by William Howard Hay MD
A chapter from Dr Hay's book
A New Health Era (1933)

God does not perform his work so imperfectly or shortsightedly as to be obliged to interpose with miracles to set it right.
Leo H. Grindon
Lecturer on Botany, Royal School of Medicine
Manchester, 1860


"The writer is no magician or worker of miracles, neither does lie claim the slightest credit for recovery in any case he accepts for treatment, for he realizes far more keenly than do most that recovery is a function of the body alone, and Nature, as represented by the body, has her own ways for repairing this useful automaton when out of order, and all any human being can do is to successfully interpret Nature and give her what assistance is possible in the way of removal of the visible handicaps to her work.

"He has the Scotch habit of insisting that two and two should always make four, and if otherwise then he is being gypped.

"It took fifteen years of patient and persistent application of the principles here laid out to remove finally and definitely from his so-called mind all specificity of disease, and to enable him to regard all disease as one thing, subject to the same rules and requiring the same form of treatment.

"To him now a toothache is merely an evidence of wrong chemical conditions of the body, conditions that he believes he can suggest as universal in all departures from health.

"Progressive pernicious anemia, asthma, Bright's disease, diabetes, rheumatism, arthritis, neuritis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, every form of digestive disturbance, eczema, psoriasis, pityriasis, goitres of all types, tumors, tuberculosis--any and all of these varied forms of so-called disease fall under one head, chemical imbalance of the body, and all subject to restoration to the normal through correction of the body chemistry and thorough drainage.

"This is a radical simplification of the consideration of disease, and takes this out of the realm of mystery.

"The very fact that all these varied conditions recover to a high normal is surely proof enough of the correctness of the theory, and it matters nothing that high authority says these things are wholly unmanageable by any known form of treatment.

"Such statement merely proves that the so-called authority does not know the cause of these conditions, therefore is not a good guide for anyone seeking relief.

"When the best that medical science can do for any of the conditions mentioned above is to temporize and treat symptoms and recognize them all as incurable, surely there must be something wrong with their ideas of the origin of any of them and how to correct this.

"To regard disease as merely a departure from normal health, no matter what form this departure takes, simplifies its consideration so greatly that it does not require medical training to appreciate it fully, nor anything resembling talent to find means for its relief, as the understanding of the thing carries automatically with it the knowledge of how to return to health.

"It was said earlier that all we can do for disease is to stop creating this background of acid end-products of digestion and metabolism, and this is true, for if disease comes always and only from this acid collection, then it must be evident to anyone that the cure lies in the discontinuance of this accumulation.

"Septic troubles of all kinds yield to simple detoxication and dietary correction wholly without sera or drugs or anything else.

"In deep types of blood poisoning the use of three heaping tablespoonsfuls of Epsom or Glauber salts, or a half pint of concentrated Pluto water, on an empty stomach, repeated if necessary for three or more days, and with diet of nothing but water, or surely nothing more than orange juice or other unsweetened juice, has not to this very date failed to restore the body to a near enough normal so that the temperature has subsided, and appetite has returned, usually within two or three days, even after antistreptococcic serum had been used and many forms of medication, without regulation of the diet or detoxication by purging.

"Temperature ranging up to 105°F [40.5°C], with chills, delirium, collapse, the count of the white cells enormous, have after two to three days shown normal temperature, have rapidly come back to normal, and showed a very high degree of health afterward, with no sequelae remaining to tell of the stresses of the past two weeks.

"Pneumonia, erysipelas, typhoid fever, influenza, acute arthritis, colitis, hay fever, all subside when the body is fairly detoxicated and the diet so corrected as to stop this excessive formation of the acid end-products, simply because each was expressing the end-point of tolerance of toxins, and each was the means by which the body sought to unload this unwanted mass.

"The acute fevers of little children pass in one night, as a rule, leaving the little one wanting food the very next day, and no matter how small the child this crisis meant always the same thing, which was that the little body had accumulated toxins to the point of tolerance and was now trying to unload them by means of a fever, or heightened oxidation process, during which much of this waste is burned and thrown out.

"Little children can scarcely be made to take the nauseating dose of salts or Pluto water, so the tasteless castor oil is better here, using double the prescribed dose in every case.

"The object of the purge is not the movement of the bowels, though this is accomplished also, but it is intended to remove from the body much of its acid-laden fluids, the serum from the blood, the lymph from the tissues.

"In the adult the use of a half pint of concentrated Pluto water will usually result in the ejection from the bowel of three or four quarts of fluid, and the thirst resulting from this dehydration will make the free use of fruit juices very gratifying. Thus an alkaline or base-forming source of supply is opened up for the body to replenish its deficient stores, and the condition of the body immediately is one of lowered acidity, or rather a heightened alkalinity.

'This is neutralizing much of the mass of acid end-products, hence the feeling of relief that usually follows this rather drastic purging, and the more toxic the condition the greater the feeling of relief.

"Many cases of nephritis, with broken heart compensation, unable to walk about through weakness, unable to lie down because of the shortness of breath, will purge for three days and then lie down flat to sleep and even take walks with enjoyment, and all without any food whatever.

"Always before coming under treatment an effort had been made to 'keep up the strength' with foods of all sorts, and yet in spite of this free feeding they were extremely weak, but after this spasm of intensive detoxication they were stronger at once, without food.

"This would seem to indicate that the weakness formerly was from the intoxication, and the relief of this by the drastic purge allowed of better function at once, accounting for the seeming increase in strength, and surely there seems to be no other way to look at it.

"Nephritis, or Bright's disease as it is usually called, is one of the very deep types of intoxication, and what is accomplished there is duplicated by the beforementioned blood infections, as streptococcic infection, or so-called blood poisoning, where the immediate relief from the purge and fast or near-fast, is rather impressive, especially to one who is familiar with the usual course of these unmanageable conditions.

"True anginas, whether from degenerative changes in the heart muscle or from embolism of the coronary artery, will generally lose all pain on exertion after three days of active purging and fruit juice diet, and go on to complete relief, even returning to active exercise, golf, even tennis, and with no remaining evidence of heart incompetency.

"Every case of arthritis short of actual anchylosis, or fixation of joints, will respond to treatment, and complete recovery is the rule, not the exception, the result limited only by the degree of fixation of the joints.

"Many a case of gastric or duodenal ulcer responds at once, the very first day of fruit juices bringing grateful relief, but in those cases of bleeding ulcer it is not wise to use the drastic purge to start the detoxication period, for fear of exciting haemorrhage.

"It is enough to empty the colon daily by means of the simple enema and confine the food wholly to the fruit juices till all pain has completely subsided, then begin feeding with the wholly alkaline foods, as cooked vegetables, raw vegetable salads, fresh fruits, and a moderate amount of milk or buttermilk, the latter preferred.

"To date no case of gastric or duodenal ulcer has failed to entirely recover, though some go through several recurrences, usually each lighter and shorter than preceding attacks; but the thing is cyclic in character, and tends to return at intervals of six months to one year, a few cases having cycles of two years, when the attack comes on, is severe for a time, then gradually subsides, no one knows why; but it is thinkable that the pain of digestion so limits the intake of food that in time there is relief from the irritation that produces the trouble. If it were not for the fact that the victim when relieved of pain returns to his former incompatible habits of eating he would not suffer recurrences, but when the history is long, and there have been many cycles, the cause is so deeply rooted that even correct eating may not be sufficient to guarantee freedom from recurrences till the body's chemistry is well changed. However, each case recovers ultimately, proving that a hyper-acid state of the body was the cause, for only alkalinization of the body was required for cure.

"The late Dr Sippy, of Chicago, who specialized in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcer for many years, made the statement on the floor of the Erie County Medical Society not long before his death, that every case of gastric or duodenal ulcer was originally a hyperchlorhydria, meaning that a too free production of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice was the active irritant in every case.

"The writer's experience fully bears out this statement of Dr Sippy, but the so-called Sippy diet, or bland diet, while it does give relief, never ultimately cures, for there is always a tendency to recurrence of the cycles till the whole body chemistry is changed to a more alkaline state, a thing Dr Sippy did not believe. Hence his cases returned to him again and again with recurrences, while if the diet had been sufficiently alkaline throughout, very few cases I would have ever suffered relapse, and in time all cases would have recovered permanently.

"The word 'permanently' is used advisedly, though it carries with it the understanding that a repetition of the former wrong habits of eating would insure a return of the ulcer.

"One hundred and nine cases of progressive pernicious or primary anemia passed through the same simple form of detoxication and dietary correction, and all but eight recovered, the eight simply being too far gone to permit of time for the necessary changes.

"In every recovery the result was permanent except in those who returned to careless habit of diet and neglected to thoroughly empty the colon every day.

"Of course a repetition of the original causes would naturally tend to produce the same result, as the original attack showed the weak link in the chain of resistance, and a similar toxic condition would be quite likely to express through this same weak point.

"Primary or progressive pernicious anemia is a failure of the blood making organs, as against a secondary anemia, which is due to destruction of the red cells from some internal or external toxic material, and the secondary type disappears when this source of destruction is found and corrected.

"The primary type has been long considered a mystery, and no one attempted to tell the origin of the influence that depressed the function of the blood making organs.

"The chronic asthmatic, the spasmodic type, is probably the most grateful and the most greatly surprised of all chronic sufferers, for usually he has been everywhere, has tried everything, has consulted the best specialists, and has been told everywhere that nothing can be done for him except to send him to a higher and dryer climate, and usually this also is found to give but little and temporary relief.

"The very first week, in the majority of cases, shows marked relief from spasm, and in the case of young children even a week is more than is necessary to show this, for many of them never again have the slightest sign of asthma after even less than a week following three days of drastic purging and alkaline diet.

"The relief seems to the asthmatic almost unbelievable, and it is not well to promise such speedy relief in the beginning, for this sufferer has gone through too much to believe easily that his trouble of years past has been all this time such a simple thing, and then, too, his may be one case that requires a longer time, as some rare cases do.

"So the asthmatic is told that his case is curable if he will follow faithfully the directions given, and if he is one of the lucky ones and loses his whole trouble in the first few weeks of treatment he will be the happiest man in the world.

"Spasmodic or catarrhal asthma is nothing but a toxic state expressing through bronchial tubes that are not any too large at best, and it does not require much swelling of these little capillary tubes to seriously interfere with their function of carrying air into the lungs and carbonic acid gas out, so the victim smothers from this difficulty.

"As the hyper-acid state subsides so does the catarrhal swelling everywhere, and a little subsidence in the tiny bronchial tubes does make a great deal of difference in the breathing of anyone.

"It is not long ago that we began to recognize colitis as the frequent occurrence that it really is, and now we understand that every case of constipation is a colitis of degree, whether mucus is thrown off or not. Colitis is now regarded as so common that in almost every case presenting for treatment there will be found evidence of catarrh of the colon in some degree, just as we expect that few people will be able to say that they have the natural three bowel movements daily.

"If mucus is not observed in the stools it soon will be after the beginning of daily enemata and the correction of the diet to a more alkaline standard, and this first appearance usually leads the patient to think that the enema or the diet is doing harm, but the opposite is the case. The body is only beginning to unload this waste material, and the more mucus the better the indication, for this is accentuated elimination, and should go on till no more mucus is left to show in the stools.

"Colitis comes from the character of the contents of this neglected organ; a toxic mass, putrefying, fermenting, is retained too long, and unless the colon is emptied daily there will continue to be absorption from this sewer, and recovery will be delayed till it is borne in on the patient's mind that it is better to get this material out than to let it remain to further putrefy and ferment.

"There is not the slightest chance of permanently injuring the function of this organ by doing its work vicariously for a time, because its function depends on internal cleanliness as much as on anything else, though ultimate recovery of normal bowel tone is a matter of general revitalization of the whole body, and till this has had time to occur it will be necessary to continue to aid this burdened organ in this way.

"Every case of colitis recovers if the diet is correct and if the colon contents are daily flushed out by the simple enema till such time as returning general vitality restores the tone of every organ and part of the body, a period that varies from a few weeks to a few months in most cases, but in constipation of deep type and long history it may require two, three or more years to regain a competent activity of the colon.

"Next to constipation the common cold is perhaps the thing most prescribed for and least understood.

"The P.H.S. undertook an intensive study of colds some time ago, I believe at the suggestion of the president, but that this will accomplish anything is too much to expect, for there is little or nothing known about the real cause of this very common condition.

"The cold will never be properly understood till we realize that each attack is merely the body's end-point of tolerance for the acids of digestion and metabolism, and when we have ceased to create these toxic materials we will cease to manifest the common cold.

"When patients have kept the colon well up to the minute and have so corrected their dietary habit as to stop this excessive formation of adventitious acids, no more colds manifest, and in a few years no possible exposure can again produce this manifestation that we call a cold. Were this not true then everything before said would fall flat, for here is a very good way to prove the whole thing, and one would not dare to make any such statement as that colds will become impossible when the body has raised its alkalinity to anywhere near the normal, unless able to prove it.

"Eat all foods compatibly and bring the colon up to date and you will furnish yourself with all the proof necessary that it becomes impossible for you to 'catch cold'.

"Colds are not caught, they are accumulated with the feet under the dinner table, and in no other way.

"If you will stop creating the usual acid excesses and keep the colon up to date you will find plenty of other reasons to point to the general fact that disease of every sort comes from accumulation of these acid end-products of digestion and metabolism, and you will be abundantly impressed with the proof of all of the foregoing, and will begin to realize that after all old Mother Nature is your very best friend.

"You have not listened to her in the past or you would have long ago discover this, but start right in today to listen hard to all her suggestions, and you will come to have the most profound respect for her.

"It has often been said that Nature is a very good nurse, but a poor physician, and this is true enough, if by physician you mean one who treats disease, for she does not treat disease, and neither should we.

"We should ignore disease and concentrate on building health, which means that we should not fail to observe all the natural indications of the body in health or its opposite, and satisfy ourselves with keeping the laws of our own nutrition, and we will need only a nurse, and Nature is after all the very best.

"Sir William Osler once said that anything that cannot be cured by Nature must forever remain uncured, which would seem to indicate that he considered the old lady not only the best of nurses, but not so bad as a physician also.

"It is safe to say that of all the thousands of cases that have presented here for the past twenty-five years, by far the largest number were those who had gone through almost every form of so-called treatment at the hands of many physicians, but who, like the poor woman in the Bible, had spent all their substance, and grew nothing better, but rather grew worse. With few exceptions these have regained their lost health in part or in whole, and at the same time have learned the blessed lesson that as we eat so are we, and have been able since to conform sufficiently to the body's laws as to guarantee their health for the future.

"It is good to recover from supposedly unmanageable disease, but it is better, in a far larger way, to know why one has been less than well and just how to conserve the health and vitality for the future.

"This I consider constructive therapeutics; nothing else is, and till official medicine takes similar ground they should not complain if the public is losing confidence in their treatment of disease, and is turning to Osteopaths and Chiropractors, or even to Christian Science, the last abjuring all forms of treatment."

In regard to cancer, Dr Hay had this to say:

"As cancer is a systemic affair, expressing as a local growth, the removal of this evidence of cancer does not correct the system. Again the cart has been placed before the horse, in the prevalent belief that the local growth makes the systemic symptoms that accompany cancer, when as a matter of fact, the cancer condition exists long before there is a local expression of this in the form of growth or ulceration.

Yes, if cancer is of sufficiently slow growth it can be cured by fasting and proper diet though there must be time enough to allow the body to make a complete chemical re-adjustment, and many cases of cancer are recorded as cured by these simple means."