main causes of disease, and wrote several books and pamphlets that are still very relevant today.
Dr. Henry Lindlahr was the first Naturopathic physician to combine in his practice various drugless methods in a systematic and scientific way. Now the school of “Nature Cure” covers not only the original basic philosophy and practice, but also includes other drugless therapies.
The first major development in Naturopathy came in the early nineteenth century in Europe with the pioneering work in hydrotherapy by Vincent Priessnitz and Father Sebastian Kneipp. Father Kneipp, a Bavarian who also went in for walking barefoot through the grass, is said to have cured many difficult cases by having patients bathe in fresh, cool “living water.” Ideally, this was water in fast-flowing streams that had been irradiated by the sun. It was said that this water absorbed “curative solar energy.” His water cures are still given in Woerishofen, Bavaria.
Then there was Louis Kuhne who advocated sun, steam baths, a vegetarian diet, and whole wheat bread. Heinrich Lahmann came along to stress no salt on foods and no water with meals, while Antonine Bechamp proposed the novel theory that it was disease conditions that occasioned bacterial presence and not the other way around. Dr. Benedict Lust called his health program “Nature’s Path.” In addition to being a naturopath he was also an M.D. and an osteopath. In the early 1900s he established health resorts and battled “the drug trusts.” Some considered him the father of American Naturopathy.
One of the first American naturopaths was Dr. John H. Kellogg, a Seventh-Day Adventist. Adventists are a Protestant fundamentalist sect whose members follow a strict vegetarian diet. They adjure not only meat, but all stimulants, including liquor, wine, coffee, tea and tobacco. In 1866, the Adventists founded the Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan. Ten years later, Kellogg reorganized the Institute into what was known as the Battle Creek Sanitorium.
Through the years the Adventists, who operate a number of hospitals and health institutions, have been in the forefront of nutritional research, particularly in the area of vegetarianism.
Henry Lindlahr is remembered for his convictions that disease did not represent an invasion of molecules, but the, body’s way of healing something. In other words, he viewed symptoms as a positive physiological response—proof that the body is correcting whatever is wrong. Accordingly, a fever is a “healthy” sign and one should let it be.
The next naturopath after Kellogg was Bernarr MacFadden, the physical culturist who built a magazine-publishing empire. (His first magazine was Physical Culture founded in 1898.) He advocated exercise and fresh vegetables.
4.2 Present-Day Naturopaths
Today, naturopaths are licensed in seventeen states to diagnose, treat, and prescribe for any human ailment through the use of air, light, heat, herbs, nutrition, electrotherapy, physiotherapy, manipulations, and minor surgery. At present, one can earn a D.N. degree at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Seattle and Emporia, Kansas, or the new North American Naturopathic Institute in North Arlington, New Jersey. (There is also a school in Montreal, Canada.) The four-year curriculum covers many standard medical courses—anatomy, bacteriology, urology, pathology, physiology, x-ray reading, etc., but also includes botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and manipulative technique.
The basic philosophy of naturopaths and Natural Hygienists/Life Scientists are very similar, but differ in that Natural Hygiene offers no cures or therapies. Life Science teaches that only the body can heal and does not endorse the use of herbs, manipulations, surgeries, or other therapies advocated by many naturopaths.
But Naturopathy also holds that the organism will heal itself, regardless of ailment, if given a chance to purge itself of the toxic materials that are the basis of the ailment. This is done by a detoxifying fast and correct life practices after that.
4.3 Naturopathic Views on Health and Disease
Naturopathic treatment aims at eliminating the symptom’s, regardless of their diverse appearance, by total cleansing of the body from the inside out. All the different expressions of the body’s efforts to expel uneliminated wastes or toxic materials, called symptoms, are encouraged and utilized by Naturopathy. Diarrhea is seen as “nature’s enemas,” and enemas are considered an important part of body cleansing. This is another variance with Life Science philosophy. We do not advocate the use of enemas because they are enervating and usually result in weakening of the muscle wall of the colon due to stretched and detached musculature.
Sneezing and coughing are reflex reactions by the body to foreign materials or irritation, and are regarded as inconvenient but desirable. A runny nose or a rash is a sign that the body is ridding itself of waste. Since Naturopathy allows all of these symptoms to run, their course, it is not as comfortable at first as medical treatments which occasion immediate relief. Nature’s course’, however, is thoroughgoing and permanent if causes are discontinued.
According to naturopathic philosophy, the body is not an opponent to be battled against with drugs, but is an intelligent, immeasurably complex living system that will eek its own best good automatically. Given the conditions, your body will automatically heal itself. This is a fundamental of nature-cure. All naturopathic treatments are said to be designed to help the body, to give it the chance to heal itself. However, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, manipulations, etc., are not natural and interfere with, rather than promote, healing.
Naturopaths hold that the healing power of nature is behind all cures, whether with the aid of natural therapies or in spite of medical ones. Your body will heal itself; again, this is the first rule of nature-cure.
Another principle of nature-cure, according to naturopath, Dr. Andrew W. Saul, is that all disease, all sickness, all illnesses are differing expressions of one root cause of disease which is termed systemic toxemia. (This is in line with Life Science doctrine.) Systemic toxemia, according to Dr. Saul, means a “polluted body.” The underlying factor, the common origin of sickness, is a body filled with wastes, chemicals, and poisons. Such a toxic body may express its plight as this disease or that illness, each with its particular set of symptoms according to the body’s predilection. These are desperate measures on the part of the organism to throw off the accumulated wastes and toxins, or to cope with its impairing conditions. Toxic conditions result from wrong living, meaning eating wring foods or taking medicinal drugs and chemicals among other things. Over a period of time, often many years, the body’s strength is sapped and its natural defenses weakened such at it no longer seems capable of healing itself. The last thing that the organism needs is more pollutants and chemicals added to its toxic burden when it’s attempting to cleanse itself. Naturopaths assert they assist the body in its cleansing and rebuilding work with rest, baths, mineral and vitamin therapy and whole, unprocessed foods. A complete fast is used first to give the body the condition to clean house totally. Life Science agrees with the value of fasting, rest and proper diet. However, vitamin and mineral therapy have a drug effect and therefore are deplored.
4.4 Germ Theory Denied
Naturopaths see germs as scavengers assisting in cleaning up wastes. With this in mind, they have confidence that nature heals and that the body will cleanse itself of the cause of illness. If your body is clean and healthy, they say, germs are irrelevant for “susceptibility” does not exist. Germs are not considered causes of disease.
Naturopathic treatment offers the following approach: first build health, and illness will automatically decrease. To let the body cleanse itself is to let the body cure itself. Dr. Andrew Saul defines Naturopathy as “a system of therapy in which the patient is treated without the use of medical remedies of any sort, but with correct dieting, exercises, baths, fasting, manipulations, etc.” Dr. Saul states that the first and- most fundamental principle of Nature Cure (Naturopathy) is that all forms of disease are due to the same cause, namely the accumulation in the system of uneliminated body wastes and toxic ingesta. The second principle of Nature Cure, he says, is that the body is always striving for its good no matter how ill-treated; and that all acute diseases are nothing more than self-initiated attempts on the part of the body to throw off the accumulations of impairing substances which interfere with its proper functioning; and that all chronic diseases are really the results of continued causes and suppression of acute diseases by devitalizing drugging and therapies.
The third principle of Nature Cure, according to Dr. Saul, is that the body contains within itself the power to bring about a return to a normal condition of well-being known as health, providing the right methods are employed to enable it to do so.
British naturopath Harry Benjamin, N.D. writes:
“Germs take part in all disease phenomena because these are processes requiring the breaking down or disintegration of accumulated refuse and toxic matter within the body which the system is endeavoring to throw off. But to assume, as our medical scientists do, that merely because the germs are present and active in all the decomposition processes connected with all dead organic matter, they are the cause of the death of the organic matter, is in question. Germs are part of the results of the disease, not its cause.”
4.5 A Healthful Lifestyle Advocated
The view of naturopaths throughout the world is that we are the product of our dietary and lifestyle, that our ailments have basic causes, and that the way to eliminate disease is to establish the conditions of health. Fundamental causation of illness cannot be blamed on germs, bacteria, the weather, or even unsatisfactory medical treatment. We must look to ourselves for the reason—therein lie the causes of illness. We must look to ourselves for the answer to the problem.
Hunza people eat largely natural foods and are healthy. We eat largely unnatural foods and are not.
Naturopathy holds that a natural whole foods diet is of the highest importance in the maintenance and improvement of health, and that a scientifically-prescribed diet is of the proven method to cure disease. The scope of Naturopathy includes the total investigation and utilization of all Nature’s vitamins and materials to promote health. They say that if your nutrition and lifestyle are truly natural, then illness will not be a part of your life. Sickness does not occur in a healthy body.
4.6 Bach’s Flower Remedies and Schuessler Cell Salts
Bach’s flower remedies are used by some naturopaths. Dr. Edward Bach was an English medical doctor and bacteriologist who left his practice to devote himself to studying the supposed healing properties of flowers. He claimed that flowers contain energies, which, when suitably prepared, appeared to heal an individual’s disease on the level of the individual’s temperament, attitude, and disposition. Dr. Bach was convinced that all disease ultimately stems from a person’s wrong states of mind. If someone is chronically unhappy, or always worried, or constantly afraid, etc., then these states give rise to physical illness. According to Dr. Bach, by using a dilute flower extract, the person’s temperament or attitude is healed, and therefore healing of the body follows.
There are 38 flower remedies, each prepared by floating the blossoms in spring water while exposed to sunlight for a few hours. The resulting solution is then extracted with alcohol and bottled. The extract is diluted again with pure water for use, and a few drops taken in a glass of water. The remedy is also taken dropped on the tongue or lips. This is reminiscent of homeopathic practices in many aspects.
Schuessler cell salts are also administered by some naturopaths. Twelve cell salts were recognized and categorized by a German biochemist, Dr. William H. Schuessler in 1873. He found that there are certain essential minerals that the body requires, in proper balance, in all of its cells. An imbalance or a lack of any of these minerals may lead to disease in the tissues so lacking. Providing the missing minerals to the tissues corrects that imbalance, it is said, to eliminate the illness.
Most Schuessler cell salts are in a homeopathic potency, which uses minute quantities of a substance. Schuessler remedies are commonly in a “6x” homeopathic potency.
The twelve Schuessler cell salts are as follows: Calcium Fluoride, Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulphate, Ferrum Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Sulphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Sulphate, and Silica.
Both the “flower remedies” and “cell salts” are only “valuable” in that they do relatively little harm when taken in such small homeopathic doses and they may give the patient a psychological “lift.” They cannot, however, have any power to heal. Their only potential is harm for they do not attempt to remove causes—they fail to recognize real causes. Further, inorganic minerals are toxic in themselves.