Natural Hygiene is an extremely effective system of achieving overall human health and happiness. The name comes from two words: Natural - in harmony with Nature, and Hygiene - the science of excellent health.
Natural Hygiene recognizes that the human body is a fully self-sufficient organism that is self-directing, self-constructing, self-preserving and self-healing; and that it is capable of maintaining itself in superb functioning order, completely free of disease, if its basic needs are properly met.
Natural Hygiene is the only systematic and logical study of what it takes for people to achieve health and excellence in the many different spheres of life. Through discerning observation and careful study of nature, and of mankind's harmonious place in it, Natural Hygiene has come to encompass all that serves to support and encourage health and personal growth for everyone.
Natural Hygiene teaches us to trust ourselves and our bodies, to observe the body and its vital signs, and to a live simple, natural lifestyle to recover from disease and to maintain health. The focus is on the factors of health - water, food, sunshine, sleep, exercise, etc. - that will enable you to truly get well; to reach and maintain a high state of health. Our bodies can heal themselves, if we learn how to cooperate with it properly. Self-study and self-reliance is encouraged.
“The underlying basis of Natural Hygiene is that the body is self-cleansing, self-healing and self-maintaining. Natural Hygiene is based on the idea that all the healing power of the universe is within the human body; that nature is always correct and can not be improved upon. We experience problems of health (i.e. excess weight, pain, stress, disease) only when we break the natural laws of life.”
- Harvey Diamond, Fit for Life, 1985
Some History of Natural Hygiene
In the early 1800's many medical doctors both in Europe and America were critical of the medical practices common at the time. Various alternative methods of health care were proposed and attempted. One particular system of natural-oriented care in the USA got the name Hygiene.
“Hygiene represents a return to that pristine mode of living that emerged with man when he first appeared on the earth; it is a revival of something precious that had been all but lost during the course of ages...” H. Shelton, 1968.
Sylvester Graham sought to revolutionize the diet and health practices of the country in the 1830s and 1840s. He taught the benefits of vegetarianism when the American diet was based largely on meat and white bread as fruit and vegetables were not considered nutritious. He became a well known and controversial lecturer on what became know as the Grahamite philosophy. His views on food led to riots in Boston. He lectured in New York City in 1832 on the Hygienic means of preventing and treating cholera. Phenomenal results were achieved for cholera patients in applying the simple Hygienic rules for all acute disease: rest in bed, stay warm and abstain from all food until health returns.
Herbert M. Shelton (1895–1985) was a prominent pacifist, Naturopathic Doctor, and champion of the original Natural Hygiene ideas from the 1830s to 1970s. Despite ongoing legal battles with the medical field throughout his career which led to lawsuits, financial ruin, fines, and imprisonment, he tirelessly devoted his entire life to the cause of Natural Hygiene. He wrote many books and other teaching materials to bring Natural Hygiene to the public. He opened schools in Natural Hygiene and founded the American Society of Natural Hygienists. Shelton had many admirers, some saw him as a great inspirational leader and a natural healer. Mahatma Gandhi is said to have relied on Dr. Shelton's writing on fasting, and before the outbreak of World War II had invited Dr. Shelton to visit him in India. Ghandi had referred to Volume III of The Hygienic System throughout his fasting career.