What is Nature Cure?

The healer of disease is Nature.  – Hippocrates

You may have heard of Nature Cure while perusing alternative medicine magazines or seen some reference to it at your local health food store.  What exactly is Nature Cure?  Where does one go to get some of this Nature Cure?  Is it a type of medicine only doctors can provide?

Nature Cure, as the name implies, calls upon nature to heal our bodies.  It is based upon forming intentional connections with certain aspects of nature… or even nature as a whole.

Nature Cure could take the form of any of the following:

  • Spending time outdoors
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Ingesting a diet rich in nutrients and using food as medicine
  • Making an effort to rest when we need to
  • Using therapies involving water, mud, herbs, or any other non-artificial substance.

Nature Cure is an alternative to the use of powerful drugs.  It works on the subtler forces of the body, gently guiding it into a state of tranquility and reconnection to our roots in nature, thus creating an environment where disease is less likely to thrive.

*** Just as with all medicines, there is a time and place for using these strategies- check in with your healthcare provider before attempting any of the treatments listed on this page!  The Health Provider Tool can help you find trusted practitioners in your area. ***

Some examples of common nature cure treatments include:

Hot baths, sauna and steam

  • Always ending with a cold water rinse-off!

Alternating hot and cold water, increasing blood flow and detoxification

  • Alternating hot and cold water applications are very useful in treating infection, as it brings fresh oxygenated blood to our vital organs while simultaneously circulating away wastes, toxins and harmful microbes.

Tepid bath for soothing hyper-nervous states

  • A tepid bath, about 95-98 degrees Fahrenheit, may feel strange at first but is extremely effective in treating insomnia, anxiety, and menstrual disorders.

Sitz baths and foot baths

  • The soles of our feet can easily absorb whatever they come in contact with; whether healthy or harmful! Try a soothing warm lavender bath (or another essential oil you enjoy) for stress relief, either for your whole body or just your feet.

Poultices made from clay, herbs, castor oil or even vinegar

  • Poultices can draw out toxins from wounds, providing natural antimicrobial properties without harmful side effects.

Sunshine, fresh air and disconnection from digital media

  • Recent research shows that simply being outside in nature can help relieve stress. We also get vitamin D from the sun, and can normalize melatonin production by eliminating digital screen time.

Cultivating a mindful presence

  • Connects us better to ourselves and each other, enabling us to reach our highest potential in our relationships, at work, other important aspects of daily life.

Increasing our exposure and contact with nature

  • Tuning into the ancient wisdom of mother earth and all of the life it sustains every day.

Nature cure has much to offer and can be tailored to fit all individuals.  If nature cure sounds like something you’d like to try, talk to your health provider today!

Suggested reading

Nature Cure by Henry Lindlahr (available as a free Kindle eBook)

Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy by Wade Boyle and Andre Saine

Natural Medicine: The Healing Effects of the Exposure to Nature

Written by Valeria Dominguez, NCNM Naturopathic Medicine Program

Edited by Dr. Elise Schroeder