Reform means a change of externals. Reform is a patchwork program and is justifiable only when the thing that is to be reformed is basically sound and worth saving. Revolution, on the other hand, is a change from within; it corrects evils at their roots instead of making them more bearable by patching them; it is a fundamental reconstruction or the replacement of an old order with a new. Revolution is imperative when the old system, like the medical system, is rotten to the core and contains nothing worth saving.

Revolutions grow out of revolutionary situations and are not the work of agitators. Along with events and their consequences, dictated, not by the intelligence of man, but by what he conceives to be essentially non-rational forces of power and need, man and his institutions take new directions. Although from Hippocrates to Galen and especially from the Renaissance to Jennings and Graham, efforts at medical reform had been legion, no fundamental change in medical systems had ever taken place. What came about at this time appears much like the fulfillment of history by its own natural agents.

Out of the contradictions, confusions, chaotic and heterogeneous collection of delusions that were called the art and science of medicine, out of the conflict of the schools, out of the obvious failure of medicine to fulfill its promises and out of the refusal of the medical men to consider the normal needs of life in their care of the sick grew the need, nay, the urgent necessity, for a revolutionary reconstruction of biological thought and a resurrection of a biological view of man's needs.

The whole medical system of Western society was in a state of chaos and confusion. It is not surprising that the revolution had its first beginning in France, where medicine was most progressed. As early as the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were physicians in France who discarded drugs and relied upon "nature" and "good nursing." By the middle of the century the number of these had swelled and they adopted a special name for themselves. In Germany the water-cure was launched at about the beginning of the second quarter of the century. In Sweden, the Ling system soon rose to popularity. In Britain Andrew Combe, M.D., and William Lamb, M.D., attempted to lead the people into physiological ways of caring for themselves. Combe attempted to found his practice upon physiology; hence, it should not surprise us that it had much in common with the Graham system in this country. So great was the influence of Combe's works that in some places, where people took regular exercise, bathed regularly, secured fresh air and adopted all processes of physical education, the practices were called by the name Combeing. Lamb had much correspondence with Graham.

About the reform and revolutionary movements of Europe we have little to say in this book as we are primarily interested in the development of the system of Natural Hygiene which took place on American soil. In a general sense it is probably correct to say that the revolution in Europe and that in America were interrelated and interconnected; it is certain that they exercised considerable influence upon each other. Especially did the works of Priessnitz, Schrodt and Rausse of Germany, Ling of Sweden and Lamb and Combe of Britain influence the American scene. The French school seems to have exercised very little influence outside of France. So far as the present author knows, the history of the French revolution has not been written.

As evidence of the influence exerted by the American movement upon European thought and practice, American Hygienic journals and books had a wide distribution in England. Trall, Nichols and Gove lectured in England, while Nichols and Gove published in England a magazine entitled, the Herald of Health. An abridged edition of Graham's Science of Human Life was also published in that country. Theobald Grieben of Berlin published in the German language the following translations of books by American Hygienists: Tea and Coffee, by Alcott; Chastity, Science of Human Life and Fruits and Vegetables, by Graham; Science of Love, by Fowler; Diseases of the Sexual Organs, by Jackson; and Sexual Abuses, by Trall. A German translation of The Curse Removed by Nichols (a book on painless childbirth) was translated by a German physician and published in Germany. The physician played fast and loose with the translation and made Nichols recommend drugs in the German edition.

It was into the milieu of doubt and uncertainty, of disease and death that Sylvester Graham threw a stone in 1830. A rock hewn out of physiological truth could not help destroying many fallacies and providing a way of escape for the thinking and observing members of society. A revolution was started that will not cease until the old order has been completely demolished and a new one fully established. Only the existence of a revolutionary situation, created by the failures and contradictions of medical theories and practices, made possible the immediate and widespread acceptance of the truths announced by Graham, his contemporaries and successors.

As Graham's lectures and writings represent the launching of a crusade for health and what he called "physiological reform" of the people and not the actual beginning of Hygienic practice, I shall begin this story with his predecessor, Isaac Jennings, M.D. A writer in The Science of Health, January 1876, includes Jennings along with Trall and others as worthy of veneration for their revolutionary work. Jennings launched no crusade and his work had not been made public at the time Graham launched his crusade--hence the tendency to start with Graham. I shall consult chronology rather than the beginning of the public work at this time.

Isaac Jennings

Jennings says that he made his debut in medicine under the flag of Cullen, having studied under the celebrated Professor Ives of New Haven, Conn. and Yale. After 20 years spent in the regular drugging and bleeding practices of the time, during which his confidence in drugs and bleeding had grown steadily weaker so that his lancet had been sheathed and his doses were fewer, further apart and smaller, he discontinued all drugging in 1822 and relied thereafter on Hygienic care of the sick, using water (drops of it) and bread pills to meet the demands of his patients for "medicines" for another 20 years before he made public the secret of his phenomenal success.

Writing in 1852 on the occasion of the publication of Jenning's second book (The Philosophy of Human Life ), R. T. Trall, M.D., said of his career: "Dr. Jennings is widely known as the advocate of the 'orthopathic' plan of treating disease--a plan whose details mainly consist in placing the patient under organic law, and there leaving him to the vis medicatrix naturae. From the dawn of creation down to the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifty-two, this method of medicating the vital machinery has been 'eminently successful;' and the personal experience of the author of the work before us demonstrates the reasons of its superior efficacy over the drug-shop appliances, so widely and so fatally popular.