Alec Burton, D.O., D.C.
July 30, 1930 – March 21, 2016
On March 21, 2016, the NHA and the Natural Hygiene Movement, which we have led for the past 68 years, lost one of its greatest voices and leaders with the passing of the legendary Dr. Alec Burton. Dr. Burton first lectured at an NHA conference back in 1967 and very quickly assumed the leadership mantle of our movement previously held by the late Dr. Herbert Shelton.
Like Dr. Shelton, Dr. Burton was unwavering in his commitment to the basic principles of Natural Hygiene and could explain them with similar clarity and power. However, Dr. Burton took the teachings of Dr. Shelton a step further by insisting that there be a demonstrated scientific validity to all of its theories and practices, and when science was wanting, he would point that out with equal clarity.
Another quality Dr. Burton shared with Dr. Shelton, was the leadership he played in teaching and/or inspiring other Hygienic physicians. Where Dr. Shelton trained and inspired the likes of Drs. Benesh, Esser, Scott, Gross, Brosious, Sidhwa, and more, Dr. Burton did the same for an entire new generation of Hygienic physicians, including Drs. Goldhamer, Cridland, Cinque, Sabatino, and Fuhrman. Their enormous debt of gratitude is reflected in the many tributes reprinted below.
Finally, Dr. Burton was respected and revered by thousands of members of the NHA, who either regained their health under his care or were inspired both by his message and the sheer force of his extraordinarily rich personality. That appreciation is also reflected in many more sentiments. As evident from all of the tributes, Dr. Burton was truly a “man for all seasons” whose legacy will remain with us for years to come. The sympathy of the entire NHA family is extended to his wife and professional colleague, Dr. Nejla Burton. —Mark Huberman, NHA President
Nejla Burton’s Eulogy
My beloved soulmate Alec Burton passed away in my arms on Monday morning, March 21st, 2016. His life ended, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “Not with a bang but with a whimper.” I come here to laud him.
People who met Alec loved him: children as well as adults. When we met in 1970, there was an almost complete “interface” that we had found our intellectual best other half. Since then we have developed an unshakeable alliance and spent our lives together 24 hours a day, every day, on our work and play.
Who was Alec? Alec was an intellectual, scholar, writer, and researcher, with a brilliant mind and, above all, a visionary pioneer, and world-renowned practitioner and educator. He had a captivating personal presence, wit, gentleness, and kindness. His passion for excellent work, scientific endeavor, and philosophy was matched by his passion for life and the multitude of activities in which he excelled, including cycling, sailing, flying, music, cultural pursuits, and art.
With his extensive knowledge, he had an answer for almost everything, and if he did not find the answer immediately, he would say, “Let me give it some thought,” and would come back with an answer.
Between us we developed a worthwhile life by recognizing Socrates’ dictum, “An unexamined life is not worth living,” and living by being fully human. We experienced our life through our work, travelling the world with a constant thirst for more and more knowledge.
But Alec’s most fundamental qualities were his exceptional knowledge of Natural Hygiene, his writings, his care for humanity, and his devotion and compassion to the thousands of sick and broken people. His uncompromising honesty and integrity in his education of our patients, what they should do, and the necessary changes to get well, was evident to all. He was a man for all seasons. And so my dear brother, Edward, called him “Saint Alec.” He loved our families. His devotion and love to me has sustained me all of these years. He was worthy of my devotion and unlimited love.
Alec wanted me to continue our work, and so I will. But he would also say, “Don’t forget to live,” lieben und arbeiten, as Freud put it. And he wanted all humanity to follow our adage: Carpe Diem!
Alec! You have protected me from life’s misadventures, but alas you could not protect me from life’s ultimate misadventure! And, thus, we are here today, my darling. The world has lost you and we are all diminished.
I miss you every hour of every day. You have been part of my life for nearly half a century, and so I will live my life with you included in it. You will continue to live your life through my life.
Your legacy as a world-renowned pioneer, visionary practitioner, and educator restoring health to thousands of patients, will live on. You will remain an inspiration to all truth- seekers. But right now there is a flood of tears because of my unbearable sorrow.
Adieu, Alec! Adieu, mon amour. Adieu, my beloved, the love of my life.
Alan Goldhamer, D.C. (Santa Rosa, CA): Alec Burton was the most influential person in my professional life. His elucidation of the principles of Natural Hygiene was the inspiration for me to pursue a healthcare career. He and Nejla’s generosity in allowing me to come to Australia to complete an internship and train in the use of fasting allowed me to acquire the skills and confidence to open the TrueNorth Health Center over 30 years ago. He was a physician and philosopher with a keen wit and will be missed but not forgotten.
Ron Cridland, M.D. (Kelowna, British Columbia): I am very sad to hear of Dr. Burton’s passing. Alec was my most influential Natural Hygiene practitioner when I first became involved with what was then called “Natural Hygiene.”
In 1975 my mom was searching for answers to her health problems and discovered Natural Hygiene through the Canadian Natural Hygiene Society in Toronto. We read books by Shelton, Vetrano, Sidwa, Trop and others, and our whole family became vegetarian that year. I remember going to my first American Natural Hygiene Society conference in 1976, which I believe was in Bowling Green, Ohio. The lecturer that stood out the most to me was Dr. Alec Burton. He was smart, funny, serious, and knowledgeable, all in one package. I started university that fall and was determined to use this knowledge about health to help others. After learning that a number of the hygienic chiropractic and naturopathic practitioners were being charged with “practicing medicine without a license," I decided that a degree in medicine would give me the most protection to be able to practice the way I saw fit.
I had just completed my first year in medicine when I attended my next conference in 1979. I went to a practitioner meeting, and they were a bit suspicious of someone with a medical background; they told me to come back when I had my license to practice. I completed my residency in 1984 and went to the conference that summer. At a practitioner meeting Dr. Burton was the first one to offer me an internship at his clinic near Sydney, Australia. It was a dream come true. I had been hoping to learn from this man since I first heard him speak. Most of Hygiene made sense, but some of it didn’t. I had been dying to ask him his thoughts about a number of the things that puzzled me.
I did a six-month internship with him that winter. We had some great discussions about hygiene. He was also a philosopher. He had degrees in chiropractic from England and osteopathy from Australia. He was president of the Pacific Coast Osteopathic Society when we were in Australia. I learned some valuable things about osteopathy that I still apply in my medical practice today. Of course, the main experience I had was in fasting supervision. Dr. Alan Goldhamer had been Alec’s first intern the year before, and I was his second. Our practices and policies were both tremendously influenced by our time with Dr. Burton.
Not only was Alec an excellent physician and philosopher, he played the classical guitar beautifully and was an avid cyclist, sailor, and pilot. We went sailing on his catamaran almost every week. I was familiar with sailing dinghies and wind surfers, but had little experience with catamarans. Alec had a custom cruising catamaran built that he named “Endorfin,” after the hormone “endorphin” that is released during exercise and excitement. It was a fitting name for a boat owned by a sportsman and an expert in physiology. I sincerely regret not taking the time to visit Alec and Nejla again to take a cruise with them.
Dr. Alec Burton was not only a true gentleman and a scholar, he was a good friend, a tremendous mentor, an excellent physician, and one of the best spokesmen for natural health we ever had. He will be missed.
Ralph Cinque, D.C. (Buda, Texas): It is staggering to lose Alec Burton. Although we all know that everyone has to die, and the fight against death is one that everyone has to lose, it still seems like if anyone had the strength and vitality to beat it, it was him. He just didn't seem like the dying kind.
Alec Burton had a brilliant intellect, and I think it's fair to say that he had the keenest intellect of anyone who was involved in the Natural Hygiene movement. I think it was widely recognized, if not directly stated, that he was the sharpest knife in the drawer. He brought stature and prestige to the Natural Hygiene movement. He gave more than he got, by a long shot. And, he was highly revered.
I spent some months with Alec in Australia in 1989, and it was the same way there; he was highly revered. I met doctors there, of all stripes, who knew him, including medical doctors, and they all spoke of him in the highest, most respectful terms. His Arcadia Health Centre was like a beacon, or you might say a lighthouse, of health truth, and it drew people from all over the world. He conducted some very lengthy fasts there, which people undertook with confidence because they had confidence in him.
Alec had many interests, and he excelled at everything he pursued. We hear of people who live life on their own terms, but of no one was that more true than Alec Burton. Whether he was piloting a boat or a plane, you always knew you were in good hands—the best of hands—if they were Alec Burton's.
Alec Burton was a giant among us, and it was a privilege to know him. Right now, I am recalling the ending of the movie, El Cid, starring Charlton Heston. El Cid, the leader, had died, but the battle wasn't over. So, they propped his armored body on a horse so that he could lead the men on the next charge. Of course, that was fiction, but still, I can understand the feeling. Isn't that how we all feel about Alec Burton?
Frank Sabatino, D.C. (Lauderdale by the Sea, FL): When I read my emails on Easter Sunday morning, I was moved to stunned silence as I first learned about the death of Dr. Alec Burton. I had no idea how sick or injured Alec was, but I have always experienced and pictured him as a robust, larger-than-life person that could never die. I always felt and shared a special bond, friendship, and kinship with Alec and his wife, Dr. Nejla Burton. No matter how much time intervened between our social or professional meetings, like all special friendships, it always felt like no time had passed at all. My heart and condolences go out to Nejla in this time of grief and loss.
I met Alec over 40 years ago when I was a chiropractic student and fledgling Hygienic practitioner. When I first heard Alec speak at Hygienic conventions, I was blown away by his wealth of knowledge and his ability to articulate the philosophy of Natural Hygiene like no one else. After hearing him speak I got so much more turned on to Hygiene and I remember feeling that I wanted to be him. With his incredible sense of humor, suave demeanor, and of course that impeccable voice and English accent, I think Alec could have stood at a podium, read the phone book and made an audience swoon.
In all the years of knowing Alec I was always impressed by how gracious and generous he was with his time, experience and knowledge. Whether it was sharing some new jokes or engaging in deep conversations about problem cases, Hygienic philosophy or personal problems and concerns, he always made time for me and other practitioners. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of an icon like Alec Burton to benefit from his remarkable expertise and use his knowledge as a starting point for my own growth as a person and Hygienic physician.
Alec was a true renaissance man: a physician, scholar, philosopher, sailor, sportsman and an accomplished classical guitarist. He truly walked the talk of Hygienic living, working tirelessly to provide the highest quality fasting care for the people who were fortunate enough to experience his counsel, and balancing that work by playing just as hard sailing and travelling around the world with Nejla.
Simply put, the world has lost a great man and one of the most iconic, erudite philosophers, teachers and physicians of the Natural Hygiene movement. I have lost my favorite mentor and a very special friend. I will miss you Alec, I will miss you brother.
Joel Fuhrman, M.D. (Flemington, NJ): We were all friends with Alec in different ways. He touched all of our lives profoundly.
I met first met Alec Burton at a Natural Hygiene conference when I was about 20 years old, long before I decided to go to medical school. I thought he was the coolest teacher I ever met, and he spoke and looked like James Bond, and had a great sense of humor. He was always smiling, laughing, and telling jokes. I can even remember many of his jokes now. For example, like his patient that followed his instructions perfectly and gained weight. Finally Alec, exasperated, said to the guy, “Did you eat anything else,” and the man responded, “Of course, wasn’t I supposed to eat my old diet, too?”
I was not just impressed by his teachings, but also by his eagerness to be friendly and supportive, even when I was just a college student looking to learn whatever I could, and not certain that this was my career path. Alec certainly was a role model for me and played a role in my excitement about pursuing a career as a doctor.
Of course getting to know Alec and Nejla over the years continually demonstrated their warmth and desire to be of service to others. I went through some tough and sad times in my life, and they were always there to help me with supportive phone calls and sage advice, as well as offering their expertise and their home. They gave thousands of people the world over hope and confidence in their quest for better health. It is sad to hear about Alec’s bike accident a few years back and now his death, though we all know he left a legacy of goodwill, of logic, of passion, and of course health knowledge that he passed on to us of this generation and of generations to come.
Michael Klaper, M.D. (Santa Rosa, CA): It is with great sadness that I read of the recent passing of Dr. Alec Burton.
As I entered the field of nutritional medicine over thirty 30 ago, I was desperately seeking validation from fellow medical professionals that plant-based nutrition was, indeed, a sound, safe and effective strategy to recommend to my patients with degenerative diseases, like clogged arteries, diabetes and auto-immune diseases. It was then that I first encountered Dr. Alec Burton, with his calm, confident, British countenance assuring me that not only was plant-based nutrition the key to disease-reversal and health maintenance, but that the ancient practice of water fasting, of which he was already a master, was an exceptionally powerful adjunct to the practitioner’s armamentarium.
Over the years, on the “lecture trail” I would frequently cross paths with Alec and his wonderful wife, Nejla, herself a competent practitioner of natural medicine, and I never failed to not only learn more about nutritional medicine, but bask in the glow of Alec’s genuinely warm and loving persona. At these meetings, Alec and Nejla inevitably invited me to come and visit them at their home/clinic in Arcadia (near Sydney, Australia) and in 2009, I had the opportunity to do that.
Not only did Alec and Nejla open their home and hearts to me on that visit, but, as a fellow cyclist, I was delighted to accept Alec’s invitation to ride the bike trails around Sydney as he shared with me his delight in his home city and his clinical work. My visit with them was topped off by fulfilling a long-held dream of mine: seeing a play at the famed Sydney Opera House. Alec had graciously (and magically) made three tickets appear at the last moment, and I will always treasure the rich moments that filled that magical visit with Alec and Nejla.
Alec’s writing and teachings about therapeutic water fasting continue to influence me to this day as I work at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California. Water fasting is often a keystone of a participant’s stay at the Center, providing the needed “kickstart” to advance them along on their journey toward better health; of course, to be promoted and sustained by a whole-food, plant-based diet following the fast. The clinic director of TrueNorth, and my mentor when it comes to fasting, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, openly acknowledges the training and inspiration he received from Dr. Burton while he was studying with him in Australia, and, in that way, Dr. Burton’s knowledge and guidance continue to benefit me and my patients to this day.
The world of natural healing—and, one could argue the world in general—is far richer for the presence, work, and teachings of Dr. Alec Burton. I am proud to have counted him among my best professional teachers and my dearest of friends, and this doctor and student of healing (for I am both) will miss him greatly.
Doug Evans, D.O. (Australia): Farewell Alec Burton. It is with great sadness I find myself writing this farewell. I know of no other health practitioner and educator who could match Alec’s depth of knowledge and insight. He had a profound impact on many aspects of my life. He was influential in my understanding of health and disease, the maintaining and regaining of optimal health, my philosophy of living, and indeed in the very direction of my life. Most importantly he and his wife Nejla trained me in the process of health recovery, specifically in regard to fasting.
I remember the day I met Alec as a third-year osteopathic student, some 35 years ago. He was the newly appointed head of the osteopathic faculty, smartly dressed in full suit and brogues, accompanied by his attenuated English/Manchester accent. His appearance was nearly as impressive as the way in which with tact, intelligence and humor he dealt with that group of disgruntled students. Those qualities defined his interactions with all the students in his charge. At that time Alec introduced me to another influential practitioner, a young doctor from the U.S., John McDougall, to whom he generously imparted many of his health insights.
A couple of years later I had the further fortune to do an internship with, and subsequently work for, Alec and Nejla at Arcadia Health Centre. My eight years at Arcadia gave me the most valuable experience of my professional life. While working there I witnessed many and varied remarkable recoveries.
As well as being an accomplished competitive cyclist, Alec was an enthusiastic sailor, and I am pleased to have shared a few sails with him. He had a great sense of humor and a talent for telling a story or a joke, and for acting out a prank. Here is an example: It was about noon on a warm summer’s day, and most of the patients were gathered about the pool. I was taking someone’s blood pressure, and Alec in his suit and white coat was attentively enquiring after each patient. He then suddenly and deliberately turned and walked straight into the deep end of the pool, disappeared to the bottom and then popped up, got out and laughed his head off. Everyone was in stitches. That’s how I will remember him. Thank you, Alec.
Greg Fitzgerald, D.C. (Australia): I was truly blessed to have Alec as my osteopathic lecturer at college over 35 years ago. From the first lecture, his knowledge, wisdom, humor and erudition impressed me, as it did so many others. Invited to attend his center as a student observer in those early years, I was struck by the fact that so many people with so many serious problems found often complete recovery by “doing nothing, intelligently.”
Thus began my interest, involvement, and commitment to Natural Hygiene, and for that blessing I thank Dr Burton.
Because I conducted an out-patient clinic and Alec had in-patient, live-in premises, I referred literally hundreds of patients to his Arcadia Health Centre, where they would receive wonderful Hygienic care from both himself and his wife Nejla. This care was unique in Sydney, if not Australia. It involved, commonly, fasting and a complete re-education in the patients’ mode of living. They were taught the unique and timeless principles of Natural Hygiene so that they would understand not only the need for behavioral change, but also paradigm change.
Patients with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, intractable migraines, diabetes and neuralgia, to name but a few, were all walking back to my clinic with glowing smiles, jubilant they had been exposed to such a simple but profoundly effective health-care system. Many completely reversed their conditions while others experienced considerable improvement.
Numerous times we spoke at each other’s seminars here in Sydney, where we would spread the word about the truths of Natural Hygiene.
Alec was loved by all. Not only was he a giant in the Hygienic movement, he also took an active interest in sailing (his boat was called “endorphin”), bike riding (he owned over 20 push bikes), flying, history, music, architecture, philosophy, geography and travelling. He cared deeply not only for his patients, but for the entire human race. He was a true humanitarian. He cared, loved, learned, shared, laughed and truly lived. He loved the truth and was courageous till the end in his defense of it.
His passing has left a huge void which will be sadly felt by many around the world.
I spoke with Alec four weeks ago and his words summed up his life’s philosophy: “Never stop learning, but also never forget how to live. Our health is the foundation upon which we truly live.” You have lived an extraordinary life sweet friend.
Keki Sidhwa, N.D., D.O. (England): Thank you for letting me know about the sad passing away of my bosom friend and colleague, Alec Burton. As you know, Alec and I both studied at the British College of Naturopathy & Osteopathy at the same time and were very close friends. Alec, myself and George Hall were the Founders of the British Natural Hygiene Society, and for the first year, George Hall edited the magazine The Hygienist. Alec then made the decision to move to Australia and George decided not to continue with The Hygienist, so I edited the magazine for the next 55 years. All those who knew Alec will miss him dearly, and so will I.
Stephan Esser, M.D. (Ponte Verde Beach, FL): Dr Burton epitomized what it meant to be a gentleman and a hygienic doctor. His passion for teaching and caring for others was exemplary and his own "joie de vivre" was palpable. May we all continue to be inspired to live our best and healthiest lives by his example.
T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. (Ithaca, NY): I met Alec for the first time around 1991. He and some others interviewed me for a personal problem that I was having with my speech that I thought was related to a very toxic chemical I had isolated over 25 years before when I was at MIT. A couple years later its chemical structure was elucidated, and it proved to be dioxin.
Alec and his friends (especially Alan Goldhamer, whose clinic I subsequently visited several times) were most helpful; so much so that I consider that occasion to have been one of the most important of my life, both personally and professionally. I then invited Alec and Nejla to come to Cornell so that Alec could lecture to my class—another highlight that informed us of the value and rewards of thinking outside the box, something we don’t do very well in academia.
So, although I regret his passing, I want all to know, especially Nejla, that Alec Burton was a very special person in my life.
Paul Goldberg, D.C. (Kennesaw, GA): Another of the modern pioneers in Natural Hygiene and a great man passes on.
I communicated with Alec via the mail between Australia and the United States during the 1980s before I met him in person in the mid-1990s. Teaching chiropractic students about health from a Hygienic perspective, as well as developing a Hygienically oriented practice as I was at that time, is a steep challenge, particularly with so few people available to offer one guidance. Dr. Burton, however, did just that for me. He went out of this way to encourage me, writing back and forth via snail mail (prior to the internet being available) sharing with me his educational materials and ideas for teaching others the principles and philosophy of Natural Hygiene as he had organized them. His practical and moral support meant much to me, and he was a factor in the development of both my teaching career and my career as a practitioner.
My interactions with him, including long conversations I had with him at NHA conferences, the last being in 2011 when we were both speakers at the annual NHA/ANHS Conference in Florida, were more than simply informative or academic. Alec was also an entertaining and charming person who warmed the entire room around him.
I share with all of you, Nejla, and the entire Hygienic community sadness in Alec's passing but also celebration in a life well lived.
Steve Nelson, D.C. (St. Petersburg, FL): Sorry to hear of Alec's passing recently. I will always remember his gentle but direct discussions on health topics, which were always crystal clear and made to sound obvious. His presence and inspiration touched all he met. We will miss him.
Virginia Vetrano, D.C., Tosca Haag, M.D., Greg Haag, M.D.: Shock turned to sadness when we three Texas Natural Hygiene doctors learned that Dr. Alec Burton had passed. This feels like it’s getting too close to home, as Dr. Burton was just a few years younger than my mother, Dr. Virginia Vetrano. I personally remember the exhilaration we Hygiene kids had those first years in the early 1960s when he showed up at the American Natural Hygiene Society’s conventions with his young adult orphan delegates from Australia. And I remember him coming to Dr. Shelton's Health School after the conventions to spend a day or two talking to Dr. Shelton for hours on end. Mom, Greg and I clearly remember how we called him several times for guidance and support throughout my long and difficult labor with our first child. The miles didn't separate the common thread of Natural Hygiene we all shared.
Dr. Alec Burton was a gentle man, a wonderful teacher, a great Natural Hygiene doctor, who lived life to its fullest, and was loved my many!
Jim Lennon (NHA Executive Director 1986–2000, Tampa, FL): The passing of Dr. Alec Burton is a tremendous loss. His long and well-lived life serves as an example and as inspiration for everyone dedicated to the great quest of "health for all." Dr. Burton devoted his life to seeking the truth about health and healing, learning how to practice it in his own life, and tirelessly sharing what he learned with others.
Dr. Burton was an invaluable resource to his patients, whose lives he enhanced and frequently saved. He also helped educate and motivate tens of thousands of people around the world through his lectures, radio and television appearances, writing, and audio recordings. He was a wonderful colleague and mentor to those of us fortunate enough to know him. He generously shared his camaraderie, wisdom, knowledge, experience, and tremendous love of life with us.
All of the hygienic physicians from the 1830s to the present have made important contributions. Dr. Burton stands as a giant among them because, while being inspired by the philosophies and individual clinical experiences of those who came before him, he insisted on establishing a comprehensive scientific framework upon which hygienic physicians could base their research and practices. The wisdom of this approach is manifest in the extraordinary work being done by the current generation of doctors, many of whom have completed advanced training in their fields and are conducting groundbreaking research in health, recovery, longevity, and water-only fasting.
My deepest sympathy goes out to Dr. Burton's wife and colleague, Dr. Nejla Burton, who herself has made invaluable contributions while working alongside her beloved Alec as they endeavored to make the world a better place for all of us.
Jerry Deutsch (NHA Past-President 2006–2012): Alec was a great inspiration to me, and he and Nejla were wonderful hosts the times I've visited their center in Australia. He spoke the truth as he knew it, with levity and clarity, and was one our best teachers ever.
Let's all take time to remember Alec Burton and his message, and live as he taught for so many years. My condolences to all.
Mamiko Matsuda, Ph.D. (Houston, TX): I received this very sad news during my seminars on Natural Hygiene in Japan on March 26th. I just couldn't believe this sad news sent by Mark.
It was 23 years ago when I first met Dr. Burton at the Natural Hygiene Conference held in San Diego in 1993. It was my thrilling moment to meet and speak with him directly at that time, because I had been reading his writings on the philosophy of classic Natural Hygiene for a couple of years prior. Ever since, I have learned a lot from him at the Natural Hygiene conferences. He was one of the most brilliant men who had a lot of knowledge on classic Natural Hygiene concept. It is very sad to accept his death, but I really appreciate Dr. Burton, who shared his treasures of knowledge with us. I believe it is our responsibility to continue sharing what we have learned from Dr. Burton with many health seekers around the world. It is very sad that we will no longer see his smiling face; but I really appreciate him. Thank you Dr. Burton, and please rest in peace with God.
Chef John Nowakowski (NHA Board Member, Davie, FL): I had only known the Burtons for about 17 years, which is a far cry from what other hygienists could claim. Alec had a dapper, charming way of explaining the benefits of Natural Hygiene and fasting. He made it simple for us "lay folks" to understand. Then he hit a home run with Nejla, his ever-smiling, cordial, knowledgeable and talented piano-playing life mate to complement him. When the Regency Spa hosted the annual summer ANHS convention, I remember the Burtons arriving jet-lagged from the long flight from Australia. We were so honored to host them. Alec Burton had a way about him that warmed everyone. We are a better people because of his work.
Joy Gross (NHA Board Member, Rhinebeck, NY): There are so many things I remember about Alec. He was certainly 100 percent educated and knowledgeable in the science and principles of Natural Hygiene. In addition to sharing meals and lectures at NH conferences through the years, I enjoyed get-togethers with him and Nejla in New York City, Florida, Toronto, and other venues. I treasure those memories.
Roz Reynolds (NHA Board Member, Sarasota, FL): His knowledge and sensitivity to people was so touching.
Jean and Brad Oswald (NHA Life Members, Peawaukee, WI): Dr. Burton told us that he held Dr. Shelton as his foremost mentor in studying the truth about health, disease and healing. While living in England, Dr. Burton said he was also influenced by Dr. Keki Sidhwa and Dr. George Hall. In l959, the three of them together cofounded the British Natural Hygiene Society before Dr. Burton moved to Australia. Thereafter, in the early 1960s, he single-handedly spread the message of “health by healthful living” to the people of Australia.
We will always remember Dr. Alec Burton as one of the most eloquent, knowledgeable, and humorous Hygienic Speakers. He will be greatly missed.
Helen Lawrenson (England): He will be missed by so many. I was lucky enough to hear both Alec and Nejla give presentations at Keki’s UK conferences in both London and Newark, and was truly inspired by them both. With very best wishes to you, and I do hope you are well.
Lily and Ivo Kalina (Australia): It is more than half a century ago when I had my first consultation with Alec. It took place in Pymble and soon after I started my first fast at Kawana, now Arcadia Health Centre. Fasting and non-medical treatment was totally unknown to me and my family. Alec was in real shock to find me in such dreadful condition, both mental and physical. Alec patiently explained to me the benefits and history of fasting, and also about Natural Hygiene. I was given Dr. Shelton's book to study and also other hygienic literature to read.
Over the many years I fasted, several times (21 and 18 days and several short ones) as was required, Alec was the most knowledgeable, caring and devoted person I have met. We had the pleasure and privilege to attend Nejla and Alec's wedding, participated in seminars, and also teamed up with the Burtons at a convention in the U.S. Nejla's piano recitals were a real treat to music lovers. Alec saved my life, and thanks to him I am now 94 years of age and with my husband Ivo (95) we are still in our home and running a household. Thank you Alec. We will never forget you and what you taught us.
David and Irene Peters (Australia): We were so sad to hear of Alec’s passing. Our family's health and lifestyle have been based on his teachings. He had such an influence on our lives, and our healthy children are testament to his teaching and knowledge in Natural Hygiene.
During 1988, I (Irene) spent six weeks at Arcadia under Alec's care. Conventional medicine had put my symptoms in the “too hard” basket, and so I visited Arcadia, somewhat reluctantly. Alec cared for me like I had never been cared for before by a health professional. Every day he was attentive, caring and thorough with his observations of my progress. After 21 days of fasting, 5 days on only juice, 4 days on fruit, and then being eased onto salad and minimally cooked foods, my symptoms had completely disappeared. I owe my life to Alec and his knowledge, compassion, and dedication.
As a family, we hope that Alec Burton’s legacy lives on with others who have the same beliefs and passion for health as he does.
Rest peacefully, Alec. You will be greatly missed but not forgotten.
Our sincere condolences to Nejla and family.
Jim and Elizabeth Lanham (Australia): We are very saddened at this incredible Hygiene movement both here in Australia and internationally. I first met Alec in 1965 when I was 17. Jim who was involved in the Australian Hygiene Society took me to lectures at Alec’s home in Prymble on Sydney’s north shore. When he and Nejla moved to Arcadia, we would travel down from the north coast to hear talks at the health center and have the fabulous lunch which was already provided. They were a dynamic duo and helped many hundreds of people regain their health.
Marijke Dicke (NSW, Australia): I first met Dr. Burton in the early 60s as a teenager, when immersed in Szekeley, Gurdjieff, Gibran and Brunton. I sought, in my insatiable quest for knowledge, the further experience of fasting at Alec's health retreat in Pymble, a lovely rambling house in manicured English gardens. We had some lively discussions on philosophy, and Alec proved a wonderful teacher and mentor during that initial short seven-day fast. And what an amazing experience it was, that first fast! Oh, the excitement, the joy, the terror of being shown now, without any doubt, that the key to good health lay in one's own hands, and that all excuses for aught else must be waived. These feelings of responsibility to self were as overwhelming then as they still are, for me, almost 55 years further on.
I was honoured to be invited to his wedding and later reception at Arcadia, where I met his lovely wife Nejla. Many a time have I fasted under Dr. Burton's supervision, and later on at Hygeia, and many a time have I been privileged to learn from his vast experience as Hygienist, either during my stays there or at his monthly Talks at Arcadia. I have referred for information, to his online articles over the years, whenever I sought health guidance. Alec had a great sense of humour, loved guitar playing, bicycling, and keeping up to date with his wide range of reading matter, always learning, always listening and, above all, he was ever meticulously courteous, caring and thoughtful in his handling of patients.
It is said that there are those by whom in life we pass, merely, as ships in the night but parallel. I believe, to Alec’s truly steered course, no matter how many the temporary deviations, the tiller of every seeker after Truth in Health, must inevitably turn. He personified all three characteristics necessary to be a great Healer: intelligence, experience, and integrity. In today's world, such characteristics are rare indeed, either in friends, leaders or healers. I shall miss him dearly. Thank you Alec.