Recovery from polio through Natural Hygiene
Max and Ruth Huberman have been involved in ANHS and the Natural Hygiene movement for more than 45 years. They attend the ANHS Conferences each summer, where Max hosts the popular ANHS Talent Show. But it took a major health crisis to get them started on the path to Natural Hygiene.
“When I was a young man,” said Max, “I thought that I could go on forever, because I felt robust and healthy. I always considered myself in top condition, even though I smoked, drank beer, and didn’t give diet any thought.
“But one morning I woke up crippled, and the doctors diagnosed it as polio. They told me I was fortunate that I would only be crippled for the rest of my life, and to consider myself lucky. I didn’t want to accept that, so I was open to alternatives. That was what prompted Ruth and me to attend a lecture by [ANHS co-founders] Dr. Herbert Shelton and Dr. Gerald Benesh at a Cleveland, Ohio Natural Hygiene meeting. What they said made a lot of sense, and I eventually recovered my health through Natural Hygiene.”
“The next big turning point in our lives was the birth of our second son, Mark, in 1951,” said Ruth. “At that time, nobody nursed their babies, but I was determined to nurse Mark. My family already thought vegetarianism was a big bunch of nonsense, but now they told me I was really crazy.
“Unfortunately, Mark had trouble holding down any milk. His weight dropped from eight and a half pounds to six pounds, and I was a nervous wreck worrying about him. In those days, people did not recognize how adversely stress can affect you. My family actually threatened to report us to the authorities. Finally, Max told them off, I calmed down, and Mark’s condition improved.”
“Mark grew up to become a leader in the Natural Hygiene movement,” said Max. “When he was a law student, he helped put ANHS back on course when the Society was going through a very difficult time organizationally and financially. Then, he became the youngest president in the history of ANHS. He has served a number of terms as ANHS president since then, and we are very proud of him.
“One of the problems that Natural Hygienists faced in the past was getting bogged down and distracted by relatively minor problems, such as arguing whether salad should be blended or eaten whole, and what food combined with what. The arguing and sometimes bitter fighting distracted us from the main points of Natural Hygiene of which Dr. Shelton wrote and spoke.”
“I would like for Natural Hygiene to be more popular,” said Ruth. “I want to see more Hygienic physicians, and I want to see a safer environment for everyone—especially our children. Natural Hygiene is the ultimate as far as I am concerned!”
“I have come to the conclusion,” said Max, “that it is impossible for the Hygienic lifestyle to be realized fully unless the whole concept of what we call today’s global economics is faced. We can dodge it, and some of us who are more secure economically may not feel there is a need for that, but if we are really dedicated Natural Hygienists, then we have to be completely committed to improving the quality of life for everyone.
“It means that the people of the world—and this is part of Natural Hygiene, as far as I am concerned—must spend more time thinking about what all of us as human beings have in common rather than all of the negative things that we allow to divide us. We find people killing each other because of differences in skin color, what church or temple they may or may not attend, what language their grandparents speak, what part of the world they come from, and what their ethnic identification is. People who focus on the differences we have—rather than the things we human beings have in common—are defeating the Hygienic approach. We have to be social activists as well as Hygienic activists!”
This story appeared in the January/February 1998 issue of Health Science magazine.