The History of Naturopathic Medicine - Part One
Beginning in the early 1900's in the United States there was a Naturopathic Medicine and Natural Healing movement that was very prominent and lasted into the 1980's. There were several influential naturopathic doctors associated with this period of time who brought forward ancient and time-tested techniques for maintaining and regaining health as well as moving much of the knowledge forward. They left an amazing and useful legacy that is largely fading into obscurity. Some of these practitioners were Herbert Shelton ND of the Natural Hygiene movement, Bernard Jensen, DC, ND and master Iridologist, and Otto Carque, master nutritionist and biochemist/physiologist. I would like to dedicate the next two or three lectures to an introduction to the teaching and knowledge of these great Naturopaths and to sharing some of their knowledge and approaches to health.
Bernard Jensen, DC, ND, was one of the best and I was lucky enough to be a student of his in the last decade of his life. He was the greatest Iridologist to have lived and that is a deep and very interesting subject that I will address later. He published several books on his approach to health and healing such as:
You Can Master Disease
The Joy of Living and How To Attain It
World Keys To Health and Long Life
The Science and Practice of Iridology
None of these books are currently in print but may be found on Amazon used.
I would like to start with a discussion of his research on longest-lived people. He traveled all over the world in the 1900's trying to discover keys to the longest-lived people on earth. Dr. Jensen reasoned that by studying the habits of these long-lived people, especially those where there were a large number of them concentrated in one geographical area, he could determine important dietary and lifestyle factors that contribute to longevity.
The Committee for An Extended Lifespan collected facts on Americans who have lived to be 100 years or older in the 1970's. They asked 1000 of them a set of questions about the way they live so that the committee might correlate the answers and find common themes. What struck me immediately in reading the results is that, although very important, diet is not everything - emotional, mental and spiritual health are equally if not more important. To quote Dr. Jensen from his research, "It is not enough to just have a good physical body without a balanced brain. There are faculties of the mind which must be fed and expressed. A person must be happy to be well and well to be happy. When a man jumps for the joy he should have the body with which to jump. On the other hand, he cannot expect sweet thoughts with a sour stomach"
Dr. Jensen traveled the world over searching out and visiting the longest-lived people and came up with what he called "The World Keys To Health and Long Life". He states "In going through all the different countries to find the keys that keep a person well, healthy, joyous and living a long life, I find this one thing is true; that those who live the longest lives are those who develop the greatest amount of activity physically, mentally and spiritually. When I say activity I mean that they develop every department of life." He found these people to live according to nature, close to nature, in an environment of natural, organic food, pure air, sunshine and unpolluted waters. They live every day in a state of complete prevention of disease.
Food is grown organically without the use of insecticides, herbicides or man-made fertilizers. It is grown on rich, dark soil - the most fertile soil in the world - "for the dust of the earth is that from which man is made and its quality is the basis upon which we must build the foundation for good health." All the long-lived people lived on natural foods diets consisting of berries, seeds, nuts, grains, sprouts, fruits, greens and herb teas - they followed the seasons in what they ate. Many of them drank a pre-digested raw milk product from sheep or goats - this is called clabber milk and is similar to our yogurt and kefir. None of these elderly folks had a body weight much heavier than they had when they were 20 years old. They maintained excellent digestion and elimination by eating a diet high in fiber and kept their gums and teeth healthy by chewing lots of raw, hard foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Dr. Jensen was surprised to find very few vegetarians among these people - they ate meat sparingly, about 2 times a week and in small amounts. They not only believed in eating but they believed in fasting, usually one day a week. Once a year they partook in religious fasts or semi-fasts of 10 to 30 days, abstaining from food during sunlight and eating light meals after sundown. This allowed their bodies to cleanse out the toxins and excess fat built up over the year. These fasts were always associated with spiritual renewal in the form of prayer, silence, chanting or communing with nature to allow their minds and spirits nourishment and renewal.
Climate, altitude, and fresh air were three of the most important factors in gaining and maintaining health. These elders lived at high altitudes, increasing the metabolism and thickening the blood. The average ideal altitude proved to be 4,000 - 7,000 feet above sea level.
Dr. Jensen felt the key factor in longevity was temperance or "habitual moderation". They ate lightly, drank alcohol occasionally and in small amounts, and some even smoked tobacco once in a while. Those who smoked used cigars or pipes and the few who smoked cigarettes did not inhale the smoke. He found that those who lived the longest were those who did not use intoxicants, did not smoke, had the least amount of meat in their diets and did not go to extremes in any aspect of their lives.
Retirement was unheard of and unthought of to these people who had enjoyed an active life for so long - in most cases they worked calmly and consistently at their jobs, often in the fields. They were not daydreamers or loungers. They worked daily at activities where they used their leg muscles, wore soft-soled shoes and walked on uneven ground so that all the leg and foot muscles constantly worked - this increases circulation by creating a kind of muscle massage of the large blood vessels in the legs keeping the blood going back up into the body to be oxygenated by the lungs. They all had beautiful, erect, graceful posture, allowing the body organs to move freely without undue pressure and with excellent blood circulation to each.
"Early to bed, early to rise, keeps a man healthy, wealthy and wise" seemed to be true in their lives. Restful sleep is a cure - a time for cleansing and rebuilding of the body tissues. Develop a quiet time for yourself every day in which you can turn inward, relax and contact your center of peace and repose. These elderly people were free of agitation and disturbance; they were calm, quiet and tranquil. Nothing went fast. Their activities were calm and consistent but never rushed.
They lived a life full of bright colors, music, dance, and beauty; in harmonious balance with the cycles of nature. They were very spiritual in their own ways, but all believed in a greater force that supported them and gave them life, accepting all experiences as a higher will. Their lives were focused on helping others and they prayed 4 or 5 times a day. After each prayer period they felt peaceful and loving toward those around them. All were social and had close personal connections and lots of them. One man Dr. Jensen met who was 153 years old had his last child when he was 120! They enjoyed socializing with others and were humorous and full of laughter.
Dr. Jensen concluded, "I know that the wise man is not born but is made. I was able to see the levels of consciousness that exist in a man who has lived a very long time. I do not think that any of us have lived long enough to give this world the wisdom it needs or desires."