Lindlahr Henry 18621924

L indlahr first achieved success in politics and was appointed Mayor of Kalispell, Montana in 1893. At the height of his political success, he began to suffer from diabetes, which he believed was due to his excessive weight. Because insulin was yet to be discovered, his condition was thought to be incurable. Leaving the U.S.A. to search for a cure, Lindlahr sought out Father Sebastian Kneipp's hydrotherapy center at Woerishoffen, Bavaria. There he underwent water therapy and began a new vegetarian diet. His weight quickly dropped, and he regained his health.

Thereafter, Lindlahr returned to the U.S.A. and became very interested in natural healing methods. He read Russell Trall and J.H. Kellogg's works and began to study osteopathy, at that point an alternative approach to medical care (today it is a complementary one). After receiving his license to practice medicine and opening up his own office, he continued his studies on "natural" cures. In 1906, he opened the Lindlahr Sanitarium, which stressed the importance of hydrotherapy, a natural diet that restricted meat, and sunbathing. Lindlahr became one of the chief proponents of iridology, a system of diagnosing disease from study of the iris, the circular colored portion of the eye. As the sanitarium had great success, Lindlahr opened up the Lindlahr College of Nature Cure and Osteopathy.

Lindlahr's system is delineated in his Nature Cure (1913). For him, this, and not allopathic medicine, is the exact science because the "underlying laws which correlate and unify its scattered facts and theories have been discovered" (Lindlahr 1921: 17). Thus, the "Nature Cure" "is a system of man-building in harmony with the constructive principle in Nature on the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual planes" (Lindlahr 1921: 17). It is thus so simple that it is difficult to accept, a standard argument against the new complexity of modern medicine (Lindlahr 1921: 10). It treats the entire body and all of its systems. This holistic approach incorporates the moral aspects of human beings in its treatment, and dieting becomes both prevention and cure. If you are ill, a diet of "easily digestible foods as white of egg, milk, buttermilk, whole grain bread with butter in combination with raw and stewed fruits, and with vegetable salad with lemon juice and olive oil" is prescribed (Lindlahr 1921: 130). This diet is one aspect of treatment in addition to fasting, cold packs, and the water cure. To become or remain healthy, Lindlahr provides a detailed account of "natural dietetics" (Lindlahr 1921: 27iff). At its core stands "MILK, which is the only perfect natural food combination in existence" (Lindlahr 1921: 271). Clearly, Lindlahr's notion of cure is aimed against the innovations of allopathic medicine of his day. He condemns "the terrible after effects of X-ray treatment, of extirpation of the ovaries, the womb, and of other vital organs" so common at the time that he wrote (Lindlahr 1921: 271). Natural cure is the opposite of such technological innovations.

In addition, Lindlahr wrote and self-published widely on his theory. His works include: Acute Diseases Their Uniform Treatment by Natural Methods: Mental, Emotional and Psychic Disorders (1918); The Lindlahr Vegetarian Cook Book and ABC of Natural Dietetics (with his wife Anna in 1918); Iridiagnosis and other Diagnostic Methods (1919); and Philosophy of Natural Therapeutics (1918).

See also Alternative Medicine; Fat Camp; Kellogg;

Kneipp; Milk; Trall; Vegetarianism

References and Further Reading

Lindlahr, H. (1921) Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure, 17th edn, Chicago, Ill.: Nature Cure Publishing House.

Melton, J. Gordon (1990) New Age Encyclopedia: A Guide to the Beliefs, Concepts, Terms, People, and Organizations That Make Up the New Global Movement Toward Spiritual Development, Health and Healing, Higher Consciousness, and Related Subjects, Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, pp. 164-5.

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