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The founder of contemporary naturopathic medicine

This article introduces your to Benedict Lust - the contemporary founder of naturopathic medicine.
Benedict Lust had a famous quote that states
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Following his recovery and after undertaking training from Kneipp, Benedict Lust became determined to take his knowledge and experiences to the Western world in 1896.

Benedict Lust was a German-born American who was considered one of the earliest and most predominant founders of naturopathic medicine in America during the 20th century. Like many others who were the original pioneers of naturopathic medicine, Benedict was introduced to natural health approaches for his own personal health concerns, a tuberculosis diagnosis. He returned to his homeland for care as he heard that the Kneipp cure and the water cure approach by Sebastian Kneipp were curing various individuals with infectious diseases. After Lust was treated and cured of his illness, he met with other individuals who had begun to explore natural health approaches. Upon returning to the USA, Lust was determined to spread the word of Kneipp cure and did so with the establishment of sanitariums and educational institutions, including the Yungborn Nature Cure Centre, in 1896. During this time, after 1896 – 1901, Lust trained in osteopathy and chiropractic manipulations to broaden his scope of practice. He also started incorporating botanical medicines, diet, massage, sun baths, electrotherapy and other therapies into his practice. In Lust’s mind, “all-natural healing methods” were considered naturopathic medicine, and it is with these diverse treatments and methods that Benedict began to establish the foundations of naturopathic medicine Whorton, 2003. Through this expansive approach to health care, Lust continued to keep his approach consistent with the Nature cure practitioners of the 19th century.

By 1901, the foundations of naturopathic medicine were set. Naturopathic medicine was well established on the naturopathic principle, the healing power of nature where recognition of how the human body contributes to its healing and wellness. In 1901, naturopathic medicine was formally recognised when Lust originated the term “naturopathy” with John Scheel – a German doctor practising in the USA who described his methods involving hydrotherapy and hygiene practices. During this time, Lust opened the first American school in New York to train future naturopaths and in 1902, he established the first Naturopathic Society of America, where he acted as the president for the next 43 years and actively contributed to the progression of naturopathic medicine through research and education initiatives. Lust also aimed to support the public with their health by establishing health food stores – called “Kneipp store” where the public could seek care and advice for their ailments that aligned with the Nature cure and naturopathic medicine approach that Lust envisioned.

While Lust made significant contributions to the establishment of naturopathic medicine during his time, it was not without sacrifice. Naturopathic medicine came about at the time that medicine was asserting dominance over areas of health care and control of public health policy. This was particularly difficult for Lust to navigate as he believed in the autonomy of health care and aimed to promote the science and art of naturopathic medicine, which did not sit well with the medical profession. As such, Lust was arrested over 30 times for practising without a medical license, despite no medical or other license being needed to be a naturopath during this time. His sacrifice was not in vain, and he continued to promote naturopathic medicine until his passing in 1945.

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Fundamentals of Naturopathic Medicine

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