One of the most treasured circumstances for an alternative health care doctor is to find a story of transformation from a medical trained doctor to natural health systems. Ernest Schweninger (1850-1924) is an example.
Schweninger began medical studies at 16 years old and became a physician. He gained extensive experience in surgery at military hospitals during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. He began his practice in pathology and saw the failures of surgeries and drug medicine. He became convinced that any cure was dependent on the healing power of nature. His interest in medical history led him to Hippocrates, Paracelsus, and Hufeland. He arrived at his system of nature cure through his evaluation of the process of disease and cure.
The system that Schweninger developed included:
o Elimination of medical drugs
o No disease diagnosis
o No internal investigations to search for disease
o Increased fluid intake
o Vigorous exercise
o Sweat producing baths
o Sun Baths
o Small frequent meals
o Separation of solid and liquid food
o Increasing arterial blood pressure through a stay at a high altitude spa
Schweninger’s most famous cure was German Chancellor Otto Von Bismark. He was seriously sick. The overworked and overfed 250 lb Bismark was exhausted and paralyzed from a painful liver disease. The famous medical doctor Professor Frerichs diagnosed Bismark with stomach and liver cancer and announced that he might live one year.
Schweninger was called in and immediately restricted Bismarck’s food portions and limited his intake of liquids, especially wines and champagnes, and did away with pain-killers and narcotics. He substituted hot compresses, gentle massage, rest and exercises. The result was that Bismark lived 16 more years with Schweninger as his only medical advisor.
The success Schweninger had with Bismark was taken as an insult to the medical field that did their best to keep Schweninger from the University staff after his appointment by Bismark. He went on to build a hospital that delivered natural health with access to open air, gardens, air baths and a gymnasium. The hospital created an atmosphere where people could heal themselves with natural cure methods.
Schweninger’s last work The Physician was a powerful indictment of the physician as a soulless specialist who has lost sight of his true mission. He believed “a good physician could do more good with a damp cloth than a poor one can with an entire pharmacy.”