Natural hygiene is a philosophy of eliminating doctors, medicine, shots, and anything one has learned about anatomy.
Adherents insists that the body has the ability to heal itself. To some degree, this is true. Our immune system fights off germs and flushes toxins from the body. When one has a fever, it’s not caused by a infection, but is actually the body trying to fry the viral invader. And our natural defenses also fend off more serious diseases that could leave us gravely ill for weeks or kill us. Paul Knoepfler, who identifies himself as the world’s only stem-cell researching podcaster, writes that most of us get cancer all the time, but the cells normally destroy themselves when this happens.
While anyone can appreciate our bodies having such abilities, believers in natural hygiene extrapolate these into superhero powers and think that nearly any disease or injury can be cured with just the right diet and the body’s recuperative attributes. Fortunately for their sake, these people are hypocritical when it comes the sudden onset of life-threatening conditions and they respond to heart attacks by trusting those in an emergency room, not a chat room.
Other than that, natural hygiene advocates feel that the only way the body can be healed is with nutrition and for it to be left to its own devices. The first tenet is that eating “incompatible” foods together will cause illness, and that this must be countered by eating foods that belong together. This has no support from any science or study.
As to the body having hidden E.T.-like abilities to heal, Brian Dunning at Skeptoid used this example: “If you have an infected wound, natural hygiene suggests that a shot of penicillin will actually make things worse. When a practitioner of natural hygiene cuts his finger and sees it heal, he attributes this to his natural hygiene lifestyle. Really this is just the body’s normal process. If he’d put on some Neosporin and a Band-Aid, it probably would have healed quicker and with less risk of infection.”
A cut finger is one thing, cancer is quite another. Yet natural hygienists treat this much more serious issue the same as the scraped digit. Patients incorporating natural hygiene employ nothing more than fasting and the occasional “acceptable” food. The body will then magically do the rest.
I am unaware of anyone ever conquering cancer with this tactic, but there are rare occasions when persons experience spontaneous cures from the disease and which doctors cannot explain. These instances are then touted as proof of natural hygiene’s efficiency. But cancer predates cancer treatments, so if doing nothing worked, cancer would never have become a big deal.
A brochure from the American Natural Hygiene Society calls fasting “the most favorable condition under which an ailing body can purify and repair itself. During a fast the body’s recuperative forces are marshaled and all its energies are directed toward the recharging of the nervous system, the elimination of toxic accumulations, and the repair and rejuvenation of tissue.”
Results show otherwise. Six persons in five years died while undergoing fasting treatment at Shelton’s Health School, an institution dedicated to natural hygiene. For such reasons, it would be unethical to conduct a study in which some of the patients were not treated with genuine medicine. So to gauge the effectiveness of natural hygiene, let’s look at history instead.
Anti-doctor types are anachronisms who should have lived in the 19th Century when the country could have used such a movement. Treatments at the time included trepanation, bleeding, forced vomiting, and leeches. If the sickness didn’t get you, the cure just might.
Prior to Germ Theory and vaccine science, illness was thought to be caused by disturbances to either the blood, phlegm, or bile, and the idea was to restore those humors to balance.
But with vaccines, improved sanitation, and Germ Theory, the average life span has doubled in 100 years. In the same time, the infant mortality rate has gone down more than 90 percent and instances of women dying in childbirth has gone down 99 percent. These days, if you can make it to preschool, there’s a good chance you’ll see your great-grandchildren.
Besides history and statistics, we can also look at those who unwittingly practice natural hygiene. Natives in the Nicobar and Andaman Islands and similar locales have no access to modern medicine, no physicians, no surgeons, no hospitals, are never immunized, and have a health care plan that is limited to whatever shrubs their witch doctor unearths.
Their life expectancy is 34 years, less than half what those in advanced civilizations enjoy. Tribe members who make it past early childhood will live to be about 60. But with no modern birthing practices, inoculations, or well-baby checkups, the first six years are the most vulnerable.
By contrast, modern Western practitioners of natural hygiene only start the habit as healthy adults. They likely have been vaccinated and received other medical care that freed them from various ailments and conditions.
They sometimes use statistical trickery to try and prove their lifestyle is working. The average lifespan in the U.S. is 77. However, this includes those who die as newborns or grade schoolers. Someone who is 50 and keeps themselves in decent shape will likely live past 77. If that person also happens to be a natural hygiene practitioner, they might gleefully note on their 78th birthday that their lifestyle choice has worked. In truth, it is only evidence that an unnatural hygiene regimen of vaccines, antibiotics, and other medical advances greatly increased their chance of making it through childhood.