A Short History of Nature Cure in Scotland
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“I was so relieved to have finally met someone who would look at my problems holistically and not just in splendid isolation and who had an understanding of how they all interacted”.
Just over one hundred years ago James Thomson returned to his home country of Scotland. He had been working with Dr. Henry Lindlahr in America, studying the practice and philosophy of Natural Therapeutics. He went to America after recovering from an acute lung condition and a medical prognosis of three months to live. His recovery resulted not from some medical miracle drug but from reading the books written by the early pioneers of Natural Therapeutics, and putting their advice into practice.
In 1938 after nearly 26 years in non-residential practice in Edinburgh, James, along with his wife Jessie and son Leslie opened the Kingston Nature Cure Clinic. This was in a large Pilkington designed mansion house in 10 acres of its own grounds on the south side of the city. Kingston was a residential clinic, as well as a training centre for practitioners, and it was here that the health philosophy of straight Nature Cure – based on Natural Therapuetics and refined and extended – was taught. Students of the Edinburgh School of Natural Therapeutics graduated as practitioners of Nature Cure and spread around the UK and beyond, working with this truly holistic approach. Over the years many patients benefitted, too often when orthodox medicine had previously let them down.
It was as a patient at the Kingston Clinic that Adam Tait realised the true importance and far-reaching effects of the Thomson Kingston approach to Nature Cure. It was his thwarted desire to help to establish more clinics that was the spur to establish the Fund. Over the years other patients who had themselves benefitted from changing their way of life and approach to health were only to happy to contribute to the fund. Seven decades on, the Tait Vision Fund is still going strong and supporting many aspects of Nature Cure from individual patients, to practitioners to publications.
After the ESNT closed in 1984 a four-year post-graduate training course was drawn up and this has produced the current register of practitioners. Currently a new training course is being evolved, based on distance learning and clinical practice training, this course will embrace the comprehensive study of all relevant aspects, together with original research. It will focus on health, rather than on illness, and the symptoms that orthodox approaches seek to get rid of or suppress. Graduates will be qualified to practice Nature Cure based on the Thomson Kingston philosophy, working within the society’s strict bye-laws and adhering to its tenets.
These practitioners will be different to most other “alternatives” in that their central concerns will be understanding, education and guidance. Explanations of the reasons for the illness, which will have derived from many aspects of a person’s life will be coupled with guidance on how to live a more health life. There are no pills or potions on offer, because it is only through understanding, and making fundamental changes, that there can be true holistic lasting good health.
It is a surprise to many people that in a healthy person, acute illness is a positive response. This is generally to a situation where the body needs to rid itself of toxic wastes and an extraordinary effort is required. Therefore the conclusion is that to suppress that effort with medication, of any sort, is counter-productive. Indeed, to do so persistently, is likely to lead to chronic illness.
So the Tait Vision Fund and the Incorporated Society of Registered Naturopaths are confident that through their new training course, there will always be practitioners qualified and out there to help the many people who are looking for a different approach to achieving and maintaining a natural and healthy way of life.