Naturopathy is the science of healthy living. This is a drugless system of medicine and healing which has a well-founded philosophy. Naturopathy is a system of man building in harmony with constructive principal of nature of physical, mental, moral and spiritual planes of living.
Naturopathy has been used in India since time immemorial. Fasting, drinking water in early morning and taking bath in holy rivers etc., are some practices from olden days till now. Scriptures speak that fasting, sunlight, water, exercise, manipulative therapies etc., were in practice since 3000 years. In 1894 Shri D. Venkatachalapathy Sharma, a close associate of Louis Kuhne propogated Kuhne’s treatment in South India by transalting Kuhnes’s books in Telugu.
In india around 1913, Acharya Lakshmana Sharma started to follow naturopathy in his life. He had a deep knowledge in vedas and laid the principles of Naturopathy. He also established a firm and scientific basis for the principles and practice of Naturopathy. He authored a book on Nature cure “Practical Nature Cure” which is known as the magnum opus on this subject.
During the year 1920-1921 Dr. Dinshah Mehta developed techniques of Naturopathy based on modern lines. In 1929, he started Nature cure clinic and Sanitorium at Pune, India. He also started two nature cure clinics in Mumbai. In 1946, Nisargopachar Ashram in Urulikanchan near Pune and in 1950, Prakritika Cikitsalaya was started in Jaipur.
Mahatma Gandhi, Father of Nation, influenced by the book ‘Return to Nature’ written by Adolf Just which was published in the year 1902, became a follower of Naturopathy. He wrote a book under the heading ‘Guide to Health’. He also did several experiments of Naturopathy on himself. Dr. Dinshah became Gandhiji’s personal nature cure physician. He managed two of the three world renowned 21-day fasts of Gandhiji and many short fasts. In 1946, Nisargopachar ashram was started by Gandhiji, in pursuance of his belief that Naturopathy should also reach poor people. He is known as the Father of Indian Naturopathy.
In 1924, basic research and development work on Yoga was started by Swami Kuvalayanandji in Lonavla, which later became a pioneer institute in the field of research of yoga. Other institutes like, Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation-Bangalore, Vemana Yoga Research Institute-Hyderabad etc. have also done a commendable work.
Later Government of India also recognized the need of the system and formed autonomous bodies of Ministry of Health and Family welfare under the Dept of AYUSH. They are National Institute of Naturopathy- Pune in 1986, CCRYN established in 1978, MDNIY established in 1998 which governed the Research activities of Yoga and Naturopathy. It was also considered important to develop the education and gradually there were development of Colleges in India.
Gandhi Nature cure college, Government College which was affiliated to Osmania University earlier and now affiliated to Dr.N.T.R University of Health Sciences is the Asia’s first college to offer a university recognized medical course in Naturopathy and Yoga. Now there are several colleges in and around Tamilnadu which is offering this 5 ½ years BNYS course.