The only ancient Indian traditional therapy is Ayurveda; hence, naturopathy has to be something foreign, right. Indeed, it is. However, it has an Indian connection that most of us are unaware of. Like Homeopathy, naturopathy finds its roots in Germany and a few other parts of Europe. It started mainly with hydrotherapy or water therapy and focused on natural healing. In the US, it was popularised by Benedict Lust, who is known as the father of modern-day naturopathy.
The Indian connect
In India, the naturopathy movement started with the translation of the book ‘New Science of Healing’ written by German Louis Kuhne. This was in the late 1800s, and it gained much popularity at the time. Not sure how many Indians are aware that our father of the nation, Gandhiji, was a staunch follower and propagator of naturopathy. He wrote articles about it and experimented on himself and the people in his ashram as well. It is said that he even assisted his wife to deliver their children through his knowledge of naturopathic manuals. Gandhiji being a staunch vegetarian, was also his way of staying true to nature.
Apart from Loius Kuhne’s book, Gandhiji was also greatly influenced by Gandhiji was greatly influenced by Adolf Just’s book, Return to Nature, The Paradise Regained. He also used to frequent Dr Dinshaw Mehta’s Nature Cure Clinic in Pune. Following the path of Gandhiji, many other leaders of the time, such as Morarji Desai, V V Giri, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, etc., also followed naturopathic practices. In the more recent times, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has spent some time in the Jindal Naturecure Institute in Bengaluru for relief from many health issues that were plaguing him at the time.
The principles of Naturopathy
Naturopathy is founded on the principles of our body’s self-healing mechanism. It is a holistic approach combining exercise, air, sunlight, water, a healthy diet, and so on. It helps minimise symptoms and issues, props up the body’s natural healing mechanism, and balances all aspects around it. Naturopathy believes that bacteria and viruses attack our body only when the body is imbalanced due to the accumulation of morbid matter in it. According to it, nature is the biggest healer.
It believes in bringing out suppressed diseases in our body and healing it permanently. As compared to other traditional therapies, naturopathy is not as time-taking. However, the cure is permanent and mostly depends on food and other aspects mentioned above, without external medicines. Spirituality is also a part of naturopathy, and people are encouraged to pray according to their faith.
Therapies in Naturopathy
Some of the commonly used therapies under naturopathic treatment are:
- Diet Therapy
- Fasting Therapy
- Mud Therapy
- Masso Therapy
- Chromo Therapy
- Air Therapy
- Magnet Therapy
Each of these has its modalities that patients are asked to follow or put through to obtain desired results. Not everyone has to undergo all therapies, and depending on the person’s issues, one or more therapies may be used. This is a recognised form of treatment under the Ayush ministry of India, and people can undergo courses in naturopathy to become a practitioner.
Why it may suit seniors?
Here are a few reasons why naturopathy may suit seniors and help them with overall well-being. One of the main principles of naturopathy is to urge people to have a healthy diet of veggies, fruits, and nuts. Apart from this, naturopathy also urges people to get enough sunlight. Both these principles suit the seniors as it is easy to follow and healthy. Getting enough sunlight can help prevent Vitamin D deficiency and related issues in seniors.
A daily regime of exercise, Yoga, meditation, prayers, and a relaxing bath can help in many ways. It can help relieve stress, bring down anxiety, keep your vitals in check and help you sleep well. The diet and therapies suggested by naturopathic doctors aid the seniors in preventing bone and joint issues, cardiovascular issues, cognitive issues, and more.
Chronic diseases can be better managed without any side effects. One needs to remember that most of these traditional therapies are a way of life rather than modes of treatment. Hence, there has to be a belief and commitment shown in the system to follow it throughout. For example, if you slip back on your exercise or diet, your body will again start showing symptoms.