In part 2 of this very brief writing on Natural Hygiene, we’ll learn about its practical application, how it originated, how it evolves and the role of the teachers.
In part 1 of these series we attempted to define Natural Hygiene, and also had a glimpse at its key principles, basis and merits. Let's now take a look at it from a more practical perspective.
How will your life improve as you apply the principles of Natural Hygiene? How can you have the courage and strength to think and act independently like the fathers of the system? How would you feel if you were to inspire people around you to improve through your personal example?
The principles and practices of Natural Hygiene are universally applicable across all ages, ethnics, geographies, religious and spiritual views, blood types, stages of life, occupations, levels of health, political views, sexual orientation, and every other dimension across which the human populace can be divided. It is equally suited to care of the terminally ill as it is to assure optimal performance for the competitive athlete. It is ideal for the one with strong appetite and big stomach as well as for the one with crippled digestive system. It will enable a strong and healthy start of life for the newborn and will make the final chapter of one’s life as disease-free and enjoyable as possible. It will assure the optimal well-being of a pregnant or nursing mother and will help the homeless drug-addict to transcend his poisonous habits and re-discover Life. That is, if the aforementioned people choose to embrace and adhere to what Natural Hygiene postulates as healthful essentials.
Natural Hygiene applies to the what, why, how and where of our living practices such as air, water, food, sunshine, exercise, rest, sleep, clothing, emotions, spirituality, etc. It applies to how we treat ourselves, our neighbour, and our home – Earth.
History and significance
The genesis of Natural Hygiene as a movement can be traced to 1832 when Sylvester Graham gave a series of lectures in New York. Russell T Trall MD who founded the world’s first college of Hygeieo-therapy, and managed the first healthcare Hygienic institution, is also sometimes called the father of the system. Among the early hygienists, Isaac Jennings was as one of the very few to practice strict Hygiene, as all others employed additional practices such as hydro-therapy, which were later rejected.
The Hygienic System arose as a response and opposition to the ever-expanding use of all medication. Among the early leaders of the movement there was a tendency towards the rejection of all drugs and exclusive reliance on Hygiene. The Hygienic System is the first, and so far, the only one in the world that embraces the laws of life and the conditions of health as the leading features of its principles and practices.
In the 20th century, the biggest influence, promoter and educator in the movement was Herbert M Shelton. He influenced millions with his writings in over 40 books and as an editor and publisher of the Hygienic Review from 1939–1980. He helped thousands in his Dr. Shelton’s Health School for over 50 years. Later in the 20th century, T C Fry was also a significant influence.
In modern times the works and leadership of Dr Doug Graham, Dr Dave Klein, Don Bennett DAS, to name a few are preserving, expanding and perpetuating the beneficial influence of Natural Hygiene. The most prolific Hygienic writers have been Graham, Alcott, Trall, Nichols, Walter, Tilden and, of course the aforementioned, Shelton.
In recent years, a great number of individual influencers have emerged using blogs and vlogs to share their views, knowledge and practices. Some of them are genuine and follow most if not all of the principles of Natural Hygiene. A great number promote their own versions, invariably deviating from the origins of the system. These off-springs are often imbalanced in their approach, unsound in their reasoning and potentially detrimental in their applications.
Examples of such unhelpful deviations include – total or almost total reliance on fruit with rejection of nearly everything else; inclusion of various amounts of cooked foods; inclusion of various poisons disguised as ‘condiments’ such as salt, pepper, garlic, onion, etc; reliance on vitamins, pills, powders and other supplements; inclusion of ‘enhancing’ and unnatural substances such as extracted amino acids, protein powders, creatine etc; excessive application of fasting and dry fasting; excessive and unnatural caloric restriction; reliance on ‘healing’ and ‘purgative’ plants, and/or herbal formulas; the inclusion of flushes, enemas, etc; over-reliance on fragmented natural foods in the form of smoothies and juices; extremely low fat and/or protein diets due to often irrational reduction and avoidance of all nuts and seeds. This is a non-exhaustive list of some of the modern-day interpretation and perversions, which are often positioned as healthy or hygienic practices. Many of the people expounding their versions of raw-veganism, living diets, natural living, etc, today seem to emphasise more the popularity and commercial success of their practice and views rather than being genuine and true to the core essence of Natural Hygiene. This statement, of course, assumes that they know what the core truths are, which is not always the case.
The significance of Natural Hygiene is beyond measure for the people that choose to embrace and practice it consistently. At this stage, a reasonable question may be – Then why is it not more popular? The answer to this is rather obvious. Natural Hygiene is one of the most uncomfortable and ‘politically incorrect’ truths as it either directly rejects or significantly challenges most prevailing norms.
How can a movement rejecting all drugs, cooked foods, animal ‘foods’, stimulants, and other common injurious practices be popular in the overstimulated, unhealthy, profit-seeking, farm-like environment we refer to as nowadays...?
“So prone are men and women to regard their own ingrained prejudices as established first principles that it is difficult to attack and expose old errors without offending those who hold to these; for, men usually regard an attack upon their inherited beliefs and prepossessions as an attack upon their persons.” Herbert M Shelton
Blinded by tradition, convention, ignorance and attachment to their views medical men and other ‘authorities’ of the old days rejected the Hygienic System. If any of the early leaders of the movement were popular in their lifetime it as accidental rather than an objective in itself. Even if they were, their popularity is disproportionately small to the potential improvements in humanity’s well-being that a wider recognition would have brought. For as Shelton further says “It seldom happens that the reformer reaps the benefits of the reform he introduces. Men are slow to understand and still slower to act.”.
This did not stop the courageous leaders at the dawn of the movement… They bravely faced disappointments and rejection and persevered guided by their strong conviction in the liberating power of truth and their love for their fellow human beings. They were willing to cast aside the prejudices of their age and country and proclaim and embody the truths they knew. They carved out a way for truth despite any personal discomforts they experienced along the way. They were not interested in venerating traditions, keeping the status quo, and following norms, instead they wanted truth above all else. Their only real-objective was to bring self-knowledge to the masses so that they can take better care of themselves. They stood their ground, reasoned for themselves and were open in declaring themselves the enemy of the vast fallacious structure called Medicine. Above all, they were integrous by aligning their thought and their conduct despite the temporary discomforts as they were guided towards harmony with true principles.
It may take more than a few lifetimes for Humanity to fully wake up. The prevailing norms seem to be intensifying and degenerating but there are also more and more daring voices willing to expound truth. Mass ignorance has been the prevailing norm of mankind since we have recorded history. It has always been counterbalanced by the great power emanating from the few who embody higher-level truths. It is always darkest before dawn. Do not mistake the current degenerate excuse of existence of the masses for the true prognosis of humanity. The recognition of the empowering truths and life-changing embodiment of Natural Hygiene is inevitable in the long term for truth shall prevail and it shall set you free.
May you be inspired to apply your knowledge in practice and be courageous and independent in your thought and action.
Introducing Natural Hygiene - Part 1 (definition, principles, basis and merits)
Introducing Natural Hygiene – The Only True Natural Health System (e-book)
Martin Stefanov Petkov