Short History of Medicine

Short History of Medicine
October 29, 2011 Robert Stevens NTS, ND, CCSP

Robert Stevens (NTS, ND, CCSP)

“Only God and Nature Heal”

Nature Cure Hospital

Robert and Debra Stevens, Don Cornwell and Roxanne Galle outside a Nature Cure Hospital in Punjab

The use of nature to heal began in the dawn of history. Primitive human beings thought illness was a form of punishment sent by the Gods. They created ceremonies to placate their Gods so that their suffering would berelieved. Eventually gifted members of these communities turned to nature for answers. They observed the effect of elemental, environmental, seasonal, emotional, cyclical and climatic changes on the members of their community. They also watched how wild animals used their instincts to heal themselves. These early observations and practices formed the basis for a simple yet powerful system of healing that became known as Nature Cure. Healing with nature was the only curative means available to humanity for thousands of years.

Indigenous peoples accumulated a treasure of healing knowledge, wisdom and experience. Healers passed down this treasure through the generations through long years of apprenticeship to worthy pupils. When we look at the history of healing we can only imagine how much of this priceless knowledge has been lost with the advent of modern life and its disruptive effect on native cultures.

Health can be defined as our ability to love unconditionally. When we look at what is happening in the world we realize how far most of the human race is from enjoying a simple happy natural existence. The need of natural healing practices has never been greater.

Naturopathic systems such as hydrotherapy, massage therapy, hygiene, corrective exercise, herbalism, dietetics, sun and air baths, etc., were valued by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese as well as other cultures closer to home, the ancient Indian civilizations of the Americas.

Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Modern Medicine”, was a Naturopath and the most celebrated physician of antiquity. He said, “Nature is the healer of all disease” and “let foods be your medicine and your medicine your foods.” Even though he achieved much success working in cooperation with Nature’s healing processes, he did not hesitate to call attention to the instances where he succeeded only partly or failed entirely, stating, “the physician is only the servant of Nature.”

The history of Nature Cure in America began with native Americans who had been practicing long before the advent of Naturopathy in Europe. Ancient Mayans and Incas had also developed the science and art of natural healing to the highest degree at the time when Europe was still inhabited by cave dwellers. The white settlers of America may not have survived were it not for the knowledge of the natives regarding nature cure. This rich healing culture was lost during European invasions of the Americas and it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that the European form of Nature Cure was introduced into the United States of America.

Even so, this practice of pure nature cure is practically extinct in America today. There are no schools of pure nature cure training available to the public nor are there nature cure hospitals available for the care and instruction of those who suffer from illness.

Dr. Robert Wood, one of the last pure nature cure doctors who practiced in this country, defines nature cure thus:

“Nature cure teaches that the primary cause of weakness and disease is the disobedience of the Laws of Nature. Proper nutrition, will answer a good many health questions along with a natural regulation of breathing fresh air, cleanliness, dressing in comfortable clothes, resting, and mental composure. Medicines should be in conformity with the constructive principles in nature and not injurious or destructive to the human organism. The methods of treatment are supplying the blood with its natural constituents in the right proportions and promoting the elimination of waste materials and poisons without in any way injuring the human body.”

Nature Cure uses the forces of nature to heal. The medicines of the nature cure physician or naturopath are the five elements of nature – ether, air, fire, water and earth.

Dr. Henry Lindlhar, MD, one of the small group of gifted physicians that introduced the European system of nature cure to America, and Dr. Robert Wood’s teacher, is known as the father of Natural Therapeutics. Dr. Lindlhar developed and directed a school of natural therapeutics and a sanitarium in Chicago, Illinois. Lindlhar expanded the scope of theory/practice evolving nature cure into natural therapeutics. His work is the foundation for the present day practice of naturopathy.


What is the difference between nature cure and natural therapeutics? Dr. Lindlhar added non-injurious herbal preparations and well-chosen homeopathic remedies based on the principles of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, to pure nature cure. He also integrated the advances being made in massage, chiropractic, osteopathic, dietetics, and exercise, and included iridology and other forms of natural diagnosis into the practice of natural therapeutics. Most importantly, he developed a philosophical system mapping the laws and methodology of how nature actually heals.


According to Dr. Lindlhar, nature heals through what is known as the healing crisis. If we imagine a ladder with four steps, and designated the top step as the acute or inflammatory stage of symptomatic illness, the second lower step would represent a progression to the sub-acute stage and the third lower step, a further development to the chronic stage. The bottom and last step would be the degenerative stage of illness that cannot usually be cured.

When healing takes place on the first step, during the acute healing opportunity, it occurs with intensity over a short period of time. The energy, vitality or “life force” of the individual increases until it is able to bring about this restorative natural cleansing and rejuvenation. The mental, emotional, etheric and physical bodies are also able to heal during this acute process. Whenever treatment inhibits this beneficent process, it is termed suppression because it is contrary to the movement of the “life force” toward healthy balanced function of the inner ecology of the individual.


Some examples of nature’s acute symptoms are: inflammation, pain, fever, skin discharges, mucous discharges, cough, anger, sorrow, grief, etc. These symptoms are an expression of nature’s desire to bring the whole organism closer to balance. Symptoms are the language of nature guiding us to take appropriate cleansing and rejuvenative actions. Suppressing this movement toward balance goes against nature’s wisdom. If we successfully suppress the acute healing crisis we step down one rung of the ladder to the sub-acute stage.

The “life force” must access more energy to bring about a return to balance from the sub acute stage. This means that the language of nature – the symptoms – will be more severe. Symptoms at this stage will be pneumonia, bronchitis, more severe pain, discharge via the skin, deeper mental/emotional patterns, etc. If we effectively suppress the sub-acute healing crisis we eventually drop down to the third rung of the ladder, the chronic illness.

Chronic means long and drawn out. Those suffering with chronic illness live with their symptoms day in and day out. The return from chronic illness to health requires more time, energy and effort. Many chronically ill patients become so identified with their illness that they cannot imagine that their life can become free of these conditions. The medical profession diagnoses chronic conditions with names like asthma, psoriasis, chronic fatigue, cancer, diabetes, and clinical mental/emotional conditions such as anxiety or depression, etc. Periodically chronic symptoms become acute. This is the voice of nature trying to heal and the moment of opportunity that nature cure physician wants to support.

If we successfully suppress the chronic we will eventually drop down to the last rung of the ladder which is called degenerative. At this level the physical body is breaking down. The “life force” is leaving the organism and the body is becoming unfit for habitation. The problem that faces someone in the degenerative state is this: is there enough vitality to sustain a healing crisis? In this stage the healing crisis can also be the means for the life force to exit the physical body during the process called death. This release from suffering is the final healing from the degenerative stage.

It is possible for the sub-acute, chronic and degenerative conditions to be healed but such healing will take place via step number one, the acute healing crisis. This method of the healing crisis appears to be a law of nature. As with any law, when we break it we pay the consequences.

Nature is our friend. She is not trying to punish us when we have acute symptoms. She is attempting to bring our mental, emotional, etheric and physical life toward a better state of balance. The acute healing crisis is always constructive never destructive. It is each individual’s right and privilege to learn how to heal with nature.

Hippocrates stated, “Nature is the healer of all disease.”

The German physician and naturalist Paracelsus stated, “Nature is the teacher of Science.” When did this change? What discovery or theory precipitated this radical move away from nature as a benevolent teacher?


Antoine Bechamp (1816 -1908) was a contemporary of Louis Pasteur. Bechamp observed impartially that cells and germs are not the smallest individual living organisms, as taught by Pasteur and his followers, but they are in turn made up of infinitely more minute living beings which he named microzyma or “minute ferment bodies”.

The physical characteristics and vital activities of cells and germs depend upon the soil in which their microzyma feed, grow and multiply. Thus microzyma, growing in the soil of procreative germ plasma, develop into the normal, permanent, specialized cells of the living vegetable, animal and human organism. The same microzyma feeding on morbid materials and systemic poisons in these living bodies develop into bacteria and parasites.


The first and most basic principle of nature cure is that all forms of disease are due to the same cause, namely, the accumulation of waste materials and bodily refuse in the system which nature cure physicians call morbidity.

Waste materials in a healthy individual are usually removed from the system through the organs of elimination. However, in the diseased person, they are steadily piling up in the body through years of faulty habits of living such as wrong feeding, improper care of the body and habits contributing to enervation and nervous exhaustion such as worry, overwork and excesses. Thus, the only true way to cure disease is to enable the system to throw off toxic accumulation so that it may return to natural functions. All natural treatments are directed towards this end.

How does nature handle the morbidity or accumulated actions of living outside the laws of Nature in a diseased person? When the morbidity reaches an intolerable level, nature seeks to restore balance by creating the healing crisis.

Nature cure masters recognize that food quality depends on the soil that it is grown in. This is also true within the human body where the soil is in the blood and lymph.

If the blood and lymph are clean the vitality or life force circulates freely. It is also important to remember that the morbidity of thoughts and feelings also translate into morbidity of blood and lymph via the nervous system.

When our blood and lymph becomes thick with viscous, sticky material it prevents our full experience of vitality and we experience disease. As the morbid blood and lymph circulate through the spleen and the lymph nodules it is condensed into leucocytes.which accumulate in weaker areas of the body, obstruct normal function and offer a better soil for the digestive activities of the microzyma.

Inflammation begins with obstruction in the capillary circulation caused by the leucocytes and other morbid matter. Stagnation causes them to disorganize and putrefy. The morbid soil develops the microzyma of the normal cells into various kinds of “disease germs” or bacteria. The leucocytes, or rather the condensed particles of morbidity, disintegrate into pus. All life forms experience this as a healing opportunity during the acute phase.

Why must elimination must take the form of inflammation? The organs of elimination can only handle waste materials of comparatively simple chemical composition. The skin eliminates gases, water and salts. The kidneys eliminate urea, indican and a few other end products. The intestines eliminate little else but undigested food wastes.

Because morbidity is composed of chemically highly complex substances, it cannot be released through the normal organs of elimination. Morbid substances must first be broken down into simple compounds, chemically adapted for elimination through these organs, and this decomposition is accomplished by inflammation and germ activity. Therefore, the acute healing crisis is the result of a purifying, healing effort of nature! This is the profound truth of nature cure.


Now, we return to the fork in the road of medical history. Antoine Bechamp’s profound revelations were superseded by the theories of Louis Pasteur and Metchnikoff, which fully justified the suppressive poisonous treatment of the allopathic school of medicine.

Pasteur compared the human body to a barrel of beer and pronounced it, like that beverage, at the mercy of extraneous organisms. As these produce good or bad beer – a liquid diseased, as it were, or healthy – so on entering animal bodies microorganisms create disease, each after its own order.

Professor Metchnikoff’s theory of phagocytosis and the alleged discovery of “obsonins” or natural antitioxins in the blood by Sir Almroth Wright and Dr. Bulloch, furnished the medical profession with a delightfully simple theory as to the origin of disease comprehensible to the least intelligent.

Modern medical science is built upon the germ theory as the cause of disease and its treatment. Since the microscope has revealed the presence of and seemingly pernicious activity of certain microorganisms in connection with certain diseases, it has been assumed that bacteria are the direct primary causes of such diseases.

Medicine bases its prophylaxis and treatment upon the theory that human beings are at the mercy of invaders. Health and disease, life and death, are largely matters of accident over which we have no control. Its slogan is “kill the bacteria and the disease is cured.” The language of allopathic medicine is the language of war.


The primary cause of germ activity is the morbid soil in which bacteria breed and multiply. Basing the practice of natural therapeutics on this fundamental truth, there is no need to kill any germ with various poisonous drugs, vaccines, serums and anti-toxins, but instead to make sound efforts through natural ways of living and natural methods of treatment to purify the organism of morbidity which furnish the soil for the development and multiplication of disease germs. Unfortunately, society has traveled along way from these natural truths.

Pasteur’s erroneous theory of disease has penetrated the consciousness of modern life. Medical science no longer questions the foundation upon which it rests. As a result the true activities of nature in relation to our health go unrecognized by most. The cost of health care has sky rocketed. Thousands cannot afford health insurance. Chronic degenerative diseases are widespread and growing. Modern medicine is failing at healing disease.

Consider the words of Gandhi:

“It is worth considering why we take up the profession of medicine. It is certainly not for the purpose of serving humanity. We become doctors so that we may obtain honors and riches. I have endeavored to show that there is no real service of humanity in the profession, and that it is injurious to mankind. Doctors make a show of their knowledge, and charge exorbitant fees. Their preparations, which are intrinsically worth a few pence, cost shillings. The populace, in its credulity and in the hope of ridding itself of some disease, allows itself to be cheated. Are not quacks then better than the doctors who put on an air of humanness? “

“The Nature Cure doctor does not “sell a cure” to the patient. The patient is taught the right way of living in his or her own home, which not only cures of some particular ailment but also teaches the method of prevention of illness in the future. The ordinary doctor is interested mostly in the study of disease.”

“The Nature Cure physician is interested in the study of health not disease. His or her real interest begins where that of the ordinary doctor ends; the eradication of the patient’s ailment under Nature Cure marks only the beginning of a way of life in which there is no room for illness or disease. Nature Cure is thus a way of life, not a course of “treatment”. We do not claim that Nature Cure can cure all disease. No system of medicine can do that or else we should all be immortals. Nature Cure means a change for the better in one’s outlook on life itself. It means regulation of one’s life in accordance with the laws of health.”

Collective suffering is forcing many to seek help from the ancient source of nature. When both physicians and clients understand that the power to cure disease lies within the patient’s own body, they choose to work with and support the return to normal healthy function by utilizing the philosophy of nature cure in action.

Consider these thoughts of the great medical visionary Dr. Hahnemann:

“There are no diseases, only sick people.”

“Nature will provide an infinite number of remedies to meet all occasions that might arise.”

In conclusion, the true foundation of nature cure, natural therapeutics and naturopathy is found in this simple statement,

“Only God and Nature heal.”