In 1980, Americans spent something over $100 billion a year attempting to buy health. In 2008, we spent over $2 trillion (that’s two million million dollars) annually and yet we are still largely an unhealthy society. If you don’t agree, consider this: you are not 100% well if you wear glasses or contact lenses, have dandruff, bad breath, indigestion or stomach aches, constipation, headaches, allergies, aches or pains, chronic coughs or colds, dental fillings, plates or dentures, braces, athlete’s foot, rashes, pimples, stiff joints or don’t sleep well. You are also not 100% well if you take any medication whatsoever. Since 98% of Americans have had, do have or will develop tooth decay (and who hasn’t taken medicine?) it is a pretty safe bet that you have an ailment listed above. This does not necessarily mean you are seriously ill, or that you are inconvenienced in any major way.
Consider, though, the money spent by 270 million Americans each month on cold remedies, sleeping pills, aspirin, laxatives, denture cleaners, salves, ointments, and such. Then think of the number of days lost each year from work (or recreation) by colds and other minor illnesses. Now think of the millions of people that daily are resigned to the accepted discomfort of these ailments. How many people have been told by their doctor that they will “just have to learn to live with it” or that “you’re just getting old”? Wouldn’t it seem that for all the time and money and comfort lost by these problems that there must be some way of bettering our health? How about learning to live without it?
If you carry health insurance, visit a doctor or hospital, or pay taxes, you are paying for health, and maybe not really getting it. Yet you have free, 24-hour access to the world’s most sophisticated and priceless diagnostic apparatus: your body’s feelings. If you don’t feel well, don’t let someone tell you that you are well. This includes the hypochondriacs, for fear of disease is itself a disorder that can be cured with something as simple as the vitamin niacin, or through stress reduction training. You can’t fool your body, nor can you go against nature… at least not for long. Similarly, it’s not good to maintain that there is no need for you to eat better, exercise or learn more just because you think your health is acceptable for the moment.
The body has ways of letting us know when something is not right. Pain is one such way of telling us that whatever it is we’re doing, it is damaging to us. To have a pain and then to take a pain reliever so it will go away is like driving a car with the “low oil pressure” light on and putting black tape over it so that you won’t notice the warning anymore. If you keep driving that way you can easily wreck your engine, when if you’d stop and look under the hood for a moment, you could prevent any further trouble. Millions of people every day drive their bodies without wanting to pay attention to the warning light of pain or discomfort. Aspirin, Darvon, Tylenol and others are doing nothing to relieve the source or the reason for the pain. They are just bottles of black tape to hide the body’s warnings with. When such people as use them find themselves on their backs in a hospital, they wonder why. What happened? The body was not paid attention to, that’s what. No one looked under the hood, so to speak, and the body was driven into the ground.
Pain is a symptom, and the treatment of the symptom without getting at the root cause of the symptom is valueless. Pain is not something to be covered over and stamped out but is rather a clue to tracing back into your body just where and why it hurts. All the “Ben-Gay” in the country is not going to relieve the real cause of backache from a vertebra that’s out of place. But a chiropractor often can properly realign the vertebra, relieving both the cause (pinched nerve) and the effect (pain). This is one example of treating the real cause of a symptom.
It is a corner-stone of allopathic, or drug-oriented medicine, that symptoms are to be eliminated. Runny noses are stopped up, coughs halted, diarrhea dried off, fevers lowered, rashes salved over, sneezes ended and upset stomachs neutralized, and all by medicines. Allopathic medicine holds that each symptom is in itself an illness, and that treatment for different symptoms is by different medicines. Naturopathic medicine and treatment ultimately eliminates symptoms, regardless of their diverse appearances, by total cleansing of the body from the inside out. All the different expressions of the body’s desire to eliminate wastes or toxic materials, called symptoms, are encouraged and utilized by naturopathy. Fevers are not repressed, but allowed or sometimes even created under carefully controlled circumstances. Diarrhea is seen as nature’s enema, and enemas are an important part of bowel cleansing. Sneezing and coughing are reflex reactions by the body to foreign material or irritation, and are regarded as inconvenient but desirable. A runny nose or a rash is a sign that the body is ridding itself of wastes. Since naturopathy allows all of these symptoms to run their course, it is not at first as comfortable as medical treatments giving immediate relief. Nature’s therapy, however, is more thorough and longer lasting.
One can see that the first lesson in natural cure is to not do things: to not take medicines, pain killers, over-the-counter cold remedies, etc. The body is not an opponent to be battled against with drugs, but is an intelligent, immeasurably complicated living system that will seek its own best good automatically. Given the chance, your body will heal itself. This is a fundamental of nature-cure. All naturopathic treatments are designed to help the body and to give it the chance to heal itself. Perhaps you aren’t confident that your body will heal without medicines or operations. Think of how you got here in the first place. Your body is the result of the combination and multiplication of just two original half-cells called gametes. From the possibly unintentional and certainly unsupervised combination of only two microscopic bits came your present body: trillions of highly organized cells. And how much supervision do you give these trillions of cells daily? Do you oversee the digestion of food molecules into each cell? Do you control the proportions of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in each one? Do you have to remind yourself to breathe or check to be sure you pump blood every second twenty-four hours a day?
Right now, right where you sit, take a minute and try an experiment. Try to die. Go ahead, try to stop living. I don’t expect that you will have much success. This tendency of your body to stay alive is called homeostasis: the natural balance of life forces in you that keeps you going, whether you choose too or not. In that moment when you stopped to see if you could halt your body’s work by intention alone, perhaps you felt a sampling of the power that carries on the work inside you. This power is the power behind naturopathy.
The healing power of nature (vis medicatrix naturae in Latin) is behind all cures, whether with the aid of natural therapies or in spite of medical ones. Your body will heal itself; again, this is the first rule of nature cure. So far we have mentioned the importance of “listening” to your body’s calls for aid, such as pains and discomforts, and not hiding or masking over such clues with drugs. We have said that naturopathic treatment gets to the root of cause of symptoms through cleansing of the body from the inside out. We have also said that the tendency of your body is towards health, and this tendency is automatic and powerful. At this point, though, we can stop and say, “Well, if the body will heal itself, why are there so many illnesses and diseased people? Something must be amiss.” That’s right, something is.
It is difficult but very important to understand the second principle of nature-cure. This is that all disease (or dis-ease), all sicknesses, all illnesses are differing expressions of one root cause of disease which is termed systemic toxemia. Systemic toxemia basically means “polluted body”. The underlying factor, the common origin of sickness, is a body filled with wastes, chemicals, and poisons. Such a garbaged-up body may express its plight as this disease or that illness, each with its particular set of symptoms. These are desperate measures on the part of the organism to throw off the accumulated wastes and toxins, or to cope with its weakened condition. This toxic condition results from wrong living, meaning eating useless foods, or relying on medicinal drugs and chemicals, among other things. Over a period of time, often many years, the body’s strength is eroded and its natural defenses weakened such that it no longer seems capable of healing itself.
It is precisely at this juncture that the biggest mistake in disease management is generally made. The really sick body is seen as helpless, and seen as such is given all sorts of drugs and medicines to fight disease for it. Such a noble and even logical action is, unfortunately, completely wrong. The last thing that the organism needs is more pollutants and chemicals to live with when it’s fighting to clean itself out. What it does need is to be assisted in its cleansing and rebuilding work with rest, baths, mineral and vitamin therapy and whole, unprocessed foods. What’s more, a vegetable juice “fast” is used first to give the body the chance to clean house totally. It is worth reading any book by Dr. Paavo Airola, such as Health Secrets from Europe (1972) or How to Get Well (1980) for specific benefits, cures and research references regarding fasting, plus sensible and detailed hints for directing one’s own program. Fasting works, and many serious illnesses have been known to succumb to properly supervised fasting treatment. One should consult a physician before commencing a fast.
When we say that the cause of all disease and all diseases is a body full of wastes, we run into direct opposition with the medical profession. When we maintain that the cure, therefore, of all disease is total cleansing of the body from inside out, we will again go against the medical, drug-and-surgical approach to illness. Make no mistake about this: there are two completely different and mutually exclusive views here. Perhaps the following illustration will help.
The Two Lakes Analogy
Let’s assume that there are two identical lakes, Lake A and Lake B. Let’s also assume that there is a city along side of each lake and that these cities are also identical. We’ll cleverly call them City A and City B. Each city has sewage and other wastes that it pumps into the nearby lake. Each city has factories and houses and public buildings that for years have used the lake for their waste disposal, and as a result both Lake A and Lake B are quite polluted.
It is possible to tell how polluted a body of water is by testing for the presence of coliform bacteria. If such bacteria are present in number, the water is unclean; ecologists do this test often. Each lake is polluted, and coliform bacteria turn up in both Lake A and Lake B. At this point, we can begin the analysis of why the lakes are unclean and what is to be done.
Doctor A (for allopathic) comes in and studies the findings about Lake A, and Doctor B (for biological) comes in and studies the findings on Lake B. Dr. A reasons as follows: “We know that Lake A is polluted because of the presence of coliform bacteria, for coliform bacteria and pollution are generally found together. Since this is so, it must be the bacteria that cause the lake to be polluted. Because the bacteria cause the pollution, we can kill all of the bacteria and thereby eliminate pollution. My prescription, then, is to add chemicals to the lake to kill all of the bacteria.”
In accordance with Doctor A’s instructions, two truckloads of “DRANO” are dumped into Lake A. This surely kills all the bacteria, for the next time the water is tested for coliform bacteria, there aren’t any. Dr. A then concludes that the water is now clean.
Doctor B takes a different approach. Says he: “We know that Lake B is polluted, and we know that there are coliform bacteria in the lake as well. Bacteria thrive in a polluted environment because waste matter provides their food. The reason there are so many bacteria is because there is so much sewage and other waste in the lake for bacteria to live on. So the way to rid the lake of bacteria is to rid the lake of wastes first. Let’s eliminate or at least greatly reduce the inflow of pollutants into this body of water. Then the lake will clean itself through natural processes that break down the waste materials, and without the constant addition of more pollutants, it will become clean again. As its food supply of waste decreases, the bacteria population will automatically decrease at the same time.”
In accordance with Doctor B’s instructions, sewage treatment plants are installed and other pollutant-reducing measures taken in City B. This greatly cuts down on the wastes flowing into Lake B, and the population of bacteria falls. The next time the lake is tested for coliform bacteria, there are virtually none. Dr. B concludes that Lake B is now clean.
Here, then, is how things stand: Lake A contains a poisonous chemical in addition to the original wastes, plus the added pollution from continued sewage flow into the water every day. Dr. A said this water is clean because of the absence of coliform bacteria. Lake B contains little or no waste, for inflow of pollutants was cut way down. What little sewage does get by the treatment plants is easily broken down naturally by the lake, and the lake contains no “Drano.”
From which lake would you prefer to drink?
Which lake do you consider to be cleaner? I would say Lake B.
Now Dr. A basically took a medical point of view and Dr. B took a naturopathic point of view. Dr. A, like a good allopathic practitioner, set out to kill the “germs” or bacteria that “caused” the pollution or “disease” in Lake A. To back up his premise that the bacteria caused the problem, he cited the fact that the bacteria are always found along with pollution.
Dr. B also saw bacteria present with pollution, but did not conclude that bacteria cause pollution, but that pollution causes bacteria. This is why naturopaths say that systemic toxemia, or a polluted body, is behind all infection, disease and illness. Just because germs or bacteria are present at the scene of disease does not mean that they therefore caused the disease. Just because police detectives are observed at the scene of a crime doesn’t mean they committed the crime.
When we begin to see germs more as scavengers trying to clean up refuse, as opposed to being little deadly gremlins out to get us, we can begin to take confidence that nature does heal and that our body will clean itself of the roots of illness. If your body is clean and healthy, germs are irrelevant. There is a lack of conclusive proof that germs are the primary cause of any disease. Malnutrition, medicines and wrong living are more basic, underlying roots of disease. Germs are everywhere; why aren’t we all sick? Right now, on your tongue and in your mouth, there are enough different types of germs to wipe out your neighborhood if the germs really could make sickness.
They can’t. It is sickness that provides for the proliferation of germs.
So what does eliminate sickness? The promotion of health. Nature-cure physicians know that adding Drano, or penicillin, or any other drug, chemical or antibiotic to a living system does not aid the system. Killing germs is not building health, it’s just killing germs. When the germs, like many agricultural insect pests, become resistant to the poisons being used against them, new drugs must be developed in an attempt to stay a jump ahead of the microbial world. Human bodies receive poison after poison, drug after drug, from doctor after doctor. It’s small wonder that we fill hospital after hospital, nursing home after nursing home with bodies ravaged not by germs as much as by drugs. Natural treatment offers a completely different approach: first build health, and illness will automatically decrease.