I shall take as my next text a statement made 162 years ago by the founder of Nature Cure, Vincent Priessnitz. "Various causes engender vicious juices (by which he meant an abnormal composition of the body fluids). The principal are: Food of bad quality, the excess of good food, the suppression of perspiration, the want of exercise, and mental affliction acting violently upon the system, such as anger, sorrow, care or melancholy."

We have good reason to be proud of Nature Cure because it is the only healing art with which I am familiar which has not had cause to change its fundamental principles since the day it was discovered.

What is the best way to achieve and maintain health? Since I am a Naturopath it is natural that I should advise everybody to investigate and adopt Nature Cure.

But—what is Nature Cure? Sooner or later most of us are faced with this question. Like all other questions it demands an answer—clear, concise and all-embracing. If we ask a friendly enthusiast, we could receive a weird, inaccurate description of certain methods which he believes benefited him in his search for health. We may consult books or magazines. They could prove even worse. Nature Cure, it seems, can be many things.

Practitioners can be just as disappointing. A Practitioner call himself a Naturopath, professes to disbelieve in drugs, yet when faced with an actual case of ill-health, will unblushingly put his patient into a hot bath laced with epsom salts—a drug.

If this "cure" fails to cure, he may then advise the patient to take a dose of a drug (which he professedly condemns), mixes it with water and hopefully gives this remedy to his patient to drink, telling him that it is a "natural" remedy.

If these two procedures fail to make the patient happy he may produce a contraption like an old-fashion wireless set with knobs all over it. He seats the patient in front of the box and after adjusting to the wave-length of the patient (whatever that means), tells his victim to call again for a further session of this pure bunkum. This foolishness he calls Radiesthesia or Radionics. Big words that mean exactly nothing.

Is it any wonder that the genuine inquirer pleads "What is Nature Cure?" In this booklet I will try to set out what Nature Cure is, derived from two words. the word "nature" implies that which is natural and normal, that which derives from nature itself. The word "cure" means care and attention. So, we can define Nature Cure as the art of caring for human beings in a way which is natural to their organism.

Nature Cure is not only a way to assist in the removal of disease but also a way of life which provides the natural care and attention necessary to maintain health.

Why do we need the system of Nature Cure? Have we not already got perfectly competent medical physicians, trained and qualified to advise us how to keep healthy and how to restore health when it has been lost?

The answer is no. It is precisely because the medical hotch-potch of cures lacks a correct underlying principle and because it does nothing to solve our problems that we must look elsewhere for the truth about health.

Can any sane rational person believe that in order to enjoy good health one has to be drugged, injected and mutilated from birth to death? Yet, this is the thoroughly negative and futile approach which is current today.

Silver Nitrate or some other drug, is dropped into a baby’s eyes at birth. He is given soothing syrups and teething powders. His life begins with drugs. Before long he is being injected with poisonous vaccines which are supposed to prevent him from becoming sick. No logical reason is offered why a healthy person, if normally cared for, should ever become ill. Yet, the round of superstitious injections goes on. We are immunised against measles, whooping cough, polio-myelitis, and a host of other diseases we may never get. Throughout life, various organs such as tonsils, appendix or gall-bladder may be removed surgically. And still humanity remains ill.

Nature Cure has a completely different approach to health and healing. It claims that health is the natural consequence of providing the body with its normal, natural materials and environment.

We believe that when we are ill there is a perfectly natural cause for that condition. We believe that illness is simply the organism reacting to a situation that is causing it some difficulty. Something has interfered with the normal, natural functioning of the body. The body, previously at "ease", comfortable and efficient, is in a state of "dis-ease". It functions imperfectly and is in a state of discomfort, illness or "dis-ease".

The advocates of Nature Cure believe that the correct approach is to remove the cause of the "dis-ease" and to render any assistance that will provide the body with the most favourable conditions for a return to health. Doesn’t this sound more logical than the blind hit and miss methods now customary? So it is!

Let me state quite emphatically that the idea that ill-health is inevitable, is false. If we give the body what it needs we will enjoy normal health. The idea that human beings can be "poisoned" into health, is also false. No poisons of any kind are of any benefit to a well person and they are less beneficial to a sick one.

In Nature Cure we classify as a poison any substance which is not needed by the body as a source of food and which the body cannot profitably utilise for the purpose of providing energy or building tissues. Drugs, medicines and many commodities sold under the guise of foods are in reality poisons. They may be mild poisons in some cases, but they are poisons nevertheless.

Let us turn to the causes of health for a while. When we are well we rarely stop to consider what it is that is keeping us well. Obviously, something is.

Nature Cure teaches that it is natural to be healthy. We believe that human beings, like, animals in their natural state, shouldbe healthy.

No drugs, vaccines or electrical gadgets are necessary to keep a normal person in good health. What then, is needed? Right living. Correct living habits will produce normal, natural health.

If you are ill, have headaches or pains, feel tired and out of sorts, if you need a laxative to force your bowels to work properly, then you are ill. If you constantly have catarrh or get frequent colds, there must be something wrong.

But—doesn’t everybody get a cold now and then? Of course they do—if there is a need for it. Colds just don’t happen capriciously. Colds are Nature’s way of removing unwanted material through the mucous membranes. They are our safety valves.

Behind every illness or disability there is a cause. The body is self-regulating and self-repairing. We don’t need to take medicines to ensure that the bowels work normally. We don’t need to apply ointment if we cut ourselves. Healing is a natural process which should proceed without the use of any external or internal aids.

Nature Cure does not use drugs, medicines, herbs, vitamin preparations, food supplements, or electrical machines. It uses only such methods as are natural to the body. Nature Cure teaches that illness is caused by an infringement of natural law. It teaches that the only sure way to regain health is by obedience to natural law. In other words, we should live naturally.

In order to be healthy we need suitable food, exercise, rest, water, sunlight, fresh air, correct living habits and a positive mental attitude. When a person is ill the same factors are necessary as in health, but in different proportions.

The chief causes of ill-health are foodless or poisoned foods, drugs, lack of exercise, insufficient rest, tensions, worries, fears, excessive stimulation, impure air polluted water, occupational strains and accidents, wrong living habits, and unbalanced emotions.

Any one or more of these things can cause enervation, which is depletion of nerve force. This leads to imperfect elimination of body wastes and retention of poisons, causing toxaemia, which is an abnormal composition of the blood. This is the chain of events through which disease arises. Wrong living habits - enervation - imperfect elimination - retention of poisons - blood poisoning - disease.

The job of a Naturopath is to uncover the factors that cause disease and then teach the patient how to adjust his way of life so he will live in harmony with Nature and not against it.

So—the Naturopath is not a medical practitioner. He does not supply medical or surgical advice or treatments. If he does these things, he is really an amateur physician and has no right to call himself a Naturopath. Nature Cure is devoted wholly to the achievement and maintenance of normal health by natural means. It seeks to provide the correct environment and conditions so the Life-force within the body will restore and maintain health. Nature Cure recognises nature as the only healer.

We use the following natural factors: Natural Foods, Fasting, Water, Sunlight, Air, Earth, Exercise, Relaxation, and Positive Thinking. Manipulations such as Chiropractic are used to assist in establishing normality of the body structure. The treatments in the usual sense of the word. Naturopathic treatments are used only to achieve normality. When the body is normal it repairs itself automatically. Naturopaths therefore do not promise to cure disease and they do not treat disease. They concentrate solely on normalisation of the patient. Naturopaths do not prescribe drugs, medicines or remedies of any kind. The only substance used in Nature Cure which even remotely resembles medicine is water, and water has never injured anyone or produced any harmful side-effects.

The approach of Nature Cure to health is scientific, logical and rational. Its treatments are biologically sound and normal.

Whilst theory is very interesting, actual practice is better still. Many thousands of people all over the world have been restored to health after all other methods had failed and medical authorities had said their case was hopeless.

"Will the simple natural methods which I have enumerated suffice to banish disease?" They will, providing there is sufficient vitality within the body. Nature Cure will not save a dying person. It will undoubtedly prolong life, but unless there is enough vitality, even Nature Cure will fail.

"If Nature Cure is so effective, why do not more people adopt it and why has the medical profession ignored its teaching?" Many people do not adopt Nature Cure because they do not wish to discard their old living habits. Many people would rather die or remain ill than give up drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, or eating the flesh of animals. The choice is theirs. They elect to indulge their old tastes and habits rather than discipline themselves and discard their wrong habits of a lifetime.

Members of the medical profession can be forgiven if they do not adopt natural healing methods. Most physicians do not know anything about Nature Cure and are too busy to investigate it thoroughly. There is also the natural resistance to change. It’s in most of us.

Another reason why Nature Cure is not popular is that there is little money in it. There is nothing to sell or exploit commercially.

If people lived normal, natural lives there would be no need for drugs nor for physicians to prescribe them. Hospitals would be drastically reduced in size and number. Only a few surgeons would be needed to attend to people who were accidentally injured.

If we accept the claim that it is natural to be healthy and that there are certain principles to be followed in order to maintain the highest degree of health, it is logical for us to study the human body and its environment and then determine what we should do to be healthy.

In our short list of requirements we mentioned suitable food. Most people would accept this. But just what is suitable food? Here is where we have the widest divergence of opinion. The diet recommended by most authorities is, according to Nature Cure philosophy, most unsuitable.

In a booklet of this nature it would be impractical to enter into a long discussion of food. Suffice it is to say that the secret of good nutrition is living food. We need a daily intake of foods in a state as near natural as possible. It is best to adopt what is commonly called a vegetarian diet, although I prefer to call it a natural diet.

Next in our list of health needs is exercise. If man lived in a wholly natural environment he would not need planned exercise. Living under our civilised conditions it is vitally necessary to have daily exercise in order to build and maintain strong flexible muscles and tissues.

Rest is the opposite to exercise and just as important. Rest is really a period of relaxation in which all muscular tension is relieved. Sleep is the most natural and essential form of rest.

Sunlight, although feared by many, is the power from Nature’s generators. All life on earth derives its power indirectly from the sun. This power in the form of solar radiations is absorbed through the skin, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.

That rare commodity, fresh air, is also a most desirable factor in our search for health. Modern man is polluting his atmosphere with gases from factories, homes and transport machinery. This gives us a good reason for visiting the country or seaside as often as possible.

Water, once a wholesome beverage, is now becoming an unwholesome poisoned soup. Many town water supplies are unfiltered which means that the water contains sludge and algae. Then fluoride, chlorine, aluminium sulphate, copper sulphate and other chemicals are added to make a substandard water still less suitable for human consumption. If we must drink this poisoned water it is advisable to distill or filter it to remove all impurities. Incidentally, water is not only used for drinking and bathing but also for producing better tone of skin and muscles.

As well as the concrete factors just discussed we have the abstract factor of the human mind. Nature Cure teaches that a positive, constructive and optimistic attitude of mind produces the best mental climate for high-level health and emotional stability.

If we attend to these factors we will be living fairly naturally. Should we be already ill, then it is necessary to eliminate the illness by removing the causes and the necessity for the illness. This process is called Nature Cure or Naturopathy. There are many schools of thought and each school stresses the factors which appeal most strongly to its adherents.

To give you an idea of the wide divergence of treatment methods, I will quote the experience of a patient who consulted seven natural healers. These are the methods they recommend, in various combinations: Diet, Fasting, Exercise, Relaxation, Sunbathing, Osteopathic Manipulations, Chiropractic Adjustments, Massage, Spinal Traction, Herbs, Vitamin Pills, Homoeopathic Drugs, Biochemic Tissue Salts, Ultra-sonic Treatments, Diathermy, Short Wave, Vapour Baths and Radiesthesia.

All of the practitioners consulted by this patient called themselves Naturopaths. It would be interesting to compare the various combinations of treatments and advice given and to try to analyse the reasons for using these particular combinations of methods. Perhaps, after all, they really believed in them.

Whilst it is only natural that individual practitioners will always lay the greatest stress on the methods which have the strongest appeal to them personally, the effect on the patient is confusing.

It is wrong to encourage belief in the power of medicine or food or a machine to heal; or even for that matter, to encourage belief in some magic power in the practitioner’s hands.

At this point it would be wise to give a list of the most popular methods of treatment which have been classified from time to time as natural. Some of these treatments are far from natural and have no place in a system of healing called Nature Cure. This will be explained as we go along. A simple description will be given of each method, with my comment on each one and my opinion as to its merits or otherwise.

by Kenneth S. Jaffrey

Extracted from: Jaffrey, Kenneth S. 1975. What Is Nature Cure? Townsville, Australia: Jaffrey.