Principles and Practice of Naturopathy (1925): Chapter 1

E.W. Cordingley, A.M., Ph.D.
September 15, 2004

As we review the history of the healing art, we find that mankind has constantly delved into methods of eradicating human disorders that lead away from unnatural drugging, and tend toward Nature.

The theories that have been advanced regarding the cause of disease are legion. Wrong chemical combinations, germs, impingement of nerves, wrong habits of eating, faculty mental states, and a host of others have each been held responsible as the sole cause of disease by a host of enthusiastic disciples.

However, after all is said and done, it must be admitted by any fair investigator that each single system has its shortcomings. Each method will accomplish some good, but no single method is infallible. For this reason the more intelligent among those who are devoting their attention to the prevention and cure of disease have come to realize that a perfect system must include all natural, non-drug methods in so far as each one is adapted to an individual case.

As cases vary, remedies must vary. What will help Nature to cure one disease will only aggravate another. For this reason, a system that is truly eclectic or selective must be the ultimate in the healing art, and the one, and the only one that can permanently endure.

It is not our purpose to enter into II discussion of the administration of drugs, but we may be permitted to say that we are witnessing a marked change in attitude on the part of medical practitioners relative to drug giving, One or two drugs are now usually given where a dozen were formerly used, and it is probable that the day is not far distant when the drugs which will be used will consist almost entirely of cathartics, hypnotics, anaesthetics and antiseptics in emergency cases and surgery.

What, then, is Naturopathy? “Naturopathy,” to quote Dr. Benedict Lust, “is a distinct school of healing, employing tile beneficent agency of Nature’s forces, or water, air, sunlight, earth power, electricity, magnetism, exercise, rest, proper diet, various kinds of mechanical treatment, mental and moral science. As none of these agents of rejuvenation can cure every disease (alone) the Naturopath rightly employs the combination that is best adapted to each individual case. The result of such ministrations is wholly beneficent. The prophylactic power of Nature’s finer forces, mechanical and occult, removes foreign or poisonous matter from the system, restores nerve and blood vitality, invigorates organs and tissues, and regenerates the entire organism.”

Naturopathy is a system of disease-eradication based on the theory that, as DI’. Cummins says, “Clean blood is the instrument of health and the fountain of happiness,” or, as the Bible states it, “The life of all flesh is the blood thereof.” Whatever the system we employ, will produce resultes [sic] only as we purify the blood and clear the system of poisonous encumbrances.

Let us pause here a moment and see what scientific basis we have for the hypothesis that impure blood is the cause of disease, or that, “The life of all flesh is the blood thereof.”

For centuries mankind has been searching for the cause of disease. Not content with taking the Biblical statement and deducting therefrom, pathologists have advanced one theory after another, only to see each give way and weaken. At present, medical doctors are almost universally working on the germ theory of disease. But the germ theory is already weakening and is due for being thrown aside. Dr. Fraser of Canada and Dr. Powell of California have experimented with billions of germs of all varieties, but they have been unable to produce a single disease by the introduction of germs into human subjects. Dr. Waite tried for years to prove the germ theory, but he could not do so. During the World War an experiment was conducted at Gallop’s Island, Massachusetts, in which millions of influenza germs were injected into over one hundred men at the Government hospital, but instead of the men taking influenza, the only change in them was “increased appetite and more vigorous health.

Dr. Fraser found that in many cases of diphtheria and other diseases the germs did not appear at the outset of the disease, and in some patients the germs did not make their appearance at all.

What, then, is the purpose of germs? Germs are scavengers. When you see flies swarming around a garbage can you don’t say that the flies brought the garbage, but that the garbage attracted the flies. The case is the same with germs. The fermentation of poisonous acids and alkaloids in the human system attracts germs, because they feed upon it. The nature of the toxin and its localization determine the character of the disease when an’ epidemic breaks out there has been a considerable number of people in a locality who have eaten the same kind of food, lived under similar conditions, been subjected to the same climatic and atmospheric changes, and these factors have brought about an identical fermentation of toxins in the bodies of such persons and manifested the same group of symptoms. That is why we have epidemics.

Let us very briefly deal with one other theory of the cause of disease, one that has attracted rather wide attention. That is the theory that “sub-luxations” at the spine cause disease. These “subluxations” cause the bones to impinge the nerves, so say those who advocate this theory. However, we have found by dissection that the nerve where it passes through the opening between the vertebrae is from one-third to one-twelfth the size of the opening, that it is surrounded by a vaseline-like fatty tissue, und that no pressure would be possible at that point, even if the disk between the vertebrae were reduced to nothing. Why, then, do we sometimes have tenderness and contraction at a spinal segment? Simply because the morbid matter that has localized in an organ or tissue has set up an irritation there, and this irritation is transmitted “long the nerve to the related spinal area. and it there produces a condition of contraction and hyperthesia. When the vertebra is “adjusted” (that is, pushed against) a stretching of ligamentous and muscular tissue results and an increased irritation is produced which is transmitted back to the organ or tissue affected where it in turn brings about a marked stimulation which sometimes causes the organ or tissue to throw off its original irritant. We see a parallel to this in cases of “sick stomach.” If a person eats something which slightly “sours” in the stomach it will make him feel “upset,” but if it “sours” greatly he will immediately vomit it up and feel better.

This demonstrates why it is that so-called “Straight” Chiropractors sometimes accomplish results, and it will also indicate the reason why they so often fail.

I would like to discuss several other theories of the cause of disease, but space forbids.

To get back to our real cause of disease, we find that fullness of life means absolute freedom from disease. Disease in any form causes a limitation of life. Therefore, when disease (limitation of life) is present, there is some change in the blood, because “The life of all flesh is the blood thereof.”

Naturopathic researches have shown that wrong habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation increase the intake of poisonous acids and alkaloids and at the same time so weaken the eliminative functions that these toxins are not thrown off, They therefore float in the blood stream and eventually are deposited in some organ or tissue, causing disease to develop. Dr. Cummins shows that arterio-sclerosis, rheumatism and calculi are caused by accumulations of uric and oxalic acids in the blood. Bright’s Disease, dropsy, ulcers and necrosis are brought about through the accumulation of uric and sulphuric acids. When carbonic acid combines with uric acid in the blood, cell asphyxiation is brought about, causing anemia, tuberculosis, chlorosis or pneumonia. And similarly, all other diseases have their origin.

Isn’t it remarkable that man should experiment and theorize for so many centuries in an effort to find the cause of disease, and then, after all his labors, should be brought back to the Sacred Word revealed by God?

I think the definition of Naturopathy as given by Dr. J.E. Cummins is the best brief definition ever given. It is as follows: “Naturopathy is the science, art and philosophy of adjusting the framework, correcting the mental influences, and supplying the body with its needed elements.”

“Single branch” systems all have their day. They all do some good and gain many adherents, but it cannot be denied that all such “branches” have their limitations, and for that reason they will eventually have to make room for a system that includes the best of the underlying principles of all of them—and that system is Naturopathy.

This introduction would be incomplete if I did not add the beautiful idealistic definition of Edward Earle Purinton, and I will therefore conclude by quoting that definition:

“Naturopathy is the perfected Science of Human Wholeness, and it includes all agencies, methods, systems, regimes, practices and ideals of natural origin and divine sanction whereby human health may be restored, ‘enhanced, maintained.”

Preface ||| Table of Contents ||| Next Chapter

This page was posted on September 15, 2004.