Natural Hygiene (or Orthopathy) is a branch of the Natural Health Movement that states the human body can and will heal itself, to whatever extent is possible, if the causes of disease are removed and a health-promoting lifestyle is practiced. For serious health concerns, it recommends being under the supervision of a Professional Medical Practitioner.
Theories of Natural Hygiene
It is characterized by several theories :
*That the human body contains the power to heal itself (without medicine).
*That disease exists when the body is prevented from healing itself.
*That the primary causes of disease are toxemia, stress, over working, over eating, taking unhealthy substances, etc.
*That germs, bacteria, and viruses are not the primary cause of disease.
*That medicines are poisons to the human body and are harmful.
*That vaccinations are not effective, not safe and damage the immune system.
*That correctly supervised fasting causes the body's metabolism to help to eliminate faulty cells and toxins. The effect is to assist recovery.
Natural Hygiene can help people get well by removing the causes of disease, and allowing the body to eliminate toxins. It is exactly these eliminative remedial actions taken automatically by the organism, which Natural Hygienists such as Herbert Shelton have stated are mistaken by medical practitioners for the defining symptoms of disease.
Shelton stated that prescription of symptom-suppressive medicines, or anti-biotics, further toxifies the organism, and only suppresses and delays the "symptoms", which Natural Hygiene states are in fact the remedial efforts of the organism, while adding to the toxic load which needs eliminating, since the medicines themselves must additionally be eliminated by the already-toxically-loaded body.
Determining the true cause of a so-called "disease" is not a vital part of Natural Hygiene, since only the true causes of health are addressed with lifestyle factors.
Proponents (e.g. Shelton, writing in the first half of the 20th century) have stated that medical doctors frequently 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.
A principal factor in so-called "disease" is enervation, or excessive stress, which creates pre-conditions for "disease", subsequently causing the organism to accumulate toxins.
History of Natural Hygiene
Natural Hygiene has its roots in a number of natural philosophies 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 thoughts 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.
In History of Natural Hygiene and Principles of Natural Hygiene, Herbert M. Shelton claims that the founders of Natural Hygiene were Dr's Isaac Jennings (calling his own system "Orthopathy") , Russell Trall, John Tilden, and Rev. Sylvester Graham.
The role of fasting
Natural Hygiene holds that the true cause of "disease" is toxemia, or poisoning, in the body.
Advocates claim that one not practicing a natural balanced lifestyle, following enervating habits (nerve energy destroying personal habits, such as worry), consuming stimulants, or taking vaccinations; builds up toxins in the blood. Enervation (i.e., stress/tension; wasted nerve-energy) is claimed to stop toxins from being eliminated from your body.
According to a Natural Hygiene advocate, Dr. Herbert M. Shelton , the body enters a state of Autolysis or self-digestion, in about the fourth day of a well-supervised fast, in which the body begins to break down unnecessary cells, even "cancerous tissues" and eliminate them. Natural Hygiene theories rely on all the natural causes of health. Fasting, only when practiced in balance with all the factors of health, can address toxemia.
The duration of a well-supervised fast has to be determined by a highly qualified Natural Hygiene professional for each particular individual. Only then, can health be restored, within the scope of what is possible.
Advocates say that attempting to do any fasting without the supervision of a Natural Hygiene practitioner is not recommended because certain individuals may not be ready for even a 1 day if there are complicating personal health issues. Furthermore, generally, they do not recommend fasting for anyone who may have what the medical profession calls "diabetes", "cancer of the kidneys", "cancer of the liver" and "severe anemia".
In Natural Hygiene, fasting means eating nothing, drinking only pure water, generally distilled water and 24 hours bed-rest, with the exception of toilet and absolutely necessary life-supporting tasks.
Natural Hygiene practitioners often operate fasting clinics and fasting retreat centers. Clients/Patients undergo fasts and then they are placed on a re-feeding program of gradually re-introduced raw whole foods for a length of time equal or greater than the number of days of their fast. People recover from toxemia, called elsewhere "cancer", "arthritis", "asthma", "digestive problems", "high blood pressure", "heart problems", and many other so-called "diseases".
Cancer and biopsy in nature cure
According to some practitioners of Nature Cure, biopsy is not desirable even as a test to find out whether a tumour is benign or malignant. According to them, a tumour is nothing but poisons which are securely locked up by the defence mechanism of the living body inside a thick membrane in order to protect the body from further deterioration. During biopsy the thick membrane is cut open, thus releasing the poisonous cancer cells through the rest of the body. But in the earlier condition prior to the biopsy, encased as the tumour was inside a thick membrane, such outflow of poison would not have been possible. This view, however, has been disputed.
K. Lakshmana Sarma and S. Swaminathan, two of the foremost Nature Cure practitioners in India, quote approvingly in their well known work an extract from the book How to Prevent and Gain Remission from Cancer authored by John H Tobe: "The only conclusive way to establish whether or not malignant tissue is present is by biopsy. However, biopsy requires cutting into the tumour which may result in releasing cancer cells throughout the body. For that reason we do not take a biopsy or conduct any surgical procedure." .
Natural Hygiene and Modern Medicine
Natural Hygiene seems to be completely contrary to modern medicine in that the two systems are directly opposed to each other in many philosophies and practices. However, the most advanced Natural Hygiene practitioners know which services from modern medicine are actually necessary for life-saving actions for each individual concerned. Always, a Natural Hygienist would advocate utilizing life-or-death emergency care.
In "Natural Hygiene, Man's Pristine Way of Life", Dr. Herbert Shelton , one of the founders of the American Natural Hygiene Society wrote about the conflicting ideas between Natural Hygiene and Medical Science. Others have also shared these views including Harvey and Marilyn Diamond who co-wrote the Fit for Life book series in the 1980s.
Natural Hygiene claims that drugs and medicines are poisons to the human body and have no long-term healing properties. Natural Hygiene maintains that drugs have the effect of masking or changing symptoms, obscuring important information on the real cause. Many practitioners acknowledge that emergency medical Science plays an important role in cases of emergency, such as stroke, heart attack or automobile accident.
Natural Hygiene versus Naturopathy
The core beliefs of Natural Hygiene and Naturopathy are quite similar. Naturopathy developed from the water and nature cure in Europe and America during the 19th century, but quickly evolved to include botanical, homeopathic and physical modalities (ex: massage, manipulation), as well as other systems (e.g.: traditional Asian medicine and acupuncture).
In contrast, Natural Hygiene does not recommend drugs, including herbal and homeopathic medicines.