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The Budwig Protocol

A holistic approach to health.

The wisdom of the protocol is increasingly supported by modern  scientific research; regularly news items and internet sites declare as new discoveries what Dr Johanna Budwig was recommending to her patients 70 years ago.

Dr Johanna Budwig looked after the whole patient, including focus on the environmental and emotional/spiritual side, which includes improving mood, letting go of bad thoughts and replacing them with positive thinking.  There is a lot of wisdom in the soft, non-medical, non-dietary aspects of the protocol.  They may seem a bit airy-fairy but have been known for ever to be an important part of helping sick people regain their health and strength.  Modern scientific research has been able to show some reasons why they work but there is probably even more going on that we haven’t yet understood scientifically .

Freedom from Stress. EFT and Emotional Healing

Stress can be mental and / or physical: both adversely affect the immune system which blocks healing.

Oil packs, massage and enemas are physical approaches that can help relieve stress.

EFT (tapping) is a technique that balances energies, helps control pain and can be used with the Budwig protocol.

Meditation has been shown to have a positive effect for many people and professional therapy can help enormously.

Emotional stress  from loss, resentment and fear also needs to  resolved. Often help is need to help with emotional healing. Don’t be afraid to work on it and seek support it.

Fresh Air,  Gentle Exercise, Sunlight and Vitamin D


This is very important and Johanna Budwig recommended gentle walks and gentle housework but nothing over-energetic which would  stress the body.  Strenuous exercise and yoga were specifically advised against. Gentle walks, especially outside in the fresh air and sunshine.  Household chores are one type of exercise Dr Budwig recommended.


Going out into the sun is part of the protocol. This does not mean doing the lobster bit on the  sun-lounger but sensibly exposing the skin to absorb enough of the energy of the suns rays to do good but not so much as would do harm.  It means going outside wearing short sleeves, not  using sun-block but rationing the sun so it does good but not so long that it burns: this may mean going out a little earlier or later than the hottest part of the day in summer.  Even in winter there is some energy in the sun and you should go out and feel it on your face and hands; just being outside seeing sunshine has some benefit.

Vitamin D

The sun is our main source of vitamin D – our skin converts the sun’s rays into vitamin D3 – which is considered by many to be almost  a hormone – the other source is animal fats such as butter and liver which are not part of the Budwig Diet.  Around the equator humans get plenty of vitamin D from sunshine, its rays in the UK are weaker which leaves us short of omega-3.  It has been shown that this contributes to people in the UK being more prone to diseases such as heart disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis whereas in sunnier parts of the world these diseases are rare.

Those from Asian or African races  with dark skins are partially shielded from the benefits of sunlight which is weaker in the UK.  So if have a dark skin you will  need to get more exposure to sunlight  or even consider supplements when living in the UK.

The significance of vitamin D in health and fighting cancer is why sunbathing, gently, is an important part of the Budwig protocol.    The shortage of sun is especially during winter, especially after the rotten summers we’ve been getting in the UK recently, is leaving people very short of vitamin D.  This is why many choose to take vitamin D3, which is one of the few accepted exceptions to the no vitamin, no supplements rule on the Budwig Diet, but then vitamin D3 is more like a hormone than a vitamin.  Taking vitamin D3 isn’t an alternative to going out in the sun,  it is simply a way of increasing the levels in the body to healthy levels when clothes and weather leave us short.

More than just vitamin D: we absorb the sun’s energy

It is also possible that energy from the sun is beneficially used directly by the body: “Conversion [of sunlight] to metabolic energy (i.e. we may “ingest” energy directly from the sun, like plants do)”  which helps to explain why we can feel so much better in sunny weather. See Dr Mercola’s article for more information. 

Dr Mercola’s article on Carole Baggerly’s research into vitamin D and its effect on cancer, including breast cancer is well worth reading.

Dr George Jelinek’s website  Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis and his  book about also go into the significance  of vitamin D for people living in our latitude where we don’t get enough sunshine for for real health and has relevance for people fighting cancer and other diseases.  His book is interesting also for its chapters on the importance of the “spiritual” side of fighting serious disease.

Rest and Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important. so is rest, having a lie down when you feel you want it.  If you don’t sleep well there are many effective things you can do to improve your sleep, doing something that makes just a small improvement can help your energy levels and feeling of wellbeing the next day.

Flax draws the energy of the sun into the body through diet but sunbathing has several direct benefits for healing the body
Flax draws the energy of the sun into the body through diet but sunbathing has several direct benefits for healing the body

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" – Hippocrates