underlying theory is that the human body can and will heal itself if the causes of disease are removed. However, it does acknowledge that this concept is not helpful for some conditions, such as diabetes and others. For chronic conditions and serious diseases, it recommends being under the supervision of a professional practitioner.
Theories of Natural Hygiene
It is characterized by several Theories as follows:
- The human body contains the power to heal itself (without medicine).
- Disease exists when the body is prevented from healing itself.
- The primary causes of disease are stress, toxemia, over working, over eating, taking unhealthy substances, etc.
- Germs, bacteria, and viruses are not the primary cause of disease.
- Medicines are poisons to the human body and are harmful.
- Vaccinations are not effective, not safe and damage the immune system.
Natural Hygiene claims to enable people to get well by removing the causes of disease, rather than by treatment with medicines and other foreign substances. As in all therapeutic systems, determining the true cause of a disease is a vital part of Natural Hygiene. Proponents claim that other health systems begin treatment without knowing the cause, or falsely stating that the cause is unknown, or describing as the cause what is merely a description of the disease, e.g. the cause of arthritis is claimed to be a stiffening of the joints.
History of Natural Hygiene
While Natural Hygiene is promoted as a new discovery, it in fact has roots in a number of alternative therapies that go back to the early nineteenth century. Dr. John H. Scheel, a German-born homeopath, coined the word naturopathy in 1895 for a system of dietary restrictions and herbal nostrums that conspicuously included fasting as a treatment, all founded on a sort of vitalism that was in vogue at the time, and was promoted as a philosophy by Henri Bergson, among others. Scheel's "naturopathy" itself stemmed back to the thought of the Rev. Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian clergyman and inventor of the Graham cracker, who believed that diet and morality were related and who taught that vegetarianism helped keep the libido in check. Some such as James Redfield even claimed a pure diet is a key step on the path to spiritual awareness and enlightenment.
Toxemia of the blood
Natural hygiene holds that the true cause of disease is toxemia, or poisoning, in the blood. Toxins are a normal product of metabolism or living. Advocates claim that enervating habits, or nerve energy destroying personal habits, such as worry, stimulants, or vaccinations; builds up toxins in your blood. Enervation (i.e., wasted nerve-energy ) is claimed to stop toxins from being eliminated from your blood. Natural hygiene theories claim that the most powerful therapy for toxemia is a fast. Because a fast gives nature a rest. John Tilden, MD in his Toxemia Explained wrote that the healthy person is one who is poised, self-controlled, and does not follow the sick habit of worrying (See Tilden, 1935).
The role of fasting
Natural Hygiene practitioners often operate fasting retreat centers, because fasting is the preferred method of "treatment". They claim that, as a result of fasting, people often recover from cancer, arthritis, asthma, digestive problems, high blood pressure, heart problems, and many other diseases.
Fasting means eating nothing, drinking only distilled water and getting lots of rest. Fasting as understood in Natural Hygiene is not starvation, but physiological rest, and its aim is to allow the body to utilize its healing powers to the maximum ability. Autolysis or self-digestion is a state the body enters about the fourth day of a fast; according to Dr Herbert Shelton, in this state the body can break down even cancerous tissues and eliminate them.
Many Natural Hygiene practitioners operate fasting clinics where patients undergo a fast for the duration of 3 to 30 days, depending on the progress and indications. Then they are placed on a raw-food diet for a length of time equal to the number of days of their fast.
Advocates say that attempting to do a long fast (more than 14 days) without the supervision of a Natural Hygiene practitioner is NOT recommended. Furthermore, they do not recommend fasting for the treatment of diabetes, cancer of the kidneys, cancer of the liver and severe anemia.
Theories pertaining to medicines
It is part of the theories of Natural Hygiene that drugs and medicines are poisons to the human body and have no healing properties. Natural Hygiene maintains that drugs have the effect of masking symptoms or changing symptoms, but not for the better.
It is a principle of Natural Hygiene that for each action to the body caused by a drug, the body reacts producing an equal and opposite reaction. So that often a drug may appear to produce a good effect, but that is later followed by a worse condition. Then there is the added burden of removing the poisonous medicine from the body, which the body must do or else it may eventually succumb to iatrogenic disease (disease caused by medical practices).
Natural Hygiene vs medical science
Natural Hygiene claims to be contrary to medical science, medical schools and most medical doctors' beliefs, and that the two systems are directly opposed to each other in philosophy and practice.
Dr Herbert Shelton, the founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society in 1948 (now known as the International Natural Hygiene Society ), wrote many books on the subject. In his book, "Natural Hygiene, Man's Pristine Way Of Life", he discusses the conflicting ideas between Natural Hygiene and Medical Science. Others have also shared these views including Harvey Diamond who co-wrote the Fit for Life book series in the 1980's.
While most conventional practitioners would agree that Natural Hygiene's philosophies and recommendations are quite different from their own, they would generally agree that most drugs are dangerous to the body. The disagreement is about whether they can nonetheless serve the purposes of healing, if used in a properly controlled manner. Natural Hygiene practitioners cite the preponderance of evidence of the harmful effects 1 of medical therapies and treatments, as well as the long list of discontinued drugs 2 and the harmful side effects 3 of currently prescribed drugs.
Natural Hygiene practitioners acknowledge that in cases of emergency, such as stroke, heart attack or automobile accident, emergency medical science plays an important role.
Natural Hygiene vs naturopathy
The beliefs of natural hygiene and naturopathy are quite similar. Naturopathy developed from the water and nature cure in Europe during the 19th century. Natural hygiene developed from the water cure in America during the 19th century. Natural hygiene talks about blood toxemia while naturopathy talks about the accumulation of morbid matter. Naturopathy, however, is a lot more eclectic than natural hygiene is. Natural hygiene prohibits all use of drugs including herbal and homeopathic medicines. Natural hygiene's primary treatment method is fasting, and does not use any manipulative therapy. Naturopathy on the other hand as an eclectic art uses both herbal and homeopathic medicines as well as the manipulative therapies of body work or massage therapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic.
Training of practitioners
There is at least one College of natural hygiene however as with most forms of alternative medicine the level of formal training of practitioners may differ. Other training options include Internships.