Nature Cure began as a revolutionary movement that aimed at holistic, balanced healthy life practices and treating illness without the use of any medicines. Today, nature cure, better known as naturopathy, is a well-established medical discipline recognized globally. Dr. Sharma’s own grandfather Lakshmana Sharma and father, Ganesan Sarma, were the pioneers of this movement in India and he benefited from their direct tutelage from a very young age. In addition to the standard practices of nature cure, Arun Sharma considers chanting, dancing, singing, artistic expression and all aspects of yoga parts of a healthy life style which he includes in his teachings of nature cure.
Finding and addressing the underlying cause of suffering
Naturopathic medical education is a four year post-graduate degree available at accredited schools in the United States and Canada. Dr. Doherty attended Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. New Hampshire is a licensed state and requires that each naturopathic doctor have passed the NPLEX board exams before a license is granted.
Education includes such courses as:
Clinical training, which begins the end of first year, occurs at naturopathic and community-based clinics under the direct supervision of licensed naturopaths.
This section of the book is from the "Handbook of Nature Cure Volume One: Nature Cure vs. Medical Science" book, by John L. Fielder.
Chapter Eight: Vital Economy
An abundance of the power called Life is the indispensable condition of Health, because, as we have seen, it is through the instrumentality of life that all vital processes, whether of health, or of disease, are possible, and this power resides, not in the gross body built up of food, but in the subtle body, of which scientists know nothing. We have also taken note of the fact that the amount of life-power that is present at any time in a body is limited by the encumbrances present. Since the reduction of encumbrances needs time and effort, this receptivity cannot be increased all at once. Hence, to maintain a sufficiency of vital power always, the only way is Vital Economy.
Just here we will consider the pseudoscientific medical theory that food is the source of vital power. Medicos suppose that this is scientifically proved by the equality of the chemical energy of the food and the end products eliminated, namely carbonic acid gas, etc. This equality will always prevail, whatever the food-rations consumed. If a man eats only a third or fourth of the amount prescribed by this pseudoscience, there will be the same equality. It is as if a parent, having a son at a University, tried to find out the allowance needed by the youth by remitting to him all he was able to spend; but the youth’s ability to spend bears no definite ratio to what he really needs.
Our view on this point is that food serves only to make good the waste of bodily tissue that occurs by work done, and has nothing to do with the vital energy. The amount of food one needs to eat is determined by other laws than those imagined by the "scientists". It is a historical fact that these men invented their theory, known as the "calorie" theory, by the absurd and grossly misleading analogy of the steam-engine—the living body being considered by them as a kind of steam-engine which needs fuel for generating power, the food consumed being assumed to be the fuel needed by the human steam-engine. Actually there is not the least resemblance between the two. The body has more resemblance to an electrically-driven motor. The current of power that flows along the nerve, which causes the muscles to contract, is electricity, which itself is not life, but is generated and used by Life.
The utter stupidity of this medical theory was demonstrated by Dr Dewey. He pointed out the scientific fact that, "Food is a tax on vitality." He also showed that the assumption was absurd, because if it were, there was no reason for fatigue. A tired man must go to his bedroom, and not to the dining room, to recover lost strength. We put it more strongly still by posing the question: Why death, if the theory be true?
There is also the testimony of Dr Barbara Moore, who carried out long-distance walks in Britain and America, which testimony is given in the Appendix.
Food needs to be digested, and the power that digests it is Life. The two are thus eternally distinct; that which is digested and that which digests are not all the same. Food does not digest itself. If it could, a tired man can recover his lost strength by eating a good meal. But the fact is, that meal might go far towards killing him. He must rest and recuperate and develop hunger and digestive power, before he would be fit to eat. On the other hand, by merely resting or sleeping, he recovers all his strength.
The "scientists" ignore that fact that all through history there have been people who systematically ate about one-third or less of the medically prescribed rations, and have enjoyed superior health and fitness for work and lived happily, far beyond the biblical three-score and ten years. And even now there are followers of Hygiene, who eat very low rations on principle and are all the more healthy, efficient in work, and long-lived, because of their abstemiousness; these men are not infirm in their "old Age"; in fact, they are not old at all; for their youth is prolonged into what is called old age.
Luigi Cornaro of Italy, who had lost his health in middle age, got a new lease of life and health, and lived to be more than a century old by simply cutting down his eating to twelve ounces a day. He wrote down his wonderful experiences of this life of sobriety in a book.
Also, there is the testimony of Marco Polo, an Italian traveller, who wrote, in his book of travels in the "east", of the great longevity of the Brahmans of our country, due only to their abstemiousness in eating.
There is also the crucial test of the cure of dyspeptics. These are easily and radically cured by fasting or an approach to fasting and other hygienic measures. They cannot digest the heavy rations of high-calorie foods prescribed by the medicos. If treated on orthodox lines they die in three to six years, suffering terribly all the time. The author himself was a sufferer from dyspepsia and neurasthenia, and was reduced to a state of utter hopelessness because of medical ignorance of the basic truth of the natural relation of food to Life; but he got restored to very good health in two years, by hygienic measures, as will be described later.
Professor Chittenden of the US demolished the medical theory by experiments on himself and some volunteers. He proved that one third of the number of calories medically prescribed gave better health and strength than was possible by taking the full amount. Horace Fletcher, the advocate of thorough mastication, also proved the same truth by his own example and books. Dr Lindlahr said: "One third of what we eat nourishes us; the remaining two-thirds go to nourish the doctors."
The facts of long fasts by patients for the recovery of health, as observed and recorded by the great pioneers, totally disprove the theory. The medical view, that a faster lives on his own flesh until emaciation sets in, and then dies, is negated by these facts. Medicos do not know the distinction between fasting and starvation. The distinction is real, though rather too subtle for the obtuse brains of these self-styled "scientists".
During a fast of a month or more, the body temperature as a rule remains constant; but the amount of body substance lost during the fast is not the same all the time. It is more than half a kilogram a day at first, but in the end it is a few milligrams, too little to account for the heat. It is the electric currents flowing in the nerves that maintain the body heat, not the tissue substance that is consumed.
Also there is the curious fact that a man with an abnormally high temperature, who fasts, gets down to the normal, 98.4°F. Also it happens that if a man with a subnormal temperature fasts long enough, say 40 days* (*Such long fasts are not advocated in our School of Health; this will be seen in the chapter on Fasting), the temperature rises to the normal. How do they propose to explain this?
Professor Arnold Ehret states that a faster can be stronger after 20 days of fasting than he was before he began fasting. How is this explicable on the basis of the calorie theory?
If this theory were true at all, then not one of those long fasts would have been possible. Dr Dubos, in his book on Basal Metabolism, had to admit that long fasts are not fatal because, as he put it, "some mysterious power intervenes to establish the basal metabolism (rate of processes of vital changes of food-substance) at a lower level so as to avoid disaster". This is an admission that life can survive without damage even when no food is taken for many weeks. Actually the abstinence from food has positively beneficial effects, as will be shown later.
The principles and the rules of Vital Economy are proved true by the personal experience of all followers. And this alone will suffice to refute the calorie theory.
That the minimum food, the food that is needed for the replacement of wasted body-substance, gives the best results in health and efficiency, is the conclusion arrived at by all the pioneers and their successors. On the other hand every excess over the minimum lowers the health-level and tends to provoke disease. The average eater, who consumes about four times as much, is subnormal in health and vigour, and is also deprived of access to the Natural Happiness that is derived from the Indwelling Supreme Spirit. He is miserable in proportion to his overeating. This much must suffice for demolishing this unproved, materialistic theory of the medicos.
Here is a gem of commonsense uttered by an Irish soldier, quoted approvingly by Sir James Fayrer, showing that the climate of our country is not the real cause of the wreckage of health of British soldiers here: "They eat and they drink and they drink and they eat and they write home to say it was the climate that killed them." (Quoted by H Carrington in his book, Vitality, Nutrition and Fasting.)
† Extracted from: Sarma, K Lakshmana. 1984. Practical Nature Cure. Pudukottai, India: The Nature Cure Publishing House.
section of the book is from the "Handbook of Nature Cure Volume One: Nature Cure vs. Medical Science" book, by John L. Fielder.
Chapter Seven: The Earth-Power: Part 2
Out of this false use of reason, out of this abuse of reason, as I remarked in the beginning of my book, grew science, the daughter of that serpent, not only the science of medicine, but also the other sciences (pedagogy, theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, etc). Science does not observe the laws of Nature to make mankind prosperous and happy. Medical science even declares that living strictly in accordance with Nature would prove very injurious to man. Eating exclusively natural food does not give sufficient strength and injures the health, and the more intimate contact with light and air is very dangerous (colds, etc), it declares. Moreover, the natural mode of life would deprive us of many joys. On the basis of anatomical, chemical and other researches, it then goes on to prescribe an artificial diet, of which it says that it is at once enjoyable and strengthening to man, and thus lays down hygienic rules which leave instinct, taste (in its correct use), and conscience entirely out of consideration. Other departments of science, such as pedagogy, theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, etc, would also make men good and noble, and lay down precepts which in other ways than through close communion with Nature promise to guide men to happiness and contentment.
In this way men came to put on shoes, to turn from the earth as their resting place, and to make themselves bedsteads. They fancied thus to gain for themselves well-being, comfort, and joys which Nature did not offer them. But men gain neither comfort nor enjoyment, neither health nor happiness, neither virtue nor nobility of following the false allurements of their reason and the teachings of science, but only disease and pain, disgust and vexation, vice and crime, misery and despair—the very opposite of what they wished to attain, for thus Nature always avenges herself.
The feet are in a certain sense for man what the roots are for plants. Man draws vital energy and strength out of the earth through his feet.
Even barefooted, without sandals, if possible, ought to be the foundation of every Nature cure.
In order to sleep again on the earth it is best to select a nice grass plot; if there is no grass plot to hand, a thin reed matting, such as gardeners use may be placed on the ground. In that way, of course, the earth power will fall very short of its full effect. Any thicker covering of straw, wool, cloth, or the like, to lie on must not be thought of, for the connection with the earth would in that case be markedly interfered with. No head rest is necessary, for it is of special benefit for the head to lie on the cool refreshing earth.
We must not be discouraged if the first nights spent on the earth should prove uncomfortable.
I have made the experience that patients, after the first few nights, were actually attracted to their bed on the ground, and strongly refused to tolerate anything under them.
In rainy nights I was often concerned about having the patients come into the huts to sleep, so that the quilts should not get so wet, but it was with difficulty that I could induce the sick people to leave the ground. So, also, the hardness of lying on the ground is no longer felt. Nor need we fear the earth too cold at night to lie on entirely naked under covers; we shall only experience the sensation of delightful coolness. Some perspire more easily lying on the ground than in a bed. Of course, beginners and those persons who have not yet regained sufficient animal heat through a natural mode of life, can only lie naked on the ground under covers in warm summer nights, or in very mild or not too cold spring and autumn nights in our climate (Europe).
During the first nights one generally sleeps worse on the ground than formerly in bed. After that, and sometimes even in cases of protracted and obstinate insomnia, a long, exceedingly refreshing and strengthening sleep will set in, which state of affairs will last for some time. But generally most persons will soon begin to sleep less and less, sometimes only from one to two hours, and the less they sleep nights lying on the ground, the brighter, stronger and fresher they will feel the next day. I myself have not slept a wink for weeks at a time on the ground, but during that period I never felt the least discomfort or trouble of any kind, as was formerly the case in sleepless nights during my long and severe nervous suffering while lying in a bed. On the contrary, those nights were particularly delightful and free of ennui, and during the day I was never so entirely without any trace of weariness and languor, and I never felt more refreshed than at that time.
from the "Handbook of Nature Cure Volume One: Nature Cure vs. Medical Science" book, by John L. Fielder.
Chapter Seven: The Earth-Power
The fish belongs to the water, here alone can it live and thrive. The bird is destined for the air—that is its realm (as the hawk is king in the realm of the air. If the bird wants to rest it alights on a tree, it rarely touches the earth. Of course, I do not here speak of the land fowl.)
But man walks on the earth.
As long as man wore no shoes or clothes, he was always in direct touch with the earth, both when he moved, and when he rested.
This direct connection of man with the earth was originally in no wise disturbed.
Such a close connection of man with the earth is therefore the intention of Nature. It corresponds, moreover, to a holy inviolable law of Nature, the transgression of which will always be sternly avenged.
In my earnest and untiring efforts to return more and more to a knowledge of her laws, in order to place it in the service of our fellow man, I have made this discovery, which will certainly prove of the utmost significance.
I observed plainly that going barefooted in the room and on boards was in no wise so effective, so refreshing, and so invigorating as going barefooted on the bare earth, even if the sand or the turf was completely dry. Foresters and forest labourers have assured me that it agrees much better with them, and that they derived much more strength from their rest if they lay directly on the earth in the woods instead of on a bench or other contrivance.
We still possess a splendid treasure of myths from the time of the old Greeks. Among them is the story of Antaeus.
When the giant Hercules was in the service of Eurystheus, he was ordered to fetch the golden apples of Hesperides. But the golden apples of the Hesperides were guarded by the giant Antaeus, the son of Geea, the earth Goddess. Hercules closed with Antaeus, and during the struggle Hercules observed that Antaeus was always refreshed and strong when he stood upon the earth, but became weak and powerless as soon as he was separated from the earth and lifted up into the air. Therefore Hercules lifted Antaeus high up into the air, where he could easily strangle him.
These old myths, as I have already observed, especially the folklore traditions, contain the profoundest truths.
Long after men had turned their backs on Nature, and were living in unhappiness and misery, there still lingered in the soul of the people an intuition, an impression of the correct life, of past and future conditions—especially how men originally lived in Nature without sickness and want, what an unhappy state followed the violation of the laws of Nature, and in what way salvation will come. This intuition, this impression has found expression in poetic form, embellished by the imagination, in the myths which are often the creation of entire generations. These myths convey the truths of the past in quite a different way from history which is written by individual man and which everyone in his diseased condition has altered and fixed up according to his views and wishes.
"What you the Spirit of the Ages call
Is nothing but the spirit of you all
Wherein the Ages are reflected."
The Bible is interwoven and embellished by a wreath of the most beautiful and most sacred myths. It contains the most sacred, and the most profound truths concerning the past and therefore of man; it is the Book of books. The Bible tells of the original perfectly happy state of man in paradise in the bloom of pure Nature, of man’s fall, the transgression of the laws of Nature in respect to food, of the consequent misery, and of salvation.
Jesus, as I have already stated, founded his theory of salvation on the closest approach to Nature, on a perfectly natural mode of living, without which there is no happiness for man. In the course of time many passages in the Bible have unfortunately been falsified, both consciously and unconsciously, and it is often wrongly understood and wrongly interpreted.
From the classical myth of Antaeus I inferred that the earth has a most refreshing, invigorating, and salutary influence upon man, her son, as soon as he comes into direct touch with her.
Animals and man are as much products of the earth as the plants; in consequence of their higher development the former have only become separated from the earth, have become walking nerve plants. But animals and man are still as much subject to the laws of Nature as plants, they still draw their strength and vitality from the earth.
After this I attached a still greater importance to going barefooted on the earth (without sandals), and became more than ever convinced of the great curative effect of going barefooted. But I also asked myself if this influence of the earth could not be utilised on behalf of man in a still greater degree. For the first thing, I no longer had the patients sleep in high bed steads but on straw-sticks or quilts on the ground in the open air or in light-and-air cottages. They were thereby brought closer to the earth during sleep. This was at once felt as a gain, sleeping became pleasanter and was more invigorating.
But soon the patients lay down on soft grass entirely naked, even without a shirt, and covered themselves with quilts. They soon broke out in enthusiastic exclamations over the wonderful effect of the earth upon the body during the nights rest. The opinion was often expressed that all diseases, but especially the score of serious nervous troubles of our age, would entirely lose their terrors if only sleeping and lying on the earth at night once became customary in the curing of diseases. It is indeed a fact that the effect which the forces of the earth have upon man during the night is quite incredible. Whoever has not himself tried it and convinced himself of it, can have no conception of how refreshing, vitalising and strengthening that effect of the earth is on the human organism at night during rest.
The only end of all healing arts must be to aid and strengthen the digestion of the patient. Nothing accomplishes this end better than lying on the ground during the night—however much the natural bath and the light-and-air bath may facilitate the movement of the bowels.
By sleeping on the ground, consequently, more than anything else, the entire body is aroused from its lethargy to a new manifestation of vital energy, so that it can now effectively remove old morbid matter and masses of old faeces from the intestines, and receive a sensation of new health, new life, and new unthought of vigour and strength.
Whether it is because the body at night, especially during sleep, is lying perfectly quiet, or because the influence of the earth on the body is more powerful at night than in the daytime, the fact certainly is that one does not experience the extraordinary curative effect of the earth nearly as much in going barefooted or in lying naked on the ground during a light-and-air bath and sun-bath as at night.
I have already mentioned the fact that animals, especially hares and deer, when they prepare their lair, carefully remove all leaves, bits of wood, etc. They evidently do this to be more directly in touch with the earth, so that the forces of the earth may exert the strongest possible effect. The animals do not scrape together grass, leaves, wood, and the like for their beds—birds only do this in order to prepare a warm nest for hatching. It is a very striking fact that the animals of the woods always remove all the wood and leaves, and even the snow, so as to make an entirely bare spot on the earth where they may lie down to rest. Sometimes they also roll on the bare ground. In the case of deer, German hunters call this habit the "plaetzen".
The fox and the badger drag many things into their dens, but their resting place is kept perfectly free. It is always on the bare ground. Wild bears will indeed creep into heaped up leaves and underbrush, but they tolerate nothing under them and lie on the bare ground; generally they even dig themselves into it to some extent.
I once observed a domestic hog that was sick and was let out of its sty. On my advice it was left entirely alone, so that it might do what it wanted. It went into the vegetable garden, grubbed itself somewhat into the ground in a cabbage bed, and remained quietly lying there. After a few days it returned and was perfectly well. Of course the animal left off feeding while it was sick. Thus the animals, although they are constantly in close relation with the earth in their normal activity, walking and running, strive to get into especially close and direct touch with the bare earth when they rest and when they are sick.
† Extracted from: Just, Adolf. 1903. Return To Nature. New York: Lust.