Is Natural Hygiene a Faith Cure?
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Hygienic Review 1943
Is the Hygienic System a "faith cure"? We have
been accused of having only a "faith cure" by
many who have only noted what we reject and
have not investigated what we stand for.
One man objected that our faith in nature and nature cure is identical with
Christian Science - is Christian Science, as a matter of fact, in a new dress. We
never knew whether, by this statement, he wanted us to understand that he
has no faith in nature that he believes only in the unnatural and anti-natural.
What is nature? Let us define it as the existing cosmos. The universe is
cosmic and not chaotic. There is an all-pervading orderliness, nor can we
conceive of the universe existing except in an orderly state. What is wrong
with faith in this system of order?
The bodies and properties of living things are also orderly, that is, cosmic, and
not chaotic. There is an all-pervading orderliness in life and we cannot
conceive of an organism existing for one moment in any other state.
For us, then, nature is the orderly universe with all of its relations and
interdependencies. Science, as well as religion, directs men's minds to the
eternal aspect of things and our faith in the unchangeable uniformities of
nature is well founded.
Nature cure, which is not something that the Hygienist does with his hygienic
agencies, but something nature does, is the result of the lawful and orderly
operations of the forces and processes of life, working with the regular,
normal elements of livingness.
Our faith in this nature and its work is no blind or dead faith. It is rather a faith
that leads to work, a faith based on knowledge. These - knowledge and faith -
lead to reform and intelligent cooperation with the forces of life.
It is not a matter of folding our arms and sitting down and waiting for nature to
do for us what we, as parts of nature, can only do for ourselves.
We do not expect the laws of nature to be violated because we pray for them
to be violated, nor do we expect them to cease to exist because we deny their
However we have no objection to being called "faith curists" if we may be
allowed to define our faith.
Ours is a faith in the orderly, invariable laws of nature. All science is a study of
the fixed laws of nature. So far as man's senses can reach, we always find
nature orderly and as faith is "confidence, reliance, trust," and as we find no
exceptions to the orderly sequences in the processes of nature, we can
certainly have: faith in these.
Faith in the uniformities of nature is not a mystical conviction that has never
been verified, nor is it the power to say we believe things that are incredible.
We know that water always runs down hill; we know that a magnetized needle
points to the magnetic pole; we know that when hydrogen and oxygen unite in
certain proportions the product is always water; we know that two times two
We have faith in the compass; we have faith in the mathematical processes;
we have faith in chemical processes; we have a whole science of hydrostatics
built upon the invariable conduct of water under exact conditions.
Faith describes the confidence we feel that the sun will "rise" tomorrow, that it
will "rise" in the East, for it always has done so. We do not doubt that iron will
continue to rust if exposed to moisture, for this is what it has always done. We
do not expect to see brick of certain sizes and density and composed of
certain materials become lighter or heavier than brick of these sizes and
materials have always been.
That unbroken and cosmic order has reigned throughout the universe
throughout its duration is something we cannot prove. We cannot prove that
there is a law that water must run down hill when we get out beyond the reach
of our senses. But we accept it as a truth because of our faith in the
universality of law and order.
Now, cure (healing) is the same yesterday, today and forever. Healing is the
same today as that which has taken place from the beginning of time. It will
take place in the same old way as long as time lasts.
Theories of cure may change, as they have in the past. The methods of "cure"
may continue to change ceaselessly. But the real, orderly and lawful healing
processes of nature are as changeless as are the laws of gravity, of chemistry,
of hydrostatics, of mathematics.
We have the same faith in these lawful, orderly and invariable processes of
cure - natural processes - as we do in the lawful, orderly and invariable
processes of nature in all other parts of the cosmic order.
The processes of life are not chaotic, capricious, changeable, unlawful,
disorderly. They do not change from country to country, nor from age to age.
Faith in the orderly processes of life is not a makeshift to serve us where
knowledge fails. Rather it is confidence in the facts and laws of which we
We have no knowledge of a "natural law" except as an invariable and orderly
sequence. The term "law" is a very unfortunate one. Our faith is in the fixed
and orderly sequences of nature.
If life were not as orderly and lawful as the non-living world about us, we could
expect to gather figs from thistles or to sow to the wind and reap not the
whirlwind, but a gentle zephyr.
If there were no fixed order in life we might plant a peach seed and have a
pecan tree spring there from.
We insist upon the "reign of law" in the organic (the living) world; we insist
that order is supreme and that chaos and "old night" are figments of primitive
man's minds. What is wrong with a faith cure that depends, not upon faith to
cure, but upon the orderly processes of nature?
That person who takes a drug has faith that it will cure him but his faith is not
based upon any demonstrable orderly, sequence an unfailing curative
process set up by the drug.
The physician who administers the drug may have faith in the curative powers
of his drugs, but his so-called faith is a mere superstition - a hangover from
primitive times. It is not a faith based-on a knowledge of the orderly processes
True, he claims a knowledge of the drug; but what he knows about the drug
from a study of its chemistry and toxicology is the exact opposite of what he
believes about it under what has been dignified with the name pharmacology.
His faith and his knowledge are in conflict.
He knows that poisoning does not heal, that it does not produce health. He
believes that it does. He received his knowledge as a result of modern
scientific study; his faith from his ancient forebears.
The physician that expects to restore health with agents that always destroy
health and attempts to save life with the foes of life may have full confidence in
his agents; but his faith is in a reversal of the laws of nature.
It is a faith in disorder, in chaos, he believes he can reverse, or annul, or
suspend, or change the laws of nature. As well attempt to make two and two
equal three or five, or expect to destroy any other realm of fixed law.
The body always rejects drugs. It has its choice of several methods of
rejecting them, but it never appropriates them.
This is a universal experience to which there is no known exception. The
physician who puts his trust in drugs has a faith that flies in the face of law
and order and beats its brains out against the unyielding solid rock of
immutable "law". He is exceedingly superstitious.
The man who takes a sweat bath may have faith in it. But such faith is not
based upon knowledge. The man who gives the bath may explain that
sweating eliminates toxins from the body. This, too, is a blind faith.
If the man knows physiology, he knows that sweating is not an eliminating
process and that the sweat bath does not eliminate toxins. Faith in the sweat
bath is merely a lingering superstition we derived from those who used it
originally to sweat out evil spirits.
Faith of some degree may be said to enter into everything we do. But faith,
per-se, is not the thing that does.
Faith does not cure; though it may enable us to rely upon the forces and
processes that do heal. Nor can faith cause a thing to heal that does not
otherwise heal; although it is often affirmed that it does so.
Nature has always built flesh out of food and we are convinced that she will
always do so. She has never built flesh out of drugs and we do not believe
she will ever do so.
Exercise and not drugs has always been essential to the development of the
body and we don't believe that we can ever use drugs for this purpose and
dispense with exercise. In plain English, we place our faith in the ancient and
invariable order of nature.
Rest, and not stimulation, has always been essential to the reinvigoration of
tired, fatigued or exhausted organs or organisms.
Stimulation has always lashed them into impotency. This has always been the
order of nature - it has not changed.
We impose our faith in this fixed order and not in theories and practices that
are "at variance with this invariable order".
The Hygienic System uses the same agents and forces that nature now uses
and always has used to build up and maintain the whole of both the vegetable
and animal kingdoms.
It rejects those forces and agents that have never been used in this process. It
rejects those things that have no vital relation to life - things that are anti-vital -
that have no normal part in life's plan.
Using the term cure (Latin cura, care) in its original and proper sense and not
as a synonym for the word healing, there is only one proper cure for any
abnormal condition of the living body; namely, remove the cause.
When the cause of the "disease" is removed, health returns by virtue of the
normal, orderly, lawful operations of the processes and functions of life. This
is nature cure. This is a cure such as has taken place since the beginning of
Nature, the great restorer, the only healer, helps those who help themselves.
This is not a "faith cure" as commonly understood. The so-called "faith
cures" around us ignore causes. They seek to heal by faith without removing
This kind of faith is a slap in the face of law and order. It is not a faith that
"worketh repentance," nor is it known by its works. It is a faith that only talks.
The Hygienic System is nature's system understood and applied carefully and
intelligently both in health and in sickness.
It is simply an enlightened compliance with the laws or uniformities of life, as
these have been revealed by study and experience.
For, we have no knowledge of what a natural law is, beyond the fact of
universal and undisputed experience.
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Article: Is Ours a Faith Cure?