Natural Hygiene Hygiene
may be defined as being the science and art of preserving and restoring
health by those substances, agencies, and influences that have a normal
relation to life, which are: pure food, pure water, sunlight, rest sleep,
relaxation, exercise, play, warmth, family relationship, and all mental
influences. Hygiene is not a system of medicine nor one of the healing
arts or a system of therapeutics. It offers the client no cures, has no
cures, denies all cures, does not pretend to; but, it permits nature or
the body to heal itself. Hygiene is a grand plan of rational, wholesome
living and the way to physical, mental and moral sanity. It is a plan of
total living and not a plan of treatment. It is a comprehensive approach
to the whole problem of living in terms of a valid standard. It covers
the total needs of man (and woman) and not merely a few of his requirements.
Viewed this way, Hygiene is not fasting, dieting, vegetarianism, food combining,
or any one life element of living.
Natural hygienists disagree sharply among themselves regarding the details
of natural hygiene. A diet of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds. The
diet is usually vegan, but Tilden (co-founder of natural hygiene in modern
times) encouraged use of non-vegetarian foods. Following high (%) fruit
diets is discouraged by most hygienists. However, some who consider themselves
to be hygienists, do advocate high fruit diets. There is very wide variation
in diet and health practices among hygienists; e.g. disagreements on the
use of sprouts, seaweeds, dried fruit, etc. Some otherwise "orthodox" hygienists
make occasional use of raw milk/cheese/eggs in their diet (this is discussed
by Ward Nicholson in the January 1997 issue of the "Health & Beyond"
newsletter). The American Natural Hygiene Society reportedly promotes a
predominantly raw diet, but advocates a place for cooked grains and steamed
vegetables in the diet.
Dr. Herbert Shelton
was an iconoclast
and rebel health pioneer. Standing on the shoulders of prior progressive
and independent thinkers, Shelton relentlessly taught and promoted a practical,
sensible and extremely effective system of achieving overall human health
and happiness - Natural Hygiene. The name comes from two words:
Natural - in harmony with Nature, and Hygiene - the science of good health.
The diet he promoted was a raw food diet consisting of a wide variety of
organically-grown fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts, and clean water (i.e.,
unchlorinated). He was also an entusiastic promoter of cleansing diets
and fasts (like Paavo Airola). His version of a cleansing fast was a "distilled
water fast" and lots of rest and relaxation. He believed that the body
could eliminate old toxic material faster by using distilled water as opposed
to juices. He also was a strong believer in moderate aerobic exercise and
sunbathing (in the nude). Finally, he was one of the biggest promoters
of proper food combining to improve digestion and thereby have a more complete
of nutrients. Shelton was by far the most prolific thinker and writer on
the subject, and he was steadfast in promoting self-reliance. Examining
a few philosophical tidbits from his article "Principles of Natural Hygiene"(1)
allows us to cut right to the chase:
is that branch of biology which investigates and applies the conditions
upon which life and health depend, and the means by which all health is
sustained in all its virtue and purity, and restored when it has been lost...
Natural Hygiene is
not a system of therapeutics. It professes to build health in all forms
of diseased states by the employment of hygienic agents alone and without
the employment of poisons or resort to enervating palliatives or therapies
of any nature. In the class of hygienic agencies can be included only the
actual necessities of life - food, air, water, sunlight, rest, sleep, relaxation,
exercise, play, warmth, cleanliness, hope, faith, courage - and the means
of securing these. Constructive surgery forms the only non-hygienic measure
endorsed by the Natural Hygienist."
"The truth should be
self-evident that any method or system that destroys the independence and
autonomy of the individual and makes one forever dependent upon another
person or class of people is not natural. Any system that of itself creates
a privileged class who can, by law or otherwise, lord it over their fellow
people destroys true freedom and personal autonomy. Any system that teaches
the sick that they can get well only through the exercise of the skill
of someone else, or through the operation of something else, and that they
remain alive only through the tender mercies of the privileged class, has
no place in Nature's scheme of things, and the sooner it is abolished,
the better will humankind be. It was no more a part of the original scheme
of things that people should be a supplicate at the feet of the healers
than that lions or cod-fish should be. It matters not whether a person
is dependent on the physician, the osteopath, the chiropractor or the psychoanalyst,
that person is a slave to that class upon which one depends. Therapeutics
makes slaves of men and women. This is an evil and cannot endure. Natural
Hygiene uses no treatments... none. A hygienist is a guide, a teacher.
I'm not a treatment peddler. I do not treat symptoms. We always first look
for the cause. The hygienist does not use the word cure."
"The healing principle
is always in the living system itself. All living organisms are self-constructing,
self-defending and self-repairing. Teach men and women to prevent disease
by avoiding its causes rather than attempt to cure it by administering
the causes of other diseases [drugs] - then health and happiness will abound
everywhere. We are convinced that mankind can be educated in correct principles
and trained in right practices so that sickness will cease to trouble us.
It is our business to teach people how to prevent disease and not merely
how to take care of themselves when ill. I am well aware of the revolutionary
character of the principles I have presented... but I am convinced that
the physical salvation of the human race depends upon their acceptance."
Thomas Hanna (1928-1990)
A philosopher, writer
and researcher, spent much of his time studying and teaching in the area
of somatic education. He, like Shelton, stood on the shoulders of great
visionaries that came before him: F. Matthias Alexander (creator
of the Alexander Method), Moshe Feldenkrais and others. Likewise,
he synthesized and improved upon the works of these predecessors. Combining
insights gathered from neurology, physiology and sensory education, Hanna
created a body awareness and movement improvement technique he called "Somatics".
Hanna's love of freedom permeated all his work; he understood that much
of the misery of humanity stemmed from a lack of self-responsibility, which
was mostly due to a lack of education. To chip away at this wall of ignorance
was his primary mission.
In an interview entitled
Mind Over Movement, Hanna put it like this:
"My own interest,
first of all, for myself, and second of all for any person
I deal with, is to
do anything I can to inculcate freedom. Freedom, independence and autonomy
is what human life is all about. This is what we grow up to become - totally
autonomous, self-determining, self-balancing, self-healing, self-regulating,
self-correcting. We're magnificent creatures for becoming just that. Usually
we don't come off being so. In various ways - emotionally, psychologically,
physically - we get enslaved. And we don't have either the confidence or
the ability to choose and truly conduct our own affairs and take care of
ourselves. The truly burning and major issue of the 20th century - how
can we become more autonomous human beings - rather than depending on authoritarian
experts who give advice on everything."
"The whole thing is
to let people get a taste of freedom; for self-reliance. You've got to
be competent and confident enough to be independent and autonomous because
freedom means that you're capable of being self-responsible. The human
life has no other aim, as far as I can see than for human beings to become
self-regulating and self-directing. Human freedom is at the heart of all
issues. It's the only issue there is of human and moral philosophy: how
can you help people become more free?"
"What I do is education...
not therapy. My main concern is in knowledge that frees. We do things in
one or two sessions and the problem is gone. And they (the clients) are
utterly in command and aware of what went on. Thoughtful medical people
know the limitations of medicine. Arrogant ones are dangerous... the excruciating
unhappiness is to know what I know and realize it's going to take years
to get these ideas across to the establishment of traditional thinking
that has a hard time absorbing them. The impatience that I feel is with
physicians who damage and hurt people and are arrogant about it. Underneath
I have enormous anger because I see so many people abused... I've got certain
talents, certain understandings; it's in some sense my personal obligation
to myself and other human beings to help them in any way I can. It has
nothing to do with power. It has to do with loving people; being concerned
about the human condition."
Fierro's Garden of Health!
Sniadach - Strategies for True Health
Natural Hygiene Society (Dr. Herbert Shelton)
John H. Tilden