INTERVIEW WITH DR. SCOTT
|"PROMINENT DOCTOR TALKS ABOUT HIS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN FASTING SUPERVISION" from Health Science Magazine
A lifetime commitment of uncompromising dedication to Natural Hygiene!
In March of this year, I had the good fortune to visit with and interview Dr. D.J. Scott. Dr. Scott is an internationally-recognized and respected expert on supervised fasting, and the founding president of the International Association of Professional Natural Hygienists.
A frequent lecturer at ANHS International Natural Living Conferences and Seminars, Dr. Scott is an uncompromising proponent of Natural Hygiene. He is the director of Scott's Natural Health Institute in Strongsville, Ohio, which he founded in 1957.
Interview by Mark Huberman, IAHP
When did you first become interested in fasting?
While in chiropractic training at National College of Chiropractic in Chicago, there were a number of us students who were strongly interested in the teachings of Herbert Shelton, and we had a Natural Hygiene club at school. In that first year, I developed acute appendicitis and fasted to recovery. Later, the wife of a fellow student also developed acute appendicitis, and I helped her through her fast to recovery.
From those early experiences I moved into the clinical work of teaching chiropractic patients about Hygiene and then began lecturing to various health groups. My present practice started in 1950. I supervised fasts in the 1950s, but with patients in their own homes. This setting soon became impossible because of limited patient control and failure of families to be supportive.
In 1957, I opened the Institute here in Strongsville.
Were there colleagues engaged in supervised fasting with whom you consulted?
Dr. Gerald Benesh was located in a neighboring community. He shared many ideas with me. I was very grateful for his help in developing confidence with difficult cases. Over the years, I attended many American Natural Hygiene Society Conferences and both lectured and consulted with Drs. Herbert Shelton, Robert Gross, William Esser and many others.
How does fasting help a person recover from illness?
That question is easy to answer when we understand the design wisdom of the body. Every living cell in our body, and there are trillions of them, is endowed both individually and collectively with the dedication of doing battle to its death in order to preserve the whole organism. To fast successfully, it is necessary for a person to cooperate with every living cell in his or her body by allowing the conditions necessary for recovery of health. People who succeed are people who come in with that commitment. Those who do not have that understanding and commitment may not succeed.
People must be willing to lie down and rest and allow their bodies to get well. If they are willing to devote all their energies to that purpose, then they can confidently watch their recovery take place. When they waste and exhaust the energies and resources of the body on things other than healing, they interfere with the body's attempts to progressively and sequentially move through the various phases of recovery.
The ANHS has always taught that a person should never fast for more than a day or two without professional supervision. Why is that so important?
If we were all in perfect health, we could probably fast successfully without supervision. The problem is that most people have occult (not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone) diseases. Animals fast in nature. But in nature, animals also die when they fail to restore the nutrient state successfully.
Most people who come here have serious health problems. They need experienced supervision because their health is so seriously compromised that to fast on their own becomes dangerous. Going without food is not the danger in fasting. The danger in fasting is that sick people are far more physiologically fragile than they may realize. There is always the possibility that physiology may begin to fail. This is especially true with seriously ill people and the elderly.
Crises can occur quite suddenly. People who are fasting need to be watched closely. Fasting per se is not the goal. The goal is to support life. As long as fasting serves this goal, it is beneficial. When it does not serve this goal, nutrition is indicated. As a fast progresses, the body may reach a level where it cannot adequately mobilize essential nutrients. At this point it becomes necessary to resume feeding. Fortunately, the body gives the doctor plenty of warning when nutrient is required.
What kind of tools do you use to monitor someone's physiology?
The vital signs are still the most important, and these are taken on a daily basis. There is probably nothing more important than blood pressure and circulation. Blood pressure supports circulation. Pulse, of course, is another function of circulation.
Experience and judgment are important because there are variables that are acceptable. Not every departure from an accepted norm is life threatening. It is the collective observation of information that speaks to a doctor about the wellbeing of a patient. I watch many physiological parameters. The earliest insight into any single failure alerts the doctor to decision making.
In the early days we had very few tools. In my laboratory in those days we were grateful to have a microscope and a means of testing urine. Both were crude and cumbersome. The tools are better and more precise today. The average home can have a blood pressure device, a blood sugar device, and even self-testing of urine. Today, I have in my laboratory very sophisticated ways of looking at physiology. Urine testing is of some value, but during a fast the urine can look extremely offensive and might appear to be reflecting serious diseases, but most often this only represents evidence of heavy excretory defense mechanism in place. But advanced blood studies look at diagnosis with great precision.
I have devoted an enormous amount of personal energy and time to the standardization of a major interest of mine, the separation of blood-borne molecules. These analyte molecules offer us the ability to define and distinguish healthy organ cells from diseased organ cells. Many world-class scientists have devoted entire careers to this research. As a clinician, I today enjoy the fruits of their toil. These separation procedures, used as tools in our research, have finally reached a refinement where our biochemical biopsy is now an accepted laboratory procedure. For example, with this method we can look with precision, from blood alone, at the various types of liver cells the hepatocytes, liver duct cells large and small, liver blood sinusoid cells, liver macrophages, and liver lymphocytes. With this information we can track quantitatively the regenerative healing of specific liver structures which become pivotal to genuine recovery from most other diseases.
Does everyone who fasts under your supervision have blood work done prior to a fast and during the fast?
We do a very sophisticated blood work-up on almost every patient entering the Institute, and we do routine follow-up procedures on a weekly basis.
What about psychological considerations? At a Hygienic institution, do you want a patient's mental focus to have health as its priority?
That is very important. People who need to be catered to and pampered never learn the simplest elements of Hygiene. They mistakenly consider their own sensual excitement and experiences as central to well-being,
The body knows how to be well.
The body will heal if our mind allows the conditions for healing to occur and this they equate with health. Rather, true health is based on a foundation of genuine structural and functional soundness which is left unmoved by the stresses of life.
People have to come here with the conviction that this is what they want to do. They need to fully understand why they fast, why they eat the way they do, and why they live the lifestyle
of Natural Hygiene. To succeed they need to have a set of convictions that says, "We practice Hygiene in good times and bad times." It is very, very important to have that set of values in place.
Why is watching television frowned upon during fasting?
During a fast we are trying to teach people to conserve their energy and to avoid exhausting it. Because of all the things that are necessary for recovery, the conservation of energy is essential. All activities consume nerve energy. The goal is to devote all energy to the internal activity of the recovery process.
Television only provides an escape from oneself into a mindlessness. This is the characteristic feature of all addictive behavior and, as such, leads to pursuits which are momentarily gratifying, but never genuinely satisfying.
Television is extremely enervating. It is programmed to appeal to the primitive in us. Most commercials are an intellectual atrocity, not to mention that they are morally, spiritually, and mentally subverting. They are an assault on the mind and body through the optic and auditory pathways.
By utilizing a VCR, couldn't you do away with those enervating and irritating commercials and watch, for example, a beautiful movie with great music and wholesome values?
Constant ocular activity is extremely enervating. All you have to do is watch the ocular response in a person watching a television screen. Watch the eyeballs and their action during the constantly moving activity you see on the screen, and you will observe that there is unconscious eye activity which is stimulating and enervating.
What activities can people do that are consistent with the physiological rest people seek when they come to an institute such as yours?
Well, let's look at people who successfully recover. The people who are successful at recovering and staying well thereafter are those people who lie down and stay down except to get up to go to the bathroom two or three times a day They drink their distilled water, and they allow themselves to get well.
Every one of us has a body that knows how to be well. The body will heal if our mind will allow the conditions for healing to occur. This requires a mind which is both decisive and forgiving. Still, it must remain uncompromising on principles. It's that simple. It is really amazing when you finally comprehend the simplicity of healing. I call this truth "profound simplicity."
The body knows how to be well. It's totally dedicated to being well. The only reason it fails to be well is because we are constantly assaulting, insulting, and traumatizing it with all sorts of offensive and damaging habits, addictions and pursuits which interfere with recovery. We can observe this "profound simplicity" by simply standing by and watching the body mount multitudinous defensive and reparative activities with a precision that is awesome to observe. These healing activities are intelligently programmed to follow reliable and predictable consequences.
Can people read books or listen to music or the radio during a fast?
Yes, some people read and do these things. I am not going to so totally control a person's existence that he or she loses independence and autonomy I give people the opportunity to do things that are inoffensive to others. If they insist on doing things that are offensive to others, I very vigorously encourage them to leave.
There are certain rules that are in place for the welfare of everyone, such as going to bed at a certain hour, putting the lights out and being thoughtful and considerate. Everything we do is aimed at helping people get well. The rules are ones that all reasonable people can live by
Is Scott's Natural Health Institute open all year?
We're open all year except from Thanksgiving through January.
I assume that you still find your work personally and professionally very satisfying.
Absolutely I can't conceive of doing anything else.
And your wife hasn't divorced you yet, after all these years?
Not yet (laughter).That's the miracle of the ages, too. I truly have been blessed with loyal and devoted people, and most especially my wife, Thelma.
How many people would you say that you have fasted?
In the neighborhood of 20,000.
What is the longest fast you have ever supervised?
As one continuous water fast, it was 55 days. Many have fasted longer, but with brief interruptions with feeding.
For what kind of condition?
Paget's disease, of the breast, was the longest continuous fast.
And the oldest person you've ever fasted?
And the youngest?
Well, of course, you have to realize that newborns often fast the first day
I've seen a number of these, so fasting is pertinent to every age, appropriately applied, of course.
Do you customarily have children fast at the institute?
No, not customarily, but we do encourage children to fast when necessary, accompanied by a parent. Some of the outstanding patients in my memory have been children. In the very early days, there was one darling little girl here who fasted with us for asthma. She came from a wonderful family who trusted her to our care. She was fasted with her complete cooperation.
She would come to Thelma and me each evening and would climb up on my lap asking to be rocked to sleep. In a few minutes she would be sound asleep. Then Thelma would put her to bed. She was just an angel through the entire time of the fast. She never even whimpered once until the last day when she came in crying, "I'm hungry" Of course she was fed immediately, to her delight.
She was a real joy. We sent her back to her family having made a complete recovery. I thought she so clearly personified the tremendous benefits to a child raised in a loving family setting where good values are not only taught, but practiced as well. Breast-feeding by a devoted and healthfully-living mother was undoubtedly the cornerstone of that child's emotional, spiritual, and physical stability Recently, it was even more gratifying to see this same little girl, now an adult and mother herself, still diligent about health.
Is that part of the great satisfaction of your work bringing people through their health crises?
The uncompromising principles which I referred to pertain to the inflexible persuasion of Natural Hygienists that one will not change his attitude about the wisdom of LIFE in design knowing more about managing its own autonomy and well being than all the scientists of this world together.
Natural Hygiene people know with certainty that prescribed remedies only mask symptoms of disease while causes continue. The resulting consequences, hygienists believe, is that the acute defensive symptoms which the body uses to successfully repair damage then become weakened to chronic defensive action which is rarely adequate to affect repair. The result is called chronic disease. Progressively chronic disease moves into degeneration, mutation, and even cancer which is the final stage of suppressed defensive responses.
True, in life threatening emergencies, intervention becomes the best choice. But for daily living, continual dosing with toxic agents called medicine, even homeopathic or herbal, is only to frustrate and suppress our natural defenses.
Our natural defenses become intensely active when assaulted by causes. These defensive responses are always diagnosed as an attack by disease. In ancient times this was called an attack by the devil. In modern times, we changed the name to an attack by a virus. Both diagnoses remain the same mystical explanation for disease which totally fails to explain the genuine cause of disease. Since neither the devil nor the virus can be easily demonstrated, no one but a shaman dare refute this diagnosis.
Natural Hygienists clearly understand that symptoms never occur until the body is forced into the battle of defense and repair most usually due to self induced causes. Inflexible and irrefutable Laws of Nature clearly state that only causes produce effects. Obviously it follows, to remove effects we must remove causes.
Is it tougher to fast people today?
Probably only because we are dealing with tougher problems.
The quality of food as it is commercially available today has deteriorated extremely. The permeation of our food environment with chemicals for one thing is a major problem.
The gradual training of our culture to accept an infusion of female and cancer inducing hormones and antibiotics with agricultural chemicals, plus processing with chemicals is serious. If this is not a conspiracy, then it certainly has all the characteristics of a conspiracy to not only undermine the masculine strength of this nation, but to totally disarray the normal reproductive process by forcing little girls into early sexual maturity at ages 9 - 13 instead of the normal 16 - 18.
Genuinely knowledgeable people have no difficulty perceiving why breast and female cancers are epidemic today, and also why the average male sperm count has dropped by 50% since World War II. I shudder to think of the ultimate consequences of such DEHUMANIZING disease inducing chemicals and drugs which have become ubiquitous to our food and treating environment.
How many more years do you plan to continue?
Well, that's in the hands of God. This facility, this pursuit, this interest, this service has always been, I've felt, the provision of God himself in my life. It has been an inspiration of that type. Just as He's put me in this work and carried me through over the years, I'm sure when the time is right, He will show me the appropriate time to leave.