Author: Jean Fenton
Several recent articles in the Nature Cure File appear either to neglect or reject certain fundamental aspects of Straight Nature Cure. In this article I shall try to explain why I think this is the case.
Some thirty years ago my natural birth midwife challenged me ‘If as you say the body is a self-healer then why do we need naturopaths?’ The answer parallels the reason we require natural childbirth midwives to encourage natural births. In situations of significant change in our lives we need a trusted companion, support and care.
It may be true that naturopathic approaches are out of step with modern society: we live in an ‘instant age’ where clients are often conditioned to expect ‘quick fixes’, the essential Kingston message however is that no quicker method of genuine regeneration exists than natural recuperation. The KNC approach to this type of natural transformation may be perceived by some as outmoded, too long-winded, and perhaps in need of supplementation. But as I see it such criticism fails to grasp the fundamental requirements for permanent change. If therapists are led to prioritise the power of external treatments, however impressive they may sound, then invariably the crux of NC is lost.
Whilst at Kingston Sandy repeatedly emphasised that ‘nature cure means what it says: that cure is to be sought by reaching back to Nature, by recognising that the curative power is the Healing Power of Nature. The essential role of the practitioner is to create a healing situation and so to release healing energy’. I think there is an illuminating parallel here with a key assumption in Person-Centred Counselling. Carl Rogers, in writing about the actualising tendency, writes:
We are, in short, dealing with an organism which is always motivated, is always ‘up to something,’ always seeking. So I would re-affirm, perhaps even more strongly after the passage of a decade, my belief that there is one central source of energy in the human organism; that it is a function of the whole organism rather than some portion of it; and that it is best conceptualised as a tendency toward fulfilment, toward actualisation, toward the maintenance and enhancement of the organism. (Rogers 1963, p.6)
It is this belief in the actualising tendency which sets client-centred therapy apart from other therapy traditions; equally the naturopathic belief or trust in the healing power of nature vis Medicatrix Naturae is fundamental to the practice of an ‘intelligent leaving alone’ and sets KNC apart from other complimentary/alternative therapies.
Rogers describes how in his early professional years he was asking the question ‘how can I treat, or cure, or change, this person?’ He writes:
He then states his overall hypothesis:
If I can provide a certain type of relationship, the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth, and change and personal development will occur. (Rogers 1967, p.33)
This emphasis on the value of the therapeutic relationship was perhaps not given prominence by the early pioneers of SNC.
Naturopathy was developed in Great Britain by a group of charismatic individuals who introduced a largely physical philosophy of health and disease which was both controversial and confrontational. The qualities required in an outsider role were strength of character and a substantial measure of authoritarianism. These characteristics inevitably permeated therapeutic relationships which were initially strongly prescriptive and mainly concerned with physical lifestyle adjustments. During this period there were notable successes with medical rejects, the so-called ‘hopeless cases’, but the emotional aspects of therapy were side-lined. This essentially physical approach was later modified so as to encompass a greater emphasis on the therapeutic relationship.
In idealistic systems such as SNC the demands on practitioners are considerable implicit is an absolute faith in the system’s ultimate effectiveness, and yet also reflective awareness of the therapist’s limitations. Practitioners also need to possess sufficient vitality to support clients through sometimes lengthy periods of personal adjustments both physical and emotional. Effective SNC relationships encourage patients’ acceptance of personal responsibility and assume an enthusiasm for fundamental change requisite is self-discipline, motivation, courage to effect adjustments, and the will-power to sustain such changes. Regression into old habits of thought and action are not unusual and this can lead to a search for less demanding modalities, some producing apparent short-term improvements. They fail however to address fundamental requirements for health a trust in one’s inner resources and a lifestyle (physical and social) which is conducive to optimum function. The strength of SNC is that fear, chicanery, and lack of understanding are removed by straightforward explanations of the process of healing. Individuals are encouraged to believe in their own ability to take control of their health. Empowering the patient is the essential message of both SNC and Person-Centred Counselling. The relationship between long-term health and personal responsibility has also been emphasised by B.K.S. Iyengar:
Physical health is not a commodity to be bargained for. Nor can it be swallowed in the form of drugs or pills, it has to be earned through sweat. It is something we must build up. You have to create within yourself the experience of beauty, liberation and infinity. This is health. (B.K.S. Iyengar Light on Life 2005, p.24)
A mine of information exists within Kingston literature the basic principles of health can never become dated, and our challenge lies in their effective application. Followers of SNC share a common set of beliefs, and offer health advice as a sign-post rather than a rigid set of rules. Priority is given to the value of the therapeutic relationship and the development of rapport and trust. The ultimate effectiveness of SNC is largely dependent upon its being accepted and applied by the individual as a preferred way of life.
Jean M. Fenton
It is not my wish to take issue with Jean Fenton, her subject matter, or the issues she addresses. It is to add my five cents regarding other people's therapies.
Too often I have observed members of the nc movement turning to other peopl'es therapies when they have been faced with situations which apparently, to them at least, and at that moment in time, have appeared beyond the capabilities of nc. Too often, so I believe, this has occurred through our own ignorance and/or lack of faith and understanding, or perhaps willingness, to accept that the problem, and the solution too, lies within ourselves. The willingness to accept that, "nature does not make mistakes - only we make mistakes", to quote Dr Ryke Hamer. Or, to quote Dr Russel T Trall," nature has not provided remedies for diseases, she has provided penalties. There is no cure, but a return to obedience." Or as Gary Zukav wrote,"trust the process".
I could not agree more with the sentiment that has been expressed elsewhere, of the necessity to continue to expand our knowledge, and from whatever discipline, or source, it is available. Not though, at the expense of negating the principles or practice of nc, but in conformity with them. We can be, and are quite capable of being, an "alternative to all forms of medicine", excluding reparative surgery, and other minor situations. To do so though, requires ongoing commitment to the principles and practice of nc, and dedication to researching the underlying causes and solutions, when we are faced with situations which appear to be insurmountable by nc methods.
Dr John L Fielder,DO,DC,ND(Adel)
Osteopath & Lifestyle Consultant
Firstly, I would wish to say how much I enjoy reading the postings on this site. Perhaps it would be great if more were participating with their postings and comments. On the other hand, it may be as well to remind ourselves that from"little acorns do big oak trees grow". And in due course, and the fullness of time, this site too will grow.
My second comment is to the effect that, for those interested, I have just posted three articles on my site: www.anl.net.au (link no longer exists) on the history of Nature Cure, Natural Hygiene, and Biogenic Living, comparing their common origins and beliefs, as well as their differences, which the readers of this site might be interested in.
If you have trouble accessing them, then they are also available through the following address: www.iig.com.au/anl (link no longer exists) and clicking on "blog". Also in these and other articles, there are images(pictures and photos), which may not open for you. If they do not it has to do with the setting on your system, and I unfortunately do not have sufficient expertise to advise you how to overcome the problem.
Please feel free to contact me with your comments and feed-back. Best of all, post it(them) on this site.