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Origin of the word "macrobiotic”

Updated on March 29, 2011

Christophe Wilhelm Von Hufeland in 1876 in Germany, published the first edition of the work, divided into two parts theory and application of "Macrobiotics or art to prolong the lives of men." He was the Hippocratic, and therapeutically eclectic, personal physician to Goethe, in the thought of which are the roots of Steiner Anthroposophical conception. It was the first time after many centuries, the word macrobiotics (which derives from the greek and means "long life") was used in a treaty. Before him, the father of Western medicine, Hippocrates, had used about 2400 years ago, in his "Air, water and places", but this old pioneer of Western medicine, unlike the vast majority of its modern successors, in works "Food" and "Medicine and Traditions," always maintained the following basic concepts:

· Let your food be your medicine major.

· The bread must be developed with seeds that have characteristics (now fully defined and biological) that could keep us away from diseases.

· To eat a balanced and healthy living must eat mainly cereals (Hippocrates showed the most widespread in Greece at the time, wheat, barley and oats).

Rudolf Steiner, a young man in charge of ordering the complete works of Goethe, he decides to continue the study of the nature of these undertaken, dealing among other areas, hygiene and therefore power. Hygiene, which for many means to disinfect and sterilize only: it is rather more complex word, which derives from the ancient greek hyghieia (health) + techne (art), and more properly means "art of health." And just like that hygiene was understood by doctors at a time, the practice for their pazioenti; anthroposophy today to talk about this art using a significant word: salutogenesis, in contrast to the pathogenesis, it seems that the only concern of many contemporary practitioners. Do not forget that in ancient China, the doctor was paid only when his health in the client general advice and payments were stopped when they got sick and had to be taken care of. Steiner was very busy supply is philosophically and scientifically, finding a great follower of his thinking in a student, the doctor Rudolf Hauschka; line Goethe, Steiner, Hauschka, in the field of nutrition and salutogenesis, is mentioned as "the Waldorf school. "


It is therefore no doubt the primary concern of Steiner, ampliatore prosecutor and the thought of which even von Goethe Hufeland was impregnated into the practices and spiritual pulse of life, as well as material, which would allow human beings to live longer long time, but especially in a healthy and not sick and artificial. Udo Renzenbink, in his "Science and Spiritual Power" says: "Rudolf Steiner E. Pfeiffer turned to the question 'Why, despite its large number of teachings, the spiritual impulse, especially the way of inner discipline are so little effective, and can detect those who are working so few manifestations of spiritual experiences? How come most of all, despite the theoretical study, the will to action is so weak? ' Rudolf Steiner's answer was this: It's a power problem. "

Other thinkers, poets and philosophers are interested in Western macrobiotic Von Hufeland, intended mostly as a series of practices and measures of lifestyle than as a coding specialist for what and how to eat normally. Among them, besides Giacomo Leopardi, whose conclusions were reported to useless love of a long life if it is unhappy, figure Immanuel Kant, one of the fathers of our thinking. Kant was 74 years old and is already. Concerned about his health, reads the book of Von Hufeland and was impressed. He decides to write him and send him a letter, which will be followed in response to unconditional approval to the ideas of the great doctor of Goethe.

Advocates and confirms the importance of defense as a dietary regime of personal life. Kant goes so far as to incorporate the letters sent by a book written specifically (this is the last job of the philosopher who has been published): "The conflict of the faculties," a rather intimate book in which his detractors saw an attempt to avoid old age, and then the first signs of senility. These critics obviously could not, and can not conceive that anyone involved in philosophy can also come to understand the importance of food and lifestyle as founders of a more balanced existence. Here Kant, a thinker considered among the most abstract - as stated by the philosopher François Jullien and sinologist - suddenly discovers another possible way of thought, another branch, the same as the ancient Chinese thought, for its part, puts in bright light.


Here Kant takes as its theme to reflect the extent of sleep, mood and food: the "nourishing life" (yang sheng ) enhancing its vitality and well-known in China for a time as one full of experience. That ancient people, in fact, did not know the split between body and soul / spirit, including the proper sense and figured that the word "nurture". A strict distinction, however, well known in Western culture, particularly among philosophers, psychologists and psychoanalysts, when they separate the somatic level by the psychic and mental.

The first theoretical eastern naturist who has worked on since, only then, would be called "macrobiotics" is a Japanese name Ekken Kaibara (1630 - 1716). The Japanese are the people that most of the Chinese, was concerned to preserve and conserve the ancient wisdom traditions of China can be seen, to get an idea, what happens in the field of martial arts were born on that country and then grown in Japan. And in fact, is that China can be traced in the most archaic rules of "long life". The ancient "Book of Changes I Ching, in fact, n ° 27 nell'esagramma food, urges us to pay attention to what he eats and what is fed, so the noble man is judicious and measured in what you eat and drink (the food that comes in and feeds us) and is cautious in pronouncing words (the words that come out and feed others): health depends on the food we eat and the lifestyle that we practice.

The Japanese people until the middle of the nineteenth century adopted a costume similar to that of the food macrobiotic: dairy products were unknown and the animals were used for transportation and for farm work, not for their meat. The consumption of fish, vegetables, ground and sea vegetables (seaweed), was with the grain (mainly rice) on ordinary food. Until the Japanese government in 1883 withdrew official support for the ancestral natural medicine, embracing and institutionalizing Western medicine was introduced into this country by German physicians-surgeons in 1871. Kaibara the age of 83 he wrote "Secrets of a healthy Japanese," a book immediately translated into English and circulated in Europe. According to scholars, the medical Goethe, Von Hufeland, understand and appreciate the ideas of Kaibara and he sees himself translated into Japanese, Chinese, Russian and his seminal work on macrobiotics. So the two great philosophical and scientific works on nutrition and the practice of long life, the eastern and western parts of Kaibara Von Hufeland spread overseas crossing.

Another Japanese, naturist and former curator of the Japanese army doctor in 1888, still twenty-eight, after a rather violent kidney disease, develop a diet and experiments on himself to cure his illness. It's called Sagen Ishizuka. He is in his heart that Von Hufeland Kaibara, who read and studied a lot. So to heal, remove the meat and dairy, feeding mainly of brown rice, miso, daikon, tofu and other legumes, vegetables and salads, dried fruits, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, alkalizing teas, etc. . This will recover and heal completely. He studied anthropology and chemistry and therefore also published in English, before a "diet-chemical theory of longevity", and then, a practical guide that will be published 23 times dietary making it famous far beyond the borders of his country.

Another Japanese Sakurazawa Nyota was born in Kyoto in 1893. Fell ill at a young age and intestinal pulmonary tuberculosis, a disease that has decimated much of his family: his mother and sisters, and is declared incurable by mainstream medicine. Ishizuka reads the book, to Kyoto in 1913 and came into contact with him about becoming his pupil and then recognizing him as his mentor. Sakurazawa immediately puts in place the dietary principles theorized by her guardian, healing completely. For this reason he decided to take initiatives and write books with the intention of spreading the "good news" that food is medicine! He decides to go for the world to tell his experience in Europe When it takes the name of George Ohsawa and finally begins to restore the word "macrobiotics" the sense that in the West had lost the time of von Hufeland, deepening, in terms philosophical and scientific, the care of food and cooking.

Even coming to study in the cemeteries, authorized by the relatives of the deceased, the ashes of people live longer to confirm that they prevail in the alkaline elements on the acid and thus began the great crusade macrobiotics to "change the ground", starting from the blood against excess acidity in the body, safe basis of disease.



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