Medicine and Hygiene


   One of two things is true. The drug system is either right or wrong. If right, the Hygienic System is wrong. The issue is plain. There is no middle ground. The two systems are essentially antagonistic; they cannot coexist. They admit of no compromise. One must destroy the other or be destroyed by it. All attempts that have been made to teach both systems in the same school have been, as Trall pointed out, "unmitigated farces." And, as he further said in the Science of Health, May 1875, "the fact that one or the other system cannot survive a critical examination is what the advocates of both systems are beginning to see."

   Present Hygiene and let other systems alone is advice we are frequently given. We may do things offensively or defensively; we may overthrow error or we may establish truth. Whichever of these ways of doing things we may prefer, it seems best to employ both ways. We may prefer to establish truth; we may not like to be always attacking error; we may think that if the truth is made plain enough, error automatically retreats. We wish that this were so; unfortunately, the human mind is capable of harboring, at one and the same time, the most contradictory notions. It becomes necessary, therefore, to demolish error before truth can be fully established. We have nothing to do with individuals, but we recognize it as a duty to expose fallacy and to denounce error and we cannot withhold our criticisms because these errors and fallacies are popular.

   Peradventure, some of our readers may imagine that we would better act our part by simply telling what we know of our own side of the question at issue between Hygiene and scientific empiricism, leaving the medical side to take care of itself. There could be no greater mistake. The people have generally been educated in foolish whims and groundless theories; they are steeped in allopathic sophistries; hence, before we can teach them the sublime truths of Natural Hygiene and expect these to be understood, we must enable them to give a reason why they should abandon the teachings of the medical system, as well as for the adoption of the new faith as found in nature's Hygienic scheme.

   The question is an old one: is the cause of truth and science promoted by criticism of medical systems and their alleged medicines? In reply to this question, it may be said, in the words of Trall, that "error must be exposed before it can be corrected." It is all very well to feed milk to babies, but those of older growth and especially those who have dealt with the "doses of death" and have "drawn floods of the vital liquid" need something stronger than moral suasion. To build a new house on a solid and enduring foundation, it is necessary first to remove all the rubbish of the old one. To raise a flower garden, it is essential that we eradicate the weeds.

   A system may be judged in the light of its principles or in the light of its illustrators. The principles upon which it is founded may be sound or otherwise; its theories and its teachings may be logical and well based, or they may be illusions. On the other hand, we may judge the system by what it does, by its accomplishments. Perhaps the wisest means of judging a system is by looking at both its principles and its achievements.

   The Hygienic System is opposed to all other systems that now or in the past have sought popular approval. Let us, at this time at least, ignore all the other systems except the regular or self-styled scientific medical system. Hygienists oppose the drug-medical system because we believe it to be false. It has no scientific basis. It is in opposition to nature. It is at war with life. It is disastrous in practice. Let us draw a few contrasts between this system and the Hygienic System.

   1. Medicine teaches that disease is inevitable; Hygiene teaches that health is man's normal state.

   2. Medicine teaches that disease is a destructive process; Hygiene teaches that disease is a remedial effort.

   3. Medicine teaches that diseases are to be cured; Hygiene teaches that they are to be permitted to accomplish their remedial work. In the Science of Health, July 1873, Trall said: "The broad and distinct issue between the Hygienic System and all other systems is simply this: The drug system endeavors to cure disease. The Hygienic System endeavors to cure patients." Medicine has always pictured this process of cure as something so intricate that only the initiated could understand it and they have taken great pains to keep alive this delusion, lest the people assert their right to investigate the matter and thus reveal the fallacies and inconsistencies of the system.

   4. Medicine teaches that poisons are the proper things with which to cure disease; Hygiene teaches that the normal things of life are the proper substances and influences with which to build health. Believing, as they do, in the curability of disease and this by drug administration, if physicians condescend to consider Hygiene, they think of it as something to place beside their most virulent and deadly poisons and to be administered together. Failure is then blamed upon Hygiene, not upon the poisons.

   We know that some who posed as Hygienists have declared that drugs are not wholly useless, that a "little medicine" now and then will do good, that drugs may sometimes save life, etc. But, have these ever really given Hygiene a full trial; have they ever made a full study of the relations of drugs to the living organism? It would break a fundamental law of nature for a drug to have a beneficial effect.

   5. Medicine teaches that drugs act on the body; Hygiene teaches that the living organism acts on the drugs.

   6. Medicine teaches that drugs cure disease; Hygiene teaches that drugs occasion disease. (To make this more clear: Hygiene teaches that the administration of every new drug requires new and additional remedial efforts to free the body of the poison--with every drug there is a new disease. The physician cures--or attempts to do so--by producing "iatrogenic disease.") A sick man is given a substance (drug) which results, as is known from experiment and experience, in impairment of function and destruction of structure, and if and when he recovers from his illness, his recovery is credited to the drug and not to the restorative operations of the body. The drug cured him. This is tantamount to the proposition that an agent that is known to be destructive occasions a restoration of health.

   7. Physicians used to bleed, blister, puke and purge; now they inject, transfuse, cut and vaccinate to cure disease; Hygiene supplies food, air, water, sunshine, activity, rest, sleep and cleanliness--in a word, physiological wants. There is a radical difference between the Hygienic System which saves and the drug system which kills, but some cannot understand this difference. They think of the two systems as merely two different, perhaps opposing systems of treating disease.

   Although every school of so-called healing insists that it is working for the betterment of the health conditions of mankind, their works all demonstrate that, however successful they may claim to be in grappling with the health problems of the day, they fail to take due cognizance of certain fundamental principles of physiology and biology and, failing to take cognizance of these principles, they have all failed equally to provide measures that truly meet the situation that has arisen. The Hygienic System alone meets this need.

   8. Medicine seeks to cure disease; Hygiene seeks to remove cause. Look further at our differences, for we are radically apart. We are not the same, with only seeming differences. There is a vital antagonism between the two systems. Medicine has a great advantage of position and rests securely behind ancient fortifications, but these do not constitute criteria of truth.

   So long has the world been accustomed to the thought that diseases are to be cured with drugs that the proposal to care for the sick without drugs, but with only the normal things of life, seems at first absurd. It is absurd--just as absurd as was the theory that the earth is round and turns on its axis, when it was first presented. The theory was controverted for 1,200 years. We may expect Hygienic principles to be controverted for a long time, too, before they are finally accepted. Physicians say that they give drugs to "help nature throw off disease." Sublime thought! What is this disease that nature is trying to "throw off?" In what way do drugs assist in the process? They give their drug, but they do not stop to remove or correct causes and if this is not done, all of their efforts are in vain.

   9. Medicine holds that diseases are caused by germs, viruses, parasites, etc. Hygiene teaches that diseases result from violations of the laws of life. Physicians seem to be ignorant of the simplest rules of life and health.

   10. Medicine teaches that disease may be prevented by immunization; Hygiene teaches that obedience to the laws of life is the only preventive of disease.

   11. Medicine is a system of treating disease, largely a system of spectacular palliation; Hygiene is a way of life. The results of the two systems are as different as are their theories and practices. Writing in 1853, Dr. Thomas Low Nichols said that if a Hygienic practitioner "had a case of fever, he would be ashamed to be more than a week in curing it. In a chronic disease, the patient makes such steady progress and gets so thorough an understanding of his case as to get beyond the necessity of advice." This is not all, as he pointed out. The best part of the matter is that when a man gets well under Hygiene, he gets with his recovery the knowledge necessary to maintain his health forever after. "A patient cured, is a patient lost; and if that patient is the head of a family, don't count on that family practice to meet your current expenses."

   He further said: "In common medical practice, when a physician gets a few families to take him as their regular physician, his fortune is made. He deals out his medicines and the diseases come as seed-time and harvest. The more business he has, the more he may have. The more he tinkers, the more the constitutions of his patients want mending, until the doctor and his drugs become the necessities of life." Hygienic practitioners find all this changed and the more thorough and conservative they are with their patients, the less they will have to do with them. We must rely upon continually making new converts. We must use every means to spread a knowledge of Hygiene or our very successes will destroy us. But true men can never fear the progress of intelligence, nor regret the happiness of mankind and when the medical core is finally disbanded, it will be because we have triumphed over suffering and there is no enemy to conquer.

   The people are familiar with the practices of the medical system; they know only too well how futile, even lethal, are its practices. Millions of them are admitted by medical men themselves to be suffering with iatrogenic disease. The people know that medical practices are in a constant state of flux, that medical theories are as unstable as quicksand and as changeable as the wind. Physicians keep them on a constant teeter-totter ride--up into the clouds of hope and expectancy, then down into the dark valley of despair--as they promise new wonders with their newly discovered cures and then discard them as failures.

   It is becoming increasingly obvious to everyone that a false system of medical practice prevails. Notwithstanding the great number of reformatory modes and systems that have come into existence within this century or just before and the number of drug systems that have died out, nothing significant has been done to perfect a science of medicine. Have physicians and pharmacologists ever made a serious attempt to prove that drugs possess curative properties? By reference to what general principle can their curative powers be proved? So far as we can see, they make no pretense of proving the curative power of their drugs but rest their case entirely on experience (their so-called clinical tests are merely part of their experience). Certainly, they fail to apply scientific rules to the verification of their claims. In the past, at least, certain medical leaders (Broussias, for example) have denied the applicability of scientific rules to the testing of drugs, on the ground that the facts oppose science. Bleeding, said Broussias, is well known to cure inflammation, no matter what science says.

   We ask for evidence. What reason have we to believe that any drug can ever restore a sick person to health? Is it because it is in the nature of drugs to do so? Drugs either cure or they don't. If they do cure, disease should decrease in proportion to the increase in drugs and physicians. The contrary is the obvious fact. Concomitantly with the increase in the number of physicians and the number of drug remedies, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of disease. "How wonderful!" I exclaimed as I finished reading a lengthy list of remarkably efficient curative drugs now at the command of physicians. "Certainly there is now no need for more sickness in the world. No more colds, coughs, corns, consumption, constipation, worms, skin eruptions, backaches, fevers, etc., for the world now has an arsenal of 'wonder drugs' that should speedily free mankind of suffering."

   12. In the regular practice of medicine, it is not good manners to ask questions and explanations are never volunteered. You must respect the wisdom of your physician and trust your case in his hands. He is entitled to your confidence and his fees and you have nothing to do but to follow his prescription and his directions. If you ask what you are taking, he will use his discretion about telling you; or if he condescends to tell you the truth, you will be little wiser. The common practice of medicine, as with every other kind of charlatanry, is based upon confidence and credulity.

   Hygiene has changed all this. In Hygiene, the first step towards restoring the body to health is enlightenment of the sick. The best foundation for a belief in Hygiene is a thorough knowledge of physiology and the causes of disease. We have no mystery except the great mystery of life. When we have explained the human constitution and its relations to external nature, our work is done; when this explanation is understood, our convert is made. People's attention is attracted by recoveries under Hygienic care, but it is only by an understanding of principles that they are converted-hence the necessity for a multiplication of books and the promotion of Hygienic journals, hence also the duty of all who can write or speak to use pen or tongue in this most worthy cause.

   The aim of the physiological system of Hygiene infinitely transcends that of medicine; it proceeds from a knowledge of the reason and nature of things, and is scientific; the other can establish no connection between the disease and the drug that is applied to it, and is empirical. Hygiene depends for its success upon the intelligence of those who adopt it; medicine depends on the faith that is ever a concomitant of ignorance.

   The Hygienist must educate his patient. To control the captiousness and ignorant whims of the sick requires much tact, but little deceit; it is generally best to supply knowledge in these matters, to supplant incorrect notions, as fast as it can be received. Knowledge is the only true corrective of ever-recurring vital mistakes. The laws of life, so intimately connected with our wellbeing and happiness, should not be conjectural or of ambiguous significance. They are carved on a page as broad as the face of nature and are exemplified in all that breathes. Every patient should have a full knowledge of them.

   The modern Hygienic movement, or so it seems to the author, is the result of real progress in knowledge. The most thorough Hygienic converts we know are the most intelligent. Indeed, up to this time, there are few others. A man can believe in Hygiene just as far as he understands its principles, but his belief in the common practices of medicine or the use of drugs in any way is just in proportion to his lack of understanding. In all this Hygiene is peculiar. Other systems have their books and journals, but they are for the profession alone and cannot be understood by the uninitiated. For thousands of years the sick world has trusted practitioners to cure it and the result has been an increase of diseases and a more premature and frightful mortality.

   13. Under the prevailing system of medicine, as in past systems, it is sought to restore health by the use of those things which destroy health; invigoration is hoped for through processes that exhaust, and it is sought to develop the powers of the body by defying nature--hence it is that the plans in vogue are by their very terms and nature empirical and not scientific. The plan of Natural Hygiene, on the other hand, is nature's own plan and method and is, therefore, the scientific one.

   The Hygienist employs no agents that are in their very nature destructive of the welfare of the animal economy, which is always the case with drugs in whatever amounts given or in whatever dose employed. It has long been lamented by physicians that, in the administration of their remedies, they cannot count on universal results. They claim that the most inexplicable peculiarities and individualities interpose themselves so that their supposedly salutary remedies become pernicious. Drugs (poisons), instead of assisting the body in its restorative work, check the healing processes of nature and deaden and stifle disease instead of restoring health. Often they change acute infections, which left to their own courses would result in health, to chronic and irremediable diseases. In Hygiene there is no patching up, but a thorough renovation, both of the individual organism and of the ways of life of the individual. In Hygiene there is no tampering with evils. They are all rejected and only beneficial agencies are invoked. "We neither bleed nor madden, nor stupefy, nor intoxicate--in a word, we do not poison." We restore the vital functions to their natural harmony and their highest vigor by the employment of physiological requirements.

   14. The medical man finds a sick body filled with toxic debris and he proceeds to add the equally potent poisons of his materia medica in the vague hope that somehow one poison will expel the other, then get rid of itself. In such a case, the Hygienist calls to his aid the elements of health. Every drug, every potent article of the materia medica, is a poison and, as such, in large or small doses, exerts a deceiving influence upon the system. Of this there is no question--it is on all sides admitted--and the whole practice of drug medication is confessedly a choice between evils. It professes to cure a greater evil by producing a lesser; but in practice, too often, this rule is reversed, for one evil is added to another.

   In medical practice, when one drug is given to act upon a disease, another is given to counteract the effects of the first and so on, until the patient, feeble and exhausted from the actions and reactions due to a whole series of poisons, is left at last with just the breath of life remaining, to get well by the operation of what vital power medication has spared him.

   Health, once established by Hygienic care, is maintained by it ever after. It is rare that a Hygienic family ever requires the services of a Hygienist a second time. Hygiene threatens, in this way, to destroy all so-called medical practice. Mothers learn, not only to care for the diseases of their families, but what is more important, to keep the family in health. The only way that a Hygienist can live is by constantly getting new clients, as the old ones are too thoroughly restored and too well informed to require further services.

   15. The Hygienist cares for a sick person very much in the same way that he would a well one, whom he desired to keep well. The homeopath treats him just as he would if he were well and he desired to make him sick. The allopath loses sight of the man altogether, making use of him only as a medium through which to fight a myth he calls disease--which myth no man has seen and the allopath can tell neither from whence it comes nor whither it goes, when its action is present (if present it be) nor give any description of it further than its name, disease. In the melee, if the man escapes, it is well for him; if he dies, the death is charged to the disease, not to the physician.

   Under the plan of care prevailing at the origin of the Hygienic System, sufferer after sufferer lingered and was dosed, bled and blistered, but died. In such cases, it was assumed that, all having been done to save them that could be done, their "time had come." God had so decreed and, of course, it was best that they go. What logic! What worse than ludicrous muddle! Concurrent events in the one class of cases are accepted as causes and effects; in the other, an imaginary decree is conjured up to relieve the shameful failure, not to say drug murder. Strange, is it not, that nobody ever thought to credit recovery to the fact that the "patient's time" had not come--God had not decreed his death?

   Worse than the foregoing, if this is possible, was the habit of charging Hygiene with responsibility for death if a patient, far gone under wrong living and worse treatment, was not brought back from the dead by pure physiological care. Hygiene was denied the benefits of good logic. It was not even provided with the scapegoat that protected the drug system--if a patient died under Hygienic care, this was not because his "time" had come. God did not decree that he should die.

   16. The means of medicine are artificial methods, a coinage of their own ingenuity. The drug-medical system seeks, with all the causes of disease in all the kingdoms of nature, to cure disease by creating new disease. How different the work of the Hygienist! He employs only such substances and conditions with which the organism is entirely familiar and which it uses daily, seeking to adjust these to its altered requirements. His is a legitimate effort. The means of Hygiene are natural and have belonged to man's normal way of life from his origin. Hygienic means have their foundation in the fitness of things. There is a radical distinction between the Hygienic System, which seeks to aid and assist the vital organism with the normal things of life in its reconstructive work, and the drug-medical system, which seeks to cure disease by the use of poisons.

   Writing in the Journal, June 1860, W. T. Vail, M.D., said: "The mass of mankind seem to think that there is a drug for every disease and could they only be so fortunate as to find that drug when they are sick, or find the physician who knows it and can administer it properly, they might be speedily restored. These learned doctors believe, while they are so bountifully and indiscriminately dealing out drugs to their patients, there is scarcely one disease in four in which drugs have the least efficacy towards effecting a cure." Thus he bears witness to the fact that the profession of his day had little confidence in the drugs they so freely administered. Two wrongs can never make a right and giving poisonous drugs to remedy the effects of prior violations of the laws of life is like knocking a drunken man down because he won't stand up. If a substance is harmful, why take it into the body? Why think that because it does not produce instantaneous death, we may take it with impunity? Why not refrain from burdening the body with it? Why not give your body the best opportunity to maintain high-level health? If we are content to suffer, if we want to watch ourselves go down year after year, then we will give no attention to the ways in which we feed and care for ourselves; but if health is worth having, it is worth the simple effort that is required to refrain from habitually abusing the body by habits that are foreign to the elemental needs of life. If health is worth regaining, it is worth the simple effort required to provide the elemental needs of life and to refrain from destroying life by dosing the body with poisonous substances drawn from all the kingdoms of nature.

   There is but one way to solve the health problems of man and this is to abolish the practice of medicine and replace it with Natural Hygiene. What are the other schools of so-called healing (those other than the medical system) doing towards this end? Exactly nothing. In fact, with their contradictory propaganda and their inconsistent activities, they only add their weight to the elements which confuse the health seeker. These various competing schools serve to obstruct humanity's progress towards a world of health and sanity. When, finally, they go out of their confused and hapless existence, there should not be a glimmer of regret.

   All those writers who gather their ideas from the current literature of the day without examination and critical analysis must necessarily advance, or rather, teach the fleeting errors of the times. They may expose an occasional error; but, basically, they propagate the very errors they seem to expose. Never in all history has so much praise been wasted on a fundamentally evil thing as today goes out to medicine. Indeed, wasted is too mild a word. Perverted would be more accurate. When once the people have acquired a genuine understanding of the nature of medicine and its practices, it will be regarded with aversion and downright loathing.

   When our opponents lay down their arms, retreat from the field and ask for quarter, there will no longer be necessity for us to pursue them. Then we can devote our attention exclusively to the welfare of the living, guarding them against ill health, drugs, physicians and the whole paraphernalia of medical slop-shops, blisters, man mid-wives and every other unclean thing. Until then, we must continue to fight, as did all past reformers and revolutionaries. When light and knowledge have obtained the ascendency over darkness and evil, then and then only shall our swords be beaten into ploughshares and pruning hooks and mankind learn war no more, nor swallow pills, pukes and other drugs.

   It may be objected that medicine is scientific, hence, one of our sacred cows. Science is radically empirical and is devoted to methodology rather than to ontology. It treats general propositions as working hypotheses, that is, as "provisional truths" to be continually revised as the results of observation and experiment demand. Science is at least partly conventional. It emphasizes the operation of verification as essential to verity, but is rarely, if ever, satisfied with its verifications. All of its conclusions are provisional and subject to revision, change or discard. The scientist is, in sober fact, an instrumentalist. But, in addition to his dependence upon his scales and measuring rods, he is, in many areas of learning, a guesser. Biology, physiology, geology, anthropology, archeology and kindred sciences are shot through with guesses. Pharmacology is one stupendous guess and a wrong guess. That mythical science called the science of modern medicine is a system of incongruities, absurdities and morbid products of the imagination.

   Physicians often complain that they are forced to treat their patients in the manners in which they do treat them, because the patients demand it. This complaint is made in utter disregard of the all too obvious fact that the teachings of medical science constitute the starting point of popular beliefs and demands. When physicians yield to the clamour of their patient for the popular drug, as they so often do, there is reflected back upon them the fallacies they have so assiduously promulgated in the public mind. In his maze of learned stultification the physician is hopelessly lost at sea without rudder or compass. Deprive him of his drugs and he knows nothing to do in caring for the sick. After all, Hygiene does have a guiding principle which is the fundament of true practice.

   Allopathic medicine is crumbling like an old building beset with fungi and the fact that it is a gigantic building does not stay the process. The ideological decay of the medical system is no less apparent than its structural collapse and only those people who seek the obscure and cabbalistic, when the simple truth is right on the surface, can fail to discern this fact. The "euphoria and public complacency" cultivated by the medical organization and the public press cannot long hide the going to pieces of the poisoning system. When you permit your faith to oust facts or your fancy to oust memory, you lay yourself open to deception.