Naturopathy treatments in India are mushrooming in large numbers and especially in the metropolitan cities. Most of them follow a similar routine for treating the common ailments. For instance, strictly vegetarian food is served in all of them, as per the doctor or dietician's prescription. None of the centers allow patients to bring in food from outside. Alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco, and the consumption of tea, coffee, and non-vegetarian foods are forbidden in all the centers.
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ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT
The origin of Naturopathy could be traced right to Vedic period wherein
1. Dietary discipline (Pathya & Ahara)
2. The principles of Health (Swastha Vurtha) described in Ayurveda have branched out and developed in the form of today's Naturopathy. During the later part of 19th century and early part of 20th century, some 'of the modem medicine practitioners of West, who were unhappy with the toxic effects of medication, developed certain physical treatment methods like spinal bath, sitz baths, solarium, colour treatments and so on, to assist the body in symptomatic relief and to eliminate the disease process. Some of the prominent names mentioned here are Dr. Louis Kuhne, Dr. Hendry Lindlhar, Dr. Babitt, Dr. Kellogg, and Dr. Herbert M. Shelton.
During the last few decades, Naturopathy gained its importance in India. Since Naturopathy was an offshoot from Ayurveda, it has been a truncated system without a fool-proof diagnostic method. In fact, the earlier practitioners of Naturopathy did not insist on diagnosis based on their firm belief in "Unity of disease, unity of cure" meaning that "there is only one cause of any disease, that is accumulation of foreign matter and there can be only one cure by eliminating it". This approach had a pitfall where serious communicable diseases, metabolic disorders could not be recognized and resulted in morbidity and mortality. They were also ignorant about genetic abnormalities and hereditary diseases.
Vinconz Priessnitz (1799-1851) was the man, who first started a nature cure clinic in Grafenburg over a hundred years ago. Dr. Henry Lindlahr is one, who devoted his life and started to spread nature cure. He established Lindlahr Institutions, and under these he conducted two nature cure sanatoriums for the treatment of patients. His leading motto is "Nature's remedies are the best"
While the originators of this new idea were ordinary persons having no scientific medical training, its future exponents were prominent physicians of old medical school who had become extremely dissatisfied, as a result of observations extending over a number of years, with drugging methods.
They claimed that drugs possessed very little power to cure disease, that they suppressed the symptoms of disease, which in itself was an attempt on the part of living organism to set attempt of the organism by natural means such as air water, light, food, exercise, etc. This new method became known by various names, such as Nature Cure, Natural Therapeutics, Naturopathy, Hygiene Therapy, Drugless Medicine, Rational Medicine, etc. Thanks to the painstaking researchers of a number of eminent physicians and health-reformers in this branch of healing art, this new medical doctrine has become a science like any other medical system claiming to have a scientific base.
BASIS OF INDIAN NATUROPATHY
In the study of the cause and character of disease we must endeavour to begin at the beginning and that is Life itself; for the process of health, disease and cure are manifestations of what we call life, vitality, life elements, etc. There are two concepts in the nature of LIFE or VITAL FORCE: the material and the vital. The former looks upon life or vital force with all the electric, magnetic and chemical activities of the physical- material elements composing the human organism. The vital conception of life regards it as a primary force of all forces, coming from the great central source of all powers. It is this supreme power and intelligence, acting in and through every atom, molecule and cell in the human body which is the true healer; which always endeavours to repair, to heal and to restore the perfect type. All that a physician can do is to remove obstruction, and to establish normal conditions within and around the patients, so that 'the healer within' can do his work to the best.
According to nature cure health is normal and harmonious vibration of the elements and forces composing the human entity on the physical, moral and spiritual planes of being in conformity with the constructive principle of Nature applied to individual life. Disease is abnormal or inharmonious vibration of the elements and forces composing human entity on one or more planes of being in conformity with the destructive principle of Nature applied to the individual life.
The medical treatment of the Nature Cure consists largely in the proper selection and combination of food materials. It stands to reason that Nature has provided within the ranges of the natural foods all the elements which man needs in the way of food and medicine. Naturopathy is recognized by the Government of India. Gandhiji started a nature cure centre at Uruli Kanchan in Maharashtra State. There are many nature cure centers in India now.
INDIAN NATUROPATHY TODAY
Modern naturopathic physicians (NOs) use therapies that are primarily natural and non-toxic. These include clinical nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, and counseling. Many NOs have additional training and certification in acupuncture and home birthing. These contemporary NOs, who have attended naturopathic medical colleges, practice medicine as primary health care providers and are increasingly acknowledged as leaders of change in the medical system.
Today's naturopathic physicians continue to use these therapies as their main tools and advocate a healthy dose of primary prevention. In addition, modem NOs conduct and make practical use of the latest bio-chemical research involving nutrition, botanicals, homeopathy, and other natural treatments. For many diseases and conditions (a few examples are ulcerative colitis, asthma, menopause, flu, obesity, and chronic fatigue), treatments used by naturopathic physicians can be primary and even curative.
Naturopathic physicians also function within an integrated framework, partnering with practitioners of conventional medicine. Naturopathic therapies can also be employed to complement treatments used by conventionally trained doctors. The result is a team-care approach that recognizes the needs of the patient to receive the best treatment most appropriate to his or her specific medical condition.
INDIAN NATUROPATHY-A RECENT ORIGIN
Nature cure treatments are very ancient find were widely practiced in ancient Rome, Egypt, Greece and India. However the term, 'Naturopathy' is relatively of recent origin. Hippocrates, the father of medicine said that it is Nature, which cures, not the physician, and he strongly recommended these natural treatments. Even the Vedic culture of ancient India highlights the use of nature's foremost healing agents, water, air, earth and sun. The extensive use of water as a healing agent is clearly seen in the discovery of the Great Baths of the Indus civilization.
The modern ways of nature cure have their origins in Germany, when Vincent Priessnitz established the hydropathic establishment in 1822. Due to his great success with the water cure treatments, the news of nature cure spread widely to many countries. A number of medical practitioners from United States, England and other countries became his students to learn these amazing natural treatments. Subsequently, these students developed their own methods of healing based upon the natural techniques, and this knowledge was later given one common name, Naturopathy by Dr. Benedict Lust (1872-1945), who incidentally is known as the Father of Naturopathy.
The basic theory of Naturopathy is based upon the fact that we are born healthy and can stay healthy by living in accordance with laws of nature. The entire philosophy is based upon three basic principles, which have been tested and proved from over a century of successful Naturopathy treatments in Germany, England and United States.
The first principle is that all diseases are due to the accumulation of toxins and waste materials in the human body. These materials get piled up due to improper diet, lack of exercise, mental stress due to monetary or family problems, excess work etc. So the basic principle which is applied is to clear the system from these toxins and accumulated waste. All natural treatments follow this basic principle in curing any disease.
The second principle is that acute diseases like digestive disorders, inflammations, colds, fevers, skin eruptions etc are basically efforts on part of the human body, to throw off the toxins and waste from within the system. When toxins accumulate, the organs of the body like the bowels, kidneys and lungs are overworked and cannot clear them as quickly as they are produced. Moreover, mental disturbance and stress cause imbalance in the body's electric field where cell metabolism takes place. When this electric field is undisturbed, germs can live without multiplying, but once it is disturbed, the germs multiply and cause disease. Other major diseases like diabetes, asthma, heart problems etc are the direct result of not curing the acute diseases by natural methods and their continued suppression by employing harmful methods such as the modern drugs and vaccines.
The third principle is that our body is equipped by the creator with a unique self healing mechanism, which will bring back the body to normal health, if proper natural methods are used to assist the system to function properly.
These are the basic principles of Naturopathy based upon the simple fact that the power to cure disease lies within the body and not in the hands of the physician.
INDIAN NATUROPATHY TREATMENTS
Naturopathy treatments in India are mushrooming in large numbers especially in the metropolitan cities. Most of them follow a similar routine for treating the common ailments.
Strictly vegetarian food is served in all of them, as per the doctor or dietician's prescription. None of the centers allow patients to bring in food from outside. Alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco, and the consumption of tea, coffee, and non-vegetarian foods are forbidden in all the centers. All the naturopathy centers require the visitor (patient) to stay on campus, for a duration that depends upon the nature of his or her complaint.
Some naturopathy centers prescribe a minimum stay of ten days, as they say that no significant effect can be observed within a shorter period. Charges vary, depending upon the kind of room the visitor prefers, with choices ranging from a dormitory to an entire cottage. In between these two rates are the various options like a single room, an executive room, a cottage or a hut. Apart from the charges for the accommodation, food and treatment charges are extra.
Treatment charges vary depending upon the complexity of treatment warranted by the specific ailment. Children below fifteen years of age are not allowed inside these centers nor are pregnant women. Patients should be able to walk at least 1 km without support to gain admission here.
Whether it is treatment that suits the spiritually inclined, with yoga and meditation forming an important part of the day's routine, or more modern equipment like saunas and whirlpool baths that take one's fancy, one can choose from many naturopathy centres in India.
Naturopathy believes: "All healing powers are within your body." Since we fall ill only when we go against Nature, the cause of diseases (toxins) is expelled from the body to cure it. Fasting has been described as Nature's way to recover. A thorough rest, which includes fasting, is the most favourable condition in which an ailing body can purify and recoup itself.