Tait Vision Fund
One age-old teaching of the Nature Cure School is that no man can be well physically if he is upset emotionally. The mentally disturbed individual who is unhappy, worried, fearful, resentful or probably worst of all in a destructively hating attitude of mind, will inevitably ﬁnd these emotions being expressed through a sick body. Conversely, of course, if one is in a state of physical turmoil and pain, controls are ineffective, nerves are on edge, depression sets in and the outlook is macabre. Either way we are not normal, nor are our reactions normal.
Two of the most vital therapeutic necessities are proper emotional balance and correct mental adjustment. Even amid today’s psychological glibness there is little understanding of their far reaching signiﬁcance. My professional experience almost convinces me that they are the most important factors in the realm of health. Most people, if they are in earnest, will observe a strict dietary regimen, will carry out regular and energetic exercises, will take cold baths even on wintry mornings and all for their health’s sake submit to every kind of disagreeable treatment. Few, however, will face the fact that the sick body has become ill for one of two reasons: either because the mentality which dominates the scene is secretly determined to make it ill, or because the body is in such a state of emotional agitation that it does not respond normally to situations, and is therefore unable to protect and maintain itself in a reasonable state of healt
Naturopathic practice has a long and complex history, and among its origins
‘The Water Cure’ must be credited with a major contribution. This is not to say that we accept many of the teachings and beliefs of early ‘water curers ’, but it was among them that some of the essential principles of natural healing were
ﬁrst recognised. The idea of ‘ a cure ’ is anathema to those who practise what we call ‘ Straight Nature Cure ’ (which also has afﬁnities with what others call ‘ Hygienism ’ or ‘ Natural Hygiene ’), and in the early days -‐ just as in the present
-‐ many regarded water applications as a substitute for medication. Because the medicines of the times were violent and disagreeable, water applications were inclined in the same direction -‐ the motto of the day was ‘kill or cure ’.
‘Why should a man who has lived a Nature Cure life for ﬁfty years develop a degenerative disease?’ It seems a simple question, and its implications are challenging, but there is no general answer that will be adequate in particular cases. (If time can be spared and trouble taken one can usually ﬁnd plenty of reasons.) Quite apart from the uncertainty of the description ‘Nature Cure life’, the question carries a false implication. There is the suggestion that we promise our patients or expect for ourselves -‐ a total freedom from serious disorder and a life far longer than that of ‘ordinary’ people.
Although certain enthusiasts in the fast-‐fading past may have allowed themselves such vanities as ‘l expect to live to one hundred and ﬁfty’ or ‘my son is the healthiest man in the world‘, most Naturopaths and their patients rightly regarded such claims with friendly and amused reserve. Who could blame a man for a little bit of exaggeration, when he had himself experienced the near-‐miracle of recovery from a condition ordinarily regarded as rapidly fatal? Such exuberance is understandably human; but if taken seriously it betrays a lack of human understanding.
Alec Milne graduated as a naturopath in 1951, and became a Director of the Kingston Clinic in 1955. He is an ex-‐President of the Incorporated Society of Registered Naturopaths, and since Kingston’s closure has moved into out-‐ patient practice in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Born 14.4.21, inﬂuenced by boyhood asthma and its return during war service as a pilot, he came as a student to Kingston and the Edinburgh School of Natural Therapeutics in 1946. The Kingston Clinic at the time was an established residential clinic set in 8 acres of its own grounds and run by the Thomson Family in the emerging Nature Cure tradition.
The founder, James C. Thomson had started his practice in 1912 in the family home in Albany Street, Edinburgh. Following this, he established a prestigious centre in Drumsheugh Gardens that was then, centre of orthodox medical practice and Nursing Homes complex. In 1938 he acquired what became the Kingston Clinic to cope with his expanding, but still virtually unknown Nature Cure practice. He was an inveterate proselytiser, producing a monthly magazine, giving lectures and was supported in this by C. Leslie Thomson his son, who produced a series of monograms that are still remarkably relevant today.
That word ‘approach’ reﬂects an essential feature of Naturopathy -‐ its philosophical attitude to the problems of life. It is no mere collection of empirical techniques, although like any practical system it had its beginnings in many ﬁelds of observation and in trial and error. Its theories are co-‐ordinated with facts in a consistent fashion which justiﬁes its being called a method.
* President of the Incorporated Society of Registered Naturopaths, and Co-‐Director of the Kingston Clinic, Edinburgh
What this implies may be clariﬁed by considering a person who has headache, and who consults a variety of individuals about his problem. The ﬁrst might prescribe an analgesic, perhaps combined with an anti-‐depressant. Another could offer to sell him extracts from vegetable tissues, but essentially intended to have the same effects as the ethical prescription. Still other advisers would propose to make the sufferer unaware of his distress, by some form of mental exercise, suggestion or counter-‐irritant.
Most people are aware of the importance of their skin to their appearance -‐ showing them to be either glowing with health or pale and pasty -‐ but fewer realise how much their health actually depends upon the skin’s activity. It is no accident that when we check the state of the blood cleansing organs of a new patient, the skin comes ﬁrst on our list. Not only does its superﬁcial position make it easy to examine; its condition reﬂects that of the body as a whole, while any disorder in its functions affects the entire system.
THE HEALTHY HUMAN GUT
by C. Leslie Thomson
Early in 1943, James C. Thomson saw the publication of what was probably his most ambitious piece of writing. Based on over thirty years of professional experience, and a vast collection of information from all manner of sources, he succeeded in putting together what he called ‘a sixty-‐piece jigsaw puzzle’. The pieces represented
a seemingly ill-‐assorted set of facts and ﬁndings in the ﬁelds of human health, animal behaviour, sociology,
psychology, medical belief, folklore, political expediency and salesmanship. The one feature common to all was the function of the gut -‐ normal and disordered -‐ and the work was originally entitled Constipation and Our Civilisation. It was quickly recognised by many of his contemporaries as a fundamental contribution. Sir Albert Howard, for example, called it ‘a remarkable book that must be read’. Because of some regulation on advertising at the time, subsequent editions of the book were retitled Two Health Problems, with ‘Constipation and Our Civilisation’ as the subsidiary name. In this form it ran through several reprintings until James C. Thomson’s death in 1960. It had, by then, been due for a major revision and the publishers invited me to carry out a re-‐casting of the material. The outcome was a slimmer volume, a new name -‐ Intestinal Fitness -‐ and the omission of much contemporary comment of 1943 which, by 1961, lacked relevance. (Also, as several aspects of the argument in the original work had been developed more fully in other writings, a somewhat simpler sequence became possible.) Because of a combination of circumstances, by 1976 the publishers allowed the book to go out of print. However, there is a continuing demand for the work, and what follows is an attempt to present the essence of James C. Thomson’s message. Here and there this has been made easier by the wider acceptance of ideas considered heretical a third of a century ago, or by the availability of related writings, as noted above. As far as possible the sequence and character of J.C.T.’s argument have been preserved.
An understanding of the meaning and purpose of the healing crisis is so vital in Nature Cure that no apology is offered for re-‐examining it in these pages. It is a phenomenon that has intrigued almost every new patient, and has -‐ unhappily
-‐ frightened a few. The name itself is unfortunate, having shared the same fate
as the term “Nature Cure” in being so often used in careless and inaccurate fashion. “Crisis” should mean nothing more than a turning point and, in conjunction with “healing”, ought to convey none of the gloomy foreboding with which so many politicians have invested the word.
Rheumatism is no more incurable than the person who has it. Consider well this report:
“Although on looking back I can see that my health was deteriorating in my late teens, it was not until the age of 26 that rheumatoid arthritis developed in earnest. Several things had probably led up to this, both physical and mental.
During my late teens I had long stretches of night duty during air raids and became very tired, having a series of minor illnesses that were treated in the usual (I would now realise, wrong) way. I also remember being ravenous, and ﬁlling up on white bread and tea -‐ certainly the food was very poor by Kingston
“How can I relax?” has become one of the commonest questions we are asked.
The answer, as in so many other situations, in another question: “Why are you tense?” It need not be put into words, of course, but the second must be answered in one way or another before any really constructive advice can be offered for the ﬁrst. To most people, excessive tension is in the same category as a headache, and the popular belief is that there can be a cure analogous to aspirins. The medical profession, too, seems to favour the drug approach, and sedatives and tranquillisers are prescribed wholesale to undo the destructive tensions.