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Natural Hygiene

The beginnings of natural hygiene go back thousands of years. Over 2000 years ago, Hippocrates
taught basic natural hygiene principles. Hippocrates is often referred to as the father of modern
medicine, although modern medicine today seems far removed from his teachings.

Hippocrates established medical theory on rational scientific principles, and he believed that disease
had only natural causes and not supernatural ones. Furthermore, he regarded the human body as a
whole organism, treating patients in what we today call a holistic manner with proper diet, fresh air
and attention to habits and living conditions.

The Hippocratic Oath, named after Hippocrates, was meant to give the medical profession a sense of
duty towards humanity.

The Hippocratic Oath

"I swear by Apollo, the physician, and Asclepius and Health, and All-Heal, and all the gods and
goddesses that, according to my ability and judgement, I will keep this oath and stipulation:

To reckon him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with
him and relieve his necessities if required; to regard his offspring as on the same footing with my own
brother, and to teach them this art if they should wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation, and that by
precept, lecture and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the art to my own
sons and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by stipulation and oath, according to the law of
medicine, but to none others.

I will follow that method of treatment which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the
benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.

I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; furthermore, I will not
give to any woman an instrument to produce abortion.

With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my art. I will not cut a person who is
suffering from a stone, but will leave this to be done by practitioners of this work. Into whatever
houses I enter I will go into them for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of
mischief and corruption; and further from the seduction of females or males, bond or free.

Whatever, in connection with my professional practice, or not in connection with it, I may see or hear
in the lives of men which ought not to be spoken abroad I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such
should be kept secret.

While I continue to keep this oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of
the art, respected by all men at all times, but should I trespass and violate this oath, may the reverse
be my lot."

Apparently those entering the medical profession no longer say the Hippocratic Oath. One wonders

Many Natural Hygienists based their initial research on the Scriptures. Genesis 1 verse 29 states:

“Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every
tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”

Returning to More Recent Times

Natural Hygiene, as it is today, can be traced back to Dr Isaac Jennings (of Oberlin, Ohio, USA)
who, after practising medicine for 20 years, began to ask questions when, during a fever outbreak in
the summer of 1815, a patient who rested, drank water and did nothing, recovered in absolute record
time compared to patients who had been medicated. Based on this, Dr Jennings noted similar results
with many other patients.

He then went on to treat many patients with what must have been one of the first placebo (dummy
pill) treatments. In 1822 he gave up medical pills, plasters, powders and potions and treated patients
with pills made from bread and vegetable-coloured water for the next 20 years. This he only did to
keep the patients’ confidence in him. He would then advise his patients to correct their lifestyle and
diet to a more natural approach. He then practised for a further 20 years the "do nothing mode of
treating disease." He wrote three books, "Medicine Reform" (1847), "Philosophy of Human Life"
(1852) and "Tree of Life" (1867).

Natural hygiene was often referred to at this stage as Orthopathy meaning TRUE or RIGHT

Dr Jennings had a great influence upon Dr R T Trall, who went on to do more for the hygiene
movement than any man, next to Dr Herbert Shelton.

Dr Russell Thacher Trall was born in 1812 in Connecticut, and after graduating from a regular or
Allopathic School of Medicine, he practised as a regular Doctor for 12 years. Dr Trall was
remembered as an independent and thinking mind whilst at medical school (much to the dismay of his

After spending some time in Europe to investigate so-called hydro-therapy at various clinics, he
returned and designed or developed a system, which he called Hygieo-therapy. He set out to promote
the welfare of mankind by teaching the Laws of Life and the conditions of health so as to prevent
rather than cure sickness and disease.

He was the founder of The New York Hydrophatic and Physiologist School, later changed to The
New York College of Hygieo-Therapy. It had the right to confer the degree "Doctor of Medicine" and
admitted both sexes (very daring for those days). Besides having a fully equipped laboratory and
large library, the College/School taught Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry,
Pathology, Psychology, Hygiene, Dietetics, Callisthenics, Theory and Practice of the “Healing Art”
diagnosis, Therapeutics, Jurisprudence (science or the philosophy of law), nature cure, water cure
and other subjects including dissection. The faculty members were all doctors in their various fields
from chemistry to surgery and obstetrics.

At about the same time, Sylvester Graham (born 1794) entered Amherst College to study as a
Minister of Religion. Whilst there, he studied anatomy and physiology. He left the ministry later to
lecture on the Science of Human Life.

During a cholera epidemic in 1832, he went around teaching and lecturing on the importance of fresh
fruit and vegetables and whole grains in the diet, as well as abstinence from meat and meat products,
alcohol and other stimulants or narcotics, correct sleeping, bathing, clothing and exercise habits to
avoid cholera, with astounding results.

At the time, the average person (influenced strongly by Europe) believed that animal flesh and flesh
broths with a little good wine and complete abstinence from most fruit and vegetables were the best
way to escape cholera! This was backed by the then "Board of Health".

Many others followed the Natural Hygiene route, such as Drs Susana and Mary Dodds, Dr A M
Ross, Dr Joel Shaw, Dr G H Taylor, Dr J C Jackson - the list is almost endless.

Most of these people wrote books with titles such as "The Natural Cure", "How Nature Cures", "The
Exact Science of Health", "The Fasting Cure", etc.
Today’s natural hygiene was very much developed by Dr Herbert M Shelton, another disillusioned
medical Doctor who wrote the "Bible" of natural hygiene, "Human Life, its Philosophy and Practices of
Orthopathy", and who, for many years, ran his Health School in San Antonio.

One of his students, Virginia V Vetrano, went on to become one of the founders of the Institute of
Natural Hygiene or Life Science, which unfortunately no longer exists.

Today, much can be learned from books written by Bernarr Macfadden, Ross Horne, Dr Robert S
Mendelsohn, Dr Henry G Bieler, and Dr Weston Price, Dr Dean Ornish and Udo Erasmus. In
South Africa, people like Professor Bernard Meyer (Physiologist), Professor Meiring (Chemical
Pathologist), Dr A R P Walker and Dr André Kruger can be seen to be carrying the torch of the
modern medical reformer.

The basis then of natural hygiene is that we are designed to be healthy, i.e.:

Health is Normal and Natural,

Disease is Not

and that

Health is as a Result of
Healthy Living and that alone

You cannot buy health! If you could, Howard Hughes and Aristotle Onassis, two of the richest
men in the world, would not have died prematurely.

Natural hygiene teaches that using drugs, medicines, herbs, vitamins, supplements, etc. are
unnecessary and in fact, harmful. Natural hygiene teaches that the best way to help a body in a sick
or diseased state is to "intelligently do nothing" at the same time, establishing the conditions of
health which are fresh air, pure water, rest and sleep, wholesome foods (especially fruit, vegetables,
nuts and seeds), cleanliness, comfortable temperature, sunshine, exercise, constructive work,
emotional poise, self mastery, recreation and a pleasant environment.

We will now take a look at how healthy living can slow down, stop or even reverse degenerative


Natural Hygiene history is part of the history of healing and medicine
- so here is first an overview.
This has been the common way to look at disease for BOARDS
millennia, and is still very popular: DOCTORS LIST
Disease is the problem - and the way to get rid of the disease ARTICLES
is to stop the disease symptoms. The cause is mysterious.
Fear of inexplicably being struck by disease is typical.
Example: a cold is "cured" when the cold-symptoms, sneezing and fever, have been stopped by
some concoct. Mysterious cause - perhaps a cold originates from getting too cold, perhaps from
bacteria, or what?
Example 2: cancer is "cured" by attacking the growths with chemo & radiation & operations. The
cause is mysterious. A billion dollar industry is built around "cancer research".


= the appearance of "Hygiene" and "Nature Cure" in the early 1800's.

Here is a look at the historical development of "cures":

Magic & spirituality

The primitive mind's belief in spirits, which interfere in man's life for good or evil and are
able to cause disease, was probably universal, and still is widespread. Evil spirits could
enter the body. The solution - rituals, magic rites, offerings and other efforts to appease
the invisible higher beings that rule over health and disease
"Western medicine really began in ancient Greece. The earliest mythical
doctor was the god Asclepios (Lat. Aesculapius), father of the goddess
Hygieia. Various diseases were treated by 'incubation" or temple sleeping.
The patient made a request of the god, usually for cure, and; while the patient
slept within the confines of the temple, probably aided by an opiate, the god
visited in a dream. The snakes would crawl over the patient during the night
and the patient would wake in the morning cured."

"The Iroquois of New York and Ontario gathered in a longhouse for ceremonial and religious
purposes. Wooden masks, skilfully but grotesquely carved played an important part in their
ritual, and were alleged to be portraits of the strange quasi human beings whom the forest
hunters met at nightfall, darting from tree to tree, and resembling disembodied heads with long
snapping hair. These beings were held to be involved in the cause and cure of disease, and
were invoked and worshipped in complex dance rituals, sometimes under the influence of
tobacco and or other drugs." (www.umanitoba.ca)

Cutting and manipulating

Surgical methods as a cure were obviously also developed very early - in the beginning
probably by cutting out and removing problematic body parts.
Acupuncture was used in China before 2500 BC using sharp stones, which were replaced
by metal needles around 400 BC. Acupressure, reflexology and some energy methods
are probably even older.
"Evidence that surgery was occasionally practiced in the 4th century BC Asclepian temples in
Greece is shown in the following: 'A man with an ulcer in his stomach. He incubated, and saw
a vision: the god seemed to order his followers to seize and hold him that he might incise his
stomach. So he fled, but they caught and tied him to the door-knocker. The Asclepian opened
his stomach, cut out the ulcer, sewed him up again and loosed his bonds. He went away
whole, but the floor of his chamber was covered with his blood.'"(planetherbs.com)

"If a physician performed a major operation on a seignior with a bronze lancet and has caused
the seignior's death, or he opened the eye-socket of a seignior and has destroyed the
seignior's eye, they shall cut off his hand. If a physician performed a major operation on a
commoner's slave with a bronze lancet and caused (his) death, he shall make good slave for
slave." Hamurabai's Code, Mesopotamia 3000 BC (www.umanitoba.ca)

"It seems in most ancient cultures there is a tradition of working on the feet to help the body
balance itself. .... For instance, in Egypt, in the physician's tomb (2300 B.C.) there can be
found a pictograph which may be evidence of reflexology being applied."(www.reflexology-usa.org)

"CHUN DO SUN BUP is a 6000 year old ancient healing method that uses the power of the
original ki energy and is deeply rooted on the Taoist principles of creation of life.... The Master
transmits vital energy by using a particular sound vibration which clears the blockages and
stimulates the circulation of energy."(www.cdsb.org)

Folk-medicine, traditional medicine

Medicinal plants, animal parts and minerals, like mica and gypsum, have been used for a
long time to get rid of disease symptoms. Knowledge was often collected and handed-
down by women.
"The use of plants as medicine is older than recorded history. As mute witness to this fact,
marshmallow root, hyacinth, and yarrow have been found carefully tucked around the bones of
a Stone Age man in Iraq. These three medicinal herbs continue to be used today.
Marshmallow root is a demulcent herb, soothing to inflamed or irritated mucous membranes,
such as a sore throat or irritated digestive tract. Hyacinth is a diuretic that encourages tissues
to give up excess water. Yarrow is a time-honored cold and fever remedy that may once have
been used much as aspirin is today." (planetherbs.com)

"Treatment involved plant remedies, of varying pharmacologic effectiveness;

the Chippewa around 1925 used around 200 plants in different ways, for the
treatment of a wide variety of common ailments, in a manner similar to
European herbal folk medicines two centuries before. Medicines were given
orally, by inhalation or by enema. Often the healer would induce altered
consciousness, perhaps in a sweat lodge, would let blood, and use
supernatural or magic remedies." (www.umanitoba.ca)

"Animal ingredients have long been part and parcel of the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Records
from 2000 years ago tell of some 20 animals including snakes and rhinos being used in
medicines. ---- Lately, however, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has come under fire for
its use of animals, especially of endangered species. Heading the list are poaching of rhinos in
Africa, and tigers in India and Siberia. ... A team from China's endangered species
commission obtained data from 13 TCM manufacturers, which annually consumed 506 kilos of
scorpions, 2796 kilos of freshwater turtle shells, 797 kilos of saiga horn, 29 kilos of bear gall
powder, 25 kilos of leopard bone, 3039 pairs of geckos, and 9650 centipedes. As there may
be as many as a thousand TCM manufacturers in China, the quantities used nationwide must
be mind-boggling." (martinwilliams.tripod.com)

Folk-medicine - major systems

With time simple folk remedies often became big extensive systems, that had to rely on
highly educated specialists - e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Indian Ayurvedic
Medicine, Greek- Arabic Medicine.
"The Greek system, started by Hippocrates - you were governed by a balance of these body
types: 1. Sanguine (air) hot/moist 2. Melancholic (earth) cold, dry 3. Phlegmatic (water)
cold/moist 4. Choleric (fire) hot/dry - that decided what disease you were prone to get - and
the cure.
Galen (130 A.D.) assigned foods and herbs to each of the four humours that form the basis of
"galenical" dietetics and medicine that was accepted throughout Europe and the Middle East
for 1500 years." (planetherbs.com)

"Arabic medicine derived from Constantinople and followed the armies of Mohammed. The
medicine of the Arabic world transmitted classical Roman and Greek traditions to early
modern times. They developed new medicines camphor, saffron, myrrh, musk, iodine,
naphtha and senna. They developed chemical methods in preparing the active principle of
these drugs, distillation, sedimentation and crystallization. Large medical schools developed in
Damascus, Bagdad, Cordoba and Cairo." (www.umanitoba.ca)

"Ayurveda was based on balance and harmony with nature and the utilization of therapeutic
diet, herbs, rituals, various physio-therapies. These principles were accordingly modified as
they were assimilated by different cultures, customs and geographical conditions. In Tibetan
medicine, for instance, we see an obvious blend of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese
Medicine, with the Chinese principles of Five Elements, the Three Humours, acupuncture and
moxibustion." (planetherbs.com)

Poison, bleeding, blistering

In the 1800's the excesses of doctors and the cottage industry drugs led to general
loathing and ridicule of the medical profession by the public in USA and Europe. This is
the time when a revolt, "Hygiene", emerged.
"In Canada in 1829, treatments in vogue included horseback riding for
pulmonary tuberculosis, scotch snuff plaster for croup, leek poultices for gout
and a decoction of carrots for jaundice. Dropsy was treated by bleeding,
tapping, and plantain and liverwort." (www.umanitoba.ca)

"For at least a century strychnine was the best remedy the profession had for
palsy and paralysis. It was used to kill cats and dogs; it was deadly to hogs and cattle and,
when given as a poison, slaughtered human beings. But when given as a medicine, it was a
tonic, a nervine, a remedy for our palsied fellow men. --- During most of the last century, it was
standard medical practice to withhold water from the acutely ill and thousands of patients
literally died of dehydration. --- Many of the patent medicines amounted to little more than
cheap whiskey. Alcohol was a foundation of the many bitters that were sold to the people as
tonics, as it was the chief ingredient in many of the patent nostrums sold to women for female
diseases. They even sold remedies for alcoholism that were chiefly alcohol."

"In addition to drugging their patients to death, physicians have frequently bled them to death.
... Bleeding was resorted to in cases of apparent death from a fall and in other injuries.
Bleeding was employed in wounds and head injuries that resulted in unconsciousness. Not
only were pregnant mothers bled, but physicians also drew blood from blue babies. ...
According to the legend, Robin Hood was bled to death by a man to whom he had resorted for
relief from an inflammatory disease. ... Indeed, the blood-loving and bloodspilling allopaths
shed the vital current of their patients for over 2,000 years before they were compelled, by the
opposition of other schools and rising public protest, to discontinue the bleeding of the sick. ...
It is probable that physicians spilled more blood than all the wars during the same period."

"In the days of which we write, patients were bled, blistered, purged, puked, narcotized,
mercurialized and alcoholized into chronic invalidism or into the grave. The death rate was
high and the sick man who recovered without sequelae was so rare as to be negligible. It is
certain that if well persons had been put to bed and subjected to the same treatment to which
the sick were subjected, they would have inevitably been made very sick and some of them
would have been killed.---- By 1850 it was easy for a man of no particular training to attend
lectures for one winter and emerge a full-fledged doctor." (soilandhealth.org:Shelton-68)

Revolt & reform - "Hygiene" & "Nature Cure" emerges

In the early 1800's some medical doctors discovered that discontinuing drugs & surgery
gave better results with their patients. New methods like fasting and raw diets were
developed, exercise & sunshine & fresh air were recommended, and a comprehensive
"medical" theory about natural healing and health was created. In Europe this new
science was called "Nature Cure", in USA "Hygiene" or "Orthopathy". This soon became a
large (anti-drug & cleanliness & exercise etc.) movement, one of the great reform-movements (like
anti-slavery, women's rights, etc.) being formed around 1820-1850. More on the next pages.

Petroleum-based industrial drugs

In the 1900's medical doctors regained respect from the public by weeding out most of
the worst excesses. This was done partly through adopting hygienic measures (like
washing hands before surgery) - partly through cooperation with big money to create
socalled "scientific medicine" based on new mass-produced chemical drugs.
"Not only has the Rockefeller-I.G.Farben combine been instrumental in fostering chemical-
based drug treatment as the basis for health care, they have been the dominant adversary
against safer non-drug treatments."

"In the years prior to World War I, there came into existence an international
cartel, centered in Germany, that dominated the entire world's chemical and
drug industries and was a powerful economic and political force in all
countries. It was known as I.G. Farben. When John D. Rockefeller
interlocked his American-based, international empire with that of I.G. Farben
in 1928 there was created the largest and most powerful cartel the world has ever known. Not
only has that cartel survived through the years, it has grown and prospered. ...
In order to expand their drug operations the Rockefellers set about "educating" the medical
profession. Abraham Flexner, author of the famous Flexner Report of 1910, led the crusade
for upgrading the medical schools of America. A.Carnegie and J.D.Rockefeller had set up
gigantic tax-exempt foundations for that purpose. The end result was that all medical schools
became heavily oriented toward drugs and drug research, for it was through the increased
sale of drugs that the donors realized a profit on their donations." (www.pnc.com.au)

Late 1900's revolution

Similarly to what happened in early 1800's there is now an emerging group of doctors in
revolt (more or less) - using nutrition rather than drugs. They base their ideas on
anthropological findings about early man, as well as new science about the insulin
mechanism. But they are still far from formulating a system of general laws for health,
as was done by hygienic doctors in the 1800's.
There is also a new phenomenon - all-raw meat eating: "the primal diet".
"An anthropologist examining skeletal remains of early man can tell immediately whether the
bones and teeth belonged to a hunter-gatherer (mainly protein eater) or a farmer (mainly
carbohydrate eater) simply by their condition. The hunters grew tall, with strong, well-formed
bones and sound teeth, and the remains of the farmers usually show skeletal signs of
malnutrition, stunted growth, and tooth decay.
For 700,000 years humans ate a diet of mainly meat, fat, nuts, and berries. Eight thousand
years ago we learned to farm, and as our consumption of grains increased, our health
declined. Genetic evolutionary changes take a minimum of 1,000 generations - or another
8,000 to 10 000 years to adapt.
Translations of the ancient Egyptian papyrus writings and modern examination of their
mummified remains by pathologists tell us .... of a people afflicted with rotten teeth and severe
atheriosclerosis, suffering from elevated blood pressure and dying in their thirties with heart
attacks." Drs. Eades: "Protein Power"

"I have seen that eating 1-3 pounds of raw meat daily helps regenerate, heal the body, and
reverse the common toxic deterioration associated with aging and disease. ... I recommend
only ocean wild-caught raw fish, ... including swordfish, which has the highest mercury
content. When digested and made bioactive by plankton and eaten by fish, traces of mercury
are great detoxifiers of toxic mercury in the body. ... When fish are cooked, mercury and other
metallic minerals become free-radicals and toxic." A. Vonderplanitz: "The recipe for living without disease"



This concept was revolutionary when it first appeared, and COURSES/BOOKS
still is. A new paradigm - a new way of thinking - that still is PRESENT
new, almost 200 years later: FUTURE
Disease is the solution, the way to get rid of disease is stop BOARDS
breaking the divine laws about how to take care of ones DOCTORS LIST
body. The cause is obvious - wrong behavior. It is easy to ARTICLES
avoid disease. One knows exactly how to remove disease if it
Example: a cold is elimination started by an overload of toxins - the cause
may e.g. be overeating the day before. No big deal - just rest and sleep
more, and eat less - and let the body do its cleaning job undisturbed - one
knows that the cold will soon be gone.
Example 2: cancer is the last stage of continually breaking universal divine
laws - excessive toxicity is making the cells go crazy. The solution is to stop
all toxins, return to a pristine mode of living, give the body maximal rest
(including mental rest).

• Natural Hygiene history

"Hygiene" became very popular in the 1800's, both among healing practitioners and the
public --- but in the 1900's it lost ground to the medical (allopathic, drugging) system,
that had gotten a powerful ally in the Rockefeller drug & oil empire. The medical system
gradually did adopt the sanitation-part of Hygiene, while rejecting its no-drugs
philosophy. When "sanitation" and "hygiene" as a consequence became synonymous,
the prefix Natural was added to Hygiene.
In the 1800's there was some side-tracking by hydropathy, and in the 1900's diet
became a major topic, e.g. the dangers/benefits of veganism.

"The "medical art" in America during the colonial period had been simple and
unpretentious. There were no medical schools and few physicians."
"By the time the period arrived (1800's) ... the schools of healing had arrived; folk
medicine was almost obsolete. A considerable medical literature with Latin and Greek
terminology had accumulated; medical colleges (schools of physic) had been
established; ... Homeopathy and chrono-thermalism had come from Europe to compete
with the dominant school, which became known as the allopathic
".. each school accused the other of killing its patients, an
accusation which could be well substantiated against each school.
In addition to this struggle, there was a wide-spread drug nihilism
among medical men, the leading medical authorities of both
Europe and America agreeing with the statement made by Dr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes that if all the drugs of the pharmacopeia were cast into the
sea it would be better for mankind, although a bit hard on the fishes. Is it to be
wondered that the people became distrustful of their physicians and began to believe
that they were being killed in the process of being cured?

"How is a man who is already sick to be made less so by swallowing a substance that
would sicken, even kill him if he were to take it in a state of health? Whoever has had
his bowels moved into convulsions by cathartics, his teeth rotted by mercurials, his liver
enlarged and impaired by tartar emetic knows that the effects of drugging are many
and varied, but always evil."
"In addition to drugging their patients to death, physicians have frequently bled them to
death. Butchers bled pigs to kill them; physicians bled patients to cure them." H. Shelton,
1968, ch.1.

(Early 1800's:) "The whole medical system of Western society was in a state of chaos
and confusion. It is not surprising that the revolution had its first beginning in France,
where medicine was most progressed. As early as the beginning of the nineteenth
century, there were physicians in France who discarded drugs and relied upon "nature"
and "good nursing."
Nature Cure in Europe: "... the revolution in Europe and that in America were
interrelated and interconnected. Especially did the works of Priessnitz, Schrodt and
Rausse of Germany, Ling of Sweden and Lamb and Combe of Britain influence the
American scene. The French school seems to have exercised very little influence outside
of France." H. Shelton, 1968, ch.2.

"Should we marvel that the people lost confidence in their physicians and began to
(correctly) suspect that they were being killed by them? A real revolutionary situation
existed. The time was ripe for a change." H. Shelton, 1968, ch.1.
"It was into the milieu of doubt and uncertainty, of disease and death that Sylvester
Graham threw a stone in 1830. ... Only the existence of a revolutionary situation,
created by the failures and contradictions of medical theories and practices, made
possible the immediate and widespread acceptance of the truths announced by Graham,
his contemporaries and successors." H. Shelton, 1968

Dr. Jennings - only water and bread pills from 1822

"Isaac Jennings, M.D.: - After 20 years spent in the regular drugging
and bleeding practices of the time, during which his confidence in drugs
and bleeding had grown steadily weaker so that his lancet had been
sheathed and his doses were fewer, further apart and smaller, he
discontinued all drugging in 1822 and relied thereafter on Hygienic care
of the sick, using water (drops of it) and bread pills to meet the demands of his patients
for "medicines" for another 20 years before he made public the secret of his
phenomenal success."
"He noted, also, in consultation with his more experienced professional brethren, that
old doctors, as a general rule, gave much less medicine than young ones. The
former trusted more to nature; the latter trusted all to drugs. This led him to doubt the
prevalent ideas of the faculty of medicine; and further observations induced him to
discard them altogether."

" ... he furnished one pocket with an assortment of breadpills; another pocket was
stored with a variety of powders made of wheaten flour, variously scented and colored ;
and a third pocket with a quantity of vials filled with pure, soft water, of various hues.
... Diseases vanished before him with a promptness unknown before. His fame spread
far and wide." H. Shelton, 1968, ch.2.

Dr. Isaac Jennings, who served as Oberlin's mayor in 1849, came to Oberlin in 1839 as a physician with an honorary
M. D. from Yale University. Jennings practiced a system of medicine which he termed orthopathy. Jennings lived a
long life as a member of Oberlin: he died in 1875 at the age of 86.

• Hygiene theory - early development

Dr. Jennings' theory of disease

"Jennings continued his no-drug practice, which he called the "let alone" practice, for
another 20 years before he retired. He worked out a theory of disease, diverse from any
that had preceded him, which he called Orthopathy." H. Shelton, 1968, ch.2.
"Disease, in this theory, is a unit and, in its various forms of fever, inflammation, coughs, etc., is
entirely true to the laws of life, which cannot be aided by any system of medication or any
medication whatever; but, relying solely upon the healing powers of the body and placing his
patients in the best possible conditions for the operation of the body's own healing processes, by
means of rest, fasting, diet, pure air and other Hygienic factors, he permitted his patients to get

Sylvester Graham
"Sylvester Graham, with 'The Science of Human Life,' made a great
step in advance; and, though some of his theories are not what later
developments would approve, he nevertheless made a valuable attempt
at systematization."
"Herald of Health, January 1865, says of Sylvester Graham, who was
not a physician, that he was "pre-eminently the father of the
philosophy of physiology. In his masterly and celebrated work, the
'Science of Life,' he has given the world more philosophy and more truth concerning the
primary and fundamental laws which relate man to external objects and to other
beings, than any other author ever did -- than all other authors ever have."
"Medical deprecations of Graham's work began very early. One Dr. Bell ... reduced
Graham and Grahamism to smouldering ruins with such matchless and devastating logic
as "eutopian dreamers," "modern empirics and modern innovators," "self-conceited and
opinionated dogmatism," "visionary novelties," "new sect of fanatics," "men of erratic
and visionary genius," "modern Pythagoreans," "bigoted exclusives," etc., etc." H. Shelton,
1968, ch.2,3.

"Beginning with Graham's lectures and the publication of the Graham Journal of Health
and Longevity, the Hygienic movement pushed forward with vigor and enthusiasm. As
early as 1850 the Water-Cure Journal had a circulation of 18,000. ... So vigorous was
Hygiene promulgated and so great was the enthusiasm with which the people accepted
it, it was estimated in January 1852 that the practitioners of the two schools --
hydropathy and hygeiotherapy -- outnumbered the practitioners of any of the medical
schools -- allopathic, homeopathic, eclectic and physio-medical -- in this country." H.
Shelton, 1968, ch.3.

Dr. Trall
R.T. Trall M.D. - "... it was left to him to solve the great primary
problems which must underlie all medical systems, and to base a theory
of medical science, and a system of the Healing Art, on the laws of
nature themselves. No author except him ever traced medical problems
back to their starting point, and thereby discovered their harmony or
disharmony with universal and unalterable law. In this manner he has
been enabled to do what no other author before him ever could do, viz,
explain the nature of disease, the effects of remedies, the doctrine of
vitality, the vis medicatrix naturae, and the laws or conditions of cure.
His philosophy goes back of all medical systems and proves to a positive demonstration
the fallacy and falsity of medicating diseases with poisonous drugs."

"In 1862 Trall delivered in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington his famous lecture,
The True Healing Art, or Hygienic Versus Drug Medication. It should be recorded that
after this lecture was delivered, there was a heavy demand that it be delivered
elsewhere. Complying with this demand, Trall delivered this lecture in several other
cities. Writing in November 1873, Trall said that "allopathic physicians could be named
both in this country and in Europe who had immediately abandoned the whole drugging
system after reading The True Healing Art, and that some of them were then practicing
Hygienically." H. Shelton, 1968, ch.2,3.

"All history attests the fact, that wherever the Drug Medical System prevails, desolation marks its
track, human health declines, vital stamina diminishes, diseases become more numerous, more
complicated, and more fatal, and the human race deteriorates. On the contrary, wherever the
Hygienic Healing System is adopted--and there is no exception--renovation denotes its progress,
and humanity improves in all the relations of its existence. " Dr. R.T. Trall: The True Heling Art

"In April 1862 Trall issued a call for the formation of a National Hygienic Association, to
be made up of Hygienic practitioners, male and female. In 1860 Trall issued a booklet
on the Principles of Hygeio-Therapy." H. Shelton, 1968

• Hygiene and Hydropathy - confusion

Hydropathy - using water as a drug

"Hydropathy spread quickly in America. According to one account, 213 cure centers
were established between 1843 and 1900. Although most treated both sexes, the
centers were especially popular with women; and women, who had long been denied
access to the "regular" medical field, not only gained acceptance but took the lead as
water-cure physicians." http://www.pwgazette.com

"The introduction of hydropathy into this country occurred 22 years after Jennings had
discarded the drugging system and adopted the Hygienic practice. ... The Hygienic
movement was already well established and had thousands of adherents at the time of
the introduction of the water-cure into this country. Its books and magazines already
had a wide circulation."

"Great numbers of physicians had lost confidence in drugs and took advantage of the
water-cure as a means of escaping from the drugging system. Even though they
adopted more or less of Hygiene in connection with their water-cure practices, they
called their practice hydropathy and called themselves hydropathists. ... Many
physicians who turned to water-cure thought of water as an agent that could
be made to take the place of drugs altogether. In other words, they professed to be
able to do with water everything that they had formerly sought to do with drugs."
H. Shelton, 1968

"Hydropathy presented a totally fresh approach to

childbirth, denying that it was a disease, as the
allopaths seemed to believe, or that it was of necessity
excruciatingly painful because it was God's punishment
for Eve's sin, as many believed. Water curists taught
that excessive pain in childbirth was the result of poor
health. They stressed extensive exercise and proper
diet during pregnancy and the relaxing effects of free movement and warm-
water baths during labor. Women found they could be up and about a few
days after delivery. With the scientific management of allopathy, two months of invalidism after
delivery was not uncommon. ...
By the middle of the nineteenth century women's health in America was in a deplorable state.
Catherine Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, made an
informal survey of over 1,000 women and found that the sick outnumbered the well by a ratio of
three to one.... Mrs. Beecher's suggested remedies for women's poor health were three: dress
reform, vigorous exercise, and participation in the water cure." http://www.pwgazette.com

Separating Hygiene and Hydropathy

"The practices of the early Hygienists were a composite mixture of hygiene and
hydropathy, while most of the practitioners were designated as hydropathists."

"Writing on the health reform movement in December 1853, William

Alcott M.D. (1798 - 1859) designates the physiological (hygienic) as
distinct from the hydropathic part of the movement. He mentions also
that "our periodicals and our books also repudiate as absurd the idea of
curing disease," and that "all the elements of hygiene, and these
only, are the true materia medica." - It is important that we keep
these distinctions in mind. The physiological reform (Hygiene) had its
origin in this country. Hydropathy had its origin in Europe. The two
movements mingled and ran along together for a time, but they were separate and
distinct and must be understood in this way if we are to grasp in clear outline the
evolution of the Hygienic System."

"In an editorial in the Journal, May 1858, Trall speaks of those "who do not distinguish
between water treatment and hygienic treatment," thus setting the two systems apart
from each other. ... At least as early as 1853, Trall's institution was listed as a
hydropathic and Hygienic institute. .... When people discontinued the use of tea, coffee,
tobacco, alcohol and animal foods, they were following Graham and Alcott, not

"Instead of being a revolutionary movement, it (hydropathy) turned out to be a mere

reform movement; instead of calling for radical changes in the ways of life, it sought
merely to substitute water in the form of baths, hot and cold applications, enemas,
douches, packs, fomentations, dripping wet sheets, etc., for drugs. Such treatments
have no legitimate place in a system of Hygiene." H. Shelton, 1968

"The Hygienic System was not merely a historic phenomenon of interest to historians - it was the
bursting forth of life itself. It arose to meet a need of the people and it has continued and will
continue to exist because the need is ever-present." Herbert M. Shelton


• Natural Hygiene early doctors

Medical doctors abandon drugs MEMBERS
"When a man begins to doubt the drug CONSTITUTION
system, it is difficult to stop. ... An example of FAQ
the transforming power of a new idea is supplied COURSES/BOOKS
us by Dr. James C. Jackson's (M.D.) conversion to PRESENT
hydropathy. FUTURE
He explains in 1861 that he had no more desire to BOARDS
disbelieve his allopathic education than he had to DOCTORS LIST
become an infidel in religion; but he had come ARTICLES
face to face with a group of facts: He had seen a number of patients
recover health from apparently hopeless conditions without drugs;
within a few months these so-called incurables were walking about
quite vigorously and ultimately returned home in good health. He
reasoned to himself: "What power is it that has done this work?" He answers: "One
naturally would, under such a glimmer of light as I had, be disposed to ascribe the result
to some specific agent.
- Jackson thus repeated an old and common mistake--that of mistaking coincidence for
cause ... and the healing power of the body is always ignored." H. Shelton, 1968
"It is because the world stands so much in need of this knowledge that we are determined to make
it available to those who might come within the sphere of our influence. And though we have had
to suffer as almost all persons who undertake the promulgation of new truths, we have been able
to endure and that is what always wins new victories." James C. Jackson

Health Conventions
"The movement initiated by Graham and Alcott and measurably contributed to by Mary
Gove, and which was early joined by Dr. Jennings, represents the beginning of the
Hygienic movement. ... This was only the beginning and many subsequent men,
especially Trall, Taylor, Nichols and Jackson, added their weight and thought and their
experience to the evolution of the new but old way of life. ...

Two health conventions were held by the American Physiological Society (founded in
1837 by Sylvester Graham) under the general term of the American Health Convention.
The first of these opened in Boston 1838. The second was held in New York 1839.
Physiological societies were formed in several cities, ... and a provision store, which may
properly be called the world's first health food store." H. Shelton, 1968

Colleges & Civil War

In 1853 Dr. Trall founded the New York College of Hygeio-Therapy, and half of the
first class graduates were women. In 1858 Drs. Austin and Jackson founded a 250-
bed institution in New York: Our Home on the Hillside. Ellen White, a hygienist and
Seventh Day adventist, called for "Health Reform in the name of The Lord" in many
books between 1864 and 1915. Clara Barton, a hygienist, founded the Red Cross in
1881. In 1887 Dr. Susanna Dodds founded The Hygienic College of Physicians and
The Civil War 1861-65 had a devastating impact - general impoverishment caused
the closing of hygienic colleges, magazines and institutions. Hygiene never regained
its dominant position. (partly from Bidwell, 1989)

Hygiene influences medicine

"Neglect of the Hygienic needs (especially of the need for rest, fresh air and water)
is not as persistent nor as criminal today, thanks to the work of Hygienists,
hydropathists and nature curists, as it was a hundred years ago; (but the total
Hygienic program is far from having been accepted). By line upon line, precept upon
precept and volume upon volume, the workers for a revolution in the way of life
have done a good job.
Jackson declared that the changes in medical practices that occurred during his
lifetime had been due "clearly and wholly to the promulgation of the principles" of
Hygiene. " H. Shelton, 1968

• (1) Theory develops: What is the real cause of

Enervation & toxemia
John Tilden M.D.(1851-1940) first practiced medicine and surgery for twenty-five
years. Personal experience, however, led him gradually to lose all faith in drugs, and
like Jennings, he began to use sugar tablets — blank cartridges, he called them —
which he continued to give (to use his own words), "until I was mentally evolved to
the truth that even sugar pills were injurious, in that the make believe medication
educated my patients into believing that their improvement was due to the
supposed drug they were taking. This is the harm in doing for sick people anything
labeled curative."
Dr. Tilden finally gave up the placebo practice and learned to rely upon Hygiene. He
established an institution in Denver, Colorado, to care for the sick along natural
hygiene lines, where he remained until his death in 1940. An interesting tidbit: Dr.
Tilden recommended a silver-dollar's size of raw chopped meat per day. (partly from
ANHS: The Greatest Health Discovery)

"Twenty-five years I practiced the science of medicine. During most of

that time I did not know why people were sick, got well, nor why they
died. ... When visiting the sick, I had no idea of how I should find them
at the next call. I did not know if the disease would end soon or late. I
did not know if it would take on a severe form, or quickly run its course.
I did not know whether or not there would be complications. In fact, I did
not know anything that would make me comfortable regarding the
outcome of the disease. ... I had the usual stock-in-trade subterfuges
that are worked off on a confiding public, for example: 'If no complications arise, the patient
will recover.'"
"I defy the so-called best practitioners ... to undertake to prove that what I am saying is not
true. Not one can tell from one day to another how his patients will be. ... Not one can say
with any certainty that the drug he prescribes will have the action he hopes to experience.
Not one can tell, after the first twenty-four hours of medication, whether the symptoms
presenting themselves are those of disease proper or due to drugs."
"To sum up: No doctor knows anything definite about his patients after the first day's
drugging; Every honest doctor will admit that there is an unknown quantity about every
case he treats which forces him to guess if asked to give his opinion."

"The toxin theory of the healing art is grounded on the TRUTH that TOXEMIA is the
basic source of all diseases. So sure and certain is this truth that I do not hesitate to say
that it is by far the most satisfactory theory that has been advanced in all the history of
medicine. It is a scientific system that covers the whole field of cause and effect—a system
that synthesizes with all knowledge, hence a true philosophy."
"When this truth first began to force itself upon me, years ago, I was not sure but that there
was something wrong with my reasoning. I saw that it would bring me very largely in
opposition to every established medical treatment. I held back, and argued with myself. ... I
fought to suppress giving open utterance to a belief that would, in all probability, cause me
to be hissed at — subject me to the jeers and gibes of the better class of people, both lay
and professional.
"Little by little I have proved the truth of my theory. I have tried it out daily for the past
twenty years. I myself have personally stood the brunt of my experimenting, and have
willingly suffered because of it. Every day this trying-out of the theory has convinced me

"As has been stated continuously in my writings for the past dozen years, the habits of
overeating, overclothing, and excesses of all kinds use up nerve energy. When the nerve
supply is not equal to the demands of the body, organic functioning is impaired, resulting in
the retention of waste products. This produces Toxemia."
"Man can be enervated, yet not sick; but he cannot be poisoned — sick — without being
enervated.' John H. Tilden: Toxemia explained

"Dr. Tilden tells us that it was at the cook-stove that he learned that how a sick
kitten clings to heat; that in caring for animals, he first learned that the sick
creature will not eat. These two lessons were later to bear fruit in his practice."
(ANHS: The Greatest Health Discovery)
Enervation & toxemia & deficiency
In the 20th century, Dr. Gian Cursio started emphasizing deficiency more, probably
due to his experiences with deaths & diseases from vegan deficiencies. Here Dr.
Bass, a student of Cursio, explains:

"Generally speaking, diseases are caused by any or

all of 3 factors - namely: enervation, toxemia or

There are 2 sources of toxemia:
-- Toxemia which is caused by the ingestion and
accumulation of substances which are foreign to the
body and toxic in nature, such as chemicals, drugs,
etc. These produce irritation, inflammation and
pathology in bodily organs and systems.
-- Toxemia which is due to the accumulation of toxic wastes resulting from the food and
beverages we eat and drink; unnatural food or natural food in excess beyond what the
body can use at the moment. Retention of this excess leads to decomposition of the food
and the production of irritating and toxic chemical wastes, which provide a fertile field for
the growth of microbes and various species of bacteria, which further increase the toxic

Deficiencies: The insufficiency of necessary food substances, such as carbohydrates,
proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, enzymes etc., lead to breakdown of cells, tissues and
organs which is given names of diseases, according to its location.

John Henry Tilden, M.D., formulated a theory of the cause of disease as due to a recurring
cycle of enervation and toxemia.
Enervation is the reduction or loss of energy occasioned by
-- the lack of rest or sleep, or
-- the excessive use of emotion, negative thoughts, worry, stress, or
-- the overdoing of physical actions, overeating etc. "
Dr. Stanley S. Bass: How Important is Diagnosis?

Read more in INHS magazine: What is Disease?

• (2) Theory develops: Laws of Life

Laws of Health
What is the Laws of Life? Essentially the manual - the key to understanding how we
function and why we are sick or healthy. If you understand and follow these laws
you'll be healthy. If you break them you will get sick.
"The laws of life are not something imposed upon the organization of man. They are
imbedded in the very structure of our being, in our tissues, our nerve and muscle
cells, our bloodstream, into the total organism. ... Since these laws are fundamental
parts of us, we cannot revolt against them without revolting against ourselves. ...
We cannot run away from the laws of being without running away from ourselves.
There simply is no escape, except in death." Herbert M. Shelton
Here are a couple of the laws:
A) Energy is the basis
Robert Walter M.D. (1841-1924) is credited with beginning to
formulate the "Laws of Life" or "Laws of Vitality" as he called
them - including the basis: "Life's Great Law". It states that
the overriding goal is self-preservation/survival. And that the
success of life depends upon the amount of energy available.
Lots of energy equals health, while low energy equals disease:

Life’s Great Law: Every living cell of the organized

body is endowed with an instinct of self-preservation, sustained by an inherent
force in the organism called “vital force” or “life force” or “Nerve Energy.” The
success of each living organism — whether it be simple or complex— is directly
proportioned to the amount of its life force and inversely proportional to the
degree of its activity.

This basic energy law has four secondary Laws of Vital Relation: --- (1) The Law of
Action, (2) The Law of Power, (3) The Law of Dual Effects, and (4) The Law of Vital
Accomodation (S. Bass: The Laws of Life)

1) Dead things can NOT act

A very common error today - you hear it all the time: this drug or herb will do
something, will give more energy, will remove pain and so on. Wrong! Dead
things (in the form of drugs) cannot act, only the body has power of action.
The Law of Action: "Whenever action occurs in the living organism, as
the result of extraneous influences, the action must be ascribed to the living
thing which has the power of action — and not to the dead whose leading
characteristic is inertia."

2) Vital power comes from within

Even if it looks like taking a drug creates an immediate relief, there is no power
in the drug itself. The relief is due to an action by a body that has enough vital
The Law of Power: "The power employed, and consequently
expended, in any vital or medicinal action is vital power, that is, power from
within — and not from without."

3) Body reaction to a drug changes with time to the opposite.

Whenever a drug is taken - what looks like relief it this: vitality being redirected
(from the original problem) to deal with the new poisonous threat -- the drug.
The body deals with the drug immediately, first-priority. This is the first effect,
stimulation. The second effect is a state of weakness. E.g. alcohol appears to
strengthen for a while, but is soon followed by diminished function and
The Law of Dual Effects: "All agents which are taken into the body or
which come in contact with it from without occasion a two-fold and contrary
action in time, the secondary or reactive action being the opposite of the active
or primary one."
4) To survive - destroy or adapt to poison
You cannot steer the body's reactions - they are always automatic and
instinctive, with this single goal: self-preservation and survival. If a drug enters,
the body can react in two ways - either throw out the toxin, or adapt itself by
working at a lower vitality level.
The Law of Vital Accommodation: The response of the vital organism
to external stimuli is an instinctive one, based upon a self-preservative instinct
which adapts or accommodates itself to whatever influence it cannot destroy or

• (3) Theory develops: Diseases in stages

1930's : From flu to cancer
Dr. Tilden's revolutionary writings in the 1930's explained the seven stages of
disease and what happens when our energy level gets lower and lower. Note that a
sick person can move down the steps (get worse), or up (get better) - it is simple
cause and effect, and we have power to reverse the trend. The following is by Victoria
Bidwell from The Health Seekers Yearbook (1989):


STAGE ONE IS ENERVATION: Nerve Energy is so reduced or
exhausted that all normal bodily functions are greatly impaired,
especially the elimination of endogenous and exogenous poisons.
Stage One thus begins the progressive and chronic process of
“Toxemia Toleration” that continues through all of the following
stages. The Toxic Sufferer does not feel his “normal self.” He feels
either stimulated or depressed by the poisonous overload.

STAGE TWO IS TOXEMIA: Nerve Energy is too low to eliminate metabolic wastes
and ingested poisons. These toxic substances begin to saturate first the bloodstream
and lymphatic fluids and then the cells themselves. The Toxic Sufferer feels
inordinately tired, run-down, and “out of it.”

STAGE THREE IS IRRITATION: Toxic build-up within the blood and lymph and
tissues continues. The cells/tissues where build-up occurs are irritated by the toxic
nature of the waste, resulting in a low-grade inflammation. The Toxic Sufferer can
feel exhausted, queasy, irritable, itchy, even irrational and hostile. During these first
3 stages, if The Toxic Sufferer does consult a medical doctor about the reason for
his low energy and irritability, the doctor tells him: “There is nothing wrong with
you. These symptoms are ‘all in your head.’ You are perfectly healthy!”

STAGE FOUR IS INFLAMMATION: The low-grade, chronic inflammation from

Stage Three is leading to the death of cells. An area or organ where toxicants have
amassed next becomes fully inflamed. The Toxic Sufferer experiences actual pain,
along with pathological symptoms at this point. With the appearance of these
symptoms, the medical doctor can finally give The Sufferer’s complaint a name.
Traditionally, medical scientists have named many of the 20,000 distinctly different
diseases after the site where the toxins have accumulated and precipitated their
symptoms. Once the set of symptoms is conveniently named, the doctor can
mechanically prescribe the “antidote” from his Physician’s Desk Reference or from
his memorized medical/ pharmaceutical repertoire. Standard medical doctors thus
commence drugging and treating at this stage.

STAGE FIVE IS ULCERATION: Tissues are destroyed. The body ulcerates, forming
an outlet for the poisonous build-up. The Toxic Sufferer experiences a multiplication
and worsening of symptoms while the pain intensifies. Standard medical doctors
typically continue drugging and often commence with surgery and other forms of
more radical and questionable treatment at this stage.

STAGE SIX IS INDURATION: Induration is the result of long-standing, chronic

inflammation with bouts of acute inflammation interspersed. The chronic
inflammation causes an impairment or sluggishness of circulation: and because
some cells succumb, they are replaced with scar tissue. This is the way we lose
good, normal-functioning cells — by chronic inflammation and death of cells. Toxins
may or may not be encapsulated in a tumor, sac, wen, or polyp. The Toxic Sufferer
endures even more physical pain, which is intensified by the emotional distress of
realizing that he is only getting worse, regardless of his earnest, obedient, even
heroic attempts to get well. Standard medical doctors continue with both drugging
and surgery and all other kinds of modalities deemed appropriate, both conventional
and experimental. (“Induration” means “hardening” or “scarring” of tissues.)


(CANCER): Cellular integrity is destroyed through their disorganization and/or
cancerous proliferation. Tissues, organs, and whole systems lose their ability to
function normally. Biochemical and morphological changes from the depositing of
Endogenous and Exogenous Toxins bring about degenerations and death at the
cellular level. The Toxic Sufferer is “a pathological mess”: he is on his deathbed.
Standard medical doctors declare at this stage: “There is no hope left. You have just
so much longer to live. You need to make preparations accordingly.” Failure of vital
organs eventually results in death.

• (4) Theory develops: System-building

Dr. Herbert Shelton - cleaning and organizing
Dr. Herbert M. Shelton (1895-1984) was a brilliant man with unique abilities and
happened to be the right man for the right job - reviving Hygiene and creating a
complete hygienic system.

"It was my effort to revive a movement that had been allowed to all but die. .... The message
of Natural Hygiene is now heard around the world." Herbert Shelton

• CLEANUP: Dr. Shelton took the old hygienic writings and separated the real stuff
from the therapies. He removed the junk, and made Hygiene intelligent. He cleaned
up Hygiene, e.g. by removing hydropathic ideas.
• ORGANIZATION: He organized the collected knowledge, while giving credit to the
hygienic masters.
• SYSTEMATIZATION: He systematized Hygiene to create a system of pure basic
principles, and lifted Natural Hygiene up to a higher stage.
Dr. Shelton was always on top of the latest research and
commented on it. He would just listen, listen - and when he spoke
he was usually analytically correct.
His decision to choose a vegan diet-concept and abandon Dr.
Tilden's chopped raw meat may have been his largest mistake
from today's perspective, but it was based on contemporary
He gave his whole life to the cause of cleaning up and re-creating Hygiene. He often
worked almost all night on writing his books using his extensive library, writing the
monthly magazine Hygienic Review, and during the day taking care of patients at
his Health School together with Dr. Vetrano - in his lifetime doing the labor of many
men. He did a lot of writing, 40+ books, and gave many lectures - sometimes in a
not too easy-to-digest style.
Herbert Shelton had a great sense of humor and told lots of stories. He was sure of
himself, had humility, and honored the old hygienic masters and those with more
He was principled, with a very high accuracy rate and he was a fearless warrior for
the truth, jailed up to 30 times. He was not always diplomatic but could be a skilled
politician. (from Dr. Stanley Bass interview 2003)

Herbert M. Shelton
"Herbert Shelton first became acquainted with the system at the tender age of 17 (1912).
He started to probe into its past and single handedly exhumed the vast storehouse of
knowledge that lay neglected and unread. Beginning in 1919, he began sifting,
selecting and testing what those who had gone before had left as a heritage.
Shelton became increasingly determined that there must be a renaissance in natural
hygiene. His formal education in the health field was obtained at the International
College of Drugless Physicians in Chicago which was founded by Bernarr Macfadden
in 1920. (The College despite its name, was more like that of Trall's, in its curriculum
and principles, than any subsequent college.)
In 1922, he graduated from the American School of Naturopathy and did post graduate
work at the Peerless College of Chiropractic in Chicago. In order to obtain clinical
experience, Shelton interned in various institutions before setting up practice for
himself. From 1925 to 1928 he was on the staff of Macfadden's Physical Culture
magazine and was the health columnist for the New York Evening Graphic. His articles
were hard hitting and impressive in their message on health and disease; especially so
was the one on Rudolph Valentino and his untimely death brought on by medication.

Year 1928
The year 1928 was a landmark in the 20th century Natural Hygiene Movement, for
three reasons.
• Dr. Shelton came co-founder and co-owner of How to Live Magazine, which laid the
groundwork for his Hygienic Review, a publication which came out eleven years later
and earned for itself recognition as the most informative journal on health and disease
for the lay person.
• Secondly, he established an institution to care for the sick through physiological
resting, or fasting, which provided a living laboratory of the physiology of health
• Lastly, Dr. Shelton published his first great work Human Life: Its Philosophy and
Laws, which incorporated much of the teachings of the pioneers, and was the
forerunner of a host of other volumes on correct living for the prevention of disease and
the recovering of health.

Dr. Shelton's Hygienic Review

It was fortunate that before Dr. Tilden's depth in 1940, which brought to an end his
Health Review and Critique, that Dr. Shelton's Hygienic Review made its debut (Sept.
1939), and thus left unbroken the continuity of magazines devoted to the Hygienic ideal
which have been published came into being in 1832.
Dr. Shelton's Hygienic Review was never able to pay for itself, yet it continued each
month without missing an issue, even during the difficult days of World War II when
help was scarce and paper rationed. Never did it double up on two months as did
many other publications.
Dr. Shelton humorously relates how be managed to almost single handedly put out the
magazine, while at the same time operate his institution in San Antonio, Texas. "I
would make beds, sweep floors, serve meals, wash dishes. Often after getting through
with the noon day dishes, I would hop into my car and give my printer a hand in getting
out the magazine." The Greatest Health Discovery, ANHS

"If our theory is true, that disease is vital action abnormally expressed, then to our minds it
follows, irresistibly, that such means as the organism needs and must have to keep itself
in health are the means, and the only means, which it needs and must have to restore lost
ground. What are these means? To settle this question, we have merely to provide a
satisfactory answer to the question: what are Hygienic materials? By Hygienic agents,
said Trall, the Hygienist means "things normal." Briefly, they are food, water, air, light,
heat, activity, rest and sleep, cleanliness and wholesome emotional influences.
Hygienic materials have nothing in common, in the body, with the "remedies" of the
physician. Throughout the whole realm of nature we find nothing provided for the repair of
injury, except that which is consistent with the health of the body when uninjured.
Look with us at the relations of life to which the sick are subjected. One may be
constitutionally feeble and it may be that he has been sick all his life. Yet physicians do to
him, steadily and persistently, what no argument could induce them to do for the plants in
their garden. Instead of caring for the sick as they would a valuable rose bush, nursing
him or her, watching over the patient, waiting upon him and giving the forces of life a
chance; instead of keeping things away that exhaust and providing things that nourish, all
the "dregs and scum of earth and sea" are employed in a vain effort to restore health
without any consideration being given to the causes of the disease. As the living
organism, well or sick, is the same organism and as there is no radical change in its
structures or its functions and no radical change in its elemental needs in the two states of
existence, we need a system of care that is equally applicable to both the well and the
sick." Herbert Shelton 1968

"Most people's prejudices against the Hygienic System arise out of the very simplicity of
its means and methods. So long have we been educated to belittle and deprecate the
simple health requirements of nature and to rely upon the mysterious and
incomprehensible and to misunderstand the nature of disease and to grossly overrate the
danger of certain conditions, that we find ourselves entirely unable to appreciate the
adequacy of the means employed in Hygienic practice to the accomplishment of the ends
We are frequently asked: where are our experiments? Do we need experiments to prove
that man cannot live without air? Are we called upon to prove that fresh air is better than
foul? Must we show experimentally that rest and sleep are nature's processes of
recuperation? Must we demonstrate the value of cleanliness? Are experiments needed
today to convince us that violent emotions are ruinous? Have we so far forgotten the
benefits of exercise that we need them demonstrated to us in the laboratory? After all the
experiments that have been performed, that confirmed the experiences that processed
and refined foods are inadequate to meet man's nutritive needs, do we need more
experiments to demonstrate this fact all over again? Can we not accept the very means
by which we live without having to have their value demonstrated in the laboratory?
The medical profession, through every means at its command, has long taught people to
poison themselves with deadly drugs whenever they were ill. They have long, too long,
taught the doctrine of casting out devils through Beelzebub. In the days of our ignorance
this may have been permissible. But now light has come into the world. A new
dispensation has dawned.
Evil must be overcome with good. Disease must be limited by supplying the conditions of
health, not by producing new diseases. The medical profession no longer serves any
possible end. The eyes of the people are being opened to the hard consequences of
medicine's false philosophy and fatal practices. The profession, its philosophy and its
practices should pass and be forgotten." Herbert Shelton 1968

"Most people's prejudices against the Hygienic System arise out of the very simplicity of its
means and methods. ----- So long have we been educated to belittle and deprecate the
simple health requirements of nature and to rely upon the mysterious and incomprehensible,
that we find ourselves entirely unable to appreciate the adequacy of Hygienic practice." H.
Shelton, 1968