What Nature Cure Means To Me
Years ago, I was intrigued by a colleague who brought a Thermos of herbal tea to drink while the rest of us were having our morning coffee. In 1970 few of us had heard of herbal tea. She explained that she was seeing someone called a Naturopath who had put her on a strict diet. “He’s excellent” she said “not that you’d be able to see him for ages-there is six-month waiting list”
Some time later, I decided to experience this weird sounding treatment for myself and duly put myself on the waiting list. When I finally reached my appointment I realised that this was indeed a different approach to health and one which, its precepts were followed, could completely eliminate the need for any further medical treatment.
Nature cure means listening to your body and taking correct, natural action when problems arise. However careful we are, with diet and general way of life, we can be caught out by pollution, pesticides, petrol fumes invading our houses and chemicals in food. In particular we are all subject to stress. For primitive man a stressful situation might mean a wild animal in his path. There would be a rush of adrenalin to the brain alerting all the muscles to fight or flee. He would take appropriate action and the tension would be released. For modern man the “Wild Animal” is much more subtle-a difficult boss, a row with the wife, a large overdraft at the bank. The tension builds up and if it is not released will result in headaches, backache in, all sorts of minor illnesses. If the build-up is sufficient it could lead eventually to serious illness.
In all these situations the reaction of most people is to run to the doctor. He will probably issue a prescription. That extraordinary thing is that this will be accepted without question, even though it may be reluctantly. The patient puts himself in someone else’s hands forgetting that it is his body and his future that he’s relinquishing. It is rare for a doctor to enquire about a patient’s lifestyle, only his symptoms. To find out about diet, sleep patterns, stress and a family all takes time. It seemed to me that if the doctor doesn’t have the time then he should have someone available in the surgery who does. I once asked a doctor why he did not have any complementary practitioners in his health centre. He said that if he did he could probably cut his drug bill by half. When I inquired why he did not, he said that if he would lose control of his patient’s treatment!
Nature cure is a genuine alternative to allopathic medicine and the approach is completely different. There is a long initial interview and which the practitioner we learnt everything he needs to know about the patient. He will discuss such things as diet, exercise, sleep patterns in changes in lifestyle which will aid recovery. Perhaps the hardest thing for the practitioner is persuading the patient to allow time. We are used to instant cures-a poll from the doctor-and we find it difficult to give the body time to heal itself. Our body is a wonderful work of art-more beautifully constructed any man-made machine-and each part works in tune with each other part-if we only we let it. When for years we have reduced our body it may take years to put it right. In this modern world of rush and scramble that is very hard to accept.
Naturopaths offer much more than advice. There is hands on manipulative treatment including deep massage, which is unbelievably effective. For me, this has taken away the terror of an operation to hip or knee, since previously I thought this was the only answer to severe arthritis. There is sensible, practical advice about how to help oneself, by Hydrotherapy for example. By the simple use of one’s own bath and shower it is possible take part in one’s own healing.
The principles of Nature Cure fit in with everything I had been taught in yoga over the years so that and they augment what is already my belief system. It is a deep regret that everyone cannot take advantage of this wonderful therapy.
M.J .- N.Yorks