The True Nature of Health and Disease – Five Insights

1) Disease can be viewed as a disturbance of the synchronization between one’s life-rhythm and the eternal cycles and imperatives of Nature.

In the 1930s, famed Swedish health teacher Are Waerland began his Sun Viking movement. Many of his students experienced greatly improved health and even recovery from serious illnesses. Waerland taught that disease was a disturbance of a person’s life-rhythm, established through millions of years of biological evolution.

He told his students to look outside the body to environmental conditions as primary factors that create health or disease. Waerland felt that health could only be produced, and disease eliminated, by restoring the original human life-rhythm which depends upon an unhindered relationship between the human body and the external factors of Nature.

2) Disease: the body’s attempt at self-cleansing and regeneration in order to self-heal.

The human organism is designed to strive toward health, not disease. Disease is often a defensive reaction brought about by poor lifestyle habits. Therefore, the power to cure disease resides only within the patient’s body, but that innate power cannot fully prevail until wrong living habits stop and the fundamental elements of life and health, in necessary measure, have been set in place, namely: proper diet; pure water; fresh air; sunlight; adequate exercise, warmth, rest and sleep; emotional harmony; proper posture.

3) If a substance is not fundamental to the health of the body, it’s also not fundamental to disease treatment.

From this view comes the most important therapeutic principle of traditional naturopathy: Disease treatment must be based upon the use of the fundamental elements of life in accordance with the needs and abilities of the patient. Accordingly, Paracelsus, the renowned 15th- to 16th-century alchemist and professor of physics, medicine and surgery observed: “The physician should pass Nature’s examination.”

4) “Through your stomach come all your ills.”–Plato

In 1904, noted traditional naturopath Adolph Just wrote in Return To Nature: “Those who no longer listen to the voice of Nature become the victims of a thousand different diseases and miseries…Humankind can recover and again become happy only via a true return to Nature… [by choosing] the food that Nature has laid before them from the beginning and bringing themselves again into relation with water, light and air, earth, etc. which Nature originally designed for them.”

Adolph Just was not suggesting that human beings forsake the comforts of modern existence, only that they reestablish their primal relationship with the life-sustaining elements of the natural world. For instance, instead of viewing diet as a form of entertainment, it should be seen primarily as a means for optimal survival.

5) “…disease is but the expression and result of a disturbance of the conditions natural to life. The only useful office of the physician is to restore those conditions.”–Emmet Densmore, M.D., from his book How Nature Cures, 1892.

In the 19th and early-20th centuries, naturopathic doctors developed many creative, highly effective therapies using Nature’s life- and health-giving elements. Originally, many of these therapies were applied within the setting of the numerous naturopathic health spas of those days which featured sunbathing, hiking in the fresh air, hydrotherapies, deep breathing, pure water, nourishing food, massage and lots of rest and sleep. However, with the introduction of “miracle drugs” came the misconception that simple naturopathic therapies were somehow quaint and outdated. And the hectic lifestyle of our era popularized a demand for the “quick-fix.”

The use of surgery and drugs (even natural medicines such as herbs and homeopathy) can only act upon the superficial symptoms of the underlying disharmony in an individual if the fundamental elements of life are not restored. And such disharmony may eventually manifest in some other, and perhaps more threatening, form.

Hippocrates maintained that disease must be treated in accordance with natural laws. Also, when the great 17th-century physician Thomas Syndenham (renowned as the “English Hippocrates”) lay dying, he told his weeping pupils that he was content to die as he was leaving behind three physicians greater than he ever was. One of the pupils eagerly inquired, “Three great masters? Who are they?” Syndenham replied: “Water, air and exercise.”

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