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
In the first place, it is most unscientific, not to say senseless, for medical colleges to teach clinical medicine, using as subjects men and women broken down in mind and body from years of bad habits, and to use, as a teaching force, medical men who do not consider the influences of the daily habits of mind and body as factors in producing disease. As proof of the folly of such teaching I cite the growth and prosperity of Christian Science, which has proved such a haven of rest for millions that have escaped the barbarous practice of "scientific" doctors who were struggling in a medical way to medicate, vaccinate, inoculate, extirpate, serumize, immunize and demonize patients, but succeeded only in teaching all a large sick habit. Christian Science has always builded better than it knew; but this is one of nature's compensating acts. The regular profession builds in an inferior way with what it knows. Selfishness, snobbishness, and bigotry have blinded the eyes and dulled the understanding of medical schools, as ignorant conceit and religious superstition have blinded the eyes and understanding of Christian Science.
Each system is standing in its own light, and prefers to be wrong rather than to give up its selfish advantages. The medical schools teach without any adequate means of finding out what the habits have been and what part habits play in the evolution of disease. Of course, habits are talked and written about; but, so far as applying the knowledge in the healing of disease is concerned, the subject is a dead letter; it does not enter into consideration, except in the most casual and perfunctory way.
There is but one way to learn of the amount of influence exerted by physical and mental habits--what part they play in a given case--and that is by inducing the patient to give them up, while the physician stands by, keeping hands off, watching nature eliminate and readjust. If the doctor cannot be satisfied to do nothing, except watch nature clean house and see to it that the work is not obstructed by the patient's bad habits or by his medical superstitions, he can never cultivate a dependable working knowledge of etiology; and without such knowledge he must remain in a mentally chaotic state concerning cause, effect, and cure.
Our present scientific teaching leads us through a "fool's paradise" of examinations, using instruments of precision to palpate, auscultate, and percuss; chemically analyze the secretions and excretions; microscopically examine the secretions, excretions, and every fluid and solid of the body; bacteriologically examine the entire body--the exudates, the transudates, and the expectorates; aspirate from every secret chamber of the body, analyze the fluid in every way possible, and then spend weeks in bacterial culture; X-ray every suspicious location, and radiograph the same. After all this examination, the diagnosis is "hung up", and the patient is sent away on suspended judgment, to return again in a few weeks or months to go through the same ordeal. This may be somewhat overdrawn, but certainly not in a few aggravated cases of mania in diagnosis.
What are the real causes of the bodily derangements which send professional gentlemen and their diagnostic specialists and experts through this "fool's paradise" looking for something that is not found in this glorious Eden? What is that elusive something that evades the microscope, stethoscope, test-tube, analyst, X-ray, and every other instrument of precision, and every analytical, synthetical, deductive, inductive, and seductive diagnostic procedure?
It is life--a state that is commonly referred to as health. It is not an entity--a something to see, hear, taste, smell, or feel.
Health is the meter by which life is measured. When health is below a certain standard, we think disease; we lose the thought that impaired life--the state we call disease--is a lowered health standard, and that there is no such thing as disease.
The primary entities with which the physicians have to do are man and his environment. These are both good and adapted to each other, or they could not exist together. Man did not evolve until his environment evolved him. I assume that, inasmuch as nature never stultifies herself, man and his habitat are suited to each other and are potentially ideal, and that, if the unideal evolves, it is because of a maladjustment which is easy of readjustment.
I further assume that it is the doctor's duty, if he would be a physician, to throw his whole power of intellect into the study of why an environment that produces man also destroys him--why benign and life-imparting influences become malignant and life-destroying influences; and I invite any medical man to try successfully to refute my declaration that there is not one influence in man's environment which is not for his good, if he (man) is properly adjusted to it.
What should etiology be? Learning all about the influence of everything that affects man's body and mind. In this study we find that everything necessary to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness may be enjoyed to excess, and that, when it is, it enervates--lowers the standard of health; which means that functioning is impaired and self-poisoning takes place by retention of excretions. When this state is brought about, man loses his normal adjustment and every environmental influence has an exaggerated effect upon him.
If he has lowered his resistance from overeating, overwork, worry, fear, overindulgence in any of his physical or mental pleasures, every influence to which he was once normally adjusted affects him uncomfortably. If he undertakes to eat as formerly, he suffers from indigestion; if he works or undertakes to indulge himself in previously enjoyed habits, he is made uncomfortable and to suffer. One to three cigars distress him, whereas once a dozen could be smoked without any apparent subjective symptoms. The hopelessness of this situation lies in his remembrance that he once could smoke, drink, and otherwise indulge his sensual nature without discomfort, and in his belief that if he can find a doctor to "cut out" his disease, or cure it by some scientific means, he may return to his old flesh-pots. He knows very well that he could once indulge; he is quite sure he may again, if a cure can be found; and on this fool's errand he can find doctors and healers galore to accompany him. We have "perhaps the largest surgical plants in the world" just for the purpose of cutting out disease, so that the victims will not be put to the inconvenience of cutting out their bad habits.