NATURE CURE – A SELF HEALING SYSTEM
1. DEFINITION AND PHILOSOPHY
Nature Cure is the teaching about the basic requirements for health and how to maintain or to regain health in a natural way. Nature Cure teaches that the body is self-healing and self-regenerating.
Health is the normal, natural state of body and mind. Health is the result of favorable conditions. Humans are dependent on a suitable biological, psychological and social environment. When someone is ill, there are one or more causes for it. Disease, by whatever name it is known, is basically the reaction of mind and body to the departure from some of the conditions necessary for total health, i. e., disease is the result of an environment or conditions that are unfavorable. Disease is manifested in the form of structural, biochemical and mental imbalance.
All healing power is within. Healing takes place automatically when the conditions are right. It is the response of mind and body that take place when the conditions are favorable.
2. WHAT IS NATURE CURE?
(1) It is the teachings in theory and practice about which biological circumstances and other conditions that are favorable for a life of optimal health, i.e. basically the teachings about a natural lifestyle and how to maintain health.
(2) The teachings in theory and practice of how to care for ones self or someone else in a natural way when in a disease state. Its aim is normalization. This means that one is striving to obtain normality physically, physiologically and mentally. Natural treatment is not a treatment in the normal sense of the word and it is not directed at attacking the disease. These teachings are unique to Nature Cure but the principles are simple. The principles are simple:
- First we must find the causes of the disease and then we must remove them as much as possible.
- Then we supply all the normal requirements for health as much as possible.
- With the help of natural therapies, we further support the healing process by striving to obtain normality of the body structure, biochemistry and mind.
- Every human is unique and should be treated as such.
- Finally, we supply rest. This is done so that the available nerve energy can be used where it is needed most i. e., for healing.
3. THE HISTORY OF NATURE CURE
Vincent Priessnitz laid down the principles upon which Nature Cure is based. He was born in 1799 in Gräfenberg near Jesenik, in Silesia, today the Czech Republic, near the border of Poland. He had a remarkable perception and ability to learn from nature. As a child, he noticed the habits of animals and what they did when they were sick or injured. He found that sick and injured animals rested in a secluded place and came out only to drink and make use of water as an aid to heal.
Priessnitz made use of his studies of animals when, at age 17 he had an accident that almost took his life. After having used the principles he learned from observing animals he made a relatively quick recovery from the accident. He then started to treat his neighbors and news of his good results spread fast. His home became a sanatorium where people traveled from all over Europe to see him. He was primarily used diet, exercise, fasting and water treatments. His methods became known as the water cure (later hydropathy, hydrotherapy and nature cure) and the use of water for healing became popular in Europe and North America. Some others who followed Priessnitzs path were Hans Ripper, Sebastian Kneipp, Wilhelm Winternitz, Dr. R.T. Trall, Benedict Lust, James C. Thomson, Dr. Henry Lindlahr, Dr. John Tilden and Louis Kuhne. Mahatma Gandhi, inspired by Kuhne, opened a sanatorium in Pune in 1944. Two geniuses who were instrumental for Nature Cure were Professor Edmond B. Szekley who in the 1930s through his own research made Nature Cure into a science, and legendary Australian Nature Cure practitioner Kenneth S. Jaffrey. During the first part of the 20th century interest for hydrotherapy diminished but is on the rise again. Priessnitz original philosophy and methods however have unfortunately been forgotten. (Vincent Priessnitzs name has been spelled in many ways including Vincenz, Vinzenz & Vincenc.)
4. BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR HEALTH
Just as there are factors that causes disease there are factors that cause or produce health. To stay healthy we are dependent on a number of biological, psychological and social circumstances. The factors necessary for optimal health can be summarized as follows:
- Fresh air and correct breathing
- Clean water
- Relaxation, rest and sleep –
– for elimination of toxic waste and regeneration of the nervous system
- Natural foods –
in the right amounts and with the right balance between different food groups
- Exercise –
Humans are created for movement and we need to exercise regularly through sports, dance, walking, in our work etc.
- Natural radiation –
such as sunlight in balanced amounts
- Positive mental attitude –
When maintaining a positive mental attitude we largely create our reality while at the same time facilitating the free flow of nerve energy, blood and lymph circulation.
- A balanced social and family life –
Refers to friendships, community, security, love, physical touch, intimacy, communication, culture, profession and occupation.
- Structural integrity –
All parts of the body, muscles, ligaments, bones, organs, etc. should ideally be maintained in their correct position. No organs or parts of the body should ever be removed.
- A life in harmony with nature, cosmos and their rhythmical cycles –
We ought to live in harmony with the daily and yearly rhythmical cycles. A healthy nature and healthy soils are a basic condition for health in humans.
- A good heredity –
This is the only point that we cannot influence in any way. However, the heredity of future generations is determined, directly and indirectly, by how we live now.
Although there are things that influence our health which are beyond our control, most people can, with lifestyle and the with help of knowledge, choose to cause (produce) health rather than to cause disease.
5. THE CAUSES OF DISEASE
To stay in good health we also need to avoid the things that cause disease. There are thousands of causes of disease. We divide these into three groups. Health isdependent upon being in balance structurally, mentally and biochemically. Disease can therefore only occur when:
- The body structure is disturbed, irritated or deranged. This could be the result of poor posture, injury, stress or strain.
- The mental attitude is unbalanced. This could be the result of mental trauma or shock or due to unsatisfactory relationships with others and lack of communication resulting in anxiety, worry, fear and emotional conflict.
- The biochemistry is unbalanced. This could be due to chemicals, unnatural food choices, drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. Imbalance in one system automatically causes imbalance in the others.
6. NERVE ENERGY AND CIRCULATION
All organs and all functions of the body are under the control of the nervous system. Internal cleanliness depends on efficient drainage of waste materials. Under normal circumstances, efficient and prompt drainage of body wastes is maintained by ample amounts of nerve energy. When nerve energy is dissipated by imbalance in the above-mentioned systems the body becomes enervated. Enervation is the state of low nerve energy and therefore functional weakness.
7. THE HEALING CYCLE
This may happen after injury or poisoning but can also be produced due a chronic condition which combined with, an improved lifestyle, living conditions or relaxation that enables the body to increase elimination. During a healing cycle old health problems may reoccur. Common symptoms are headache, fatigue, irritability, diarrhea, skin eruptions etc. If the conditions are good the result of the healing cycle may be more or less improved health. During a healing cycle it is important to conserve nerve energy. This is equal to rest. Vincent Priessnitz understood the healing cycle in 1829. Already Hippocrates had a good idea about what happens during a healing cycle. He stated: “Diseases are crises of purification of toxic elimination. Symptoms are the natural defenses of the body.” The way of looking at what disease really is, is quite different in Nature Cure compared to most other systems of health. Dr. R.T. Trall stated: “Disease is just the contrary to what is taught in medical books. It is a remedial effort”.
8. THERAPY AND DIAGNOSIS
A Nature Cure practitioner can be described as a diagnostician or detective who endeavors to find the causes of disease. Some tools she/he uses are irisdiagnosis, physical examination and the taking of history. Then she/he teaches natural lifestyle and uses natural therapies. These are used, not to cure disease, but to support the self-healing powers by normalizing the body structure, the mind and the biochemistry.
8.1. DIET THERAPY
With the help of individual diet therapy the recovery can be quickened by providing optimum nutrition which requires minimum nerve energy to digest. In Nature Cure, nutrition is taken into consideration, not only for the chemical composition of food, but also for the quality of food, and the bio-availability of nutrients in foods, as well as the total composition and balance of the diet.
8.2. PSYCHOTHERAPY AND POSITIVE THINKING
Traumas and stresses of various kinds can, unless dealt with, cause a permanent state of fear, anguish and confusion. Breakthroughs can be obtained through understanding ourselves and our own actions, through understanding others, by communicating freely and by coming to terms with difficulties,. This may radically change ones outlook on life, solve conflicts, strengthen self-confidence, and change old destructive thought patterns and habits to new constructive and positive ones. A positive mental attitude has a great beneficial effect on health and happiness.
In hydrotherapy, water is used in different ways; for example steam baths, sitz baths, spinal baths, cold body packs and local compresses. The purpose is to dissolve and assist in the elimination of poisonous substances stored in the body tissue through increasing blood circulation. Hydrotherapy can be used in many ways. Hydrotherapy must be used correctly and very individually. When done so, it is often very effective.
WARNING: To fast requires knowledge. Fasting performed in the wrong way or broken in the wrong way may cause serious harm. It is not recommended to fast unless being supervised by a competent practitioner. Some people should not fast. NOTE: The information given here is not meant as instruction for fasting.
The approach of Nature Cure to fasting is unique. Normally we need food daily. According to Nature Cure philosophy fasting should only be undertaken when the body temperature is above 37.0º C (98.6º F). Short fasts of one to three days can however be undertaken at other times. Fasting and starvation are two different things. Fasting must not turn into starvation. By fasting is meant to abstain from drinking and eating of foods, other that pure water. Fasting is rest physiologically, mentally and physically. (The combination of rest of the digestive system, mental rest and rest from physical exertion at the same time.) The reason why fasting enables the body to heal itself can be expressed in three words: conservation of energy. No nerve energy is lost in the process of digestion and little is spent on mental work or stress or for muscular activities.
8.5. EXERCISE AND MECHANOTHERAPY
Individual exercise and mechanotherapy such as osteopathy, chiropractic or naprapathy can be used to help correct any structural misalignment.
9. A HOLISTIC VIEW AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Even if the details can be very important, a holistic view is the foundation of Nature Cure. There are so many factors in our environment that influence us mentally, physically and chemically. All factors in lifestyle and environment as well as our heredity must be considered. Today’s society is a society of specialization. Health science is no exception. Scientists and the health profession tend to be too static and look more at the details rather than the whole picture. As a result, the most basic knowledge is often missing, for instance what basic conditions are necessary for a life of good health, and which factors produce disease. Focus is put on alleviating the symptoms of disease rather than eliminating the causes of disease. A logical theory will often not be considered or dialectically analyzed if there is “no scientific evidence”. (Dialectics can be defined as the science of development and dynamics in nature, society and thought.”)
Nature Cure is based on known scientific facts, dialectics and over 170 years of experience. It is a dynamic system which considers the facts and theories from every area of study that has anything to do with health such as anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, pathology, physics, nutrition, human biology and history, archaeology, natural therapy etc. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the preconditioning to be able to live in good health. However, most people, with help of knowledge, could achieve health. Even many considered incurable can regain their health when for the first time the causes of their disease are removed. People are kept away from health and happiness because of a lack of openness, knowledge and dialectics. The key to change is education.
We are dependent on being in harmony with nature and its laws for health and survival. It would be impossible to talk about health, without, at the same time talking about nature. It would be foolish to try to care for human health while at the same time ignoring the global destruction of Mother Earth. Without food, water, and air we cannot survive. A prerequisite for future life on Planet Earth is that the bio-mass and biodiversity of the plant kingdom remains intact. We must stop destroying the forests and poisoning the soil and water. Every year thousands of tons of topsoil is eroding away, a lot of which is due to cattle farming and logging. According to John Robbins (Diet for a New America, 1987) every tree in the USA will be cut down in about 50 years at the current rate of disappearance (counting from 1987). In Australia 70,000 hectares of native forests are cleared every year for woodchip. Currently 10 times more trees are logged than the regrowth rate on our Planet. In a few decades all the world’s rainforest will have disapperared if the current development continues. Trees produce oxygen, they are the home and food for a myriad of animals and their disappearance causes erosion, loss of biodiversity, dramatic climatic changes such as floods and drought, cold and excessive heat. It is obvious that a Planet without trees has no future. The current destruction of Planet Earth is a futurecide. If everyone would take their responsibility, the possibility for survival and health in the future would increase. We can, for instance minimize our consumption of paper (i.e. bio-mass/forest). The computer user could start to use 100% recycled paper, wood free paper or minimize paper use. Hopefully the immense environmental problems can be solved with help of education, dialectics and international co-operation. “A new way of thinking is necessary if humanity is to survive, this is the most urgent problem of our age”. Albert Einstein
Books are planned in English and Swedish. The first book will be covering all aspects on Nature Cure. The second book will be dealing with diet. Translators to other languages are sought. In English there are 22 books by Kenneth S. Jaffrey, most of which are available. The new science of healing by Louis Kuhne is recommended, and has been translated into over 20 languages. For further information call +46-479-105 50.
11. FINAL WORD
This is only a very brief introduction to Nature Cure. Although literature is not easy to find, I invite you to study further, this almost forgotten, but true healing art, Nature Cure. You can search internet to find more information. More information may be added to this page in the future if there is positive feedback to this website. I welcome your feedback.