Although in recent years westerners have adopted naturopathy as their own, its origins belong to the east. Indians claim that it was they who came up with it as it was their ancient kings and holy men who first practised the system of natural therapies.
Here in southern India, a group of doctors have named their clinic after a man who was a bit of both. The Gandhiji Nature Cure Centre in Coimbatore advocates the consumption of fruit – up to four times a day – to combat diseases with symptoms as mild as light headaches to conditions more severe.
The doctors in Coimbatore are following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, the inspirational Indian nationalist.
Everyone knows about him as a leader of people on the road to freedom, but less discussed is the firm belief he had in natural therapies and strict vegetarianism. At the Gandhiji Nature Cure Centre the doctors utilise fruits, such as pomegranates, bananas, dates and cucumbers, to great effect in treating diseases such as asthma, eczema, tuberculosis, heart disease and even cancer.
Naturopathy aims to heal the sick with the aid of nature and without the use of drugs. The doctors in the centre prescribe a diet of fruit and a regime of exercise to target specific, ill-functioning organs within the body.
Under the treatment, patients are expected to follow a healthy diet, chew their food properly and engage in exercise. They are also advised not to drink liquids that are too cold or too hot. The doctors allow their patients to eat as much as they like so long as the ratio of fresh fruit to cooked food stays the same. The ideal balance is seventy-five per cent fruit to twenty-five per cent cooked food.
The centre doesn’t just administer fruit like a greengrocer. The doctors also treat their patients with a variety of techniques such as water therapy, mud baths, and their famous banana leaf therapy in which patients are wrapped in banana leaves from head to toe.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” but here in Coimbatore the doctors bring their own apples … and grapes and dates and pomegranates!