This section is from the book "The Chronic Diseases, Their Specific Nature And Their Homeopathic Treatment", by Samuel Hahnemann. Also available from Amazon: The chronic diseases, their specific nature and their homeopathic treatment.
The daily laborer, if his strength allows, should continue his labor; the artisan, his handiwork; the farmer, so far as he is able, his field work; the mother of the family, her domestic occupations according to her strength; only labors that would interfere with the health of healthy persons should be interdicted. This must be left to the intelligence of the rational physician.
The class of men who are usually occupied, not with bodily labor, but with fine work in their rooms, usually with sedentary work, should be directed during their cure to walk more in the open air, without, on that account, setting their work altogether aside.
Persons belonging to the higher classes should also be urged to take walks more than is their custom. The physician may allow this class the innocent amusement of moderate and becoming dancing, amusements in the country that are reconcilable with a strict diet, also social meetings with acquaintances, where conversation is the chief amusement; he will not keep them from enjoying harmless music or from listening to lectures which are not too fatiguing; he can permit the theatre only exceptionally, but he can never allow the playing of cards. The physician will moderate too frequent riding and driving, and should know how to banish intercourse which should prove to be morally and psychically injurious, as this is also physically injurious. The flirtations and empty excitations of sensuality between the sexes, the reading of indelicate novels and poems of a like character, as well as superstitious and enthusiastic books, are to be altogether interdicted.*
Scholars ought also to be induced to (moderately) exercise in the open air, and in bad weather to do some light mechanical work in doors; but during the medical treatment mental occupation should be limited to work from memory, since straining the head by reading is hardly ever to be allowed, or at least only with great limitation and a strict definition as to the quantity and quality of what is read, i. e., in treating any of the more severe chronic diseases. In mental disorders it can never be allowed.
* Physicians frequently wish to assume importance by forbidding without exception all sexual intercourse to chronic patients who are married. But if both parties are able and disposed to it, such an interdict is, to say the least, ridiculous, as it neither can nor will be obeyed (without causing a greater misfortune in the family). No legislature should give laws that cannot be kept nor controlled, or which would cause even greater mischief if kept. If one party is incapable of sexual intercourse, this of itself will stop such intercourse. But of all functions in marriage such intercourse is what may least be commanded or forbidden. Homoeopathy only interferes in this matter through medicines, so as to make the party that is incapable of sexual intercourse capable of it, through anti-psoric (or anti-syphilitic) remedies, or, on the other hand, to reduce an excitable consort's morbidity to its natural tone.
All classes of chronic patients must be forbidden the use of any domestic remedies or the use of any medicines on their own account. With the higher classes, perfumeries, scented waters, tooth-powders and other medicines for the teeth must also be forbidden. If the patient has been accustomed for a long time to woolen under-clothing, the homoeopathic physician cannot suddenly make a change, but as the disease diminishes the woolen under-garments may in warm weather be first changed to cotton, and then, in warm weather, the patient can pass to linen. Fontanels can be stopped, in chronic diseases of any moment, only when the internal cure has already made progress, especially with patients of advanced age.
The physician cannot yield to the request of patients for the continuance of their customary home-baths, but a quick ablution, as much as cleanliness may demand from time to time, may be allowed; nor can he permit any venesection or cupping, however much the patient may declare that he has become accustomed thereto.
As to diet, all classes of men who wish to be cured of a lingering disease, can suffer some limitation, if the chronic disease does not consist of an ailment of the abdomen; with the lower classes there need be no very strict limitations, especially if the patient is able to remain at work in his trade, thus giving motion to the body. The poor man can recover health even with a diet of salt and bread, and neither the moderate use of potatoes, flour-porridge nor fresh cheese will hinder his recovery; only let him limit the condiments of onions and pepper with his meagre diet.
He who cares for his recovery can find dishes, even at the king's table, which answer all the requirements of a natural diet.
Most difficult for a homoeopathic physician is the decision as to drinks. Coffee has in great part the injurious effects on the health of body and soul which I have described in my little book (Wirkungen ties Kaffees [Effects of Coffee], Leipzig, 1803); but it has become so much of a habit and a necessity to the greater part of the so-called enlightened nations that it will be as difficult to extirpate as prejudice and superstition, unless the homoeopathic physician in the cure of chronic diseases insist on a general, absolute interdict. Only' young people up to the twentieth year, or at most up to the thirtieth, can be suddenly deprived of it without any particular disadvantage; but with persons over thirty and forty years, if they have used coffee from their childhood, it is better to propose to discontinue it gradually and every day to drink somewhat less; when lo and behold ! most of them leave it off at once, and they will do so without any peculiar trouble (except, perhaps, for a few days at the commencement). As late as six years ago I still supposed that older persons who are unwilling to do without it, might be allowed to use it in a small quantity. But I have since then become convinced that even a long-continued habit cannot make it harmless, and as the physician can only permit what is best for his patient, it must remain as an established rule that chronic patients must altogether give up this part of their diet, which is insidiously injurious; and this the patients, high or low, who have the proper confidence in their physician, when it is properly represented to them, almost without exception, do willingly and gladly, to the great improvement of their health. Rye or wheat, roasted like coffee in a drum and then boiled and prepared like coffee, has both in smell and taste much resemblance to coffee; and rich and poor are using this substitute willingly in several countries.