Our extremely anthropocentric civilisation has alienated us from Nature in every way possible, including the way we look at our bodies, our food and health. But there have always been people, ashrams and various communitites who knew that an eco-centric way of life is essential to live sustainably on Earth – and their tribe is gradually increasing today. Several centres around the world offer opportunities to those interested to rejuvenate themselves and learn how Nature’s ways, if only we understand them, are the best for our wellness.
These Naturopathy centres are often dismissed as primitive mumbo jumbo. A school or college student generally never gets to hear of Naturopathy as an extremely sophisticated system of rebuilding and maintaining wellness. A visit to a centre, and perhaps a 10 or 15-day stay, is needed to understand experientially how they work. We offer our readers an introduction to Naturopathy through the Jindal Naturecure Institute at Bangalore. This institute was started by Mr. Sitaram Jindal in 1978 in the outskirts of Bangalore. When Mr Jindal was younger, he suffered from abdominal tuberculosis. The doctors told him that he had to undergo surgery if he was to recover. However, on the advice of a relative he stayed at a naturopathy hospital, near Calcutta, where he recovered completely. This was his calling to start the Jindal Naturecure Institute.
The stated mission of the institute is “To treat patients with Naturopathy and Yoga, to make the patients understand the destructive ways of drug use, inculcate among them the habit of vegetarianism, self doctoring and regulated eating habits and exercise, to take the concept to all strata of the society, and the weaker section in particular”.
Naturopathy – an alternative treatment system – has its roots in Germany. It uses the body’s ability to heal itself, with changes in diet and lifestyle in conjunction with other alternative therapies like yoga, massages and physiotherapy, and in some cases herbal medicine. Along with other therapies like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, it is termed as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Complementary medicine is usually taken in conjunction with allopathic(mainstream) medicine and alternative medicine is taken in place of it.
According to Naturopathy, the human body falls ill or becomes sick when we go against nature and all healing powers exist within our body. The system is based on its belief that the excessive accumulation of toxins is the “root cause of all diseases”, and that the removal of toxins is essential to cure diseases – it is not focussed on symptoms as Allopathy mostly is. Toxins are undigested and unassimilated matter which can remain in the body for many years, can become mixed up in the blood and lead to a condition called toxaemia, which in turn leads to diseases. High consumption of acid residue-creating foods, stress, unsuitable foods - all create toxins in the body.
Dr. N.M. Babina the Chief Medical Officer at the Jindal Institute spoke to us about the three main phases of treatments that a patient undergoes at JNI – eliminative, soothing and constructive.
The first phase follows the main principle ‘Langanam Parama Oushadha’ (fasting is the best cure). In this eliminative phase, most toxins are excreted out. The body is in fasting and only juices and liquids are given along with some complementary treatments like enemas, colon hydrotherapy, mud packs, and
The second stage or the ‘soothing stage’ consists of fruit diet, salads and soups. In this phase it is important not to put spicy or heavy foods into the body. The fast needs to be broken systematically to derive maximum benefit.
In the third and constructive phase of the treatment, normal cooked food like khichdi and cooked vegetables is given. Speaking about the importance of treatments Dr Babina explains, “In Naturopathy, alongwith the treatments, we try to rejuvenate your whole system to function better. Similar to servicing your car once a year, it is important to come in and service the internal organs to prevent diseases as well as breakdowns in the future.”
Suppression of cough, cold and fever by taking medication is not a good way to treat the disease. Nature is trying to heal the system, naturally – this is an indication of the toxins that are being eliminated. In naturopathy, the patient is first put on fast and then simple treatments like sponge bath, steam inhalation are given to help the exhausted body heal better and faster.
Mr. Ghosh, the Administrator of the JNI adds, “One of the limitations of Naturopathy is that there is no emergency cure. In an emergency, you require medical instruments and knowledge where the focal point is to save a life. A normal allopathic hospital talks primarily about health and very little about well-being. In Jindal, the primary focus is on changes in lifestyle and a life process, which will make life better, qualitatively. The Jindal Institute’s concepts of naturopathy are slightly different from the western ideas in that, here, the concept of natural healingis used along with the system of the 5 macro elements (Pancha maha bhoothas) from ayurveda and yoga.”
While the system of yoga is holistic and is focussed on the body, mind and spirit, at JNI the focus is more on the asanas and the kriyas which have a therapeutic effect - they are used in combination with naturopathy to produce a ‘drugless healing’. This drugless healing was developed since it is believed that there is a latent force within the body, which is able to heal any illnesses that have come out of an unnatural lifestyle.
Contrary to allopathy where the idea of self-doctoring is not encouraged, through Naturopathy – as there are no drugs taken – one develops a deep understanding of one’s own body, which is essential to
Preethi Raja, an H.R. executive in Bangalore, visited the Jindal Institute in 2009 –not for treatment of any illness, but more as a part of an annual ‘maintenance’ treatment. She found that the doctors there paid attention to each patient individually based on their needs. She says, “You feel really rejuvenated at the institute. You feel light and your skin is at its glowing best. The staff are very strict about the diet for each patient. Each patient’s day begins early in the morning and runs like clockwork. You sometimes wish there is more time for a breather – to read or to just be.”
Apart from these treatments, there are also other types of drugless therapies like acupuncture and physiotherapy. Physiotherapy is an established science, wherein treatments include heat treatments, electro-magnetic treatments and electrical pulses which help to increase blood circulation in a particular area. Another treatment, which has been introduced is VEGA - a diagnostic as well as therapeutic tool to bring back body balance. This is somewhat like physiotherapy, and the regimen is based on the broad principle of natural law.
Naturopathy is a way of life - it is concerned more with maintaining wellness and building immunity. The ‘habit’ of Naturopathy puts us squarely in charge of our health as well as of living harmoniously with Nature. After treatment at a centre like Jindal, even following about 50% of the dietary and lifestyle advice is supposed to make a major impact on one’s wellness. However, while naturopathy is very effective, most people look upon it as ‘periodic maintenance or treatment’.
Naturopathy contains wisdom that that has been accumulated over time – In Mr. Ghosh’s words, “Nature dictates certain laws, and we as humans who are a part of nature would do well to follow these laws. If we require eight hours of sleep every night, and we do not get those many hours of sleep, then we are bound to fall ill. Naturopathy could be called an empirical science, not as simple as grandmother’s remedies, but almost as simple.”
This article contains excerpts from interviews with Dr. Babina N.M and Mr. K.K Ghosh, Jindal Naturecure Institute. Our thanks to them for helping us understand the Institute and the system of Naturopathy.
You can visit their website at http://www.jindalnaturecure.org.