A Brief History of Influential Naturopaths

source: Stephen Langley

All truth passes through three stages:

  First, it is ridiculed.

  Second, it is violently opposed.

  Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”

                                               Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

                                                              German Philosopher



Though not regarded as a Naturopath, his understanding of the fundamental importance of a balanced internal environment as the foundation of health, echoes a Naturopathic Principle.

French physiologist and founder of modern Physiology.

Milieu interieur (internal environment)—If a state of equilibrium exists (homeostasis), no disease can take effect.

Pasteur renounced his germ theory at the end of his life; famously saying “Bernard is right. The microbe is nothing, the milieu is everything”



Though not regarded as a Naturopath, his brilliant work in cellular biology (terrain theory); reinforced the concept of Unity of disease.

French chemist, biologist and rival of Louis Pasteur’s “germ theory”

Did not believe that bacteria could invade a healthy host – ‘bacteria and virus are the ‘after-effects’ rather than the cause of disease and it is only when the body is weakened can they take a hold’. Changes to the terrain (pH & O2) was the key.

Pleomorphic organisms: changes or stages from one organism to another e.g. microzyma (meaning little bodies or small ferments) to bacteria, virus or fungal forms. This only occurs when the Terrain (ecosystem) is altered.



Austrian farmer built a sanatorium in 1822.

Advocate of drugless healing.

Exercise, cold water treatments and organic food.

Diet: black bread, fresh vegetables and un-pasteurised goats milk.

1840 he had 1600 patients in residence.

“Our task is not to treat the disease, but the patient”

Treated 40,000 patients (only 45 died whilst in his care).


Father of Naturopathy:


Born in Germany and pupil of Priessnitz.

Father of Hydrotherapy:

Claimed he cured his TB by bathing in the Danube.

“Every application is to be accommodated to the patient”.

1855 he supervised a Dominican Nunnery in Bavarian village of Worishofen. This developed into a spa.

He asked for a “different life, not different pills” and an “active patient not a passive one”.

Link between USA and European Naturopathy.



Born in Michigan, USA, he maintained that 90% of diseases were due to improper functioning of the bowel.

 Ran the ‘Adventist Battle Creek Sanitorium’

 The Kellogg brothers (with brother Will) produced shredded wheat and granola biscuits for residential patients. This changed to a commercial venture over time, and when he lost control the product changed dramatically.

Famous for his 15 hour working days and ‘discovering’ peanut butter.



Born in Germany, emigrated to America.  Developed ‘incurable’ diabetes aged 35 and was told to ‘put his affairs in order’

Visited Sebastian Kneipp in Bavaria who completely restored his health and at age 40 returned to America to spread the word.

He used the term ‘Nature-Cure’ to define the eclectic approach to his recovery.

He considered the accumulation of morbid matter to be the primary cause of disease (suppression vs elimination)

He formulated the ideas of ‘healing crisis’ and ‘disease crisis’.

3-fold nature of man : physical dominated by mind and mind inspired through inner consciousness or soul.

Considered the founder of Scientific Naturopathy:



American pioneer of food intolerance. He had suffered severe rheumatic fever & juvenile arthritis in his early years.

 Cured at Institute of Natural Therapy by a medical doctor who had trained under Kneipp.

 Studied herbal medicine and further training with Lindlahr.

 1917 he set up practice in Spokane, Washington.

 His greatest innovation was Constitutional Hydrotherapy (application of hot & cold compresses to the chest, stomach & back while being wrapped warmly in woolen blankets).

 Used Iridology and believed every person has intolerance to specific foods.



Scottish Naturopath

 Student of Lindlahr’s Chicago School.

 1913 set up a busy practice in Edinburgh.

 1919 opened the first training college in Britain. “The Edinburgh School of Natural Therapeutics”. This was a four year course which ran until 1964.

 1938 established the well known Kingston Clinic in Edinburgh.

 Advocated fibre (unrefined grains, raw veg & fruit).



Born in Germany and in 1938 was licensed to practice in New York.

 446 out of 450 patients with skin TB completely recovered with his diet.

 He cured Albert Schweitzer (Nobel Laureate) of type 2 diabetes.

“I see in Dr Gerson one of the most eminent geniuses in the history of medicine” (Albert Schweitzer)

 Alkalized the body with fresh organic vegetable juices and detoxified with coffee enemas.

 Toxicity & Deficiency: the two planks underpinning health.



Born in Schopfheim, Germany.

 Medical doctor.

 1929-1934 was director of Priessnitz hospital in Mahlow.

 First historian of Nature Cure movement.

 1937 wrote ‘Nature Cure in Biographies’.

 Considered Nature Cure incomplete without psychological guidance and Spiritual wellbeing.

 “Only those whose lives are threatened take up Nature Cure”.

 Prescribed raw foods, cold & hot water treatments, air/ sun, baths, fasting and massage.



Born in America, he founded the ‘Natural Hygiene School’ in Texas (fasting, diet, exercise, sunshine & rest)

Graduate of Bernarr MacFadden’s college, Chicago.

Considered ‘toxaemia’ to be the universal basic cause of all so-called diseases.

No intervention: let only Nature do the work.

“What does the average individual know about keeping well? Almost nothing…..the people and their doctors are all in the same boat together with a blind man at the helm. They lack the chart and compass and drift aimlessly on a sea of ignorance and misinformation”.

Mahatma Gandhi was very influenced by his methods of fasting and invited him to India.

Father of food combining and promoted raw foods:



3d generation Swiss herbalist.

 Used many different poultices and compresses utilising the herbs he found locally.

 His message was “Trust in the healing power of Nature”.

 Only fresh plants with their ‘life force’ are capable of curing.

 1933 set up a Naturopathic practice in Swiss village of Teufen.

 His book (1952) The Nature Doctor



Born in Stockton, California and student of Kellogg.

 He claimed 40% success rate curing leukaemia.

 Advocated bowel-cleansing as the most important aspect in maintaining health.

 “Every tissue is fed by the blood which is supplied by the bowel”

 Promoted ‘toxaemia theory’

 Advanced Iridology.

 Used chlorophyll extensively in enemas and colonics.