- Naturopathy is a form of alternative, preventive, instructive and holistic medicine: Introduction.
- Vitalism, hygienism, Kneipp method: History.
- The 5 basic Principles.
- Eat less, eat high quality vitalizing food, proper dietary combinations: Cuisine. Cuisine.
Naturopathy aims at treating a person in his entirety, i.e. in other words his body, mind, emotions, his social or spiritual state, and even his energy. It believes that the power of nature has healing properties: the vital energy paves the way for self-healing. It aims at minimizing the risk of side effects and opts for treating the root causes of health disorders with natural methods instead of just eliminating the symptoms.
It acts through prevention and instruction in order to improve the life hygiene of the patients. Naturopathy wishes to purify the organism of the toxins which cause disease: bad diet, pollution, stimulants, chemical medicines, cosmetics… deficiencies, a sedentary life style, stress etc...
Among the 10 techniques used, detoxification (mono-diet and fasting), revitalization and stabilization treatments will allow to eliminate toxins, counter nutritional deficiencies and keep oneself healthy. In order to decrease the production of toxins, proper dietary combinations are of utmost importance.
According to Naturopathic dietetics
The modern man eats far too much. It is advisable to eat less, to eat good food that imparts vitality: raw food, whole or semi-whole food (whole grain cereal, cold-pressed oils, natural sea salt with minerals, complete sugar).
Advised diet: sprouted grains (considered to be excellent for revitalization), vegetable and fruit juices. One must decrease one’s meat consumption. It is preferable to eat fish, poultry and eggs.
A cereal (high starch content) and pulse (weak proteins) combination is good. In the same vein, vegetables and mussels make for a good combination. One is advised to eat alkaline food, in order to neutralize body acidity: goat cheese, soya, potatoes, chestnuts, almonds, black olives, carrots, turnips, radish, celery, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, chicory, squash, bananas, figs, grapes, pears and apples, etc...
More about: 1) Introduction - 2) History - 3) Principles - 4) Cuisine
- Top of page -
1 - Introduction
Naturopathy is defined as an alternative or natural, preventive, instructive and holistic medicine (alternative complementary medicine). It believes itself to be scientific and practices clinical trials (a Canadian site announces results demonstrating their therapeutical effectiveness).
There is a global federation of naturopathy. At present, naturopathy is prevalent in Anglo-Saxon countries: USA, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and Germany. In USA, Naturopathic doctors are trained over a period of 4 years in schools, which believe themselves to be equivalent to medical schools. Naturopathy is also practised in India and Israël, Peru, Portugal, etc...
In France, as is the case with most of the alternative medicines, the naturopath’s profession is not a recognized one, but vitalism health practitioners are authorized to draw up vitality assessments and use certain natural techniques.
-> 2) History - 3) Principles - 4) Cuisine
- Top of page -
2 - Some history
Are modern successors of Hippocratic medicine naturopaths? All the leaflets or websites of naturopaths claim this parentage by referring to Hippocrates and to Hippocratic medicine, irrespective of whether it is dates back to Antiquity, is Christian or Arabic. A few trace back the origins of Naturopathy to the traditional doctors of Africa and America, to the scholarly doctors of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Indians or Chinese! More modestly speaking, the origins of Naturopathy seem to go back to the 18th century theory of vitalism and to the 19th century German natural life movement.
In reaction against the Cartesian mechanism founded on the principle of the inertia of matter, doctors belonging to the Hippocratic tradition developed the concept of the vital principle in the 18th century. Vitalism is positioned between a mechanistic vision of nature and metaphysical theories. Scientists such as Bichat (1771-1802, at the origin of histology or the study of human tissues) and Claude Bernard (1813-1878, creator of the experimental method, who studied chemical reactions in digestion), speak about vital force in order to define the intimate nature of life phenomena (Claude Bernard), which are not reducible to physicochemical properties. These scientists are opposed to other scientists such as Pasteur and his successors.
In the 19th century, in England philosophers or scientists such as Haeckel and Huxley, in Germany biologists such as Hans Driesch, refuse to reduce biological phenomena to the sole laws of physicohemistry and wonder about the principle of life. Subsequently, the progress made in biology, which culminated in genetics and the discovery of DNA, deeply modified the interrogations of scientists on the origin of life and on the notion of vital force.
Hygienism, a social theory which began at the end of the 18th century, is put into application from 1820-1830 and witnesses a full fledged development by the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. It is an extremely vast sanitary and social control project linked to the Pastorian revolution, which leads to the fight against insalubrity and social deviations (prostitution, alcoholism, vagrancy, sexuality outside marriage, problems linked to wrong education of children, criminality). In 1829, The French programmef the Annals of public hygiene and legal medicine clearly displays a wish on the moral plane, over and beyond the desire to improve the wellness of living conditions and food. In Germany, the hygienist movement also led to an enhancement of natural living.
The fruits of European hygienism are therefore multiple in nature: development of prophylaxis and creation of sewers in cities, eugenics (the theoretician of hygienism and eugenics is the French doctor Charles-Augustin Vandermonde 1727-1762, who in 1756 wrote an essay on the manner in which to perfect the human species). Eugenics theories will taste success, not only in Nazi Germany but also in the whole of Europe, in the United States and Australia. The movement for enhancement of natural living (vegetarians, naturism or followers of nature cure methods) is a positive fallout of hygienism.
The synthesis between hygienism and vitalism began in Germany, with Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897).
This catholic priest, a tuberculosis patient condemned by medicine, succeeded in getting cured of tuberculosis thanks to cold water baths, as advised by a book on natural medicine written by Johann-Sigmund Jahn (Unterricht von Kraft und Wirkung des frischen Wassers: Lesson on the strength and effectiveness of cold water).
He developed a method, known as The Kneipp method which relies on hydrotherapy (treatment with water), phytotherapy (treatment with plantes), physical activity (treatment with exercise), dietetics (treatment with a rational diet), and a healthy and balanced life style.
We then have Benedict Lust (1872-1945). This German national immigrated to USA in 1892. Later on, struck by tuberculosis, he came back to Germany to get cured and followed Father Kneipp’s hydrotherapy treatments. Cured and having developed an interest for this method, he went back to USA, became a doctor and founded the American School of Naturopathy in 1905, borrowing the word invented in 1895 by Dr John Scheel after having sought his consent. Dr Scheel himself had been deeply influenced by the Kneipp’s works and those of an American hygienist, Russel Tacher Trall (1812-1877); the latter was linked to the seventh-day adventists. Naturopathy then went on to further develop in the United States despite stiff opposition from the medical world (Lust, who recommended bathing in the nude, was arrested 19 times).
At the outset, Naturopathy was called Nature's path or Nathropathy and, in France, took on the name naturopathie in 1940, with the Frenchman Pierre-Valentin Marchesseau.
Naturopathy is a word created from the Latin word natura and the Greek word pathos and signifies study of pain according to nature.
The Larousse medical dictionary defines Naturopathy as practices aimed at helping the organism to get cured on its own through natural means.
In France, the hygienist, naturist and vegetarian movement was initially represented mainly by Dr Carton (1875-1948). Just like Lust and Kneipp, he had been a tuberculosis patient in his youth. Carton borrowed the theory of Hippocratic temperaments, he was convinced about the importance of a healthy life and food habits in order to maintain good health or to get cured. He was also influenced by American hygienists. Dr Carton enjoyed a close relationship with Rudolf Steiner (the creator of biodynamics). Dr Carton wrote, among others: Tuberculosis treatment through vegetarianism (1911), The 3 deadly foodstuff: meat, sugar, alcohol (1912), Simple cookery (1922). This book, which was reedited several times, upholds that the diet should be natural, in order to ensure the purity of humours, and consequently physical vigour and moral holiness. The biologist Pierre-Valentin Marchesseau (1910-1994), who had discovered Naturopathy during a stay in USA, made France discover it. Marchesseau trained hygienists and naturopaths in Paris in his free faculty of France.
The discovery of penicilline, antibiotics and corticosteroids delivers a death blow to natural methods. Naturopathy is reborn in USA in 1956, with the opening of a Naturopathy medical school at Portland (Oregon). In the early 70’s, some therapeutic excesses and side effects of medicines egged on a number of doctors and patients disappointed with modern medicine towards what we will henceforth term as alternative medicines. Naturopathy witnesses a second youth and is now developing almost all over the world.
1) Introduction <- To -> 3) Principles - 4) Cuisine
- Top of page -
3 - The principles of Naturopathy
Naturopathy rests on 5 basic principles:
1 - Above all do not harm (Primum non nocere): minimize the risk of side effects and avoid doing away simply with the symptoms.
2 - The power of nature heals (Vis medicatrix naturae): this is the concept of vitalism. The vital energy allows self-healing. Naturopathy strives for enhancing this process.
Each living being is infused with a vital force. This life energy is an intelligent force which always tilts towards good health, towards and against all the hazards of existence, and confers upon us a capacity of self-healing. One of the most remarkable actions that this self-healing force reveals is the scarring process: the wounds close and the bones repair naturally. Naturopathy advertising document.
3 - Identifying and eliminating the causes (Tolle causam): identifying the causes of health disorders and treating them with natural methods. This is the concept of causality: search for the causes (origin) of the disorders, whereas allopathy, according to naturopaths, contents itself with treating the symptoms. Doing away only with the symptoms (fever, pain, cough, rashes, etc.) without understanding the causes thereof is to act against Life and to expose the organism to veritable harmful or degenerative diseases which destroy it ultimately. Naturopathy publicity document.
4 - Detoxifying and purifying the organism (Deinde purgare): eliminating the toxins. This is the concept of humorism: the old Hippocratic theory of humours has been modernized. Blood, lymph and intra and extracellular liquids fall prey to clogging, which is at the origin of health disorders. The wastes (or toxins) which are not eliminated naturally cause illness (theory of toxemia). These toxins come from outside (bad dietary habits, pollution, stimulants, chemical medicines, cosmetics…) or from inside (deficiencies, a sedentary life style, stress, liver, lung, kidney, intestinal disorders, wrong mental or emotional attitude).
5 - Naturopathy teaches (Docere): techniques for prevention and educating the person to improve his life hygiene. He can thus develop his vital force, maintain his good health and develop his self-healing power. This is the concept of naturism (for the English speaking population) or hygienism (for the French): the will to lead a healthy life and to cure oneself with natural techniques and phytotherapy.
The Naturopath is the ally of your self-healing vital force: he stimulates it, goes with its flow, awakens its power, he helps you to restore within yourself the conditions needed for good health. Naturopathy publicity document.
Naturopathy adds on the concept of holism (from the Greek word "holos", the whole): It is a "holistic" medicine, which aims at treating a person in his entirety, i.e. in other words his body, mind, emotions, his social or spiritual state, and even his energy.
Illness can often be explained by the production of toxins, generated by bad dietary habits (too much of sugar intake, of oily food, gluten, not enough vitamins and mineral salts). Toxins, which are at the origin of illnesses, are also generated by the modern world: beauty products can poison the skin; pollution and tobacco can intoxicate the lungs; alcohol, coffee, sugar, grease, food additives or drugs can intoxicate the liver and intestines; salt, medicines or an excess of meat intake can intoxicate the kidneys; pollution by heavy metals poisons the whole body.
Naturopathy aims at "boosting" the immunity system. For doing this, it uses 10 techniques: diet, physical exercices, psychology, relaxation, hydrology (hydrotherapy of the colon, in order to clean the intestinal mucosa in depth), manual techniques, respiratory techniques, phyto-aromatherapy, magnetism and reflexology.
In general it uses the 3 treatment therapy:
- Detoxication treatment: a few days for eliminating the toxins accumulated within the organism and cleanse the organism, with a mono-diet (eating only a single foodstuff over a certain period of time: treatment with raisins, apples or vegetable broths), and with fasting.
- Revitalization treatment: after detoxication, a reconstruction period, in order to counter diet related and social deficiencies. Recommendation of a specific diet, any food supplements or even a change of life style.
- Stabilization treatment: a cure that is slightly mythical (according to some naturopaths) in order to maintain one’s level of health, strike a balance between exchanges of physiological and energetic metabolism. This last treatment is meant to assist the patient in harmonizing his biological and physiological functions. This is a coaching for achieving personal development.
Philippe Dargère, one of the French disciples of Pierre-Valentin Marchesseau, upholds, agreeing with the vision of the 19th century hygienists:
Health therefore results not from local and superficial medication, however brilliant it may be, but from an in-depth and overall life reform… It is, above all, a veritable hygiene, that conforms to human physiology (biological humanism). However the concept goes even farther. Naturopathy is laying the basis for a new society. When the surroundings are far too hostile and nothing is designed to stem this (e.g.: pollutions), man "degenerates" and the social plane bears the marks of this situation. Insecurity, poverty and hatred are the forms of social misery, which goes hand-in-hand with physiological misery.
1) Introduction - 2) History <- To -> 4) Cuisine
- Top of page -
4 - Cuisine as described by Naturopathy
The modern man eats far too much. It is advisable to eat less, to eat good food that imparts vitality: raw food, whole or semi-whole food (whole grain cereal, cold-pressed oils, natural sea salt with minerals, complete sugar). Advised diet: sprouted grains (considered to be excellent for revitalization), vegetable and fruit juices.
Without having to follow a vegetarian diet, it is recommended to decrease the quantity of animal proteins which bring in toxins and bad greases to the organism. It is preferable to eat fish, poultry and eggs.
In order to reduce the production of toxins, it is of utmost importance to practise good food combinations. In fact, an imperfect or slow digestion gives rise to intestinal fermentations and putrefactions, which are particularly primary sources of digestive disorders and food poisoning (absorption by the blood of toxins originating in the intestine) and which can be at the origine of all kinds of diseases. Food items are classified per families: starches, flours, proteins, vegetables and fruits. These families are further sub-divided into strong and weak products. Each food family is digested differently (digestion time, place where digestion takes place and degree of acidity which are all highly different). Moreover the enzymes which enable to break down foodstuffs into nutrients are specific to each food type.
For example, strong proteins such as meats, fish, cheese or eggs must be consumed in association with weak starches such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, chestnut. It is not advisable to combine them with strong starches such as rice, pasta or cereals. A cereal (high starch content) and pulse (weak proteins) combination is good. In the same vein, vegetables and mussels make for a good combination.
Food combining diets (for example, the Shelton diet) all initially have the same vision of the digestive system as the one held by naturopaths. However naturopaths are opposed to a highly systematic application of the food combination system, which end up in imbalanced diets that may prove to be dangerous.
Gluten also is a part of products that Naturopathy distrusts: there are recipes for making bread and cakes without gluten (wheat flour is replaced with rice flour, or with the starch of potatoes, or tapioca...). One is advised to eat alkaline food, in order to neutralize body acidity: goat's or ewe's-milk cheese, soya, potatoes, chestnuts, almonds, black olives, carrots, turnips, radish, celery, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, chicory, squash, bananas, figs, grapes, pears and apples, etc...
1) Introduction - 2) History - 3) Principles <- To
- Top of page -