Skip to content
Mary Gove Nichols
December 29, 2021
Mary Gove Nichols


Mary Gove Nichols was one of the most influential women in America. She was a radical social reformer and a pioneering feminist who promoted good health through Graham’s principles and healing through Hydropathy.

After hearing Sylvester Graham’s lecture on his crusade for health, Mary instantly began following his lifestyle. Grahamites, as they were called, limited their diets, had strict mealtimes, avoided meat, spices, and condiments, abstained from tea, coffee, or alcohol, breathed fresh air, and bathed regularly.

Mary and Thomas Low Nichols founded the American Hydropathic Institute to teach the principles of water therapy and Graham’s lifestyle. Men AND women were equally accepted and, upon graduation, awarded a medical degree. The American Hydropathic Institute was one of the first programs in the country to award a medical degree to women.

Mary was part of the beginning of the Hygienic movement, which became the foundation of the National Health Association. 


“Women have acted for so long and have little idea of independent action. The public puts its mold upon us, and we come out as nearly alike as peas. My remedy for all this slavery of women is for her to begin to judge and act for herself. She should not be the victim of man or false public opinion.”

From The Greatest Health Discovery. Graham, S., Trall. R., Shelton, H.
Welcome to the new home of the National Health Association!
If you are an existing member, you will need to reset your password in order to log in and take advantage of all the great benefits being a member provides—which now includes the ability to update your own contact information (address, phone number, email, upload a picture and much more). Please start by clicking the Register/Log In button and follow the instructions on that page. Once your password is reset, you will use your email address as your username. You no longer have or need a Member Number. Please contact us if you have questions—and thanks for your support!