Nature Cure is an art and science of healthy living and a drugless system of healing based on well founded philosophy. It has its own concept of health and disease and also principles of treatment. Nature Cure is rightly defined as a system of man building in harmony with constructive principles of Nature on physical, mental, moral and spiritual planes of living. It has great health promotive, disease preventive and curative as well as restorative potential.
Nature Cure is a very old science of healing and art of living. We can find a number of references in our Vedas and other ancient texts. The "morbid matter theory", "concept of Vital force" and other concepts upon which Nature Cure is based are already available in old texts which indicates that these modalities were widely practised in ancient India.
The Swastha Vritta described in Ayurveda is basically Naturopathy. In ancient days the job of a physician was not confined to treat the disease but also to educate the people in healthy life style. Subsequently Vaidyas drifted from their principal responsibility of giving proper health education to people in regard to the principles of healthy living as well as living and eating habits and confined themselves only to prescribing medicines to the patients. This deteriorating trend resulted in the need of Naturopathy as a science of healthy living, because the rectification of eating and living habits is more important than medicine. Nature Cure very beautifully explains this principle, "A disease can be overcome by regulating diet without any medicine. But a man whose diet is not regulated cannot conquer disease even after taking hundreds of medicines. There is no better medicine than the choice of food according to ones hunger and constitution. A man can remain forever healthy through the right choice of food alone. A man cannot survive without food evenwhile taking medicine. Therefore great physicians have regarded the right choice of diet as the best remedy".
The fundamental difference of Nature Cure with other systems is that its theory and practice are based on holistic view point where as the latters approach is specific. Nature Cure does not believe in the specific cause of disease and its specific treatment but takes into account the totality of factors responsible for disease such as ones un-natural habits in living, thinking, working, sleeping, relaxing, sexual indulgence etc. and also considers the environmental factors involved which on the whole disturb the normal functioning of the body and lead it to a morbid, weak and toxic state. For treatment, it primarily stresses to correct all the factors involved and allows the body to recover itself. The Nature Cure physician helps in Natures effort to overcome disease by applying correct natural modalities and controlling the natural forces to work within safe limits.
The revival of Nature Cure started in India by translation of Louis Kuhnes book "New Science of Healing". Shri Shroti Kishan Swaroop of Bijnor translated this book in Hindi and Urdu languages in about 1904. Shri D. Venkat Chelapati Sharma translated the book in Telugu language in about 1894. This gave a vide propagation to this therapy.
Later on, Gandhiji was influenced by the book "Return to Nature" written by Adolf Just and become a firm believer of Naturopathy. He not only wrote several articles in favour of Naturopathy in his newspaper "Harijan" but did its several experiments too on himself, on his family members and on the members of Ashram. Gandhiji included it in his constructive programmes and also established a Nature Cure Hospital in Urli Kanchan near Pune which is still functioning. Due to the influence of Gandhiji several national leaders joined this method of treatment in which the names of Ex. Prime Minister Shri Morarji Desai, Ex. Governor of Gujrat Shri Mannarayanji, Ex. President of India, Shri V. V. Giri. Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Shri Balkova Bhave are specially mentionable.
In Indian Nature Cure movement started mainly in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujrat etc. The Naturopaths who did foundation work in the revival of Naturopathy in different States are Dr. Janki Sharan Varma, Shri Sharan Prasad. Dr. Khushi Ram Dilkash, Dr. S. J. Singh, Dr. Hiralal, Dr. Vitthal Das Modi, Dr. Kulranjan Mukherjee, Dr. M. D. Pawar, Dr. Sukhram Das, Dr. J. M. Jussawala, Dr. Vegi Raju Krishanam Raj LI, Dr. B. Venkat Rao, Dr. Vijay Laxmi, Dr. Ganga Prasad Goud "Nahar", Shri Dharam Chanda Saravagi and Shri K. Laxman Sharma etc.
Here it may also be mentioned that modern Nature Cure movement was started in Germany and other western countries with water cure (Hydrotherapy). Water cure has been synonymous with Nature Cure in those early days. The credit of making water cure world famous goes to Vincent Priessnitz (1799-1851), who was a farmer. Later on, others also made their contribution in this work. The name of Loius Kuhne is mentionable who derived the principle of Unity of disease and provide a theoritical base to this treatment method. The book "New Science of Healing" written by him has been translated in numerous languages of world.
The name of Dr. Henry Lindlahr, Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Arnold Ehrit, D. D. Palmer, Roliar, E. D. Babbit, Bernarr Macfadden, Arnold Rickley, J. H. Tilden, Father Kneipp, Benedict Lust, Stainley Lief and Herry Benjamin etc. may also be taken among the other exponents of Naturopathy.