NATURE CURE, NATUROPATHY & NATURAL THERAPEUTICS
‘As there seems to be confusion in respect of the differences between these three terms we include here an article, which whilst not entirely sympathetic to straight nature cure, does offer an interesting perspective’
Has natural medicine a place in naturopathic practice?
(edited version of a 1972 article by Thomas G Dummer, reprinted in the British Naturopathic Journal, Volume 18, No 1, 2001)
All Naturopaths use and apply natural agencies and forces that encourage a return to health from a state of ill-health. While naturopathy embraces much of the teaching of Nature-Cure, it does not accept that all disease arises solely from ‘wrong habits of living’. In addition to unadulterated foods, water, air, sunshine, exercise, relaxation and the promotion of mental-emotional equilibrium, eclectic naturopaths recommend the use of natural medicines – that is, medicines that are non-poisonous (or non-toxic). These would include herbal, homoeopathic and biochemical remedies. Such remedies, however, should not be used to suppress symptoms. The problem with symptomatic treatment lies in the fact that deep seated conditions may be masked and remain untreated.
Has natural medication a place in naturopathic practice? To answer this question satisfactorily it is necessary to examine it from an historical viewpoint. We should first make some distinction between Nature-Cure and Naturopathy and trace their origins.
Nature-Cure is based on a combination of the back-to-nature movement in Germany during the 19th century and the Hygienic movement, founded in the USA more than 100 years ago.
In general it holds that disease arises solely from the so-called ‘wrong habits of living’ and limits therapeutic aids to the use of natural foods, water, air, sunshine, exercise, relaxation and the achievement of mental-emotional equilibrium. It tends to eschew, or at least minimise all forms of remedial treatment and, as such, is more a way of life.
Naturopathy has separate ‘roots’ from the Nature Cure movement. It embraces much that Nature-Cure teaches as an ideal but takes a more eclectic view. Examination of the teachings of the early founders of Naturopathy, including Kneipp, Bilz, Lindlahr, and Lust, all show that natural medication along with other systems of natural therapeutics, were considered as basic and were taught in the colleges of those days.
Natural medication falls into three categories, all three being systems of natural therapeutics in their own right:
Botanic or herbal
A principle that differentiates allopathic and natural medicines is that the remedial substances used in natural therapeutics are generally non-poisonous (or non-toxic) and, therefore, non-destructive to the body protoplasm, whereas in allopathy it is usually far from being the case.
[Philosophically, the allopathic approach differs in that it studies the disease rather than the patient and treats the disease directly and forcefully]