Natural Hygiene, as it is today, can be traced back to
Dr Isaac Jennings
(of Oberlin, Ohio, USA)who, after practising medicine for 20 years, began to ask questions when, during a fever outbreak inthe summer of 1815, a patient who rested, drank water and did nothing, recovered in absolute recordtime compared to patients who had been medicated. Based on this, Dr Jennings noted similar resultswith many other patients.
He then went on to treat many patients with what must have been one of the first placebo (dummypill) treatments. In 1822 he gave up medical pills, plasters, powders and potions and treated patientswith pills made from bread and vegetable-coloured water for the next 20 years. This he only did tokeep the patients’ confidence in him. He would then advise his patients to correct their lifestyle anddiet to a more natural approach. He then practised for a further 20 years the "do nothing mode oftreating disease." He wrote three books,
"Philosophy of Human Life"
"Tree of Life"
Natural hygiene was often referred to at this stage as
meaning TRUE or RIGHTAFFECTION or BEHAVIOUR.
Dr Jennings had a great influence upon Dr R T Trall, who went on to do more for the hygienemovement than any man, next to Dr Herbert Shelton.
Dr Russell Thacher Trall
was born in 1812 in Connecticut, and after graduating from a regular orAllopathic School of Medicine, he practised as a regular Doctor for 12 years. Dr Trall wasremembered as an independent and thinking mind whilst at medical school (much to the dismay of hisprofessors).
After spending some time in Europe to investigate so-called hydro-therapy at various clinics, hereturned and designed or developed a system, which he called Hygieo-therapy. He set out to promotethe welfare of mankind by teaching the
Laws of Life
and the conditions of health so as to preventrather than cure sickness and disease.
He was the founder of
The New York Hydrophatic and Physiologist School
, later changed to
TheNew York College of Hygieo-Therapy
. It had the right to confer the degree "Doctor of Medicine" andadmitted both sexes (very daring for those days). Besides having a fully equipped laboratory andlarge library, the College/School taught Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry,Pathology, Psychology, Hygiene, Dietetics, Callisthenics, Theory and Practice of the “Healing Art”diagnosis, Therapeutics, Jurisprudence (science or the philosophy of law), nature cure, water cureand other subjects including dissection. The faculty members were all doctors in their various fieldsfrom chemistry to surgery and obstetrics.
At about the same time,
(born 1794) entered Amherst College to study as aMinister of Religion. Whilst there, he studied anatomy and physiology. He left the ministry later tolecture on the
Science of Human Life
During a cholera epidemic in 1832, he went around teaching and lecturing on the importance of freshfruit and vegetables and whole grains in the diet, as well as abstinence from meat and meat products,alcohol and other stimulants or narcotics, correct sleeping, bathing, clothing and exercise habits toavoid cholera, with astounding results.
At the time, the average person (influenced strongly by Europe) believed that animal flesh and fleshbroths with a little good wine and complete abstinence from most fruit and vegetables were the bestway to escape cholera! This was backed by the then "Board of Health".
Many others followed the Natural Hygiene route, such as
Drs Susana and Mary Dodds, Dr A MRoss, Dr Joel Shaw, Dr G H Taylor, Dr J C Jackson
- the list is almost endless.
Most of these people wrote books with titles such as
"The Natural Cure"
"How Nature Cures"
"The Exact Science of Health"
"The Fasting Cure"