Naturopathy: A way towards Healthy Living

- Dr. Yogita Choudhary*

Mahatma Gandhi visited epidemic stricken villages, Gujarat, 1940

Kasturba and Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, while visiting epidemic-stricken villages in Gujarat, 1940.

As we all are aware about the novel strain of COVID-19 and the virus has now spread to almost all over the countries and territories across the globe, and was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. Reported symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, pneumonia, headache, diarrhea, hemoptysis, and dyspnea. Preventive measures such as masks, hand hygiene practices, avoidance of public contact, case detection, contact tracing, and quarantines have been discussed as ways to reduce transmission. To date, no specific antiviral treatment has proven effective; hence, infected people primarily rely on symptomatic treatment and supportive care.1

A healthy immune system is the most important weapon against the viral infections.2 and natural lifestyle is a best way to boost your immune system. Enhancing the body’s natural defence system (immunity) plays an important role in maintaining optimum health. It will be good to take preventive measures which boost our immunity in these times.3

Mahatma Gandhi’s health determinants dictated him to adopt nature cure and recommend to all others as it emphasizes self-responsibility and provides self-reliance. Any chronicle on the system of nature cure in India will be incomplete without noting the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi to society in general and to Indian naturopathy in particular. He was a staunch practitioner of naturopathy all through his life. There were scores of instances where he experimented with the system on himself, his family members and ultimately on the public who followed him in letter and spirit.

Before taking the pathway of naturopathy, it is important to know what is nature cure or naturopathy and how it works in preventing and curing diseases.

Naturopathy is a rational and evidence based system of medicine imparting treatments with natural elements based on the Theory of Vitality, Theory of Toxemia, Theory of Self Healing Capacity of the body and the principles of healthy living. It is a distinct type of primary care medicine that blends age-old healing traditions with scientific advances and current research. It is guided by a unique set of principles that recognize the body's innate healing capacity, emphasize disease prevention, and encourage individual responsibility to obtain optimal health. It lays more importance on the preventive aspect of health care rather than curative one. This is one of the reasons that Naturopathy system is gaining popularity day by day.4

Naturopathy states that violation of nature’s law is a main root cause which result in imbalance of bodily mechanism and ultimately production of diseases. Ten principles of naturopathy given below are helpful to live a healthy life.

  1. Body heals itself.
  2. Main cause of disease is enervation.
  3. Deposit of metabolic end-products in the body is disease.
  4. Acute disease is a remedial process-itself a cure.
  5. Food is a building material, does not increase vitality.
  6. Fasting provides an opportunity to the body to heal itself.
  7. Germs do no cause the disease but are found in the diseased conditions.
  8. Exercise or physical activity keeps the balance between nutrition and drainage.
  9. External treatments whether natural, allopathic, ayurvedic or homeopathic - give only relief, do not cure.
  10. Patient’s own will to get well; determination and faith are necessary things for nature cure treatment.

Once the disease production occurs in body the only way is return to nature, by the regulation of lifestyle that is eating, drinking, breathing, bathing, dressing, working, resting, thinking, the moral life, sexual and social activities, etc. establishing them on a normal and natural basis. Naturopathy emphasize on the modification of lifestyle that is following of proper daily regimen.

There are some nature cure modalities given below, which boost our bodily natural mechanism and keep us healthy.

Fasting Therapy: Fasting is an effective treatment for removing the disorders of mind and body and is a process of providing rest to digestive system. The vital energy which digests the food is wholly engaged in the process of elimination during fasting. Mahatma Gandhi himself was a practitioner of fasting he fast for many time some for health and of course sometime due to politics.

A genuine fast cleanses the body, mind and soul. It crucifies the flesh and to that extent sets the soul free.
- M.K. Gandhi

Fasting Therapy: Fasting is an effective treatment for removing the disorders of mind and body and is a process of providing rest to digestive system. The vital energy which digests the food is wholly engaged in the process of elimination during fasting. Mahatma Gandhi himself was a practitioner of fasting he fast for many time some for health and of course sometime due to politics.

Diet Therapy: Naturopathy diet is generally based on three effects eliminative (Liquids-Lemon water, Citric juices, Tender Coconut water, Vegetable soups, Butter milk, Wheat grass juice etc.), soothing (Fruits, Salads, Boiled or Steamed Vegetables, Sprouts, and Vegetables etc.) and constructive (Wholesome flour, Unpolished rice, little pulses, Sprouts, Curd etc.). This three type of diet help to eliminate toxins and purify body, improves health and render it immune to disease.

Gandhiji's introduction to nature cure began with his conviction in vegetarianism. For him, vegetarianism is in spiritual harmony with the rest of Nature. He insisted that man didn’t have to kill to eat. Vegetarian food is the healthiest, most economical, makes efficient use of land and fosters values of non-violence and humanitarianism.

Mud Therapy: It dilutes and absorbs the toxic substances of body and ultimately eliminates them from body. Gandhiji also used to take mud packs for getting rid of his constipation.

Hydrotherapy: It is an ancient method of treatment used mainly for preserving health, relieving the inner congestion and curing different types of diseases.

Massage Therapy: It is a scientific and systemic manipulation of the tissues and organs of the body, aims at improving the blood circulation and also at strengthening muscles and bodily organs.

Sun Bath: There are some evidence which shows that sun bath helps to improve body’s immune system.

Air therapy: Fresh air, an important part of Naturopathy is most essential for good health. The advantage of air therapy is achieved by taking air bath in the morning daily for at least 20 minutes.

Sleep and prayer: Naturopathy suggests the proper sleep and regular prayer as a part of healthy life. Body’s circadian system and sleep exert a regulatory influence on immune function on the other hand prayer affect our mental and spiritual plane of well-being.

Yoga: Along with this treatment modalities based on “Panchmahabhutas” Indian Naturopathy also includes Yoga to maintain the health of an individual. Physical exercises and regular practice of Yoga boosts immunity, improves digestive functions, and improves mental and emotional well-being. These all above mentioned tools of naturopathy helps to keep us healthy not just by curing disease but by preventing disease production. It guides us towards the health path which is the need of today’s era to live a healthy life.


  1. Adhikari SP, Meng S, Wu YJ, Mao YP, Ye RX, Wang QZ, Sun C, Sylvia S, Rozelle S, Raat H, Zhou H. Epidemiology, causes, clinical manifestation and diagnosis, prevention and control of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the early outbreak period: a scoping review. Infectious diseases of poverty. 2020 Dec;9(1):1-2;
  2. Jayawardena R, Sooriyaarachchi P, Chourdakis M, Jeewandara C, Ranasinghe P. Enhancing immunity in viral infections, with special emphasis on COVID-19: A review. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews. 2020 Apr 16;
  3. Satyalakshmi K. Mahatma Gandhi and Nature Cure. The Indian journal of medical research. 2019 Jan;149(Suppl 1):S69;
  4. Fleming SA, Gutknecht NC. Naturopathy and the primary care practice. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2010 Mar 1;37(1):119-36;

Courtesy: Khoj Gandhiji ki, June-July 2020

* Research Coordinator, Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon.