This section of the book is from "Fasting, Hydropathy and Exercise", by Bernarr MacFadden.
There are health seekers so exhausted by wasting diseases or the abuse of drugs that they are unable to participate in the exercises of a public gymnasium. Old school physicians would have consigned them to the inactivity of a sweltering sick-room. Faith curists, with their antics, would to some degree mitigate the tedium of that ordeal; but the patient would still be doomed to that most grievous trial of patience: the necessity to suffer without a chance to promote the progress of improvement by individual efforts.
The movement cure plan offers that chance even to the most far-gone victims of debilitating disorders. As long as the apathy of exhaustion has not yet merged in the trance of the endless night, the possibility of exercise always implies the possibility of recovery.
The manager of a "Life-under-glass" hospital invited patronage by an artistic signboard, informing the public that "Warmth is Life, Cold is Death." Yes, death to microbes, at all events, commented an apostle of the refrigeration cure, after mentioning a variety of cases where disease germs could be dislodged or killed by a degree of cold which their living boarding house could survive without difficulty and even without discomfort.
Motion is life, apathy is death," would be a less misleading motto.
Bedridden patients should not be urged to keep quiet when they begin to fret for a chance to exercise their motive organs in some way or other. Faute de mieux, they may be encouraged to sit up in bed, and recline, by turns, or roll from side to side. It will help to keep the blood in circulation and prevent bed-sores and hyponchondria. Any modification of physical exercise, in fact, will extend its beneficial influence to the mind of the patient, and the protracted slumber following fatigue will assist the remedial efforts of nature, and mitigate distress by the balm of oblivion.
The exercises which follow, illustrated by a number of excellent photographs, can be adapted to every degree of convalescence.
Those movements illustrated with dumb-bells can be taken with free hand or with anything that can be grasped conveniently in the hands. There should not be a weight of over two or three pounds in each hand unless inclined to be strong.
Be very careful not to overdo the exercises the first few attempts.
Exercise No 1. Reclining on right side and raising left arm, with dumb bell in hand and elbow rigid, from hips to high over head Same exercise with right arm while reclining on left side. Inhale deep breath as arm goes back.
Exercise No 2. Reclining on right side and raising left leg as high as possible and the same exercise taken with right leg while reclining on left side.
Exercise No. 3. Reclining on back and crossing right leg over left, as far as possible, and vice versa.
Exercise No. 1 will relieve the respiratory torpor of debilitating disorders and the aftereffects of pneumonia. Of benefit also in several phases of heart disease.
Exercise No. 2 will aid the functions of the digestive organs and act as a specific in promoting recovery from accidents involving injuries to the spine. Prevented paralysis and greatly relieved the mental distress of the patient in the case of a carpenter who had fallen from a high scaffold and was brought in, pale with terror, and as he supposed permanently crippled in his lower extremities. He had lost the use of his voluntary muscles from the hips down, and felt "numb;" experienced but little benefit from several applications of electricity, but on the fifth day noticed that he could slightly raise one of his feet. Steadily exercising the sinews of that foot, he contrived the next day to raise it about half a yard above the mattress of his bed, and his recovery from that time was continuous and rapid, aided, as it was, by the influence of hope.