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Hygiene is based squarely upon the principle that health is intended to be, and therefore should be, the ruling condition of human life; biological laws are designed to operate as certainly within their sphere as physical laws are in theirs and, therefore, abstractly considered, sickness is not more necessary than drunkenness; whenever and wherever sickness does exist, it is in consequence of a violation of these laws and to cease to violate them and, in addition, earnestly to obey them, is to begin to cease to be sick and to begin to get well. For this reason, all that is required in order to get well, when one is ill, is to find out just in what direction the laws of life have been violated and in that direction to cease their violation and, in the management of the physical organism to conform to these laws and the sick one, if recoverable at all, will be restored to health.
This being true, all agencies, instrumentalities, or things that are in their nature calculated to disturb and derange a living organism are unfriendly to its health and can by no means whatever be made subservient to health-preserving or health-restoring purposes; but that, on the other hand, their direct and legitimate effect, whenever they are used, is to kill or to tend to kill the organism. That, on the other hand, all agencies, instrumentalities, or things which, in their nature and in their ordinary or extraordinary application, tend to preserve the health of a living organism, are the means and remedies, and the only ones, which may be relied upon to overcome its morbid conditions and restore it to health.
It will at once be seen that this view is exactly the opposite of the common one and that when the sick place themselves in the hands of a Hygienist, he will proceed to employ as a means of recovery only healthful things and influences, avoiding the use of all substances whose legitimate effect and end must be to impair and damage the human organism and thus produce and add to ill health.
We do not mean to infer that all patients can recover health by means of a Hygienic way of life, for there are people of such frail constitutions or such extensive organic impairment or of such profound enervation that they will fail of recovery. Nor do we mean to infer that all patients can make a speedy recovery by turning to Hygiene. It is idle to suppose that when a man, who has been months or years evolving chronic pathology, turns to Hygiene, he can by any process be suddenly transformed into a well man. What we do mean to infer is that all recoverable cases will attain full health by adopting a Hygienic program and sticking to it long enough to undo the damages of years of wrong life.
Writing editorially in January 1872, Trall said: "The underlying question is: 'Should disease be cured?' We say no. And we challenge all the medical men of all the earth to prove the affirmative." The idea of cure is an illogical and dangerous delusion and the time will come when it will be common knowledge that curing has killed more people than would have died had there never been a cure-monger on the earth. Treating builds disease and the curing systems, which are but systems of meddlesome trifling with human life, are all destructive rackets.
When we have learned to see in such symptoms as irritation, inflammation, fever, agitation and accelerated function such as diarrhea, diuresis, etc., the protest of outraged tissues against illegitimate infringements of primary principles of vital existence, their desperate struggle to free themselves from the paralyzing presence of toxic debris, we will cease to combat with every objective weapon at our disposal the symptoms of disease. We will cease launching grotesque campaigns against fictional entities, echoes and phantoms of the evil spirits of our ancestors, while neglecting the authentic villian and permitting him free reign of the vital precincts. Entitative diseases are dramaturgic fictions that are as unreal as pink elephants and snakes in the boots, and seeking to cure the symptoms as though they are the literal stuff of our ailments is as ridiculous as seeking to remove shadows while ignoring the objects that cast them.
If healing is a biological process, which we can neither imitate, duplicate nor substitute, as Hygienists contend, the proper plan of caring for the sick will be one of supplying the most favorable conditions for the successful operation of the vital healing processes. The primary requisite of the success of the healing process is the removal of all causes of organic and systemic impairment.
Let us always keep in mind that the forces of organization are ever busy, by silent operations, in their work of removing the causes of disease and restoring good health. Those ideologies that picture health and disease as antagonistic forces at war with each other represent dualistic delusions. This concept of opposites (that health and disease are ideological opposites) is a biological schism that has no reality in living phenomena.
Because of this false dualism in our thinking upon health and disease the practitioners of the many and various healing arts labor to subject their patients to cunningly devised expedients, rather than to the laws that govern living processes. Instead of permitting nature to do her own work in her own way, they have conjured up myriads of forcing measures designed to compel the living organism to do its work in the way they think it should be done. They do not work with the normal things of life, but seek to impose upon the processes of the organism exotic and adventitious substances and conditions that necessitate activities of the body other than those in which it is engaged and this must certainly divert its attention and its energies from the regular processes of elimination, repair, restoration and healing. In the very nature of things, all of this interference with the processes of life must retard and even prevent the healing processes. Such meddling must be the cause of many deaths which, except for the meddling, would not occur. Imposing chemical substances upon an organism that is incapable of assimilating them, as is done by the medical profession, cannot do otherwise than damage the body. A sane method of caring for the sick will not attempt to force the body to utilize substances that are not subject to its metabolic processes.
All care, to be genuinely beneficial, no matter what the condition of the sick person, must bear a precise relation to the constitutional habits of man. This must be duly fitted, for best results, to the greater or lesser diseased state of the body. From this premise, which no one will dare deny, the conclusion is quite logical that anything which tends to genuinely renovate the whole physiological condition conduces to recovery.
It is necessary to emphasize that it is indispensibly essential to the normal performance of the processes of healing that between the forces of the organism and the substances of the organism there shall intervene no artificial agency. Only those natural elements that are normal to the life of the organism can be allowed to enter into the process. The physiological processes cannot have an artificial basis. The processes of healing, being as integral to the living organism as the regular processes of physiology and biology, cannot rest upon any artificial foundation. No drug is capable of entering into direct physiological relations with the living organism as food.
In order that a substance may be truly metabolized by the body it must be susceptible of being transformed into cell substance. Any substance, the relation of which to the living organism is a poison, is directly antagonistic to the processes of healing and occasions added impairment of function and damage of structure instead of promoting a restoration of health. Every artificial preparation, every non-normal element, every substance that is incapable of being metabolized, weakens the natural functions, impairs the process of nutrition and reduces the efficiency of the healing process.
The prevailing uncertainty with regard to human life and health is due to a blind precedent and ignorant, even wicked, disregard for the requirements of life. In the case of disease, the leaders of thought on the subject add to the causes instead of removing them. They correspondingly fail to supply the conditions of health and worst of all, their methods impair and finally exhaust the powers of life. Medicines (drugs) are causes of disease. This is admitted by all and denied by none, in the face of which fact it is impossible to explain their alleged curative virtues. Indeed, medical men believe in no such absurdity, although they are not very earnestly engaged in correcting the false impression the people have on the subject.
The popular mind has become so imbued with the curative virtues of drugs, all of which are poisonous, that the attempt is being made daily to recover health without reference to the habits of life, if not in open and acknowledged violation of all the laws of life. The medical profession is truly, as Graham so aptly described it, a "mere drugging cult."
The needed materials and conditions, which alone can be used, are air, water, food, temperature, rest, sleep, light, warmth, agreeable social surroundings and abstinence from all harmful indulgences such as tobacco, alcohol, drug poisons, etc., etc., their appropriation being directed by instinct. The mere enumeration of these requirements commends them to our intelligence and their necessity would not be questioned were it not for the claims, tacit or expressed, that there exists a mode of cure and that specifics and panaceas are possible.
When the sick man hears of Hygiene, which is radically different and opposed to all that he has been taught and conditioned to believe, he cannot comprehend how the sick can get well without the administration of poisons. Thus he makes up his mind that, although some patients may recover from some diseases by means of Hygiene, it cannot possibly be good in all diseases and that it is impossible to entirely discard the use of drugs (poisons) and all who think so are poor deluded fanatics--men who can harbor but one idea at a time and, who, blindfolded, ride by one hobby.
Upon what, then, do we depend for the recovery from disease? The simple answer to this question may not satisfy those who have been brought up to believe that some mysterious and powerful therapeutic means is necessary to the recovery of health. Both the people and their physicians are so accustomed to thinking that no healing can take place without the assistance of a professional man and his bag of tricks, that people are commonly surprised to learn that healing can and actually does occur without the bag of tricks. Nevertheless, it is important that we understand that the living organism possesses remarkable powers of self-healing and self-restoration. It is upon this self-healing power of the organism that we must always rely for the recovery of functional and structural integrity, whether we are sick or wounded, no matter what the form of treatment employed.
It is a fortunate circumstance for the sick and wounded individual that this healing process is in continuous operation. It is as ceaseless as time, at least so long as the organism continues to live. It begins spontaneously and automatically as soon as there is the slightest injury to the organism or as soon as there is the least deviation from the normal and it never ceases until a normal condition has been re-established or until the body is dead from causes that overwhelm the healing process. This means that failure of recovery, not recovery, is the thing we need to understand. The processes of healing are as much a part of life as the digestion of food or the beating of the heart. We need not marvel, then, that the sick recover; we need only to supply a valid explanation of those cases where recovery fails.
Whatever its cause, a lesion is essentially a cleavage of normally integrated tissue. When we speak of the healing of a lesion, we mean nothing more mysterious than the re-integrating of the separated tissue, so that unity is restored. A progressive aggravation of a lesion grows out of the persistence of the causes that have produced it, thus annuling the efficacy of all healing potentials and widening the lesion. Thus it will be seen that failure of recovery rests primarily upon the persistence of the cause or causes that have produced and that maintain the trouble, and secondarily, upon the superaddition (usually in the form of treatment) of other aggravating factors.
A man whose health is impaired has impaired health because he has violated the laws of being and he can regain health only by a return to obedience and this nobody else can do for him. Whenever any individual has habitually disregarded the laws of life and health until he has evolved disease, he needs as the first requirement of recovery of health a return to obedience to the laws of life. "Warring on disease" amounts to battling down reserve life forces and fighting delusional causes and entities. It is really a war upon the human constitution rather than a war against fictional disease. The idea of cure prevents man from discovering cause; so long as the search is centered on the discovery of cures, causes and effects will not be studied. The absurdity of the view that the problems of disease can be solved by microscopes and test-tubes should be apparent to every sane man.
Every living organism is compelled, upon pain of disease and extinction, to adjust itself in conformity with the laws of its being. All processes of recovery or healing are but extensions and modifications of the processes that preserve health and the materials and processes employed in caring for the sick must be in consonance with physiology and compatible with all other useful measures. Restorations of health that are made by nature are conditional.
The ways and processes by which the sick recover health, when they do recover, no matter what the name given the disease, nor what the treatment employed, are strictly biological processes and are not susceptible of duplication or imitation by the practitioners of any school of so-called healing. The forces and processes of the living organism alone restore health and these processes and operations are always in obedience to the same general principles of life; the power and the processes by which the organism is developed and maintained are the same as that by which wounds are healed and health restored in disease.
There is a vast difference between a plan of care based on removal of cause and one that is based on palliation of effects. As there can be no effect without a cause, it is essential that the cause be removed before the production of effects can be ended. Treatments do not remove causes and are not intended to do so. There are but four legitimate objectives of remedial care of the sick:
We cannot reasonably expect a sick man to regain health so long as the causes that are impairing health are still present. The forces of the organism, though powerfully and distinctly self-preservative, cannot be expected to be successful against overwhelming or continuous cause. The symptoms and pathologies of the disease may change and often do indeed change; the disease may ebb and flow with changing circumstances; it may even appear to get well; it may change from acute to chronic, as often happens; but full recovery cannot be expected so long as cause remains.
Any effort to understand the problems of disease that refuses to see the phenomena of disease in the light of cause and effect is doomed to disappointment. What horrid superstition, what blinding prejudice, what unpalliated stupidity is that which cannot understand the simple doctrine that diseases are remmediable by (and only by) removing their causes! What is there so difficult to understand about the simple principle that in order to be saved from the effects of a practice, it is necessary to discontinue the practice? How absurd to think that the practice can be continued and poisons administered to erase or prevent its effects! The production of effects can be ended only by removing the causes that are producing them. The medical man acts as though he believes that effects can be erased and their production ended without the necessity of removing their causes.
We know of no so-called disease that is not the result of a departure from the laws of being. If this is the truth about the cause of disease, what is the first need of recovery? Certainly the taking of drugs, which is another and gross violation of the laws of life, is not among the requisites of recovery. The answer to our question is: return to obedience to the laws of life. Cease the disobedience and conform to the laws. To attempt to remove the causes of disease at the expense of the life of the sick man or by deteriorating the conditions of life, so as to render future existence more uncertain and full of suffering and guarantee a premature death, requires less skill than may be supposed.
Who can fail to understand that by teaching mankind how to live, we can be more serviceable to the race than we can by bending all our energies to the invention of new modes of subverting nature's laws to the end that the sick may be relieved of sufferings which are the legitimate consequences of their unlawful behavior? Such an undertaking as this last is about as practicable as would be the search for a means that would enable us to put our hands into a fire without being burned. Intelligence revolts at the preposterous proposition that remedies are to be found in the apothecary shop for ills that grow out of errors of living, that pills can cure the effects of worry, that draughts will remedy the results of overeating, that pink lotions will erase the evils of intemperance, that a drug can be given that will remove the effects of excessive venery while sexual overindulgence is continued. As well try to sober up a drunk man while he continues to drink.
What is called medical science does not teach man to remove the causes that are responsible for physiological impairment and replace these with conditions that favor normal physiological function. Its plan of curing consists of nothing more than the administration of drugs, while doing nothing to remove the causative factors. So long as their conception of curing does not go beyond this, they cannot hope to achieve a genuine solution to the problems with which widespread disease and degeneracy confront us.
When a misuse of the body and the means of life have resulted in disease, intelligence suggests that before health can be restored, the first and most important thing to be done is to correct the cause of illness, not by resort to means that are out of harmony with the human constitution, but by regulation of the means which sustain normal life and by cessation of the bodily abuses. To continue to abuse the body and misuse its means of existence and seek for cures or to seek to be immunized against the consequences of abuse and misuse through the use of extraneous, exotic and adventitious means, is absurd. In the proper regulation of the total life of the individual and his means of existence consists all true care of the body, whether in health or in disease.
When the impairing and threatening causes are removed, the body, by means of intrinsic powers and processes, remedies its own injuries and re-establishes normal function. When the conditions of normal vital activity are preserved, which are, obviously, sound and healthy tissues, the self-protective effort is continuous, varying in vigor and efficiency according to the amplitude of the nervous energy and the conditions upon which it is dependent for its manifestations. Hence it will appear that the skill required in caring for the sick will consist in removing the causes of disease without lessening the self-protective powers of the body. Health must ever be restored by the removal of the causes of disease, not by adding to the cause.
We who regard disease as the result of violated law cannot fail to view our duty in a different light from that which has hitherto been regarded as the legitimate way of caring for the sick. Generally regarded as an enemy, disease has been thought to attack the living organism and it was the duty of the practitioner of the healing art to array himself and his arsenal against it. Physicians often say that they administer their poisons to aid the vis medicatrix naturae in expelling the disease. What a fatal error! The disease is itself the vis medicatrix naturae. Although the physician imagines that he is "aiding and assisting nature," he is, in fact, simply wasting and destroying her reconstructive and recuperative powers. Dr. Oswald rightly said that diseases plead for desistance, rather than for assistance and the discovery of the cause is the discovery of the remedy.
The Hygienist recognizes the principle that the remedy for all impairments of health is to ascertain and remove its cause or causes. Believing these conclusions are true, we cannot reconcile ourselves to any mode of care that is directed exclusively at the symptoms. It is our firm conviction that cause is the most important factor in our equation. To find causes he is justified in trying to find out all about the habits of life and the conditions of living of all those who consult him for advice. All is wrong. All is a muddle from beginning to end. With individuals as with society, we are all victims of false and vicious habits, customs, practices and doctrines and lack both the knowledge and the independence to live in ways that are right and good for us. We are slaves to fashions, folly and pride.
Medical men do not inquire into the ways of life of their patients and do not rebuke them for their violations of the laws of life; they do not teach their patients how to live--instead, they seek to cure them with poisons. The profession has carried on a very profitable trade in promises which it could never fulfill, but it found their non-fulfillment easily referred to Divine intervention. If the patient recovered, the physician cured him; if he died, "the Lord took him."
So long as it has existed, the medical profession has failed to learn or at least to apply a few plain and apparent principles pertaining to the laws of matter and of life; it has chosen, rather, to affect to be in possession of mysterious curative substances which form the basis of its practices. As there is no intelligible relation between the drug-remedy and the disease-condition, the practice has always been purely experimental and empirical. They drug and dose and cut and inject, but they never propose to correct a single cause of disease.
However misdirected the efforts of the sick man may have been, he is always ready to try again and with the desperation of a drowning man, clutches at the straws within his reach. Ignorant of those elements within and around him that work to perpetuate existence as well as of the causes that are tearing him apart, he is ever ready to try anything and to bless the accidental means to which he ignorantly attributes his recovery. It is amazing how anxious the sick are to find any possible excuse not to abandon disease-building habits. This is the only reason that they can be so easily persuaded that to cut out a diseased organ is a much shorter route to health than to cease building the excuse for the operation. Millions upon millions of dollars have been spent during the past 90 years for surgical operations that could have been avoided by the simple plan of ceasing to build disease.
It is true that the causes of disease are often obscure and that mistakes in their discovery and association are liable to occur, but this difficulty is obviated by removing from their influences upon the patient all causes of disease. If we may not always particularize as to the causes, we can generalize and no matter how inefficiently our work may be performed, it will prove more successful than the attempt to cure ailments by adding to their causes.
Failure to recover is often due to small indiscretions, which the incorrigible refuse to discontinue. Those little indulgences that "do not amount to anything" are often enough to prevent the evolution of good health. Sitting up and reading until 11 or 12 o'clock because "I can't sleep if I go to bed before;" a little candy, "not enough to hurt me;" a dish of ice cream, "just a small amount, not enough to amount to anything," a smoke with a friend, "just one cigarette, that can't hurt me;" a small drink, "just to be sociable, not enough to amount to anything;" staying in bed too late in the morning to get regular exercise; a little food between meals, "just enough to expel the longing, that all-gone feeling;" "surely such small trifles cannot possibly have anything to do with my continued bad feeling." If told not to eat between meals, they will chew gum and ask: "Why can't I chew gum? It cannot do any harm. Besides, it relaxes me and is advertised to be good for the digestion." If told to abstain from starch, the patient will take "just a little bread" or "only a few crackers or cookies, not enough to amount to anything." If coffee is enjoined, he will have "only a little weak coffee, it was mostly water." He will have a small lunch after the theatre, "not enough to count, just a sandwich and a bottle of Coca Cola."
These chronic sufferers are likely to ask: "Doctor, can you do anything for me?" Such sufferers want somebody to do something for them; they do not want to do for themselves. The correct answer to their question is: "No. But I can instruct you how to do something for yourself." How to do something for themselves is not the kind of prescription they are seeking. They want palliation--relief--and they will have it if they have to die to get it.
Certainly the sick person, desirous of recovering health, should not be unwilling to discontinue any and all habits and indulgences that are producing and perpetuating, even intensifying his weakness and suffering. Recovery of health should not be expected so long as the mode of life is such as to constantly impair it. How does the drunkard expect to sober up so long as he continues to drink? How does the sensualist expect to recover potency so long as excessive venery is permitted to drain the powers of life? So long as the causes of organic and functional impairment are operative, they will continue to produce their effects and no form of treatment will ever be devised that will cause it to be otherwise.
A correction of the habits of life, even if for only a time, results in a disappearance of symptoms; but to build vigorous health and restore a normal body and mind, to retrieve lost vigor and add years to life, the correction must take place before serious organic change has occurred in some or several of the vital organs of the body.
As before stressed, our care should be conservative of the whole organism. The undisputed object of all remedial care of the individual whose constitutional equilibrium has been disturbed or impaired is to conserve the interests of all the parts of the organism.
Depletion of nerve energy with the consequent toxemia is the grand fact of invalidism and restoration of nerve energy with purification of the blood stream is the grand fact of recovery. Rest, relaxation and sleep are the great representative restorative processes; work, activity and excitement are the great representative exhausting processes. Rest is the great need of the invalid. Rest is the restorer. Rather, rest is the normal condition under which the restorative process, which is intrinsic to life, is conducted at its highest efficiency.
Abstinence from every artificial strain is commanded by nature and all animals except man implicitly obey this command. Taking for our guide the necessities of the constitution, it will be obvious that the modes of treatment commonly resorted to ought to be reversed and that, instead of straining to the utmost the already weakened powers of the sick organism, our effort should be directed to securing for overworked and overtaxed organs that repose that is tired nature's sweet restorer. Functioning power is a fluctuating quantity, now abundant and again deficient. The vigor of morning differs materially from the exhaustion of the evening, the depression of invalidism from the strength of an athlete, the freshness of abounding health from the wasted energy of the feeble and emaciated. The fact that functioning vigor fluctuates from hour to hour and day to day proves that functioning power is manufactured on the one hand and expended on the other.
The accumulation of functioning power is a fact to be accomplished with the same certainty that pertains to the storage of electricity in a storage battery. Functioning power can be accumulated--stored up--in the organism until it is brim full and running over, making for the individual an abounding holiday of joyous possibility.
The great error of the drugging systems is that their practitioners mistake stimulation for strength, when they are in reality the opposite of each other. We can stimulate a sick person and make him feel better and stronger temporarily, but he is inevitably being weakened daily. As a consequence of such methods, it is the almost universal fact of invalidism that patients are always getting well, but never get well. Why will not somebody tell us how stimulation sustains the flagging powers? It seems to us that the advocates of stimulation ought to do it. We affirm that all stimulation of an organ results in a waste, not in an addition of strength. Why cannot somebody tell the world how, by a substance that does not add to any tissues, strength can be added to the body?
No abnormal process can produce normal results; one may not derive good from evil. The apparent improvement resulting from the employment of forcing measures cannot be permanent. A temporary increase of action may be occasioned in any organ by exciting or stimulating it, but the action cannot be sustained for want of ability in the stimulated organ. It is the law of nature that only as much functioning power can be put forth by an organ or organism as it possesses. If under stimulation we obtain extra action today, a correspondingly reduced action must follow tomorrow as the organ or organism becomes exhausted, function fails and an organ falls as much below its usual activity when a stimulant has been withdrawn as it was raised above by the stimulant.
There is no means in nature by which the sum-total of action of an organ or set of organs can be increased, except by the development of power in the organ through the process of nutrition. This is the means by which functioning power is developed and it is by this power that work is performed. If, instead of seeking to improve nutrition and restore health and vigor by feeding and stimulating, we would commence where life begins and restore the first functions of life by processes which are obviously correct, we would obtain better results.
Intensity of effort or action, as occasioned by tonics or stimulants, can never take the place of real functioning power. Indeed, the greatest sufferings of the invalid are due to intensity of action, to that nervous, strained effort to perform life's functions which tonics and stimulants greatly aggravate, if they did not at first produce. Intensity is always in inverse ratio to volume, as observed in increased frequency of pulse, increased activity of nerves and general restlessness when the functioning power of the organism has been reduced from any cause--intensity thus seeking to compensate for loss of capacity. But restoration, therefore, must come through a recuperation of real functioning power and not through fictitious or apparent strength, for it is real and not apparent power that restores health. We can stimulate and deceive ourselves, our physician, our friends, as to our strength; but we cannot deceive the vital instincts. The work done in any case will be in exact ratio to the power used, not in ratio to waste through stimulation.
It is from sickness--debility--and depression of power, due to overwork, bad habits, improper eating and drinking that there has been failure in the performance of the vital functions, which failure can be obviated only by a restoration of functioning power. It will not appear strange to anyone acquainted with the recuperative and reconstructive powers of the living body that, when one ceases to do that which occasions abnormal actions and damages structures, one will automatically and spontaneously grow better, always providing that no irreversible condition has evolved.
What is wrong with our people? They rarely secure adequate rest and sleep and when they have brought themselves to the verge of vital bankruptcy by their enervating ways of life, it is as difficult to get them to take enough rest for full recuperation as it is to wean them from their tobacco and coffee. Put them to bed for a rest and they want to get up and become active by the time they have had half enough rest. Give them a physiological rest and they want to break the fast and return to overeating before the fast is half accomplished. Teach them to eat in moderation and they will not follow this plan of eating for very long, but hasten back to gluttonous indulgence. Teach them to take a few minutes of daily exercise and they will keep it up for a few days or a few weeks and settle back into the plush bottom of a rocking chair and vegetate. They will discontinue tobacco long enough to get relief from their worst symptoms and are then in a hurry to return to smoking.
To arise from a sleep as sound as that of childhood, to rush joyously into the fresh air and sunshine of early morning, to enjoy again the songs of the birds and the sights of nature with a sense of unwonted strength in every limb, to experience the cheerfulness, exhiliration and consciousness of returning health and strength, the invalid must be willing to abandon all disease-inducing habits and cultivate a way of life that is in harmony with the needs of life. Often this cultivation of a new way of life is best achieved away from old haunts and old associates and it is here that the Hygienic institution serves us best.
For the sick man at a Hygienic retreat, the whole life is one remedy--the hours, the rest, the new habits, the discipline, while not incompatible with gaiety, cheerfulness and high spirits, tend to train the body in the highest state of health of which it remains possible. The mental calm, physical relaxation and repose of the passions during early stages of the new life and the rest of the intellect are transmuted into a soothing rest that permits recuperation. Let us re-emphasize that in adopting the Hygienic System, one's whole way of life is the remedy.
One thing that strikes the visitor at a Hygienic institution is the extraordinary ease with which, under Hygienic management, wholesome habits are acquired and unwholesome habits relinquished. For example, we do not witness the difficulties with which stimulants are abandoned under medical care. People accustomed to half a century of coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, salt, pepper, etc., after two to four days, cease to feel the "want" of them. Others who have grown so accustomed to taking drugs that they think they cannot live without them, leave them off with the greatest of ease. Even the mis-called "withdrawal symptoms" are much milder under Hygienic management than under conventional care. The safety of the Hygienic System is the most striking thing about it. Its power of replacing by wholesome substances, the disease-inducing ones, which it withdraws, is especially great.
It is as much to the regular life which the guests of Hygienic institutions lead, as to the fast, that they owe their remarkable improvements in health. Almost everybody, and invalids in particular, knows, perhaps, how difficult it is under ordinary circumstances to change their established habits from unwholesome to wholesome. The early rising, the walks before breakfast, so delicious in the feelings of freshness and vigor which accompany them, the regular periods of rest, the quiet and repose, the wholesome food and congenial surroundings, all contribute and share in making the change of life easy.
Most important in the series of needs of the sick organism, which we have stressed, is the preservation of organic structure. The second is to economize the expenditure of functional power. The third is that of supplying the body with adequacies of all the primordial requisites of organic existence.
We have traced all disease primarily to violations of the laws of life and, secondarily, to the self-poisoning that grows out of these violations. What is needed is a plan or mode of elimination much more compatible with physiology than those proposed by the so-called schools of healing. Fasting meets this requirement and will be discussed more fully in a subsequent chapter.
If health, as Hygienists insist, consists in man conforming to certain conditions of organic existence and disease rests upon his failure to conform with these conditions (if disease is but the struggle of an impaired organism to relieve itself of the effects of certain acts and unfavorable conditions), what remedy for sickness can be so potent as a faithful return to those conditions and patterns of behavior, remaining in which would have preserved him in health? Does it not appeal to the intelligence of the reader that in proportion as the sick organism is arranged normally to those conditions the normal effects of which promote health, will the patient recover health?
Let the sick man keep in mind, then, that to recover health, he is not called upon to suffer the performance of some mysterious operation of some exotic and adventitious, possibly rare, substance, nor, to sacrifice some essential part of his organic constitution, but only to understand well the elemental conditions of his being so that he may reorder his life to accord with its obvious requirements. The administration of specifics while the causes of organic and systemic impairment are neglected is stupid. Whoever hopes to secure the natural vigor of his organism or to realize the rich joys and blessings of uninterrupted health by means of the employment of poisons and disorganizing elements is destined to be disappointed.
All of the needs of normal physiology are present in states of disease and require to be supplied to the end that organic and functional integrity may be preserved or restored. Hygienic care comprehends, not only a regulation of the diet, but a synthesis and coordination of all the factor-elements of normal living--drinking, breathing, sunning, clothing, exercising, resting, sleeping, emoting, temperature, etc.
In a broad sense it may be said that supplying the conditions of health involves also the removal of all causes of disease on the one hand and the recuperation of energy and the elimination of toxin on the other, thus making the four elements of successful care of the sick, as already outlined, to be included in one comprehensive thought of supplying the conditions for health, which thus becomes the equivalent of the means of restoring health.
If we supply the conditions for either mechanical or chemical action, we get it with unvarying certainty; what reason is there to doubt corresponding certainty in vital operations? Surely human life can be no more the subject of chance than the explosion of gun powder, the manufacture of alcohol or the operation of a steam engine. The one supreme duty of the Hygienist, therefore, is to supply, comprehensively, the conditions for health and permit the living organism to work out its own salvation.