This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
The "Old School" of medical science defines acute diseases as those which run a brief and more or less violent course and chronic diseases as those which run a protracted course and have a tendency to recur.
Nature Cure attaches a broader and more significant meaning to these terms. This will have become apparent from our discussion of the causes, the progressive development and the purpose of acute diseases in the preceding pages.
From the Nature Cure viewpoint, the chronic condition is the latent, constitutional disease encumbrance, whereas acute disease represents Nature's efforts to rectify abnormal conditions, to overcome and eliminate hereditary or acquired morbid taints and systemic poisons and to reestablish normal structure and functions.
To use an illustration: In a case of permanent or recurrent itchy psoriasis, the "Old School" physician would look upon the itchy skin eruption as the chronic disease, while we should see in the external eczema an attempt of the healing forces of Nature to remove from the system the inner, latent hereditary or acquired psora, which constitutes the real chronic disease.
It stands to reason that the exterior eruptions should not be suppressed by any means whatever, but that the only true and really effective method of treatment consists in eliminating from the organism the inner, latent psoric taint. After this is accomplished, the external "skin disease" will disappear of its own accord.
As another illustration of the radical difference in our respective points of view, let us take hemorrhoids (piles). The regular physician considers the local hemorrhoidal enlargements in themselves the chronic disease, while the Nature Cure practitioner looks upon hemorrhoids as Nature's effort to rid the system of certain morbid encumbrances and poisons which have accumulated as a result of sluggish circulation, chronic constipation, defective elimination through kidneys, lungs, and skin and from many other causes.
These constitutional abnormalities, which are the real chronic disease, have to be treated and corrected. After this has been done, the hemorrhoidal enlargements and discharges will take care of themselves.
It is, therefore, absolutely irrational, and frequently followed by the most serious consequences, to surgically remove the piles or to suppress the hemorrhoidal discharges and thereby to drive these concentrated poison extracts back into the system.
In a number of cases we have traced paralysis, insanity, tuberculosis, cancer and other forms of chronic destructive diseases to the forcible suppression of hemorrhoids.
Chronic disease, from the viewpoint of Nature Cure philosophy, means that the organism has become permeated with morbid matter and poisons to such an extent that it is no longer able to throw off these encumbrances by a vigorous, acute eliminative effort. The chronic condition, therefore, represents the slow, cold type of disease, characterized by feeble, ineffectual efforts to eliminate the latent morbid taints and impediments from the system. These efforts may take the form of open sores, skin eruptions, catarrhal discharges, chronic diarrhea, etc.
If acute diseases are treated in harmony with Nature's laws, they will leave the body in a purer, healthier condition. But if the treatment is wrong, if under the "Old School" methods fever and inflammation (Nature's methods of elimination) are checked and suppressed with poisonous drugs, serums and antitoxins or if, instead of purifying and invigorating cells and tissues, the affected parts and organs are removed with the surgeon's knife, Nature is not allowed to get rid of the disease matter, and the poisonous taints and morbid encumbrances remain in the organism.
In this way originate the worst forms of chronic diseases which now afflict civilized races.
The truth of this assertion is proved by the fact that chronic diseases we know are rare among the primitive peoples of the earth, such as the early indiginous people of Africa and Australia or the Eskimos of the arctic regions. They are not found among people who do not use drugs. All the different forms of venereal disease, chronic rheumatism, chronic indigestion, etc., are unknown in those countries whose inhabitants live in harmony with Nature. The reason is that these people have not learned to suppress Nature's acute purifying and healing efforts by poisonous drugs and surgical operations.