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Hygiene: The Greatest Health Discovery
by Chris BeckettThis 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 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 and/or injury.
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
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
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
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
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 combined.
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 time.
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
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
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 abroad.
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
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
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 public.
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
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" credentials.
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
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, 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.
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