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Methods Of Naturopathy
Naturopathy as a system of medicine may not be very old, but it has been practiced by all right-thinking physicians for more than two millennia. In fact, its genesis can be traced to Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.), who is mistaken as the father of modern medicine, as he tried to treat his patients according to the basic principles of nature cure. According to Hippacrates, " Nature is the physician of all our diseases". He, therefore, laid stress on the right diet than on drugs.
But the real father of naturopathy was Vincenz Priesnitz, who established a clinic in Grafenburg, a small village in the Silesian mountains, more than a century ago. A simple, unlettered farmer, Priesnitz was endowed with a sharp intelligence and the capacity to go to first causes. It was he who discovered the healing power of a cold bath. His clinic became a center of pilgrimage from all over the world. Initially he had to face a lot of scorn and opposition from all quarters. He was hounded by traditional physicians who ridiculed and abused him.
Priesnitz had a milestone near his clinic inscribed with the dictum YOU MUST BE PATIENT since he found that perseverance alone could deal with stubborn ailments. He found that the best way to deal with chronic illness was to strengthen the resistance of the body so that it could throw out the poisons accumulated in it due to a wrong way of life.
Johannes Schroth followed his footsteps, mainly on the basis of his personal experience.He, too, faced ridicule and banter but the Duke of Wintumburg came to his help in 1849, when wounds in his feet refused to heal and the traditional physicians advised amputation as the only remedy. The patient insisted, however, on giving Schroth a trial and, not surprisingly, he was healed. Impressed by the natural system of drugless healing, the Duke had an account of his treatment printed and distributed to the armed forces of Austria, silencing Schroth's detractors.
While Priesnitz depended on the cool waters of the streams and rivers, Schroth gave pride of place to the application of heat through compresses and fomentations. He also devised a system of dietetics, known as the Schroth System.
Naturopathy is indebted to the German innovator, Dr. Heinrich Lahmann who opened a clinic in Dresden. He measured the nutrition value of the various food in terms of milk, using it as a standard. His contribution to the science of dietetics is considerable. He underlined the importance of natural foods as aids to health and dilated on the harmful effects of table salt and the senselessness of liquor.
One of the greatest teachers of naturopathy was Kunhe, a German, who had lost his health at the young age of 20 years. Disappointed with traditional medicine as it failed to provide him any relief, he turned to nature cure with remarkable success. His recovery convinced him of the utility of the system which he studied for many years and opened a health home in Leipzig. His treatments included sun-bathing, steam baths, hip baths and the like. His dictum was that cleanliness is the only answer to disease
Another great teacher of nature cure, Adolf Just, is known for his discovery of the healing property of clay. He stressed the need for going barefoot so that the life giving properties of mother earth may touch a person's body. He believed that disease was a punishment for disregarding the laws of nature. He was a staunch opponent of inoculation.
The first American exponent, James C. Jackson, suffered an intractable ailment at the age of 35 years which improved when he sought the help of Silas O. Gleason, one of Priesnitz's disciples. Having got considerable relief after a stay of about a year at Gleason's sanatorium, he went into partnership with him. Disregarding drugs, Jackson used hydropathy, rest, exercise, diet and a psychological approach - all tools of naturopathy. "The way to heath," Jackson taught, "is sane living".
Other Americans who contributed to the science of naturopathy include Dr. Russel T. Trall, Dr. J. H. Kellog and Dr. Henry Lindlarh . Dr. Henry Lindlarh believed every acute disease was the sign of natural resistance which the human body possessed. The pride of place among the naturopaths of the USA goes to Dr. J.H. Tilden who taught that the real cure lay in mending one's habits.
BACTERIA ATTACK A WEAK HUMAN BODY
Naturopathy does not deny the existence of bacteria; they are inhaled from the air and ingested through contaminated food and water. But the presence of germs in human body is merely a symptom of a disease, not its cause.
Naturopaths believe that it is the vital force in the body which fights the bacteria which need a breeding ground. And what better breeding ground could they find than a dirty, ill-kept body? One of the cardinal principles of naturopathy is that bacteria need a happy hunting ground of an ill-kept and ill-looked-after body. Injections administered to destroy them merely add to the poisons already accumulated in the body which have given birth to the bacteria in the first place. Naturopaths believe that bacteria help in fighting diseases and not in causing it. Bacteria are nature's scavengers; they would infest only that organism which is rotten. Injected into a healthy organism they would die of starvation since they cannot eat anything that is healthy.
The only sane way to deal with disease is the naturopathic way. The vital force of the patient has to be augmented to make him well. That is the only way to eternal health.
ARE HEIGHT-WEIGHT CHARTS BAROMETERS OF HEALTH?
A thin, but sprightly lad may be told by the doctor that he is under-weight since his height and his weight do not measure upto the chart the doctor has before him.
The height -weight charts are not, in fact, barometers of health; they are merely averages drawn from a mass of data. Their construction is defective, since nobody has bothered to relate the weight with the state of health. The fallacy lies in taking the average as the ideal. The moment a person's weight goes above the average, he is advised to reduce it without going into the state of his health. A person having a weight over the average indicated by the actuary's chart may be in bad health but to take the weight as the criterion of health is wrong. It may be an indication, but not the sole criterion. A healthy man should not, normally speaking, worry about obesity unless it gets out of hand. Nor should a lean, under-weight person lose sight of the need to maintain this condition.
Bodily weight is the result of the cells, muscles, glands, the circumstances in which a person lives, and his heredity. If the glands and the cells do not misbehave, a person must attain a particular weight. Every person has his own weight; no objective standards can be laid down for universal application. A lean and this person can be as healthy as one who looks like a mound of flesh and bones.
THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE
Every ill person wants to rid herself of the disease but indiscriminate use of drugs and medicines is likely to cause irreversible deleterious effects. Quick cures may suppress the symptoms of disease, but at the cost of permanent injury to the human body. The sick have a tendency to try one drug after the other in their eagerness to regain lost health.
Practitioners of nature cure who prescribes fasting, the right food, hydropathy and other instruments of naturopathy, know that some patients on the road to recovery suddenly fall victim to an acute disease. That is nothing but aggravation of the malady, even if its form is a little different. The comprehensive treatment prescribed by the naturopath would sometimes produce rashes or boils on the skin. If the course of treatment is continued, they automatically disappear and the patient feels healthier than he did before the onset of the disease. It only means that the body reacts to the course of treatment by trying to expel the morbid matter. The expulsion of the morbid matter sometimes creates aggravation.
When the natural diet - water, sunlight, fruits and vegetables- is prescribed t deal with an ailment, it helps the body to expel the morbid matter from the various orifices.
NATURE CURE AND SURGERY
There is no need for surgery according to the naturopathic system of treatment. Many people who are unable to find relief after surgery take to nature cure. Even the largest boil can burst or dry up without the knife. Nature itself is the healer since it has given us the capacity to fight disease. Diet alone can cure many disorders which surgeons fail to ameliorate.
Diet is a subject of the greatest importance in all systems of medicine, but in naturopathy it is of overriding significance because most of the treatment consists in cleansing the system through diet.
The basic principle of dietetics is that the body has to fed like an engine which needs fuel. Food is the fuel for the body but just as there are various types of fuels for the various types of engines - diesel for the trucks, ATF for the planes and petrol for your scooter - the human body and its needs also need special types of food according to its condition. If you are a robust individual without any constitutional disorders you may take any type of food without impairing your health, but in a morbid condition special diets have to be taken.
Foods are refined to such an extent that their value is lost, even it they become more pleasing to the taste bubs and the eye. In the process of preparing food we tend to lose many of the vitamins. The polishing of rice and the refining of sugar are other example where the preference for a nicer book leads to destruction of their essential value as foods.
A continuous supply of mineral salts and vitamins is found in many natural and unspoilt food. They also cleanse and purify the body ridding it of toxins that give rise to various diseases.
Another fallacy which modern medicine suffers from is the measuring of food value in terms of calories. Energy is something fundamental to the organism and can be enhanced because of the ability of the system to absorb it from the foodstuffs taken. If the foodstuffs lack the essential elements which school be present in them, the vital force of the body is not enchanced.
Milk is a complete food and one can live on it without in any way imparing one's health. But it must not be boiled and should be taken fresh. In India's ancient system of medicine it was known as dugdha kalpa and was recommended in certain conditions. Pernicious anemia, diabetes, arthritis, neurasthenia and many other diseases have been cured by milk therapy followed by a long fast.
Refined foods like sugar and white bread, polished rice, boiled potatoes, etc. are acid forming and should be avoided as far as possible. Brown sugar (in India gur), whole meal bread, unpolished rice and potatoes with their peel intact are recommended as they are less acid forming
The best way to prepare a mud pack is to take clay from about four inches below the surface of the earth. Ensure that the clay does not contain any impurities, like compost or pebbles.
Mix it with cold water and see that it has a consistency like soft dough. It should stick and not be thin enough to slide down when used in the pack. If the pack is to be applied on the abdomen (from the navel to the pubes) spread the mud evenly on a piece of cloth. See that it is about half an inch thick. Then place it gently with the cloth up and the mud touching the skin. Remove the cloth and place a thick woollen piece of cloth on the mud. You may even let the cotton cloth remain over the mud, but cover it with a thick woollen. If that is done the patient can keep lying down without covering himself with a blanket or a sheet.
The mud pack should be used for 20 to 30 minutes. After it is removed, clean the skin using a soft piece of cloth dipped in cold water.
The hip bath can be taken in tubs made specially for this purpose. The tub is oval in shape and one end of it is raised so that the patient can rest his back against it.
Fill the tub with cold water. The level of the water should be so adjusted that it touches your navel when you sit in it. Your feet will be outside the tub and you can support them by keeping a low stool in front of the tub. You can rest your back against the raised portion of the rub and remain in that half-supine position.
Take a rough towel and rub your abdomen from the right to the left. Do it gently so that the skin is not scraped. Do not apply too much pressure in rubbing.
A hip bath can be taken from ten to twenty minutes. Thin persons should take it for only ten minutes and the stout ones can continue for 20 minutes. During winter the duration of the hip bath should be reduced by about 25 per cent.
In the beginning, the hip bath should be taken only for a minute or two; the time should be increased gradually to ten or twenty minutes.
Wipe your body with a towel when you get out of the tub, dress quickly and go for a walk or take some other exercise. Those too weak to engage in any such activity should get into bed and wrap a blanket around them and rest for half an hour to bring back warmth to their body.
keep stool onw foot long, six inches wide and six inches high in the tub. It would be all the better if there is a circular cut in front of it. If a stool is not readily available keep four bricks, two upon to raise the level and sit on them. The water level in the tub should be such that it is one inch above the stool. The water should be cold; during summer the water of an earthern pitcher can be used for the purpose.
Take off your clothes and sit on the stool. Take a piece of cloth, dip it in water and gently rub your abdomen with it for two minutes. Then take hold of the foreskin of your penis in two fingers and rub it lightly with a soft piece of cloth dipping cold water often. This can be continued for ten to twenty minutes. A lean person can do it for only ten minutes, and the hefty one for as long as twenty mintes. After the rubbing of the foreskin is completed, rub the entire spine with a wet towel for two minutes.
Women should rub their abdomen. They should take a piece of soft cloth, pull up the lips of vagina and rub them slowly.
HOT FOOT BATH
Sit on a stool and lower your feet in a bucket full of hot water. The level of the water should, ideally, come up to the knees. The tempeature of the water should not be too much above the body temperature. As the water gets cold, go on adding more hot water. Take care to see that the hot water added later does not scald the feet.
Cover yourself with a blanket. Wrap it around your body; even if the bucket is covered, it will be all right. The head should be covered with a towel wetted with cold water. As the coldness of the towel cvaporates, dip it in cold water, wring it lightly and again cover you head with it.
Take some hot water before you lower your feet into the bucket water. Go on sipping hot water throughout the time your feet are in the bucket.
A hot foot bath should be taken for 20 minutes. Wash your feet with cold water afterwards and wipe them with a towel. If you have perspired, wipe your body with a wet towel and dress yourself. An ordinary bath can be taken after the hot foot bath.
Treatment Under Naturopathy for various Diseases
Dyspesia or Indigestion:
The cardinal remedy for dyspepsia is light food, if the patient can take to fasting for 24 hours all the better. Thereafter in take of easily digestible, nutural foods is advised. Fats and condiments must be avoided. Bland food, mostly vegetables cooked in water, juicy fruits and buttermilk (churned curd with water added) should be taken.
Excess of food, like everything else, is bad and a person suffering from indigestion must eat less than he can digest. That would be the first stop in the treatment of this dsease.
Application of heat through hot compress or a hot water bottle to the abdomen for 15 to 20 minutes twice in the day, either on an empty stomach or two or three hours after meals, can activate your disgestive processe. The procedure could be alternated with cold compresses, applied for a minute or so in between hot compresses, could accelerate the pace of recovery.
The above procedure is merely a palliative. The patient can get permanent relief if he increases his body heat through vigorous exercise. Indigestion is the disease of the sedantry, active and brisk people generally do not suffer from the malady. Take a walk to begin with or light exercise. Jog a long, if you can and if there is a grassy lawn around your house, walk on the dew covered grass.
Avoid rice as in our country rice is associated with lentils which are not easy to digest. Eat rice with vegetables. Take fruits in-between the meals. Masticate your food properly so that it mixes well with the saliva. Take adequate quantities of water. Alcohol and tabacco should be taken in the minimum possible quantities, if not altogether stopped.
The treatment of constipation should start in the kitchen and not in the lavatory. Eat the wheat flour without passing it through a sieve; unmilled and unpolished rice is the best. Your food should contain two parts fruits and vegetables and one part cereals. Boil the milk only once; let it not thicken by overboiling. That would give your system the roughage it needs.
In case of chronic constipation, eat more of cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, spinach and cabbage. The total intake of these should be a minimum of 250 grammes in the day. Eat them as you eat salad - season it with a pinch of salt and juice of a lemon in order to make it more palatable.
Eat thrice in twenty-four hours, but if you are above forty, do not take more than two meals in the day. Do not take it literally: you can eat fruit in-between the meals, but in reasonable quantities. Better still, make fruits a part of your morning and evening meals. Talking of fruits, the best fruits are seasonal and those which are available to you within hours of having been picked.
Some people suffer from constipation because their intake of water or liquids is too insufficient. The water intake should be three to four litres in summer and one to two litres in winter. A glass of water taken in the morning immediately after waking up can help many cases of constipation.
When the muscles of the large intestine lose their tone or strength, stools tend to adhere to its insides. Atony of the intestines can be cured by exercise. A walk in the morning or evening, better still jogging will help.
Another way to help the intestine to void the stool is to cool it. Take a rough towel, fold it so that it can absorb water and place it on your lower abdomen after immersing it in cold water. Let the coolness percolate to the abdomen for about fifteen minutes. A mud pack can also be tried. Take about one kilogramme of clay and knead it into a dough-like consistency and spread it evenly on your lower abdomen - from the navel to the pubes. Some people are known to have benefited more from a mud bath than from a cold towel. It should be done before you go for a walk. Cooling and then warming it through exercise helps the large intestine regain its tone.
In the beginning, you may not have the urge to void your bowels. But do not wait for the 'Call" of nature. Visit the toilet at the time your usually do, even if the "call" is not there. Remember that habit plays an important part. The best course is to drink about half a litre of water and take a walk for ten to fifteen minutes before you visit the toilet immediately after dinner: it may surprise you to hear of intake of food followed by the effort to void your bowels, but remember that it takes fourteen to eighteen hours for the waste matter left after absorption of food into the system to leave the body. The churning of the stomach and the resultant activity of the intestines when you are ingesting food helps relieve constipation.
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