Commonsense, not Drugs, the Panacea for Most Ills - Rational Living as the Cure for Dyspepsia Faddism an Evil, since Concentration of the Mind on an Organ Affects the Health of that Organ Find out the Cause of Indisposition and alter Method in Living
The value of sound physical and mental health can hardly be overestimated. All desire good health, because health means power, enjoyment, and, in a sense, happiness. The vast majority of people fail to acquire it because they lack one thing - commonsense. The world is filled with women who blame Providence for their own hygienic folly, who rely upon drugs to alleviate the symptoms of disorganised health, when the only commonsense thing to do is to find out the cause of ill-health and deal with that.
The cultivation of medical commonsense would reduce martyrs to headache by one half, would cure the nerves of hundreds of people who make life unhappy for themselves and everybody else they come in contact with. By studying and applying a few commonsense rules of health in the home a great many infectious ailments, from cold in the head to typhoid fever, would be prevented.
The most essential thing in curing ill-health is to find out the cause. It is the first principle of medical commonsense. The sufferer from headache, sleeplessness, or dyspepsia will never regain perfect health until she finds out the reason why she is ill and deals with that.
Is she eating too much, too often, or too fast ?
These are the commonest causes of dyspepsia. They will produce indigestion, liver attacks, headache, or sleeplessness. Is she suffering from defective eyesight or nerve strain ? They will cause intense headache or prevent sleep. The cure is not medicine of any sort, but rational living, regulated diet, eyeglasses, or more methodical arrangement of the day's work. But before one can find out the cause of disease, one must know something about the ordinary laws of health. This knowledge can be simply and easily acquired by anyone who cultivates commonsense at the same time.
In this health department we shall deal as time goes on with the simple physiology of the digestive organs, respiratory organs, and nervous system. We shall describe how digestive derangements can be prevented by anyone who knows something about the process of digestion and applies that knowledge in a commonsense way. We shall demonstrate how foolish it is to expect the stomach to take on the digestive duties of the mouth, and how pain and sickness must inevitably follow if we are too lazy to chew our food.
In the same way medical commonsense provides that we must live in properly ventilated rooms and breathe pure air night and day; thus we can escape colds and catarrhal affections of the air passage. Above all, medical common-sense recognises the absolute necessity for cleanliness. Clean homes, clean clothing, clean food, clean habits of body and mind ensure health. By such measures we prevent the growth of germs in the home which are responsible for a great deal of ill-health. The woman who cultivates medical commonsense knows that a certain amount of muscular exercise and activity is necessary to health. She realises that fresh air and outdoor exercise make for improved digestion and even affect the capacity and activity of the brain. She understands that regular rest, also, must be obtained by anyone who desires to keep fit and in good condition.
Even a steam-engine cannot work continuously without suffering, and the human body is a finely balanced combination of vital forces and systems which must have regular periods of rest if it is not to break down. The heart rests between each beat; the mind rests during sleep. Perfect health means the proper regulation of activity and rest. The person who overworks and has too little rest may not suffer for it in the present, but Nature will exact her payment in the end. In the same way over-eating and
Medical msufficient exercise invariably bring their own penalty.
There is nothing mysterious about illness. It is simply the result of neglect of the common-sense rules of health. Recognition of this fact does not entail that one develops into a faddist. The ideal plan is to study simple health and hygienic measures, to apply them to one's own case sensibly and systematically, and then to cease thinking about one's health at all.
Health faddism is the antithesis of medical commonsense. The woman who is constantly dwelling upon her health deteriorates physically and mentally. The healthy stomach digests food without its owner being aware of the process at all. If we are always considering our digestion, and wondering if this food or the other is best for our needs, the stomach most certainly deteriorates in health. Concentration of the mind on any organ of the body affects the health of that organ. That is the fundamental truth underlying the many absurdities of faith-healing. If we suggest to ourselves we are well, we improve physically. If we fret about our digestion, we are less able to digest our food. So the student of medical commonsense determines first of all to give up all health fads. If she finds that butchers' meat twice daily makes her less " fit " in mind and body, she reduces the quantity of butchers' meat by one-half or more, but refrains from rushing to extreme vegetarianism, and living on nuts and apples all at once. Medical commonsense is essentially moderate. If we adopt commonsense as our fundamental principle we never become physical-culture faddists. We see that there is the germ of truth in all these theories, and we look for it and utilise it - in moderation.
The faddist in one direction is too apt to neglect some other health principle. If we live the outdoor life, and at the same time are irregular in cur meals and our hours of rest, we cannot expect that perfect health which is the result of exercising medical commonsense. If we ventilate our rooms in an ideal way, and yet bolt our food at express speed, we are inevitably seedy and out of sorts. If we feed ideally, we shall still suffer if we live at express speed, are constantly on tension, and sleep five instead of eight or nine hours at night.
Granted that you wish to become a convert to the gospel of medical commonsense, what rules may be accepted for guidance ?
1. If you are " unfit " in the that you are unable to cope with your daily work with pleasure and ability, find out the reason why. There is a cause which can be discovered. Deal with that in a commonsense way, whatever it is It may be bad teeth, enfeebled digestion, lack of fresh air night and day, insufficient sleep.
2. Replace any bad health habits by good habits and rules of daily life. Early rising saves hurry and an unchewed breakfast. Open windows at night prevent morning headache. A daily walk of five miles deals with one cause of liver, gout, and irritability of temper. Method cures the habit of worry.
3. Study hygiene. Realise the importance of cleanliness. Clean teeth and clean skin affect enormously the state of the health. Clean homes ensure freedom from many infectious ills of the flesh. Soap and water rigorously applied are the best aids to the preservation of health and comfort in home life.
4. Cultivate regular and methodical ways. Ten minutes' physical exercise once a day is better than two hours once a week in the gymnasium. Method in daily work will save both the domestic and business woman hours of worry. Worry is woman's greatest hindrance to health, and worry is always preventable.
5. If, in spite of every effort to exercise medical commonsense, you are still dissatisfied with your health standard, consult a doctor. In all diseases, the earlier treatment is begun, the more chance of cure. The patient who allows herself to get into a state of serious ill-health for months does not give the doctor or herself a fair chance. A timely visit to a doctor may save months of suffering, like the stitch in time, or the tooth, that is saved to-day by a minute stopping, which would have to be pulled a year hence.
6. Lastly, cultivate the cheerful mind. You will influence for good every organ in the body.
Many of these points will be discussed in detail in future parts of Every Woman's Encyclopedia. Meantime, you have in small compass some of the main rules concerning the gospel of medical commonsense.
By medicine life will be prolonged, yet death
Will seize the doctor too.
The surest road to health, say what they will. Is never to suppose we shall be ill.
Dame Nature gave him comeliness and health, And Fortune (for a passport) gave him wealth.
Grant me but health, thou great Bestower of it, and give me but this fair goddess as my companion, and shower down thy mitres, if it seem good unto Thy Divine Providence, upon those heads which are acbing for them.
(.Rev.) Laurence Sterne
Rich, from the very want of wealth. In heaven's best treasures. peace and health.
To know the disease is half the cure.
This Is the way physicians mend or end us, Secundum artem: but although we sneer
In health. when ill, we call them to attend us, Without the least propensity to jeer.