Natural Health Freedom: A Brief History of The Holistic Health Movement And Why It’s Important Today
Nature's Healing Bounty
Taking care of our natural resources for self empowered health is important.
Walking barefoot on the earth, having sunlight on your skin, nourishing our bodies with pure whole food, hydrating with fresh clean living waters, breathing deep of clean air, witnessing and feeling the living world around us, knowing our connection to nature, honoring the medicines of the plants, minerals, animals and energies of life, and organically moving our bodies, are the core elements of creating a sustainable abundant life.
There is an abundance of medicine available to us in nature.
Time and time again people have shared this healing wisdom of the Earth, as it is the collective soul calling of humanity to support, heal and care for each other, and repeatedly the powers invested in economic, political, religious, chemical and military control have sought to suppress the spread of empowered wellness.
Preserving Our Natural Legacy
In every culture and region that humanity arises from there are ancient traditions of healing including plant medicine, food medicine, water therapies, massage and bodywork, energy healing, prayers, ceremonies and much more advanced energetic healing technologies than we currently have access to.
It is our inheritance as the children of the Earth to have access to the wisdom, knowledge and healing legacy of our ancestors.
Keepers of traditional and natural healing ways have been targeted for thousands of years, and much wisdom has been lost, and is now being rediscovered.
In the Middle Ages, millions of women were burned and killed as witches, the worst of the offenders were those the Inquisitors deemed to be "blessing witches" - those who healed or served others with kindness.
This was a widespread targeting of natural medicine, women healers, midwives and herbalists, that persisted for centuries and through many countries in Europe and to the American colonies.
We must continue to work to preserve this wisdom, so that we will be able to thrive and care for our bodies and families with pure natural remedies, and support the wellbeing of the generations to come.
The People's Medicine
In the 1830's the Popular Health Movement rose up in the United States which encouraged people to practice a healthy lifestyle and learn about the basics of personal health care.
Women were empowered to become the household head of wellness, and they gathered together around the country, in groups in their communities, to learn natural healing practices to apply to their family's health and disease prevention.
People were encouraged to come together to support each other's health, learn new things and talk to community health leaders about personal or family issues.
The Popular Health Movement successfully brought a cessation of the government regulation of health care in the United States in the mid-1800's, allowing the flourishing of natural health practices.
Sylvester Graham was one of the leaders of the Popular Health Movement who is best known for his invention of the graham cracker. He actually created the graham bread, flour and crackers as a more healthy alternative to the common bread products of the time, which were all made with chemicals such as alum and chlorine to make bread whiter.
He was an advocate for a natural foods diet and promoted the moderation of consumption of alcohol, processed foods, meat and dairy, as well as vegetarianism and the avoidance of chemicals.
A few of the most well-accepted practices for optimal health that persist today from the influence of the Popular Health Movement are the popularization of frequent bathing and daily brushing of teeth. Thank goodness that became popular!
Samuel Thompson was also a very influential leader of the Popular Health Movement, advocating for and educating people in herbal, botanical medicine and the use of steam baths for healing.
Hailing from my home state of New Hampshire in the 1790's, Thompson created an alternative health movement when a series of experiences in his own health, the death of his mother, and illnesses with his wife and that of his children were aggravated by the ineptitude of several medical physicians.
Thompson turned to herbal medicine and found effective remedies and healing support in the natural healing wisdom of traditional healers and "root doctors".
He developed a complete alternative medicine system which he patented and sold the "Family Rights" to people for $20, and thus distributed his health education system, personal hygiene supplies and herbal products individually to over 100,000 families in the United States and in Europe by 1840.
People were also encouraged to join community based "Friendly Botanical Societies" for education and support in the belief that "every man could and ought to be his own doctor - intelligently responsible for his own health."
Over 3 to 5 million Americans were said to have practiced the Thompsonian method of healthcare in the 1840's (about 30% of the country's population at the time).
The importance of preserving our natural health freedom is as relevant today as it was at the time Thompson shared these words 185 years ago:
"Much of what is at this day called medicine, is deadly poison, and were people to know what is offered them of this kind they would absolutely refuse ever to receive it as a medicine. This I have long seen and known to be true; and have laboured hard for many years to convince them of the evils that attend such a mode of procedure with the sick; and have turned my attention to those medicines that grow in our own country, which the God of nature has prepared for the benefit of mankind. Long has a general medicine been sought for, and I am confident I have found such as are universally applicable in all cases of disease, and which may be used with safety and success, in the hands of the people."
- Samuel Thomson, "The People's Doctors", 1830
Healing Ourselves, Healing the Earth
While the people of the 1800's were looking for a more gentle alternative to the bloodletting, purgative practices and untrained doctors of Western medicine at the time, today we have even more complex issues with the vast array of pharmaceutical drugs, surgical procedures, vaccines, microchips, and chemicals prevalent in the medical field, as well as the chemical pollution it has spread to our water resources.
Today, all the pharmaceuticals that people are consuming then are eliminated through people's bodies, and become flushed into our public waterways.
There is a continuous flow of pharmaceuticals and chemicals contaminating our water supply through manufacturing facilities, industrial pollution, agricultural runoff, flushing old drugs down toilets and from human sewage.
Cities in the USA now have traces of over 100 pharmaceuticals in the tap water, including birth control pills and antibiotics.
All the chemicals and pharmaceuticals being used in our medical system to effect human health, is also effecting the health of our environment, and the Earth is sick of it.
According to recent research by the Mayo Clinic, over 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug, over 50% take two or more pharmaceuticals, and the rate is going up every year.
What if we went back to using nature as medicine and support the healing of nature in the process?
The Modern Medical Monopoly
While the Popular Health Movement was a widespread grassroots campaign that promoted the practices of personal hygiene, nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, herbalism and more, it came under attack by corporate powers who wanted to stop the spread of all natural health practices and create a monopoly with allopathic healthcare in the United States and beyond.
Funded by the Carnegie Institute, the Flexnor Report was released in 1910, setting a new standard for medicine which discriminated against all schools that taught osteopathy, homeopathy, nutrition, naturopathy, chiropractic, midwifery, and that admitted women or people of color.
As the American Medical Association (AMA) was formed, the media began an onslaught against natural health and any and all doctors, healers and schools who were not a part of the consortium of elite medical schools approved by the Flexnor Report.
They enacted a strict regulation of the medical profession on a state and federal level, which cut the number of medical schools in the country down to the 31 and sought to reduce the number of graduates annually by half, from around 4000 to 2000.
In order to do this, they targeted and shut down any school that permitted people of color or women to study, and slandered the schools and practitioners, portraying doctors, natural healers and midwives as drunk, ignorant and dangerous charlatans and quacks.
This began the modern monopoly of Western medicine in the US and beyond.
Particularly poor people became victims of experimental pharmaceutical and surgical procedures in hospital wards around the country.
Teaching hospitals around the US became flooded with people now dissuaded from their traditional healers and home remedies who were used for "educational" purposes.
This was a serious setback to natural health, as well as causing a near extinction of midwifery and home birth in the US for decades, and making many natural health remedies and practitioners illegal.
Health Freedom Today
While having access to safe and skilled emergency medicine is a blessing that I am grateful for and wish to keep, medical reform is needed.
Iotrogenic diseases, which are illnesses caused by medical treatment, are the third leading cause of death in the US today. That is sickness caused by a medication, doctor or clinical treatment. This is a big concern.
Women's choices and access to health care are continuously under attack through the medical monopoly which originated from an elite white male conglomerate and continues to seek control of women's bodies.
The FDA continues to approve new drugs without extensive clinical trials, while resisting the removal of drugs from the market that have showed lethal side-effects.
At the same time they are going after natural healthy products on the market such as herbs, supplements and raw dairy, and our access to education and resources for natural health is being systemically stripped away, unless we take it back.
When I was pregnant with my second child, the FDA confiscated all the waterbirth tubs coming into the US and I had to call up my birth community friends to get a birthing pool secretly brought to my house.
We all need to act to preserve our natural health freedom, or will continue to be slaves to the system, and they'll come for our toothbrushes next.
We need the new emphasis to be on health care rather than medical treatment.
It's time for each of us to take self-responsibility to preserve botanical medicine, increase access to safe natural healing and midwifery care, and prevent ailments caused by industrial toxicity through personal care, nutrition, exercise and cleansing.
Today we face similar issues to the people of the past, in needing to create a grassroots movement to reclaim our natural health freedom.
Are you ready?
Health & Blessings,