Nature Cure or Naturopathy is a way of life of which we find a number of references in the Vedas and other ancient texts. Nature cure or Naturopathy is based on the morbid matter theory, concept of vital force and other concepts which were available in ancient Indian texts which indicate that these methods were widely practised in ancient India.
Nature cure or Naturopathy has its roots in the Sankhya Philosophy which is one of the six main philosophies (or Shad Darsana) of the ancient Indian tradition. In the Sankhya Philosophy the entire universe is made of 24 tattvas or principles. The human body also is made of those 24 principles. Of these 24 principles, there is emphasis on five principles – earth, air, fire, air and space and its modifications which form the basic building block of the body. In nature cure, it is argued that since the body was built from the 5 elements, the same 5 elements can also be used for curing, repairing or correcting any defect in the body.
Today, Naturopathy has incorporated those subtle principles into some basic laws for simplicity. The whole practice of Nature cure based on the following principles:
- Accumulation of morbid matter
- Abnormal composition of blood and lymph
- Lowered vitality
Nature Cure believes that all the diseases arise due to accumulation of morbid matter or toxins in the body and if scope is given for its removal, it provides cure or relief. It also believes that the human body possesses inherent self-constructing and self-healing powers. The fundamental difference in Nature Cure with other systems is that its theory and practice are based on holistic view point whereas the latter’s approach is specific. Nature Cure does not believe in the specific cause of disease and its specific treatment but takes into account the totality of factors responsible for diseases such as one’s un-natural habits in living, thinking, working, sleeping, relaxation, etc. and also considers the environmental factors involved which on the whole disturbs the normal functioning of the body and leads it to a morbid, weak and toxic state.
For treatment it primarily stresses on correcting all the factors involved and allowing the body to recover itself. A Nature Cure physician helps in Nature’s effort to overcome disease by applying correct natural modalities and controlling the natural forces to work within safe limits. The five main modalities of treatment are air, water, heat, mud and space.
Naturopathy can, thus, be broadly defined as a system where in human beings live in harmony with the principles of nature. These constructive principles are applicable on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes of living. Naturopathy has great health promotive, disease preventive, curative and restorative potential.
Principles of Nature Cure or Naturopathy
- All disease, their cause and their treatment are one.
- The basic cause of disease is not microbes (like bacteria, viruses, amoeba, etc.). Microbes develops after the accumulation of morbid matter when a favourable atmosphere for their growth develops in the body. Basic cause is morbid matter and not the microbes.
- Acute diseases are our friends not the enemies. Chronic diseases are the outcome of wrong treatment and suppression of the acute diseases.
- Nature is the greatest healer. The body has the capacity to prevent itself from acquiring diseases and has the ability to regain health if unhealthy.
- In Naturopathy, the patient is treated and not the disease.
- In Naturopathy diagnosis is easily possible. Ostentation is not required. Long waiting for diagnosis is not required for treatment.
- Patients suffering from chronic ailments are treated successfully in comparatively less time in Naturopathy.
- After emerging, suppressed diseases can be cured by Naturopathy.
- Nature Cure treats physical, mental, social (moral) and spiritual – all four aspects at the same time.
- Nature Cure treats body as a whole instead of giving treatment to each organ separately.
- Naturopathy does not use medicines. According to Naturopathy, “Food is Medicine”.
According to the morbid matter theory, toxins are produced in the body due to indigestion, irregular food habits and consumption of food that are difficult to digest. These toxins enter the blood stream and eventually gets accumulated in the organs, joints and body parts. In course of time, these toxins become cause of diseases. Even though toxins are accumulated in the body, it need not manifest as diseases in the early stages. There is a gestation period and a threshold after which the negative effect on the organs and body parts starts to show as external symptoms. In the science of Ayurveda, this process is described in six steps called Shad Kriya Kala. The six stages of disease development are – Chaya (accumulation of toxins), Prakopa (increase or aggravation), Prasara (Spreading of toxins), Sthana Samshraya (collection in a particular organ or part), Vyakta (clear manifestation of the disease) and Bheda (Differentiation or further complication of disease). It is only at the stage of Vyakta that modern medicine can diagnose the disease, till then it is hidden. Once it goes beyond this stage (to Bheda for example), then it becomes more difficult to cure the disease as it has done extensive damage already. In such cases, modern medicine or Allopathy, through its advanced technology and surgical techniques are found to be more effective. Hence it better to remove the very cause of the disease even before it becomes manifest.
In Naturopathy, it is believed that the blood has to maintain a certain quality and an optimum quantity for the perfect maintenance of the body. When the toxins are pushed into the blood stream from the digestive system, the quality of blood is affected and it loses its efficiency for repair and maintenance of the body. Hence removal of the toxins is an important part of nature cure. Then the blood has the ability to self-heal any disease without external medicines.
The vitality of the body is another aspect dealt with in Nature cure. Our energy body or the pranic body can be depleted by various means including – over exercise, over eating, excessive sexual indulgence, use of stimulants like tea, coffee and alcohol, excessive mental stress, etc. This imbalance can be corrected by various methods including – pranayama, yoga asanas, meditation, fasting, physical and mental rest, etc.
In short, Nature Cure includes all the available non-invasive treatments and diagnostic modalities which do not interfere with the body’s natural functional capacity and healing process and are in infirmity with Nature’s constructive Principles. Naturopathy believes in self-cure and living in harmony with nature to give the body an opportunity to repair and heal itself.