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Author: Keith Pearce
Title: Emotions and Health

The Kingston Clinic in post-war Edinburgh was a hotbed of activity. The naturopathic work and training offered by J.C. Thomson was centred here. Thomson's Kingston Nature Cure was thriving and self-confident, treating patients, training a new generation of practitioners, publishing its message....

Much of the work centred on JC himself, the founder and inspirer. It was also a family 'business' with many of the benefits and disadvantages that come with that.

One significant benefit was that Jessie, JC's wife and the mother of his three children (Leslie, Hazel and Joyce) brought her female energies to bear on aspects of the work. For the moment I will confine my interest in this to the publications. Several Kingston clinic publications from this period bear her name including some on food and some on children and one on emotions.

First appearing in 1952, Jessie Thomson's pamphlet 'Your health and your emotions' is remarkable not only for what it says but for how little it seems to have penetrated the core of Nature Cure practice.

In essence she says bodily sickness is almost always emotionally based. Fear and anxiety underlie most of our ailments. Chronic ill-health in particular she identifies as the result of ongoing anxiety which influences the digestive system and thus the whole metabolisms. Also 'every passing mood of pleasure or resentment is registered in a relaxation or constriction of the blood vessels', thus disturbed emotions leads to high blood pressure.

She gives more detailed attention to the bodily effects of despondency, gloom, jealousy and other emotions, she notes the interactions of emotions with nutrition with special focus on children and home-life including mealtimes. She is very straightforward and down-to-earth. A little Puritanism peeks through at times but on the whole she writes plainly and sensibly without frills or spin. And the message is so basic, so simple, so true it could easily be overlooked.

The sad thing is it has been overlooked. There is little evidence in JC's own writing or in the training programmes of the time or since, or in the practices of Nature Cure practitioners that Jessie Thomson's simple fundamental statement has been taken into the hearts and minds of her heirs. Where is the emotional awareness module in the training programme? Where is the emotional competence in the practitioners? What attention has been give to listening, hearing, accepting the emotions of practitioners in training as a model for later practice? What did JC do with his emotions? What kind of a model was that and to what extent has that been the model for subsequent generations of Nature Cure practitioners?