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How Do You Define "Health"

There are many ways of living that impact health, both positively and negatively. If you are looking to embrace a way of living that allows robust health to flourish, and one that gives you the BEST odds of avoiding serious illness, and being as healthy as your genetics will allow, then consider how Natural Hygiene looks at health restoration and maintenance.


From www.dictionary.com

hy·giene -noun
1. the science that deals with the preservation of health.
2. a condition or practice conducive to the preservation of health, as cleanliness.


Excerpt from the books

How to Have the BEST Odds of
Avoiding Degenerative Disease


The Raw Food Diet and Other Healthy Habits
Your Questions Answered

by Don Bennett, DAS



What is "Natural Hygiene"


Natural Hygiene is that branch of biology which investigates and applies the conditions upon which life and health depend, and the means by which health is rebuilt and maintained when it has been lost or impaired; it is the study of the "science of health". [And it is the branch of biology that you hear very little about if anything, and with good reason; restoring health through natural methods makes plenty of sense, but not plenty of dollars. In fact, it is at odds with other areas of health that are very financially profitable.]

Natural Hygiene may be further defined as being the science and art of restoring and preserving health by those substances and influences that have a normal relation to life:

food we’re designed to eat

sufficient nutrition

healthy water and proper hydration

strong enough sunshine

restful sleep

adequate relaxation

appropriate amounts of non-injurious physical activity


comfortable environment

toxins, stress, and misinformation avoidance

positive social relationships

It is the scientific application of the principles of Nature in the restoration and preservation of health.

Natural Hygiene covers the total needs of humans, and not merely a few of their requirements. It is neither a practice of medicine, a healing art, nor a system of therapeutics. It offers no cures, does not pretend to cure, and in fact strives to dispel the popular notion of cures. Instead, Natural Hygiene emphasizes that adherence to its principles, which are based on the Laws of Nature, permits the body to heal itself.


Is there a Scenario Where Natural Hygiene is Not Enough?

When a person gets into an unnatural state of ill health, there may be the need for extraordinary interventions that go beyond the normal requirements for optimal health (lifesaving surgery as one example). What is meant by an "unnatural state of ill health"? If a person has been eating an unhealthy diet and living an unhealthy lifestyle for many decades, their immune system cannot and will not be functioning normally (meaning not as well as it could and should). If this person were to then be exposed to, for example, a tick bite that contained the Lyme virus, their body will not likely be able to deal with this as it would have if it were in robust health (Lyme is natural, unhealthy immune systems are not). This can allow the infection to thrive and progress to a point that it could never have gotten to had the person been in robust health. Then, when symptoms become serious and noticeable to the point of not being able to ignore, simply switching to even the healthiest of diets, and getting enough sleep for the first time ever, and getting enough sunshine, etc. may not be enough to deal with this now unnatural state of ill health; a state of ill health that would have been unlikely many millennia ago. Therefore, equally unnatural tactics may be required to allow complete healing (such as the taking of remedies like herbs and mega-doses of certain vitamins and minerals).

Purists who contend that anything that can happen to us is "natural", and therefore the tenets of Natural Hygiene once applied will always lead the person to a state of optimal health, are not dealing with reality, at least not in a rational way.

But even in extraordinary states of ill health, the tenets of Natural Hygiene, properly understood and applied, should always be "step one", followed by whatever other steps, albeit unnatural ones, that are necessary to allow the body to heal.

The moral of the story: Start adopting the tenets of Natural Hygiene before you experience any infectious exposures to give yourself the best odds of being able to deal with it without having to resort to unnatural interventions.


Where do the terms Hygiene and Natural Hygiene come from?

The word "hygiene" came from the Greek Goddess of Health, Hygeia, and this is what the movement was first named in the 1800's. In the 1900's, Drs. Herbert Shelton and Christopher Gian-Cursio called the revived movement "Natural Hygiene". The focus then was distinguishing the modern modalities of managing ill-health via medical and pharmaceutical approaches from the pursuit of restoring health via nature-based healthful living practices. The word "natural" was also added to "hygiene" to help distinguish the original definition of hygiene (#1 above) from the more common definition, that of "personal cleanliness".

The information on this website is based on the tenets of Natural Hygiene, i.e. it respects and is in compliance with (our) nature and with our needs.


In the early 1800's many MDs both in Europe and America were critical of the medical practices common at the time. In the USA this movement got the name Hygiene. All but two of the pioneer Hygienists were medical men who had become disillusioned with medical practices. Herbert Shelton had this to say about them, and about the rest who practiced "modern medicine"...

Not by divine revelation, as so many have claimed for their "discoveries," but by a close and careful study of nature did all these men come to their knowledge. Hygiene represents a return to that pristine mode of living that emerged with man when he first appeared on the earth; it is a revival of something precious that had been all but lost during the course of ages thanks to the corrupting and perverting influences of shaman, priest, physician, and trader. These, with their false systems and false teachings, have led the race astray. When and where ignorance and superstition have prevailed with all their mind-beclouding and debasing influences, disease and crime abound. – H. Shelton, 1968.


(One of the lesser known of the Greek Gods and Goddesses)


When Natural Hygiene is Misunderstood

Sometimes I get bashed by people who consider themselves Natural Hygienists, and I'm accused of being "anti-hygiene". Their reason for this is because I recommend nutritional supplements, and their belief is that Natural Hygiene is against the use of nutritional supplements because they are unnatural, and Natural Hygiene is all about being natural, after all, "natural" is part of its name. This is what happens when something is misunderstood.

As you can see from the above reading of the tenets of Natural Hygiene, NH says that we need to get all the things that our body requires for optimal functioning, and it implies that if we don't get all these things, we can't have optimal health. No argument there. But some Hygienists are of the belief that we can get enough of all the nutrients we need from a raw fruit and greens diet. Why is this belief so pervasive? Two reasons:

1. There have always been medicine and "snake oil" salesmen – people who claim that this pill or potion will cure your ills – and old time Hygienists knew this was nonsense, and cautioned against it by saying that pills offered nothing except a burdening of the body. And this is true. But today's Hygienists lump all things other than food into the same category, and this does a disservice to Natural Hygiene.

2. Some of today's popular health practitioners misinterpret this aversion to pills to mean that if you eat a raw diet of fruits and greens you don't have to be concerned about nutrition. And this is indeed a lovely notion, and therefore one that is embraced by the people who these health educators teach. But it turns out not to be true. And since some health educators are not true researchers, they don't welcome new information that suggests that something they've believed to be true, isn't. Scientists and researchers seek to discover the truth. When they prove something, even if they're happy about what they've found, they try with equal vigor to disprove it because, bottom line, they're after the truth. And they also don't mind being proven wrong by others. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for some of today's health educators.

In the list above you will see "food we’re designed to eat" and "sufficient nutrition". Because of the way our foods are grown today, just because we eat the foods of our biological adaptation isn't a guarantee that we'll get enough of all the nutrients our body requires for optimal health. So the philosophy of Natural Hygiene is all about getting enough of what we require, and nowhere does it preclude augmenting what we eat with a worthwhile nutritional adjunct to our diet to make sure that we do. And yes, I'm referring to nutritional supplements... most are a waste of money, but not all. Some deserve to be part of the diet.

So those who accuse me of being "anti-hygiene" might want to take a closer look at what Natural Hygiene actually says, and if they would do this as a researcher – employing the ethos of science – instead of as a student, they could see the useful role that worthwhile nutritional supplements actually play in health restoration and maintenance.

The ethos of science: open questioning, no authorities, honesty, transparency, and reliance on evidence. This can make the world a better place by burying myth and dogma. And the requisites for this line of inquiry are respect for rational and honest discussion, a desire to peer-to-peer, the ability to change your position when the evidence merits it, an intolerance of distortion and misrepresentation, and above all, a skeptical interrogation of accepted notions.

A closer look at why our foods aren't as nutritious as they once were

Fasting is one of the many "tools" of NH, but doing it right is important

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