This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
In accordance with the Law of Action and Reaction, action and reaction are equal and opposite; the temporary irritation and overstimulation of the sensitive membranes of the digestive organs are followed by corresponding weakness and exhaustion, and if this procedure be repeated and become habitual, by gradual atrophy and paralysis. As atrophy progresses, the dose of the purgative must be increased in order to accomplish the desired result and this, in its turn, hastens the degenerative changes in the system.
Such enforced, artificial purging may flush the drains and sewers, but does not cleanse the chambers of the house. The cells in the interior tissues remain encumbered with morbid matter. A genuine and truly effective housecleaning must start in the cells and must be brought about through the initiative of the vital energies in the organism, through healing crises, and not through stimulation by means of poisonous irritants.
When, under a natural regimen of living and of treatment, the system has been sufficiently purified, adjusted and vivified, the cells themselves begin the work of elimination.
This is what takes place: The morbid matter and poisons thrown off by the cells and tissues are carried by means of the venous circulation to the organs of elimination, the bowels, kidneys, lungs and skin, and to the mucous membranes lining the interior tracts, such as the nasal passages, the throat and bronchi, the digestive and genitourinary canals, etc.
These organs of elimination become overcrowded with the rush of morbid matter and the accompanying congestion and irritation cause the acute inflammatory processes and feverish symptoms characterizing the various forms of colds, catarrhs, skin eruptions, diarrheas, boils and other acute forms of elimination, which we call healing crises. In other words, what the "Old School" of medicine calls the disease, we look upon as the Cure.
Acute elimination brought about in this manner is Nature's method of housecleaning. It is a true healing crisis, the result of purification and increased activity from within the cell, produced by natural means.
Here interposes Friend Allopath: "You claim that you bring about your acute reactions by natural means only, and that these are never injurious to the organism. What difference does it make if the circulation is stimulated and elimination increased by a cold-water spray or by digitalis? The cold-water stimulation produces a reaction just as digitalis does, and the one must therefore be as injurious as the other."
To this we reply: "The stimulating effect on heart and circulation produced by digitalis is the first action of a highly poisonous drug; the second lasting effect is weakening and paralyzing. On the other hand, the first action of a cold-water spray is depressing; it sends the blood into the interior of the body and benumbs the surface. The sensory nerves at once report this sensation of cold to headquarters in the brain, and immediately the command is telegraphed to the blood vessels in the interior of the body: ‘Send blood to the surface!' As a result, the blood is carried to the surface, and the skin becomes warm and rosy with the glow of life. In this case the stimulation is the second and lasting effect of the water treatment, from which there is no further reaction."
Similarly, the stimulation produced by exercise, massage, manipulation or the exposure of the nude body to light and air is natural stimulation, produced by harmless, natural means. It is entirely due to the fact that conditions in the system have been made more normal, as explained in other chapters.
Drugs, stimulants and tonics, while they produce an artificial, temporary stimulation, do not change the underlying abnormal conditions in the organism. Likewise, the flushing of the colon with water, the use of laxative herb teas and decoctions or forced sweating by means of Turkish or Russian baths, though not as dangerous as inorganic minerals and poisonous drugs, cannot be classed among the natural means of cure. These agents, which by many persons are looked upon as natural treatment, irritate the organs of elimination to forced, abnormal activity without at the same time arousing the cells in the interior of the body to natural elimination.
Dr. H. Lahmann, one of the foremost scientists of the Nature Cure movement, made a series of interesting experiments. His chemists gathered the natural perspiration of certain patients, produced by ordinary exercise in the sunshine. These excretions of the skin were evaporated and analyzed, and were found to contain poisons powerful enough to kill rabbits.
If profuse sweating was produced in the same patients by the high temperature of the hot-air box or the electric-light cabinet, their perspiration, when evaporated and analyzed, was found to contain only small amounts of toxins. Thus Dr. Lahmann proved that:
In a lesser degree, this applies also to fasting. Under certain conditions it becomes a necessity; but it may easily be abused and overdone.