This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
Cold climates are said to be more healthful than warm climates. I am not prepared to accept that statement without qualifications. Under correct sanitary control, I believe that warm countries are more conducive to long life than are cold countries; but under neglected and bad dietetic, hygienic, and sanitary conditions, cold countries are better. And, of all countries, those of high altitudes are best. Decomposition is the menace to health in warm countries; the people die of sepsis--blood poisoning--and hepatic derangements; whereas in cold countries health and life are menaced by overstimulation and its consequent enervation.
It is true that heat is enervating, but the bad habit of eating heat-producing foods in hot countries causes hot climates to be more unhealthful than is natural. Investigation will show that there are more people who grow old in warm countries. Cold is hard on old, and on very young, people.
Explorers of the polar regions state that they stood a temperature of from forty to fifty degrees Fahrenheit below zero, without suffering, when there was no wind. It is said that life may be maintained at from seventy to ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit below zero. Authors of this statement, however, counsel against exaggerating the importance of this fact. On an average, about seven hundred persons perish every year in Russia from cold.
All ages do not stand cold equally well. Adults resist the cold best. The old and young chill easily.
The enervated, or those with weakened nutrition, must keep warm.
Discouragement, overwork, starvation, or any influences that depress the mind as well as the body, render the individual unfit to stand exposure to cold. Any enervating habit removes resistance to cold. Drinking of alcoholics overcomes man's resistance. Brandy-drinking, as practiced in Russia, often causes serious suffering, and a few fall dead on being exposed to extreme cold after indulging.
There still persists a popular obstinacy or ignorant belief that alcoholics, or so-called stimulants, are an advantage to those who are exposed to cold, or subjected to fatiguing labor. The truth is exactly the opposite of this belief; for alcohol, in any form, enervates by removing the normal tonicity. Man in a full state of health has tone--a normal irritability or excitability--that enables him to act and react on his environment. A man in full vigor can control or react of strike back, but the impotent man has no control and cannot react or strike back. The rage of King Lear marks the acme of senile impotency. Indeed, anger means impotency; the greater the lack of self-control, the more impotency is marked.
Alcohol is not a stimulant nor a tonic; it is a drug that deadens sensation. Hence its first, last, and only effect is to paralyze. The reason why drinkers like it is because it deadens sensation. The more enervated the alcoholic habitue, the less responsible he is for his acts.
To send a drunkard or a drug fiend to the electric chair is certainly the acme of social stupidity. We have quit legally killing those whom we know to be insane; yet we are slow to recognize the drunk or the dope fiends as artificially and temporarily insane.
Fever often produces mental hallucinations, but these states of aberration are not so often due to fever as to drugs. Alcohol and opium have sent many patients through windows to their death. Suicides and homicides are oftener the acts of brains crazed with drugs than the result of viciousness. And society is so ignorantly stupid as to license drug and gin shops, and clothe physicians with authority to build lunatics for our courts to run into the penitentiaries, hang, or electrocute.
Habits are easily formed. It is an easy matter to go from alcohol to morphine. These drugs do not act the same, yet both of them deaden sensation and are habit-forming, and both produce physical and mental impotency. It matters not in what quantities taken, they weaken resistance and render those who use them less and less efficient for their work.
There is nothing except food that gives man strength. And too much food--eating beyond the digestive capacity--will cause weakness. When food is taken beyond digestive capacity, and a habitual intestinal fermentation is established, the individual loses his power to keep warm. Victims of this state may put on the heaviest clothing--indeed, they usually wear heavy woolen underwear, often two suits, and the heaviest top clothing--yet the more clothing they put on, the more they may. Still there is no comfort for them; for the more clothing put on the body, beyond just enough to protect from wind and weather, the more such people suffer from cold. Heavy clothes break down resistance, and if the habit of wrong eating and heavy clothing is continued, the refrigeration of death will relieve the unfortunate victims of this health-destroying habit.
When a man is in full health, nothing can add to his strength. Emotional excitement may cause him to use all the power he has for the moment, but the result is enervation that will require more than the usual amount of rest to restore. The same is true of protection with clothing. The body in health has power to protect itself from the varying temperatures. It can adjust itself to all degrees of heat and cold, and needs no protection except from inclemency. And when these facts are ignored and artificial protection is indulged in, self-protection is lost, which results in disease.
Food and clothing beyond necessity, close houses, artificial heat, stimulants (?), and tonics (?), make a conglomeration of influences that spell d-i-s-e-a-s-e and early death.
The body should be protected from wind and weather, but not from contact with the air. The body must live in the air. Open-woven cotton or linen underwear, or a sleeveless and legless light-weight garment that stands for cleanliness rather than bodily protection, is all that is necessary; then the top clothing may be adjusted to be in keeping with the weather conditions.
This is quite the opposite of what is recommended by modem medical science. But it should be known that modem medical science is a wonderfully wroughtout system of palliation which in every particular "borrows from Peter to pay Paul;" breaks down health to relieve suffering; builds a fatal disease by relieving or palliating an innocent one.
In the matter of prescribing for those who are breaking themselves down--becoming so enervated that the chill of death is sending its messengers of warning--the really up-to-date doctor will prescribe heavy woolen underwear and more "good, nourishing food;" and, as auxiliaries, stimulants and tonics to quicken the circulation and give strength! Such trifling with health and life is a disgrace to our civilization. Patients applying for advice--for relief from such symptoms--should be educated into health habits; not turned off with short-lived palliatives that will become allied with the patient's bad habits to hasten his destruction.
Those who find themselves distressed by a weather temperature that does not appear to inconvenience those about them should get busy correcting bad eating, clothing, and housing habits.
Do these people need heat-producing foods? Most of them have broken themselves down by overindulgence in these very same foods. Will they be benefited by eating more of them? This is exactly what modem medical science declares; and the result is more breaking-down, more disease, and at last premature death.
Rest--physiological and physical--whole or partial withdrawal of food, and quiet in bed, with artificial heat, and food only when comfortable, will soon right such patients.
As soon as habitual decomposition in the bowels is overcome, these patients begin to warm up; feet and hands gradually grow warm; the mind and body grow more active; the outlook becomes brighter. Often this change not only restores physical and mental health, but it puts the victim on a solid financial basis. People poisoned with alcohol or drugs, or who are toxin-infected, stumble over opportunities every day; they see others succeeding by, perhaps, picking up the opportunities over which they themselves have stumbled.
Those who are cultivating cold feet must not be surprised to find themselves lagging behind in the affairs of life; and they will certainly grow more diseases from day to day.
Death is a coldness that knows no warming; and the unfortunate person who has cultivated cold hands and feet is started toward that final state.
The greater the intensity of cold, the more pronounced its effects on the parts exposed. At three or four degrees below zero, redness is excited; treble the amount will cause swelling; and six times that amount of cold will result in gangrene.
The first effect of cold is a feeling of fatigue and a desire to sleep. But if sleep be indulged in, there will be no awaking.