Chapter I.-Toxemia, the Efficient (First) Cause of All Disease
Chapter II.-Causes of Constipation
Chapter IV.-Constipation as Found in Various Derangements
Chapter V.-A Few Personalities
CAUSES OF CONSTIPATION
IT should be generally understood that there are several
types of constipation coming under the head of lost functioning of the bowels. One
is where there is a movement daily, leaving a full colon, the movement being from
the rectum; a type where there can be no movement without forcing measures; and a
type marked by periodic attacks of diarrhea. Catarrh is found in all types, and mucus
can be found in the stools. Constipation is always accompanied by proctitis or colitis,
if indeed it is not the exciting cause. In all long-standing cases there is a gastro-intestinal
catarrh, and this should be looked upon as the genesis of most of man's discomforts.
The organic derangements that must develop sooner or later
as sequels of constipation are chronic kidney, heart and lung diseases, also gout
When constipation is developed, adding toxemia to toxemia,
the victim is in line for any disease his heredity, occupation and environment favor.
Constipation, like all other so-called diseases, is an affection--a
symptom--not a disease; hence, whatever the cause of perverted health--perverted
secretions and excretions--it must be sought out and removed. Where enervation and
toxemia are established, there is always a lowering of all organic functioning. Constipation
means lowered bowel functioning--lack of secretions and excretionsand to restore
lost tone to the bowels, the nervous system must be brought back to the normal. To
cure constipation then means to restore the nervous system and blood to the normal,
and that means correcting or removing any influence that uses up nerve energy, lowering
the health standard. How is one to know when energy is being used beyond normal supply?
The blanket term discomfort may be used. Health means comfort. By a flagging
of organic functioning--by pain and various discomforts: sluggish bowels--symptoms
of indigestion-gas distention--malnutrition--headache--short breath-palpitation -tired
feeling--bad taste in mouth--bad breath--coated tongue--under weight-over weight--an
unpoised state of the emotions--mental dullness and inefficiency, etc. Suppose there
are no symptoms such as these named, yet common sense and observation declare habits
are like those of people who are suffering. Then one must be governed by reason.
It is rational to believe that bad habits will in time break the strongest constitution;
then the prudent will not wait until compelled to reform, for it may be too late.
In constipation there is always more or less gastro-intestinal
decomposition with the developing of toxins which are absorbed. The blood is charged
with these toxins, which in time lower the functional activity of all the organs
of the body. Enervation (lost nerve power) is developing all the time, and when brought
below the point of organic resistance or below the point where an inherited or acquired
tendency to take on disease can not be resisted longer, then disease will develop.
Or it may be that enervating habits will be indulged to such an extent that organic
resistance is brought so low that general enervation does not need to drop so very
low to allow a diathetic organ to develop the disease for which it is inclined. For
example: Cancer of the stomach or breast will develop in those predisposed to the
disease before there is very great constitutional enervation. Those predisposed to
tuberculosis will develop the disease before constitutional enervation has been developed
Enervation is a veritable Proteus, for its causes are multitudinous.
They are worry, fear, envy, jealousy, anger, grouchiness. There is a lack of success;
also misanthropy and even dishonesty. Excess of work or pleasure may lead to enervation.
A consuming passion leads to excess of venery and more enervation. Overeating, imprudent
eating, the use of alcohol or other drugs, tobacco, coffee, tea, sugar, starch, wrong
combinations of food, excessive use of water, over- or under-use of clothing, sitting
too much and lack of exercise, all tend to enervation; everything that uses energy
lowers energy. All must be corrected before a cure can be made. Whatever the errors
of life, they must be corrected. Anything that causes the bowels to move--be it drugs,
laxative waters, laxative foods, oils, agar-agar, drinking great quantities of water,
or using enemas large or small--is a palliative and in no sense curative. Whatever
the influence that uses up nerve energy must be corrected, for it is curative; all
else is palliative.
It is true that dancing attendance on the bowels daily with
one or more of these palliatives will prevent building a fatal toxemia from constipation,
and the strictest vigilance in securing an action daily will prolong life, but it
can not be said that the use of such remedies will in time cure the constipation,
for indeed such treatment confirms constipation and leads to nowhere except to stronger
and stronger dosing and premature old age and early death.
To use anything--any one remedy or any hundred remedies--is
equivalent to adding to cause, and that shows a fallacious understanding of what
constipation is. No cure can come from a treatment based on a false conception of
Constipation may be said to be one prominent symptom in a
syndrome (defined as the aggregate symptoms of any so-called disease, from the inititive
cause to full organic development) which starts with enervation, toxemia, indigestion,
catarrh of the stomach, and develops catarrhal inflammation of the throat, larynx,
bronchi, lungs, nasal passages, from the stomach to the duodenum, gall-duct and bladder,
pancreas, small intestine, colon, appendix, rectum. Some of the symptoms accompanying
constipation are: indigestion, gas distention, headaches, heart palpitation, chilliness,
cold hands and feet, dizziness, fermentation of starches, decomposition of proteids,
acidosis, proctitis, colitis and others; all of them natural crises of toxemia, with
constipation often the most pronounced symptom, and one of toxemia's most pronounced
allies. No organic disease can exist alone, for its initiative cause or causes are
general, and the union of organism must stand united, for divided it falls. A house
divided against itself must fall. Enervation--lowered nerve energy--is the general
first cause, but the causes of that cause are protean. It is as impossible to find
a single cause as it is to find a single effect or a single remedy. The cause of
all the ills (crises named above) is toxemia, but the causes of that cause may be
enumerated as follows: Any influence of a mental or physical character that uses
up nerve energy faster than it is generated. Under this head may be listed work or
play to excess; love or hate; joy or sorrow; overwork or underwork of all the emotions;
excessive eating; imprudent eating, eating wrong combinations causing indigestion,
fermentation, decomposition; all ending in the establishing of Toxemia--the first,
continuous and last cause of all so-called diseases.
All these causes and effects it is possible to find in any
subject, but not necessarily pronounced, for there are very few people who have not
an inherited diathesis, as the tuberculous or gouty, or organic--confined to an organ--or
an acquired diathesis, that accounts for a general breakdown or causes a giving down
of the defective organ in advance of other organs. For example: Some are more inclined
to develop nasal catarrh; others, liver derangements; others, colitis; others, constipation,
There is one cause of constipation that is of my own discovery,
so far as I know, and it is more far-reaching than thinkers on these lines will be
willing to admit for years to come, namely, excessive water drinking.
It should be obvious to the discerning that if constipation
is a prominent link in the chain of affections above enumerated, it would be foolish
to undertake to isolate that particular symptom and give it special treatment. The
idea of finding a specific remedy for constipation is as absurd as it would be to
undertake to discover a single remedy for catarrh, typhoid fever, malaria, syphilis,
or a single remedy for toxin poisoning. Constipation should be looked upon as a leading
symptom of a constitutional derangement for which the blanket term chronic toxin
poisoning is quite fitting. And when the disease is cured, it will have to be
cured by righting the errors of life, so as to bring the general health back to the
normal. This we shall endeavor to describe in the following.
Peristalsis means rolling. It is a vermicular motion or movement
of the bowels--a contraction of the transverse or circular muscular fiber of the
muscular coat of the intestine. When the contraction takes place, the movement starts
at the head of a section of intestine with a circular contraction--perhaps constriction
would be a better term. No sooner does the constriction begin than starts a wave-like
movement to descend rapidly, passing to the end of that particular section of the
bowel. If it starts at the head of the small intestine, the wave-like constriction
ends at the ileo-cecal valve (a valve that guards the passage between the ileum and
cecum). This constriction may be likened in effect to stripping a rubber tube with
the thumb and finger; whatever the content of the tube, it is forced ahead of the
stripping and the tube dilates behind the fingers as they pass. The peristaltic movement
produces the same effect; it forces the contents of the intestine onward.
Peristalsis is under the control of the nervous system, hence
those who are enervated from any cause must give up a part of their bowel
efficiency. It is only a step farther to see that a short supply of nerve energy
must check secretions and excretions, thereby causing Toxemia. Constipation
is one of the commonest crises. Heavy eaters--those of the vital, sanguine, lymphatic
temperament--have bowel movements daily, yet they may be enervated and toxemic.
Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea. In constipation
there is a lack of normal secretion into the bowels; in diarrhea there is an undue
amount of fluid thrown into the bowels from irritation, but not necessarily an abnormal
amount of the normal secretions into the bowels; in truth, a deficient secretion
is the rule. There is always a deficient secretion and excretion in all irritated
In excessive eating the digestive system calls upon the organism
for an extra supply of solvents. This demand is interpreted as thirst, and water
is taken, but drinking does not relieve; the water goes out by the kidneys, or a
diarrhea may be developed, carrying enzymes that are needed and would be used to
digest the oversupply of food if drinking had not been indulged in. Indigestion always
follows a too hearty meal when the thirst that must follow is indulged. From the
babe at the breast to the tottering grandsire there is an unnatural thirst, the penalty
for overeating, and if it is indulged, indigestion must follow, with an ever-increasing
flow of urine and an ever-decreasing bowel secretion, which must end in obstinate
Restitution for overindulgence can not be made except in
one way, namely: suffer the pangs of thirst until enough fluid is taken from the
general circulation to supply the demand for fluid. When fluid is taken, the forthcoming
enzymic supply is turned back and excreted by the kidneys, leaving an uncontended
field for bacteria.
Two important elements are necessary, and they are fluid
and solvents--enzymes. Water will not do, and if taken it does not quench thirst,
but passes out of the system through the kidneys, leaving the bowels dry. When this
imprudence is continued, polyuria, albuminuria and obstinate constipation are sure
Water drinking after eating--after leaving the table--is
disease-producing. I mean drinking anything, any of the table beverages. In this,
as well as eating and other habits, there will be people who break all laws with
apparent impunity, but they are the exception and they will pay in full in time.
In eating, the food should be so balanced as to supply nature's
demands for fluid without drinking water or other table beverages. The water in the
fresh fruits, vegetable salads and milk will supply all fluids needed if eaten in
proper amounts. Dry food, such as meat, bread, potatoes, pies, puddings, and cakes,
causes thirst. It is a safe statement to make that all meals making a demand for
water or fluid within one or two hours after eating are not properly balanced, or
an excess has been eaten.
Drinking after meals checks digestion, invites fermentation,
causing stomach acidity. The foods that create thirst are the potentially acid--bread,
meat, etc.; and the thirst is a demand for the alkaline fluid of the blood which
is potentized with enzymes or digestive ferments. Few people there are who do not
fly impulsively and instanter for a drink when conscious of thirst. There are a few
who have learned that if they do not drink after eating, they feel better--more comfortable--and
that they do not have to suffer thirst very long until the desire is gone and then
there is no more thirst. The fact that the desire to drink, or the feeling of thirst,
passes away without being gratified should cause the most skeptical to see the plausibility
of an argument against drinking. Where the thirst is gratified, one drink usually
calls for another and another, until the victim is waterlogged and uncomfortable,
and perhaps will pay for this dissipation with "biliousness," sluggish
to constipated bowels, bad taste in the mouth, headache, and too free flow of urine
of light specific gravity. While the kidneys carry off water, they do not carry off
enough of the solids peculiar to normal urine. These solids are left in the system
to cause toxemia. Even water drinking may cause toxemia!
My observation in this line can be verified by anyone who
desires to find the simplest, most common, and the most potent factor in the building
The physician may start his observations with the constipation
of the infant. Feed half as much as the child is taking or have it nurse half as
often. Keep the child quiet; do not allow it to be handled; keep it lying on-either
side or abdomen, not on its back; allow it to sleep; do not allow nurse nor anyone
else to disturb it, even if it does not get more than one meal in twenty-four hours.
After observing the babe, then watch the influence of no drinking after eating on
grown people; do not allow them to drink even if the thirst is driving.
There are people who will not deny themselves the gratification
of a single impulse. Nothing can be done for them outside of doctoring them. I send
them to the regular profession where they can be physicked, X- rayed and operated
upon. Of course, they are not benefited, but their compensation is that they have
not been cheated out of anything good to eat and drink, they have the satisfaction
of knowing that they have all that is coming to them.
3--Lack of Coarse Food
There is much waste of paper and printers' ink in enumerating
many causes of constipation which are in fact only effects; a deficiency of bulky
food is thought to be primary and one of the first causes of constipation, hence
coarse food, food containing much cellulose, is thought to be, not only a preventive,
but a cure for constipation.
This theory was thoroughly tested in my practice forty years
ago, and the conclusions reached were unfavorable and were abandoned so far as looking
upon the plan as curative was concerned. Indeed, cellulose was placed with drugs
as a palliative and like drugs was not an unmixed good. It was tried when at a loss
for anything better; since going out of the drug practice it has been abandoned entirely.
4--Carelessness in Responding to Nature's Call
Another very common cause of constipation is neglect
in answering nature's calls. After this, enervation from the infection of absorbed
excretion makes possible catarrhal inflammation of gastro-intestinal mucous membranes.
The writer has often observed that reflex irritation from constipation often causes
symptoms denominated cold, catarrh, "flu," etc.; infection having no part
in the symptom complex, infection taking place only in cases where there is ulceration.
Postponing a desire to stool tends to blunt sensation and
educates a toleration for rectal accumulation. It is no uncommon thing to find obstinate
constipation in people who have very large, pouchy rectums, which have become enlarged
and sensationless from being allowed to pack with waste matter; and proctitis (catarrhal
inflammation) follows with piles and prolapsus. The prolapsus is produced by bearing
down at stool. It is unwise where there is prolapsus of the rectum to spend a long
time at stool. When there is a desire to evacuate, immediate attention should be
given, and all effort at bearing down should cease as soon as the evacuation takes
place and relief is had. A slight feeling or desire for bearing down should not be
indulged, for it will work havoc in time by increasing the irritation and causing
more constipation and more discomfort, and finally prolapsus of the rectum.
DAILY MOVEMENTS NECESSARY
When normal health obtains there will be a movement daily;
but there is too much concern by doctors and patients when the bowels do not move;
perhaps not too much under their regimen, for they must eat to keep up the strength,
and the bowels must move daily or a calamity will overtake them. On this point the
profession has spent enough energy to build a system of rational medicine, but the
same lack of common sense is used today in treating constipation that has been used
What can happen when the bowels won't move and eating is
suspended until they do move? Nothing except that the patient grows lighter and a
The fear of starving to death is idiotic. Feeding and physicking
has built much acute and chronic disease; has complicated diseases, and has been
the cause of so many deaths that if laymen knew how many, they would shun drugging
as they would shun a pestilence.
If eating stops when constipation begins, and no food is
taken until the bowels move, what will happen? Thousands of unnecessary operations
will be avoided; thousands of unnecessary sicknesses will be avoided; thousands of
people would have their lives prolonged; thousands of doctors would be sent to a
respectable job. Penitentiaries, jails, hospitals, poorhouses, insane asylums, sanitariums
would have fewer inmates and the world would be more prosperous; intelligence would
become more popular; and high-browed intellect would take on a little common-sense.
Why not all this change? The intellect is constipated when the bowels are. The usual
treatment shows a chronic type of intellectual constipation of years' standing.
When the bowels fail to move, don't think in the language
of pills, laxatives and enemas, but miss a meal or meals; when they move, eat, but
eat more rationally. (Read the "Pocket Dietitian.")
MAN IS NOT A MACHINE
The prevailing idea concerning the bowels is that they act
on the order of a sausage mill. Quantity, coarseness, bulkiness is thought necessary;
hence food like bran, coarse bread and vegetables and fruit carrying much cellulose
are recommended to give bulk and stimulate or irritate the bowels to move. This mechanical
idea belongs to the machine shops, but man is not a machine. Constipation is due
to enervation checking secretions and excretions. Laxatives, physic, foods that irritate,
bran, etc., dried, sweet fruits that cause fermentation, all will make the bowels
move more or less, but at a price, namely, continuous need of them, and not one but
that really adds to the derangement by overtaxing the digestive organs and adding
to the enervation which is the main cause of the disease.
One experiment that may be tried out by anyone curious enough
to undertake it and which will bear out the contention that bulky, coarse foods are
not needed--that full eating is not the cause of the bowels moving: Take any ordinary
case of sluggish or constipated bowels in those who are on full diet, and cut the
eating down one-half; whether the case is a man in apparent good health or a baby
at the breast, within a week or earlier the bowels will be moving daily; proving
that it is not more food but less food that is needed. Feeding less relieves overtaxed
nerves and restores energy and function.
DRY MOUTH AND ITS MEANING
When the mouth is dry a fast is in order, and anything that
forces the bowels to move is wrong in theory and injurious in practice. To eat under
such circumstances is to outrage the requirements of nature, invite bacterial fermentation
(multiplication), and place the intestinal tract in a septic state favoring typhoid
fever; puerperal septicemia in the parturient woman; septic exanthemata in children;
hemorrhagic and black types of smallpox in epidemics of that disease. Influenza and
pneumonia are made very fatal by physic and feeding when secretions and excretions
Grouchiness, fear, impatience, anger, apprehension, dissatisfaction,
fault-finding, a disposition to be critical, cause a drying of secretions--dry mouth--and
will prevent improvement.
More food is often eaten than can be digested, and it must
decompose. As a result of this decomposition, the gastro-intestinal tract is overstimulated
from gas distention, fecal accumulation and the toxin poisoning. The irritation and
toxin absorption bring on systemic enervation and catarrhal inflammation of the mucous
membrane. The catarrhal secretions coat the mucous membrane and mechanically interfere
with perfect digestion by coating the food and excluding the digestive ferments.
The stomach derangements resulting are many.
Fermentation causes gas to form, and the distention from
gas is a mechanical cause of constipation. The distention causes pain, because the
inflamed and ulcerated mucous membrane is put on the stretch. The distention and
pain tend to fix the parts; for the muscles are put on guard to keep the inflamed
and sensitive parts quiet. This, of course, means inactivity--constipation. The tension
and fixation of muscles bring on a painful state of the muscles that I have named
on-guard pain, which causes much suffering, interferes with the circulation of blood,
and produces obstinate constipation. This state should be suspected by the observant
physician when the patient can not be induced to relax--when the muscles remain taut
even when the legs are flexed upon the abdomen, and one part is about as sensitive
Shame to our commercialized surgical profession, many of
these cases are operated upon for the removal of various organs in the pelvis and
abdomen, when two or three weeks in bed and proper dieting will do away with every
When intestinal putrefaction is an established habit, toxin
poisoning keeps the abdominal and pelvic viscera in a sensitive state. It is this
sensitiveness of the bowels that drives many to innumerable operations. A gas- distended,
catarrhal bowel--a colitis with constipation and gas distention--is a constant source
of discomfort and the excuse for surgical exploitations galore.
The appendix is usually the first victim; an ovary or both
ovaries, or the reproductive organs, are removed next; then the gall-bladder is drained;
then the gall-bladder is removed. Possibly the stomach will be anastomosed to some
part of the intestine, the colon short-circuited, before the surgeon will suddenly
discover that the patient should live in a higher or lower altitude, or make some
geographical change in his habitation.
The catarrhal inflammation will extend through lymphatic
continuity; these glands are worked overtime in keeping the blood from being overwhelmed
with toxins. The sensitive state favors the fixation and its consequences described
above. The on-guard state is necessary because any movement is uncomfortable--even
the moving of gas. The peristaltic motion necessary to pass the intestinal contents
on to the outlet is painful. The consequence is that stasis--which means a standing
still--is cultivated. Because of this stasis and gas distention, debris accumulates
and causes ptosis (dragging down). The affections appearing as a consequence are
dilation of the stomach, with retarded digestion, irritation, inflammation, ulceration,
cancer; duodenitis with ulceration--perforating ulcer of the duodenum--gall-bladder
diseases, pancreatic diseases, diseases of the cecum, colon, and rectum, diseases
of the pelvic organs and bladder. These are a few of the affections of the alimentary
tract and auxiliary organs caused by constipation, and are amenable to a plan of
treatment that will cure the inactive bowels.
To be able to correct a disease, it is necessary to know
its causes. Attention has been worked overtime in finding remedies which cause the
bowels to move. It is an error to apply the name "remedy" to the thousand-and-one
inventions and contrivances made to force the bowels to move. All so-called remedies
are causes of constipation.
We have seen that overeating leads to decomposition, that
decomposition (putrefaction) evolves toxins, and that toxins poison more or less
the entire organism. Certainly one of the most important things to do in overcoming
constipation is to stop overeating and improper eating. Unless this is done, all
arrangements, devices, drugs, waters, enemas, peculiar foods, etc., must continue
to fail as they have done in the past.
6--A Lack of Poise
Many people carry themselves in a rigid state of mind and
body, evidenced by a corrugated (pinched) brow, caused perhaps by ill temper or erroneous
ideas concerning life, such as believing the world owes them a living; or that luck
is against them; or that they are not understood, or not appreciated; or all their
emotions may be overworked; an ingrowing grouch; a fear of losing the respect of
friends if a certain specter should happen to slip out of the closet in which it
has been locked for years; in fact, a falling short of hopes and expectations in
any and all lines may cause a state of nerve irritation that will tense body and
mind and ruin life by developing all sorts of derangements, even constipation. Sleeplessness
is a common symptom. These people cannot relax, and they are hard to teach, but when
taught, their pains and aches disappear along with constipation. Nerve tension causes
a sudden start or jump when about to go to sleep. This symptom is very distressing
with a few people. Those who eat toast or rolls and drink coffee or tea come to grief.
Many develop a neurosis from the habitual use of coffee or tea and bread; there is
gradually developed irritation of the stomach, evidenced by sensitiveness to slight
pressure over the pit of the stomach. This sensitiveness, or coffee neurosis, spreads
until the inter-abdomen is painful to slight pressure; the bowels become constipated
and distended with gas, and in time the patient will not be free from pain or discomfort
at any time. These are the cases that are subjected to all kinds of operations, none
of which give relief and certainly not any cure.
Many users of tobacco suffer as the coffee, tea and toast
users suffer. Those who have inherited hundred per cent bowel efficiency will not
develop constipation, but some other of the organs will give down.
When a neurosis and constipation develop from the use of
stimulants--coffee, tea and toast must be classed as stimulants--neither the neurosis
(nervousness) nor the constipation can be cured until coffee or tea and toast breakfasts
are given up entirely, also tobacco and alcoholics.
For the first three mornings after giving up toast, coffee
or tea, the patient should go without breakfast. Lunch should be toasted whole-wheat
bread eaten dry with butter, and follow with a pint or quart of teakettle tea.* (*See
Appendix.) Dinners: meat one day and starch on alternate days, with two succulent
vegetables and a combination salad--lettuce or cabbage, tomato or apple, and celery;
or a fruit salad: apple, orange and celery. Dress either with salt, oil and lemon
juice. Beginning the fourth morning: a pint or quart of teakettle tea. The other
meals are not to be changed. Every evening following every day that the bowels do
not move, a small enema of warm water--one-half or a pint--is to be placed in the
rectum and allowed to remain from ten to fifteen minutes; then try to have a movement.
Tensing exercise is to be practiced daily; where bodily strength will permit, forty
minutes are to be spent at this exercise every morning before getting out of bed;
and when possible fifteen to twenty minutes four or five times during the day.
Where these instructions are faithfully carried out health
should be restored.
"Your Constipated Friend."
A long time ago the writer had a patient and friend who ended
his letter with: "Sincerely your constipated friend," or "I am faithfully
and loyally your sincere and constipated friend." He did not intend to be facetious;
on the contrary, he was complaisant, very much in earnest, but resigned. He had been
constipated for years, appeared to be willing to be cured; in fact, gave the impression
of having a sincere desire to find a cure; yet would not be disappointed if he did
not; and when all was said that could be said, the impression would somehow force
itself on the auditor's mind that if the gentleman should accidentally or otherwise
fall heir to a permanent cure, the source of a great and abiding satisfaction would
be cut off forever, leaving him rather more desolate than happy.
This gentleman is a solitary exception to the rule that all
constipated people are pessimists; he certainly was not; his optimism was refreshing,
he talked of his constipation much as one would of a friend who had wonderful qualities,
barring an irremediable defect. His was a case of optimistic constipation, and could
have been corrected in a reasonable time if he had not been so perfectly contented
in his discontent.
The opposite type, or the pessimistic constipated, knows
he will never get well, for that is "just his luck." Knowing that he will
never get well, he breaks rules, in fact never follows instructions. His mental attitude
is knotty and gnarled, and why not his physical?
Both of these types can be cured, but they should stay in
the Tilden Health School until disciplined out of their conceits.
The Million Dollar Prescription should bring their bowels
around all right, but they need their minds corrected if they would stay well.
7--Lack of Exercise a Cause of Constipation
Activity is life, inactivity death. The eternal fiat is sent
out at the beginning of every individual: to thee, life is given, and the price,
if it is to be continued, is activity. As soon as inactivity is indulged, deterioration
begins, and, if continued too long, disintegration and disorganization, ending in
Activity is a stimulant; general exercise within reason stimulates
all the functions of the body; secretions and excretions will keep quite normal in
most people who lead active lives; this, too, in spite of rather an indiscreet life
Not infrequently when the writer is checking some one up
for his bad habits, the victim of the bad habits will triumphantly point to some
one eighty, ninety or a hundred years old who has practiced the same bad habits all
his life without apparent evil resulting. On investigating, it will be found that
the prodigy of bad habits is a very moderate man; that he is like an old friend of
the writer who once boasted in a twitting manner with a twinkle in his eyes: "Doctor,
it seems to me that my life is a refutation of your theories; I have indulged a little
in about all the vices all my life, and have had no sickness!" My answer to
him was: "You are fortunately married to a remarkable woman--an angel without
wings. You are very active; you take great pleasure in your work, and you have as
an avocation your garden, in which you take great pleasure in excelling; and look
at your accumulation of curios; not a junk-shop filled with bad air and morbid relics--ghostly
reminders of a dead past when knight-errantry was in blossom! You are alive and keeping
in touch with the now; and have wholesome visions of what evolution has in store
for the coming generations of wide-awake, live people. You leave the dead
past to bury the past. Your vices you do not worship and allow them to usurp your
time and attention. Your habits do not run you. A wholesome optimism pervades your
being. Mentally and physically you are wholesomely blended--no warring elements find
hostelry in you."
Habits are bad when they monopolize the man, hypnotize the
mind and remove ambition. Man must have an object in life. To chase the dollar for
the sake of the dollar is a bad habit and in time checks elimination, brings on toxemia,
and the victim dies prematurely or suicides. Dollar-chasing for the sake of the dollar
is enervating and disease-building.
Some men have an ambition to secure a competency and retire.
Retiring brings inactivity, constipation and early death. It is not only necessary
to be active in body, but the mind must be active--active in character-building,
not character-destroying. "I must be about my father's business." It is
not enough to tend the sheep, or work at some occupation that gives too much time
drowsing. Life demands activity of mind and body; and where inactivity abounds, sluggishness
of mind and body must develop. The constipation resulting may be fought with palliatives,
enemas, physic, bran mashes, laxative foods, etc., but a cure can not be brought
about until an object is found to live for that requires mind and body attention.
Inactivity with sensuality--self-indulgence in overeating
or any other stimulating habits--must enervate and lock the secretions and excretions;
then toxemia, the cause of all diseases, is developed. Constipation and other old-age
diseases follow, including cancer.
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