Naturopathy is a drugless system of treatment which recognizes the existence of vital curative forces or the Panch Mahabhuta within the body. It believes in treating the human body as a whole and removing the root cause of the diseases rather than treating individual parts or offering symptomatic remedies. The revival of Naturopathy started in India by translation of Germany’s Louis Kuhne’s book “New Science of Healing”.
Gandhiji was influenced by the book “Return to Nature” written by Adolf Just and become a firm believer in Naturopathy. He not only wrote several articles in favour of Naturopathy in his newspaper “Harijan” but did its several experiments on himself too, on his family members and members of his Ashram. It may be noted here that Gandhiji used to stay at the Dr. Dinshaw Mehta’s Nature Cure Clinic, situated in Pune, between 1934 and1944. In his memory, the Government of India established the National Institute of Naturopathy in 1986 in the same location. Gandhiji included Naturopathy in his constructive programs, and due to his influence, several national leaders joined this minority health movement.
Naturopathy can, thus, be broadly defined as a system wherein 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.
The Principles of Naturopathy
The main principles of Naturopathy are:
- All diseases, their cause and their treatment are one. The cause of all disease is the accumulation of morbid matter in the body except for those caused by traumatic events and environmental conditions. The elimination of such unwanted matter from the body is the treatment.
- Acute diseases are the self-healing efforts of the body. Chronic diseases are the outcome of wrong treatment and the suppression of acute diseases.
- Nature is the greatest healer. The body has the capacity to repair itself from disease and regain health when unhealthy.
- In naturopathy, the patient is treated and not the disease.
- Patients suffering from chronic ailments are treated successfully in a smaller time margin by naturopathy.
- After emerging, suppressed diseases can be cured by Naturopathy.
- Naturopathy treats the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects at the same time.
- Naturopathy treats the body as a whole instead of treating each organ separately.
- Naturopathy does not use medicines. It believes food is medicine. However, if a patient is under any medication, naturopathy does not stop it altogether, instead regulating the intake until the person becomes self sustaining again.
- Prayer in accordance with one’s spiritual faith is an important part of treatment.
The concept of naturopathy finds its roots in ancient Indian wisdom where it speaks of the five great elements or the panch mahabhuta. These elements are present in the world in the form of prithvi (earth), jal (water), vayu (air), agni (fire) and akash (ether).
A harmony of these elements translates into health and wellbeing. Disease occurs when there’s a congestion or depletion of one or more elements, leading to an accumulation of morbid matter, further leading to the growth of bacteria or viruses. Naturopathy addresses the equilibrium of these elements and restores the ill body to health. Every element has a specific remedy and the degree of disbalance requires a combination of treatments.