Article #1: What Is Naturopathy? by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Will the wonders never cease? Will the inventive ingenuity of the therapeutic dabblers never run out? Will the naturopaths ever “return to nature” and cease running after false gods?
Recently a four-page circular was deposited in our box at the Post Office. It was sent to us by the leading lay Naturopathic journal in the U.S. The first page is an ad for the magazine. The fourth page carries an ad of two Chiropractors in Missouri who say: “Natural methods approved by leading drugless doctors throughout the world are used in this office.”
It is no secret to the readers of this magazine that chiropractors no longer believe in Chiropractic and are employing everything under the sun that any of the other schools of miscalled “healing” are employing. There are probably not more than three Chiropractic schools left in the world, although there are several that still call themselves schools or colleges of Chiropractic. Every “Chiropractic” magazine that comes to our desk is devoted more to physiotherapy, endocrine therapy and “diet” than to Chiropractic.
It is unfortunate that when chiropractors abandoned Chiropractic they did not go forward to something better instead of following popular commercial trends into something worse.
But I did not set out to write this article for the benefit of the Chiropractic profession. I want to discuss the inventive
ingenuity of the naturopaths. Naturopathy, as defined by its leaders and its schools, is being practiced, under one name or another, by practically the whole drugless world. Ninety-five percent of the chiropractors are practicing Naturopathy. And this reminds us that D. D. Palmer, alleged discoverer of Chiropractic, was a life member of he American Naturopathic Association; also, that here in Texas a large group of chiropractors have formed a Naturopathic Association and are seeking a law to license them as naturopaths.
On page three of the circular that “inspired” this article is an ad of a “health-building specialist and foot correctionist: Graduate Naturopathist, Masseur and Physiotherapist” of Iowa. He offers to the people of B. J. Palmer’s home town, the following cures:
- Complete Drugless Health Service
- Swedish Massage and Movements
- Vapor Baths and Hydrotherapy
- Ultra Violet Ray and Infra Red
- Short-Wave Radio Therapy
- Arch Supports Built to Fit
- Personalized Notes on Health Building and Feet
Hereafter if anybody dies in Davenport, Iowa, it will be their own fault. This man certainly has enough machinery that he can push an electric button or turn a switch or he can “use his hands” and get everybody well.
Why do so many naturopaths and chiropractors still advertise themselves as “foot correctionists”? Do they not know that Dr. Locke is dead and that his fake cure died before he did? Why not try twisting ears for a while? I guarantee that twisting the ears will cure as many diseases as twisting the feet.
Turning to page two of the circular I see an ad for ‘Topeka’s (Kansas) Naturopathic Physician.” While he uses “no drugs, no serums, no surgery” he “is now using OCTOZONE OXYGEN, the new European treatment.”
“OCTOZONE is an active form of pure oxygen—a natural element of the air discovered by Eugene Royer, the French physicist. A powerful germicide and detoxifying agent, it charges the red blood cells with oxygen, revitalizes the cells and tissues, and produces energy by strong oxidation. The function of oxygen in the blood is to convert nutrition into energy. These properties make OCTOZONE a valuable treatment in a wide variety of conditions and many cases receive benefit not otherwise obtainable.
“Arthritis, neuritis, sinusitus, colitis, sclerosis, catarrhal deafness, pelvic infections, and other conditions of infectious origin have responded to this treatment and in some cases have been astonishingly rapid. (It is not clear here whether it is the “condition” or the “treatment” that has been “astonishingly rapid.” Ed.)
“Anyone sick and discouraged should investigate Dr. …’s SYSTEM OF HEALTH BUILDING, which in addition to OCTOZONE includes all acceptable (acceptable to whom? Ed.) drugless and natural methods, such as short-wave diathermy, cold quartz ultraviolet rays, specific light waves, galvanism, colonic irrigation, natural foods, manipulative therapy, and personalized notes on health building.”
Surely, here is a combination of machines and “use of ands” that will cure almost, if not quite, all the diseases in Topeka and the surrounding country.
There are plenty of naturopaths in the country who denounce these machine-shop methods and declare that they have no place in Naturopathy. There are plenty of naturopaths who scoff at these push-button doctors and refuse to recognise them as naturopaths. But how are we to decide what methods are Naturopathy and who are the real naturopaths?
The founder of Naturopathy defines it as “organized drugless healing.” The above methods resemble chaos and do not seem to us to be very well organized, but they are drugless. As the naturopathic schools (the few that are left), are teaching these methods, hundreds of naturopaths are using them and the naturopathic journals carry articles about them, and ads urging them upon the practitioner and patient. I think we are safe in assuming that the new naturopath (neo-naturopathy) is a machine-shop operator. I assume that now that we have machines to give us “an active form of pure oxygen” we will no longer need our lungs and respiratory muscles. We can dispense with breathing and let the machine charge our red blood cells with oxygen, which we are surprised to learn, “is a natural element of the air.”
But now that we have octozone and octozone machines, what are we going to do with our old stand-by, ozone and the ozone generators? What is to become of terpezone and the terpezone chambers? It will surely be heart-rending to have to discard those older loves for a new one.
I often wonder what the feeling of a patient must be when, upon first entering the office of a neo-naturopath, he sees there a vanload of Goldbergian gadgets designed to manufacture health. He hears the purr of the motors and the hum of the machinery; sees the vari-colored lights as these flash on and off and smells the odors of ozone, terpezone, octozone, and of other smelly things. Looking around on the shelves he sees various-size boxes and bottles wearing fancy labels and wrapped in cellophane, containing vitamin pills, food concentrates, gland extracts, laxatives and various herb “remedies.”
With credulous awe he must think to himself as he begins to disrobe for the ceremonials he is about to go through: “Surely now, I have found the right ‘doctor.’ This man certainly has enough machinery to manufacture all the health I need.”
Some of the larger and better stocked of these machine shops have gone in for mass production. Health is turned out on the line like automobiles. They advertise that they treat three hundred patients a day—”each patient receives my personal attention.”
It may amuse my readers; it may disgust them; they may react in various ways; but it is a curious fact that these push-button doctors all insist that their gadget-treatments are natural and that they are practicing “nature cure.” Even their vitamin pills (often so-called synthetic “vitamins”) and their food concentrates are “natural foods.” Their thinking is as artificial as their methods: the machine age has run away with their feeble minds.
If Naturopathy did not change so much, so often and so rapidly, we might be able to find out what it is, but with its rapid kaleidoscopic changes it defies definition.
Reprinted from Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review June 1942.