History of Life Science and Natural Hygiene

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History of Life Science by T.C. Fry - 1995

Life Science began as “Hygiene” in 1823 with Dr. Isaac Jennings of Fairfield, Connecticut. It was slowly elaborated as a philosophy of life by Drs. Jennings and Sylvester Graham. In the 1850s and 1860s, Dr. Russell Thacker Trall, a brilliant man, did much deep and original research and thinking that further developed "Hygiene." With the coming of Pasteur theory of disease causation by germs, Hygiene took a back seat and lost support as a health move- ment. Though it never died, its decline continued, despite such champions as Bernarr McFadden and other proponents. Modern medicine found a powerful ally in the drug trades; and with their growth, medicine used the drug trades’ power to develop what was, in effect, a monopoly on all the avenues of information and learning. In the 1920s, Dr. Herbert M. Shelton came on the scene as a giant in the movement. In 1948, Hygiene received an impetus with the founding of the American Natural Hygiene Society (which took “Natural Hygiene” out of its name in 2000). The word “Natural” was prefixed before “Hygiene” to demarcate it from popular miscon- ceptions inherent in the denotations and connotations of the word “hygiene.” Then, in the mid-1970s, the term “Life Science” was selected by T.C. Fry as a result of a survey in which a weighted voting system was employed to determine name preferences of people with health interests. “Life Science” headed the list of names that were surveyed. Among the names on the list were the following: “Natural Hygiene,” “Health Science,” “Science Humana,” “Natural Living,” “Scientific Living,” “Naturianism,” and several more. You’ll learn more about the history of the health movement called “Natu-ral Hygiene” or “Life Science” in the course of your studies.

The human ego has gotten in the way, time after time, with the continuance of “Natural Hygiene.” Right now, I personally know of a number of T.C. Fry graduates of “The Big Course” and devoted students themselves of Sheltonian Natural Hygiene who have offices and practices and who teach Natural Hygiene without ever once emphasizing “Natural Hygiene” in their self-prepared, self-selected literature! Nor do they avail themselves of the very best take-it-home, do-it-yourself handbook for The Health Seeker to pass along to their clients, clients who would be grateful to know of such a book! And in fact, these teachers tell me they make efforts to avoid the term “Natural Hygiene.” More often, there are health educators who want to rename “Natural Hygiene” and dilute the program or give it their “personalized stamp.” And so we have names like “Life Science” and “The Diamond Method” and “The Hallelujah Acres Diet.” A slogan during The American Revolution warned Colonists: “Join or Die!” Does it not make sense, as we wage The Great American Health Revolution, that we, likewise, unite under one banner?!!?

Along these same lines, I am grateful to the organizations that, for one reason and another, have decided to rename. The American Natural Hygiene Association and the Canadian are no more: they have renamed and redefined themselves as separate from “Natural Hygiene.” Let us get back to “The Basics of Life” and to Natural Hygiene, rooted and grounded in Scripture.