Part 1 of 2
NATURAL HYGIENE: THE
GREATEST HEALTH DISCOVERY
by Chris Beckett,
special correspondent for
The Best Years in Life
This article is dedicated to all health-truth seekers
everywhere, in the hope that the knowledge within it
will inspire you as it did me; a system of health
recovery/maintenance based on natural law, which saved
my life from Leukemia 30 years ago, just y as one
day……….. it may also save yours !!
Early in the 19th Century a remarkable health discovery
was made that tore away the mystery that surrounded
disease, revolutionized the care of the sick, saved
countless thousands from premature death (so prevalent
in that period), and was the advent of a period of
physiological enlightenment for both medical and laymen
alike. This discovery, known as Natural Hygiene, and the
pioneers who fought to bring its truths to light,
constituted an incredible piece of American history that
involved Statesmen and World famous figures. This
article is just part of the absorbing story of the
evolution of Natural Hygiene, the movement which was
built around it, its struggle to gain acceptance for
principles that were based on natural law and a
rudimentary understanding of the amazing but glorious
health potential it holds for humanity as a whole.
What is Natural Hygiene?
Natural Hygiene is defined as being the science and
fine-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 relationships, and all healthful mental
influences. Hygiene is neither a system of medicine, nor
one of the healing arts, nor a system of therapeutics.
It offers the client no cures, has no cures, denies all
cures, does not pretend to cure; but, it permits nature
or the body to heal itself. Viewed this way, Hygiene is
not just fasting, or dieting, vegetarianism, food
combining, or any one life- element of living, but a
combination of all of life’s agencies in such manner and
degree as Nature can use, to realize the maximum
physical and mental healing potential of the body.
The Principles of Natural Hygiene.
The human body has basic physical, physiological,
emotional and spiritual needs – about 19 have been
identified - such as proper food, sunshine, rest, sleep,
exercise, water, emotional poise, gregarious social
gathering etc. These needs have to be supplied at the
appropriate time in the appropriate amounts for
abundantly good health to be achieved. If this is
fulfilled, the human body can manage and take care of
itself, resulting in superb robust health. If these
needs are supplied either in excess or as a deficiency,
or if other alien substances are consumed by the body,
sickness eventually becomes inevitable.
The human body is self-preserving, self-maintaining, and
self-healing. All that is required from us is to remove
the causes of the problem, rest (go to bed) and
preferably stop eating (fast), since the body will use
the energy saved from not having to digest food, for the
incredibly powerful healing & cleansing processes of the
body to be initiated.
Body processes are very complex. In most cases, any
medical intervention only results in further problems
and complications; so the most effective course of
action is to just leave the body "intelligently alone"
to handle its own problems. Only in certain life
threatening cases, or in cases of accidents, trauma etc,
is it possible to do something (via emergency, surgery
etc) to help the body.
If we also listen to our body it gives us very clear
signals as to what it needs and what it does not need.
For example, tiredness means it needs sleep, hunger -
food, thirst - water. A coughing fit after your first
smoke indicates it does not want tobacco!! We have to
heed the signals of the body at all times. Lack of, or
no appetite is a clear signal from Nature that food is
not required from outside, but internal feeding or
“fasting” means that you will be feeding from your own
food reserves while your body heals and cleanses. Man
can live for only minutes without air, days without
water, and weeks without food. Even the thinnest of
individuals have a store of food reserves from which
they can feed from in times of deprivation, disease
Natural Hygiene believes that adulterated Diet and
improper living habits are the primary reason for
sickness and disease, but by eating a diet high in
natural, whole, raw organic foods (at least 50%,
preferably 80-85%) we can avoid most illnesses. It is
recommended that cooked food should be minimized and
processed food avoided altogether.
Poison habits such as smoking, drinking, and drugs also
need to be eliminated.
1822: Isaac Jennings, M.D. of Fairfield, Connecticut,
having practiced medicine for 20 years and being
thoroughly discouraged with the results, began to
administer placebos of bread pills, starch powders, and
colored water tonics to patients, while instructing them
in healthful living.
1822 - 1832: Dr. Jennings and physiologist/minister
Sylvester Graham started a healing system called "Orthopathy".
During the following few decades, a group of
health-conscious doctors and citizens boldly claimed
that Nature knows better than the most learned
physicians. Citizens of this country were fed-up with
failures and contradictions of the then current medical
practice and theory. The truths proclaimed by Jennings
and Graham found immediate and widespread acceptance.
After becoming fully convinced of the correctness of his
"Let-Alone Plan," "Do-Nothing Cure," and the
"No-Medicine Plan," Jennings announced his discovery to
the world, but he is misunderstood. Because of his
pioneering impact Jennings is credited with being "The
Father of Natural Hygiene."
1830 - 1832: For several years Graham lectured
nationwide on the relationship of physiology to Hygiene
and gained a large following, especially among the
common working people. In just a few years, he published
"The Graham Journal of Health and Longevity";
established the Library of the American Physiologic
Society; opened the nation's first health food stores,
health book stores and health food restaurants; and
founded numerous "Grahamite" health retreats and
1833: Dr. Russell Thacker Trall emerged as a great
mastermind of Hygienic "Hygieo Therapy", which combined
the use of all Hygienic agents into one holistic system.
A brilliant thinker and articulate debater, Dr. Trall
publicly challenged the entire medical establishment on
their theory and practice, always emerging as the
1844: Dr. Joel Shew introduced the European system of
"Hydrotherapy" to the United States, a "curing
treatment" which used little or no drugs while employing
water as the main therapeutic agent. Hydropathists
adopted the Hygieo-Therapy (Natural Hygiene) dietary and
exercise plan, as well as its emphasis on fresh air and
sunlight. American physicians who had lost faith in
drugging but lacked belief in Hygiene adopted
Hydrotherapy wholesale as both became intertwined and
indistinguishable for several years.
1830 - 1860: Scores of Hygienic homes, schools and
sanitariums opened throughout the country. Dr. Harriet
Austin and James Jackson founded the largest Natural
Hygiene institution in the world, "Our Home on the
Hillside", with 250 beds. Seventy-five hydrotherapy
(water-cure) institutions were founded. During this
time, over 80 "health papers" effectively reached the
masses which coincided with an improvement in the
hygienic habits of Americans.
1852: Natural Hygiene was so enthusiastically received
and popularized that its practitioners outnumbered those
of allopathic, homeopathic and chiropractic medicine
1853: Dr. Russell Trall founded the New York College of
Hygieo-Therapy to educate competent health
practitioners. This inaugurated a new era in medical
science, theory, philosophy and practice that was in
variance with prevailing allopathic doctrines of the
1861: Dr Trall, who had once been a practicing
Hydropathist, announced a formal declaration separating
Hydrotherapy from Hygieo-Therapeutics (Natural Hygiene)
by stating "water possesses no power whatsoever to cure
any disease. Nature is the remedial principle".
1862: Dr Trall delivered a landmark lecture at the
Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. before the most
distinguished medical minds of the United States
entitled "The True Healing Art, or Hygiene vs.
Medication". The lecture was widely published and
circulated among the populace, and the health reform
movement in America reached its height. Ironically, in
1861, with the onset of the Civil War, national
attention focused on survival, and health reform ended.
1861 - 1865: The Civil War caused Hygienic institutions
everywhere to close. The health reform movement was
halted as the war impoverished the nation. Schools and
sanitariums were wrecked and the common citizen could no
longer afford Hygienic educational literature.
1864: French chemist Louis Pasteur fathered "The Science
of Bacteriology" and "The Germ Theory of Disease" by
demonstrating the existence of microorganisms. It
concluded that "germs" cause pathogenic change in living
cultures within laboratory experiments. With Pasteur, a
new era in modem medicine was inaugurated, including
sterilization, pasteurization, vaccination, and fear of
raw foods. The prevailing "germ era" helped usher in the
decline of 19th century health reform. Not only did
people develop germ-phobia, but they also found
complacency in blaming their ill health on malevolent
invading bacteria, rather than taking responsibility for
their own poor lifestyle choices.
1881: Clara Barton, student of Hygiene founds the
American Red Cross and becomes its first president.
1900 - 1940: Dr. J. H. Tilden, after thoroughly reading
19th century Hygienic literature, became convinced that
disease need not be experienced. Tilden conducted a
private practice to teach patients how to eliminate body
toxicity; he lectured widely; wrote 25 books; and widely
circulated a monthly magazine both in this country and
1909 - 1910: The infamous Flexner Report ended
health-care reform in the States, as alternative schools
of healing were shutdown nationwide, under the influence
of the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations.
1924-1940: Tilden opened and operated a Hygienic school
and sanitarium in Denver, Colorado. In 1926, he
published the famous book "Toxemia Explained", which
identified the primary cause of ALL disease as toxemia
(a state of internal pollution) brought on by
debilitating, enervating, and unhealthful living
practices. In the meantime, medical authorities strongly
opposed and condemned Tilden.
1920: Dr. Herbert M. Shelton wrote the first of 40 books
in his efforts to revive Natural Hygiene. Over the next
50 years, many of Dr. Shelton's books were translated
into eight languages.
1928 - 1981: Dr. Shelton's Health School operated in San
Antonio, Texas and included a clinic, laboratory, and
educational program. Well over 60,000 fasts were
professionally supervised. According to Shelton, "the
sick get well, the well get better, and all gain the
priceless knowledge needed to stay well". Throughout his
career, Shelton was considered a threat to medicine. He
is repeatedly threatened and jailed over 30 times!!
1948: The American Natural Hygiene Society was founded.
Several chiropractors and laymen elected Shelton as its
first president. Annual conventions were held, and 30
chapters worldwide are established, some of which are
still active today. Current membership in the U.S.,
however, is below 10,000.
1939 - 1980: Shelton published the monthly magazine
Hygienic Review popularizing and reviving Natural
Hygiene worldwide for 20th century thinkers. From 1934 -
1941, Shelton also wrote and published the seven volume
series entitled The Hygienic System, which became the
basis for Hygienic study.
1970: At age 44, Terrance C. Fry read Shelton's book
"Superior Nutrition" and became a hygienist overnight.
Within a few years, he wrote and self-published several
easy-to-read booklets and books popularizing Natural
Hygiene, some of which were in contrast to Shelton's
formidable text-books and manuals.
1982: T.C. Fry founded the Life Science Institute and
published Healthful Living magazine with a circulation
of 30,000. Fry also developed a Natural Hygiene teacher
training course, a 2200 page, 111 lesson home study
curriculum. The Life Science Institute also produced
audio and video cassettes on Natural Hygiene and offered
retreats and seminars to students and to the general
1986-1988: Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, after years of
counseling, teaching and study with Life Science
Institute, wrote “Fit For Life”, the best-selling health
and diet book in history. A second book “Living Health”
followed. Warner Brothers published and provided
extensive national coverage through media and
conferences, which popularized Natural Hygiene for
millions of Americans.
1990's: Many Hygienic organizations and practitioners
continued operating educational programs, retreats,
sanitariums, and private practices, although relatively
few were directed by those with "recognized"
1995 - 1997: Art Baker serving as Dean of Students of
Life Science Institute enrolled nearly 1,000 students
into the Natural Hygiene correspondence program before
the company veered from its Natural Hygiene roots and
focused on digestive enzyme supplements, as it was sold
off to a group in Canada.
1996: Inspired by T. C. Fry's Healthful Living, David
Klein published the first issue of Living Nutrition
Magazine, "The True Voice of Hygiene."
1999: Healthful Living International (HLI) is founded by
a dynamic group of pure Natural Hygiene educators and
practitioners (Healthful Living Consultants) whose
mission was to incorporate knowledge of total wellness
of body, mind and spirit into teaching pure true Natural
Hygiene. The Healthful Living Consultants were the first
international professional association of Natural
Hygiene practitioners that included licensed doctors and
professional health educators and counselors.
Differences between Natural Hygiene and Alternative
Natural Hygiene stands unique amongst all other
therapies and healing sciences in that it alone insists
that there is no such thing as cure - only self-healing.
All other therapies try to deal with the symptoms using
this therapy or that. Herbs, Magnets, Needles, lotions,
potions, light, heat, mud etc. In Natural Hygiene there
is no therapy, no treatment. Natural hygiene does not
try to treat symptoms - it is the ONLY system that
insists on discovering the cause of the disease and
eliminating that cause.
Natural Hygiene and Naturopathy
Although these terms are used interchangeably, there is
a World of difference between them. "Pathy" means
"disease". Naturopathy means using natural ways to deal
with disease. This includes a proper diet, massage and
mud baths, water baths etc. Pure Natural Hygiene does
not recognize all these treatments - only adjusting the
diet, sunbaths and air baths are recognized.
In part two of this article (coming soon) discover the
amazing and only system of health recovery employed by
Nature that saved my life through FASTING and what it
can also do for you too.
For part two, click
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