This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
Much confusion concerning the curability of chronic diseases by the various methods of treatment arises because people do not understand the difference between functional and organic chronic disease.
For instance, there is a close resemblance between pseudo- and true locomotor ataxy. Often it is difficult to distinguish functional lung trouble from the organic type of the disease. In our practice, several cases of mental derangement which had been diagnosed as true paresis proved to be of the functional type and under natural treatment recovered rapidly.
Functional diseases may present a very serious appearance and may be labeled with awe-inspiring Greek or Latin names, and yet yield readily to natural methods of living and treatment.
In diseases of an organic nature, however, right living and self-treatment are usually not sufficient to obtain satisfactory results. In such cases all forms of active and passive treatment must be applied, and even then it is frequently difficult and sometimes impossible to produce a cure.
Chronic diseases of a functional nature develop when an otherwise healthy organism becomes saturated and clogged with food and drug poisons to such an extent that these encumbrances interfere with the free circuation of the blood and nerve currents, and with the normal functions of the cells, organs and tissues of the body.
Such cases resemble a watch which is losing time because its works are filled with dust. All that such a waste-encumbered watch or body needs, in order to restore normal functions, is a good cleaning. Pure food diet, fasting, systematic exercise, deep breathing, cold bathing and the right mental attitude are usually sufficient to perform this physical housecleaning and to restore perfect health.
Functional disorders yield readily to the various forms of metaphysical treatment. Remove such patients from the weakening and destructive effects of poisonous drugs and of surgical operations, supplant fear and worry by courage and faith, and the results often seem miraculous to those who do not understand the power of the purifying and stimulating influence of clean living and of the right mental attitude.
In diseases of the organic type, however, good results are not so easily achieved. A body affected by organic disease resembles a watch whose mechanism has been injured and partly destroyed by rust and corrosive acids. If such be the case, cleaning and oiling alone will not be sufficient to put the timepiece in good working order. The watchmaker has to replace the damaged parts.
This is easy enough in the case of the watch, but it is not so easily accomplished in the human body. Besides, in many instances the corroding acids are the very medicines which were given to cure the disease and the injury and destruction of vital parts and organs is only too often the direct or indirect result of surgical operations.
The watchmaker may remove those parts of the watch which are suffering from organic trouble, and replace them by new ones. This the surgeon cannot do. He can extirpate, but he cannot replace. Operative treatment leaves the organism forever after in a mutilated and therefore unbalanced condition, and often prevents and frustrates Nature's cleansing and healing crises.