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The Emergence of the Natural Health Movement

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Two major developments in modern medicine provoked certain healers to rebel and to found the modern natural health movement. One was the medical authorities' focus on increasingly smaller parts of the body. The other was the discovery of drugs that affected the whole body.

Two major developments in modern medicine provoked certain healers to rebel and to found the modern natural health movement. One was the medical authorities' focus on increasingly smaller parts of the body. The other was the discovery of drugs that affected the whole body.

Focusing on Smaller Body Parts

Over several centuries, medicine focused on ever smaller parts of the body in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. In the 1600s, the focus had shifted from the whole organism, the body, to individual organs. Two centuries later, the Berlin anatomist Virchow (1821-1902), the founder of cellular pathology, shifted the emphasis again from the organs to even smaller parts: the cells. Later, microscopic entities became the object of medicine when molecular pathology focused on the components of cells: molecules and ions.

Natural healing affirms the important contribution of knowledge gained by the study of cells and molecules. Its practitioners insist that the whole person is the object of treatment, not the localized symptom. If the whole person is strengthened, then the individual symptoms will disappear.

Discovering Drugs that Affect the Whole Body

The second revolutionary development which provoked the reaction of natural health healers was the discovery of drugs such as aspirin, penicillin and a variety of antibiotics. With the emphasis on cells and molecules, the way was open for a remedy that affected all cells in the body. This is what happened with the discovery of penicillin and antibiotics. These drugs affect every body cell, killing beneficial bacteria as well as harmful bacteria. The prevention of disease was virtually ignored.

Natural healing is more than a reaction against modern medical practice. It is mainly a reaction against modern illness. Industrialization brought changing personal habits and diet, which have resulted in an increase in diseases that used to be rare or non-existent. People used to eat according to their needs without requiring theoretical, formal teaching about diet. Modern society has distanced itself from this traditional, healthy way of life. The road back to health is a natural and simple one.

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