Naturopathy

  • By Swami Sivananda
  • March 2002

‘Courtesy and Copyright The Divine Life Society P.O. Shivanandanagr – Dist Tehri-Garwhal, Uttarankhand, Himalayas, India'

'Editor: I picked up my first book on the subject about a year ago but its content and presentation did not really excite me. A couple of months ago I had gone searching for a book on Ayurveda when I came across this one. What I liked about the book is that I could easily relate its contents with my day-to-day life. The content is verbatim from the book. I am not a Doctor and would be unable to comment on the medicinal implications of the treatment prescribed.

How did I get interested in Ayurveda, Naturopathy? For nearly eight years my late father was heavily drugged to control his body and mind with the result that he could barely speak after a point. Had we used Indian systems of medicine may be he would have lived longer or even shorter but in a condition far better than he did. Coming from a family of allopathic doctors I have seen my family members taking a tablet at the drop of a hat. It is only after my dad passed away that I bought a few ayurveda, naturopathy books for my doctor mom. Today she asks her patients to try out simple homemade remedies first before prescribing tablets.

My intent is not to criticize allopathy. It has its rightful place under the sun. Now what are the main differences between Allopathy and Ayurveda / Naturopathy? To a lay man (Chartered Accountant) like me there are two key differences. Allopathy treats your body ignoring the mind, does not go to the root of the problem while the latter looks at the mind and nature to provide solutions. Every human being is treated as a unique creature – there is no production of mass medicines to suit one and all.

Secondly Allopathy provides quick solutions – let me tell you how it subconsciously effect’s the mind. Have a headache take 2 Micropyrin – get relieved within 2 hours. This reduces our ability to bear pain – we want instant results – are unwilling to wait. If things do not happen fast we get stressed out – possibly blood pressure etc. On the other hand in naturopathy / ayurveda it takes time to see results during which time we learn to bear pain. It drives home the point that good things in life take time to happen. A Senior Consultant from Mc Kinsey & Co once said “ A business that starts doing well very quickly invariably vanishes as fast. He’d seen entrepreneurs who went through pangs of birth build lasting businesses”.

The article is divided into 18 chapters. Excerpts from the book Naturopathy by Swami Sivananda –'

1. Life the Grand Vehicle: covers what is Naturopathy, origin of disease, relation between laws of nature and health, how to conserve energy.
2. Mother Nature: covers Naturopathy and spiritual life, eight methods of nature cure.
3. Air for Health and Cure: covers importance of air and deep breathing.
4. Water Cure: covers effects of cold and warm bath, mud cure and spinal bath.
5. Sun Cure: gives you its benefits.
6. Color Cure: gives you the influence of various colors on your health.
7. Massage: gives you its benefits and how to massage.
8. Care of Teeth: tells you how to take care of your teeth.
9. Diet and Health: covers what do the Upanishads say on our food and diet, benefits of protective foods like cereals, proteins, pulses, vegetables, mineral salts, milk and honey. It also tells you about seven different types of salads.
10. Fast Cure: covers the importance of fasting, fast cure and diet after fasting.
11. Food Medicines:  covers the benefits of various foods like Barley, Bitter Gourd or Karela, Lassi or buttermilk, Pudinah or mint, Papita or Papaya, Palak or Spinach, Tomato, name of disease with fruit / vegetable remedy, Tulasi or holy basil and Methi or fenugreek.
12. Treatment of Diseases: Acne, Anaemia, Blood Pressure, Cough, Diarrhea, Fever, Headache, Impotency, Jaundice, Loss of Appetite, Malaria, Obesity, Rheumatism, Vomiting.
13. Women’s Diseases: covers hints for Women’s Health, menstruation, period of pregnancy and disorders after delivery.
14. Pregnancy and Confinement:  covers care of expecting mother and nursing matter.
15. Health & Deep Breathing: covers benefits and how to do it.
16. Music Therapy: gives benefits of deep breathing.
17. Spiritual Healing: gives difference between psychic and spiritual healing, healing by Mantra.
18. Treatment at a Glance: covers a few questions and answers, sicknesses like paralysis, headache, heart trouble and household natural remedies.


Life: The Grand Vehicle of all Endeavour   

Naturopathy or Nature Cure is scientific, economical and most beneficial to suffering humanity. When every drug proves a failure under the best physicians, Nature Cure comes to the rescue of the patient. This is considered to be the best kind of treatment.

Nature Cure always adopts natural methods of treatment. It takes recourse to Nature’s such as baths, sunlight, rest, exercise, enema, fasting, pure air, massage, careful, judicious and right dieting, etc. It never encourages drugging.

Naturopathy is as Old as the Vedas or the Himalayas. It is the oldest of all systems of health and healing. Hippocrates who lived four centuries before Christ (460-377 B. C.) was a staunch advocate of Naturopathy. He obtained his incomparable results and fame through sunlight, pure air, water, exercise, rest, right diet, baths and massage. He was the father of Naturopathy.

Naturopathy relieves the ordinary family man from the drudgery of spending vexatious hours in the doctor’s waiting room and from the doctor’s inhuman bills.

Naturopathy is the cheapest, and at the same time, the safest and the best system of treatment.

Go back to Nature. Waste not your time, energy and money in injections, pills and mixtures. Rules of nature are simple. Her medicine is abundant and pleasant to take. Her fee is nothing. Lead a simple, natural life. Observe the laws of health and hygiene. Observe cleanliness. Cleanliness is next to godliness. You will be free from diseases and enjoy a high standard of health, vitality and longevity.

It is nature only that heals all diseases. A doctor may kill a patient or aggravate a disease by his injudicious treatment and drugging. Judicious use of drugs only helps nature. The Divine Power is at the back of the workings of life in health and disease. Remember this point always. A judicious doctor only helps nature.

Impurities and toxins accumulate in the system on account of overfeeding, wrong feeding, injudicious feeding, and errors in diet. If these impurities and toxins are eliminated from the system, all diseases are cured and man enjoys perfect health. This is the central doctrine of naturopathy. The sun cure, water cure, air cure, diet cure and fasts-all aim at getting rid of the impurities and the poisons from the system, and ensuring perfect health, strength and vitality.

In consideration of the many-sided benefits and advantages of naturopathy, it is hoped that the general public will adopt this system both as preventive and curative and enjoy perfect health and happiness.

Nature is the Sakti or power of the Lord. She can work wonders. She can build the system in the twinkling of an eye. She can heal, cure, vitalize, rejuvenate, and galvanize the body and the mind in a perfect manner. Glory to Nature Cure and Naturopaths!

The Origin of Disease
 There would be none in this world who is not familiar with disease. With the birth of the body we find the birth of disease. The child as soon as it is born cries. That goes to show that it is experiencing some pain, which it wishes to express by its cry.

The ancient Rishis would tell us that embodiment is itself the greatest disease and one should try to get rid of this disease of birth and death. One who born has to experience some disease or other? He infers the existence of disease from observing others who are diseased. When a man gets fever his neighbor thinks, “I may also get the same disease.” So first of all, man is confronted by the disease of fear. Fear is the first disease that attacks the mind. From the mind the diseases are transferred to the body.

The mind is the cause of all diseases. If by some method, physical, Yogic or mental, the cause of disease could be got rid of, you can effectively cure all diseases. One should keep oneself pure at heart. He should not allow any sort of fear to conquer him. This is possible only by keeping a high standard of mental strength by taking recourse to spiritual practices.

When it is not possible to achieve mental perfection to cure a particular disease then we have to adopt physical means of remedy as well.

Countless are the number of diseases. In many cases we are not aware of the cause or origin of a particular disease. The medical profession has made a thorough study of the diseases and attempted to find the cause of disease in its own way. The different systems of Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurvedic, Unani, Nature Cure and various other lesser systems have made their own researches. They have largely succeeded in finding out the causes of disease. But in many cases even a proper diagnosis of the disease is not successful.

Our ancient scriptures have declared in unequivocal terms that every action has its own reaction. This is known as the theory of Karma. The theory of Karma is very exact. Just as by showing the mango seed you get a mango tree, even so by doing a particular act you reap a particular result. Among the various texts that deal with the subject we find that the Garuda Purana lays very great stress on this point and you find a detailed description therein of the extent of tracing out the particular cause of a particular disease. It has gone to the extent of tracing out the particular nature of the birth of an individual in a particular womb.

Here is a typical example of the nature of particular diseases and their presupposing causes.

“The murderer of a Brahmin becomes a consumptive. The persons who kill a cow become hump-backed and imbecile. The killer of a virgin becomes a leper. All these are born as ‘outcastes’.

“The slayer of a woman and the destroyer of embryos becomes a savage full of diseases. One, who commits illicit intercourse, becomes a eunuch. One who pollutes the teacher’s bed gets leucoderma.

“The eater of flesh gets red complexion. The person who is addicted to intoxicants becomes one of discolored teeth. One who gives impure food at a Sraaddha ceremony (sacrifice in memory of the deceased) is born a spotted leper. “The man who, through pride, insults his teacher, becomes an epileptic. He who despises the Vedas and the scriptures certainly becomes jaundiced.

“He who bears false witness becomes dumb. One who violates the rules of eating becomes one-eyed. One who interferes and upsets a marriage has a split lip. One who steals a sacred scripture is born blind.

“One who utters falsehood becomes a stammerer. A poisoner becomes insane. An incendiary becomes bald. He who steals gold gets diseased nails and who steals jewels is born in a low caste.”

All these remarks written millennia ago signify and emphasize the need for our ethical observances, which are the main underlying principles in the maintenance of good health.

Whatever might be the cause of a particular disease it would be obviously in our best interests to avoid committing the mistake mentioned above. One should avoid injury to other beings and as far as possible try to actively help and serve others in their sufferings. Such kind acts of charity would benefit us greatly in enjoying good health, peace of mind, joy, tranquility and happiness.

Health and Law of Nature
This world is governed by Isvara or God. Certain immutable laws operate in Nature. The one fundamental law is the Law of Cause and Effect. All other laws are extensions or modifications of this one vital law. The lawgiver is God. The law and the lawgiver are one. The laws of Nature and the laws of God are also one.

The law of Cause and Effect is inexorable or unrelenting. If you take wrong food, if you violate the laws of health and hygiene, this divine law, or Mother Nature punishes you. You get diseases; you get stomachache, diarrhea, dysentery, colic, etc.

Nature is the Power of God. God is nature’s Lord. God has created this world with the aid of Nature or Maya Sakti or Para Sakti.

The law of nature or the Law of Cause and Effect operates in the upkeep of health of man.

The natural power of healing must be well understood by every doctor. He should help nature to heal the system. That injudicious doctor who drugs – and drugs acts against nature-prevents nature to continue her healing processes.

The law of Karma operates. Evil actions bring diseases. “As you sow so you reap”-this is the immutable divine law. He who does virtuous actions enjoys good health.

Loss of appetite, fever, headache, stomachache, colic, sleeplessness, are the warnings of Mother Nature. O man! Beware, be cautious, and be vigilant. Be on the alert. Nip the malady in its bud by taking recourse to Nature’s cure, natural methods of healing and natural way of living. Use open air, fresh air, pure water, simple, wholesome, natural food, fruits, vegetables, and sunlight. Etc. Keep the bowels free. Remove fear, care, worry, anxiety, anger, and hatred. Be cheerful and peaceful. Be happy and healthy.

Health & Conservation of Energy
Energy must be conserved. There should always be abundant reserve of energy. Then alone you will enjoy very good health.

Nature herself conserves much energy. But the foolish, arrogant man wastes the energy considerably, and suffers from debility, anemia, etc.

Excessive sexual intercourse drains energy enormously. Be moderate. Observe Brahmacharya and conserve the sex energy. Transmute it into Ojas Sakti, a form of spiritual energy.
Do not overload the stomach. Eat moderately. Fast. Give abundant rest to the digestive organs. This is another way for conserving energy.

Give up idle talk, gossip, backbiting, tale bearing and scandal mongering. Become a man of measured words. Observe Mauna or vow of silence for one or two hours a day. You can conserve energy to a considerable degree.

Give up worrying habits. Rely on God. Do self-surrender unto Him. He will take care of you. Worrying depletes much of your energy. It corrodes the mind.

Abandon imaginary phobias or fears. Control anger through patience, love and forgiveness. Considerable energy is wasted through anger. You will have abundant reserve of energy.

Give up wandering habit. Practice Padmasana and squeeze out Rajas. This is another means for conserving energy.

Do not shake your thigh, legs, etc., when you are sitting. Energy is wasted by such shaking. This is a bad habit.

The man who is in charge of the powerhouse controls the electric energy. He regulates it and supplies it to various places. He knows how to adjust the load. Similarly, you have to regulate and adjust the energy in your body carefully. Have always-abundant reserve by shutting out the holes through which energy leaks.

Lie down in the bed. Close your eyes. Retain the breath for a few seconds. Repeat Om mentally. Repeat this process for ten minutes. You will fill the body with abundant energy.

Sit on any easy pose. Close your eyes. Withdraw the senses and concentrate on the Trikuti for half an hour. Tap the Source and draw abundant energy from your own Atman.