Nature Heals

The Natural Hygiene healing system

In-depth critique, thoughts and comments on the body’s self-healing as perceived by Hygienists

Copyright © 2004 Healing Cancer Naturally

For an introduction, see The Natural Hygiene Approach to Healing.

If you look at how the US-centered “Natural Hygiene” movement came into being (there exists no truly comparable movement in Europe though the “Nature Cure” idea has a long and honoured tradition on this continent), you will see that it was a counter-reaction or movement against the (ob)noxious and often literally ”murderous” so-called healing practices of medicine as used in the 19th and previous centuries.

Dr Herbert Shelton in his book "Natural Hygiene Man's Pristine Way Of Life” provides an eye-opening account of what was considered “curative” in those days while literally killing people (bleeding, administering toxic pills to the sick, etc.).

Simultaneously, the “Natural Hygiene” movement was a “countermovement” to the widely held belief that an outside “miracle” agent (pills et al.) will restore a person’s health after it has been compromised by a lifestyle disregarding the “laws of nature” (i.e. the body’s need for wholesome food, fresh air, clean water, cleanliness, rest and peaceful living), rather than taking personal responsibility for restoring one’s health by reinstating healthful living habits.

In my eyes, that is exactly what constitutes Natural Hygiene‘s greatest value and contribution to the art of medicine. It has pointed out

  • that the human (and animal) body is intrinsically self-healing (IF allowed to and supported through proper living), thus encouraging us to always and firstly look to "Nature’s way of healing" (healthy food, fasting, sun, water, rest, etc.)
  • the responsibility everyone has to properly look after their own health (by living “hygienically”)
  • the deleterious character of the many medical practices consisting in mere treatment or suppression of symptoms - instead of addressing the underlying causes (defined as “toxemia”), thus adding more toxins to a body already suffering from toxic overload. Such palliative medical practices have simultaneously lured the sick into thinking that they need not make any personal effort towards maintaining or restoring their health but that “popping a pill” will “do the trick” (thus pandering to human indolence).

While Natural Hygiene holds as its basic tenet that the body is inherently healthy and self-healing, always striving to maintain or re-establish optimal healthful conditions, it is of course not the only system of thought adhering to and promoting this ”common-sense” notion.

Where Natural Hygiene radically differs is that it adamantly denies the goodness in any and all medical approaches which go beyond Nature’s (always capitalized) basic healing modalities (which are fasting, diet, sun, water, rest etc.), even if such “curative” approaches were simply applied to complement or aid the natural (self-)healing process. This includes Natural Hygiene’s disapproval of such commonly used healing modalities as water applications (hydrotherapy), herbs (phytotherapy) and "spiritual" healing (e.g. prayer) (both of the latter are rejected by Shelton without giving deeper reasons or substantiation).

I agree with the Natural Hygiene approach in thinking that a generally healthy lifestyle (which includes natural organic nutrition optimized to one’s needs as well as one's emotions, thinking and spirituality) forms the true and only real basis of health. But I also believe in powerful "energetic" factors and approaches having a potentially "healing" (or opposite) influence (see for instance the healing of cancer and other "incurable" disease solely via an increased supply of life force energy [chi]), much more than Natural Hygiene writers do when they refer to "nervous energy", "energy" or "enervation". I also believe that humanity as a whole has only scratched the surface of a true understanding of life's energetic basis.

Below is a list of some of the major tenets of Natural Hygiene (in its more "dogmatic" or "rigidly ideological" avatar) followed by personal notes on what I perceive as their shortcomings warrranting rethinking, improvement or expansion.

1. According to Natural Hygiene, the root of all disease is toxemia. Toxemia is roughly defined as the gradual buildup of stored toxins (mostly from wrong food intake and inability to properly detoxify due to lack of vital energy or "enervation").

2. According to Natural Hygiene, the human body is perfectly self-healing and has learned to adapt to any problem in the course of evolution and to detoxify any noxious factors by itself. To heal (i.e. to get rid of toxemia), it needs (and should receive) nothing but what the "laws of nature" impose (fasting, healthy food, water, etc.). In fact, any "remedy" and remedial action incl. herbs and prayer is by definition either hindering the body’s self-healing or is toxic to its system (or its existence is flatly denied). There is no "healing power" in any substance.

As one of the representatives of this kind of thinking, Dr. Bernarr, contends, "Since life began on earth, our God within, our inherent intelligence within each cell of our bodies, has learned to make the optimum adaptation and resolution, to any problem to which our bodies are subjected. Whatever stresses our bodies presently have, our bodily cells have previously learned how to successfully cope with such. It is already built into our genes, our chromosomes and our DNA."[1] And Shelton for instance rejects herbs as well as "spiritual" healing while basing his reasoning on hardly any "arguments" - instead resorting to ironizing.

3. According to Natural Hygiene, disease is always an attempt on the part of the body to rid itself of "toxemia", i.e. shedding toxins (stored from wrong food intake, overeating, stress and "enervation") in order to regain health, in other words, disease is always beneficial. "Our inherent intelligence, if it chooses to produce disease, it does so to protect us. This disease, or whatever our pathology or symptomatology, helps us survive, despite our self-destructive lifestyle, thinking and spirituality. Our disease is for our protective benefit. Our disease will spontaneously heal, when the cause and need for our inherent intelligence, our God within, to produce disease, no longer exists."

4. According to Natural Hygiene, the hygienic system holds absolutely all answers "under the sun" to the healing of the human body.

My reply to 1: "The root of all disease is toxemia."

This notion makes a lot of sense to me. I would add two qualifications/expansions from my observation/reading, however:

a) Apart from self-induced toxemia (which as far as I can tell is what is mostly referred to in Natural Hygiene writings), it appears that the "root" of disease can also be found in a number of causative factors seemingly independent of the individual (I put "seemingly" since "karma" in my view also factors in), such as nuclear radiation, fire damage, polluted water and air, mineral-depleted food[2] (incl. nonavailability of organic food), noxious chemicals, etc.

b) Energetic (incl. emotional) factors (what Natural Hygiene subsumes under the term of "nervous energy" or "energy") play a much more complex role: while depleted energy supply can possibly/likely cause hypofunction and, if unadressed, even death, a healthy energy influx can and will allow the body to heal (see Energetics), even without a "perfected" diet. (Note: the term "energy" is used here loosely without defining its nature.)

Interestingly, Edgar Cayce’s view of cancer genesis partially corroborates the view of Natural Hygiene (and others) that "the root of disease is always toxemia...defined as gradual buildup of stored toxins (mostly from wrong food intake and inability to properly detoxify due to lack of vital energy or "enervation").

My reply to 2: "The human body is fully self-healing and has evolutionarily learned to adapt to and detoxify any noxious factors."

Natural Hygiene may have been quite spot-on say two hundred years ago, when probably none of the present and few other man-made assaultive factors existed and humans could indeed count on their "evolutionarily" built-in resistance to overcome anything, given just proper food, rest etc...

But today? I think there have been some 50,000 new chemical compounds invented and introduced into man's living sphere over the last 50 years alone (many of which dangerous harsh chemicals are present in our polluted food, air and water supply, ranging from pesticides to artificial hormones).

Also, over the previous 100 to 150 years, an unprecedented depletion and imbalancing of our soils’ and crops’ microelement content has taken place due to intensive farming and atmospheric carbon dioxide increase beginning with the industrial revolution, which in turn has engendered widespread mineral and trace mineral deficiencies, in turn furthering numerous ailments incl. cancer.

Aggravating the above situation is the widespread intake of devitalized, industrially processed food low in nutrition and high in calories, far removed from what more naturally-living and healthier people consume.

Additionally, many novel electro-magnetic fields have been introduced into man's living sphere stemming from appliances, cell phones, computers, TVs, microwaves etc.

Now according to Natural Hygiene (in its dogmatic avatar), the human body has learned to adapt to everything in the course of evolution. But did it have the "evolutionary" time to adapt to some or all of this onslaught of new assaultive, unnatural substances and influences? Of course not. (And I think that cancer's grim rise in the USA alone from approx. 1 in 50 in 1900 to 1 in 3 in 2003 [per National Cancer Institute] accurately reflects this state of affairs.)

Yet according to what I will call again "rigid" New Hygiene thinking (see below), even those new toxins and chemicals invented in the last century (i.e. no matter how new the assaultive unnatural substances that the body had no evolutionary time to adjust to and/or develop natural defenses against), are supposed to be swiftly and efficiently dealt with exclusively by "Nature‘s" (always capitalized, as mentioned) usual and customary defense and healing mechanisms, i.e. fasting, rest and healthy "natural" (raw) nutrition. (Incidentally, if this were true, how is it that so many animals living in the wild succumb to or get sick from the introduction of man-made poisons, though they presumably are in full possession of all of their body’s evolutionarily acquired natural healing capacity??)

So in the case of someone falling ill (due to any of the above newly introduced noxious influences), the same type of "purist" New Hygiene thinking will "logically" refuse them all "harmful" "curing" modalities including herbs, since these are considered purely "palliative" (of detoxification symptoms) and therefore noxiously hindering the body’s own healing efforts. No matter in what kind of sick state the body has gotten into...

Shelton explains in "Natural Hygiene Man's Pristine Way Of Life", "Yes, some people will die under the Hygienic plan of care; but we have known of one or two deaths under drug treatment. Nobody ever claimed that the processes of restoration are always successful, even under the best of conditions."

In other words, purely following Natural Hygiene principles will not help every person to heal since for some according to Natural Hygiene it’s too late and nature and the body’s reserves can’t do the patching up by themselves. Still, according to Natural Hygiene, even patients such as these are absolutely refused all herbal or other "palliatives" which might increase their chances of recovery. This in spite of the fact that there is overwhelming evidence of the helpfulness and healing power of many time-honored herbs and herbal combinations in numerous (incl. desperate) cases.

In truth it rather seems to me that the despised "palliatives" such as herbs may come in as true life-savers in many cases of more serious illness (see further below).

A sad but enlightening example of this kind of rigid "follow my true purist healing path or die if you are too weak to heal by yourself" can be read in Victoria Boutenko‘s "12 Steps to Raw" (a book on raw eating): "I’ve seen 132 people who had cancer, and they came to the [Creative] health institute and they felt better. Their tumors shrank and they decided to stay raw. They even applied to new jobs and applied to college. But when they went home and Christmas came, they all failed. All of them died. They couldn’t stay on raw food. They left children and loved ones behind because they couldn’t resist the addiction to cooked food. That is the truth. I know their names. I knew those people... Their families supported them. But they couldn’t resist their addiction to cooked food and they died."

To my feeling, this is proof that a one-sided approach (just improving diet and lifestyle) may often not be enough considering the fact that some have actively and passively abused their body for many years (and consequently created very serious illness) as well as the fact that humans are made up of many "energetic" levels (see Energetics). While Natural Hygiene thinkers possess a definite glimpse of the energetics that play a crucial role in health and illness (referrring as they do to "nervous energy" and the depletion of vitality as a major cause of toxemia etc.), they are far from having all the answers in this area where we are mere neophytes on this planet in my view.

Continue to Part 2.

Footnotes

1 Incidentally, the same Natural Hygiene proponent also recommends water fasting to cancer patients. I have invited him and his clients to share any cancer healing success stories thus achieved with the visitors of Healing Cancer Naturally but beyond an amazingly aggressive refusal (accusing me of trying to invade his clients’ privacy) have not heard of him again.
While Upton Sinclair (in his book The Fasting Cure, written nearly 100 years ago) includes several cancer healing testimonials attributed to fasting, one needs to remember that these accounts hail back decades before environmental, chemical and radiation pollution started to become major problems throughout the westernized world, posing many new additional health burdens on the human body.
According to a knowledgeable-seeming source, "one thing Shelton was sure of, and he was a true expert on fasting, was that Cancer was not affected in a positive way by fasting. He thought, and remember this goes back to the 40s, 50s, and 60s, that perhaps if surgery was performed, then a fast might produce beneficial results."
Dr. Max Gerson’s "conception of a prolonged fast or periodical three-day fast" was that "You can't let the cancer patient fast. In the cancer patient the body is so depleted, if you let them fast they go downhill terribly." Compare Gerson Therapy. Also see Stanley Burrough’s objections to water fasting. All the foregoing notwithstanding, here are testimonials for Two Bladder Cancer Cures Achieved via Water Fasting (formerly stage 2 and 3, respectively), testifying yet again to the power of the human body, mind and spirit to heal the physical vehicle of man.

2 See Rising atmospheric CO2 decreases micronutrients in plants world-wide

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