"Health by healthful living," was the slogan of the early Hygienists. This slogan stressed the fact that the preservation of health and the prevention of disease are identical processes and involve the proper use of the normal elements of living. One may build and maintain such a high state of health that no disease will evolve. Precisely in proportion to the individual's neglect or disregard of the laws of his being will be his liability to evolve disease, and the deeper will be its evolution. So long as, with a healthy organization, he carefully observes the laws of his being, he is proof against the evolution of pathology.
Illness does not develop without cause; there are laws which regulate human life as well as any other system or constitution, and the man who violates any of the laws of his being, whether unwittingly or knowingly and deliberately, ought to know, when he suffers mental and physical distress, that this is a consequence of the transgressions; he is not suffering from any sudden Providential or diabolical visitation, nor from any malignant infection.
In an editorial in the Journal, February 1851, Trall said: "We have often asserted, as we think, proved, that cholera can have no existence among those whose physiological habits are correct. We believe further, that it is in the power of all persons, at all times, and in all places, so to control their voluntary habits, as to avoid this or any other similar pestilence." He admitted that we are "subjected to many unavoidable disease-producing influences," yet these alone, he said, will not produce cholera. Before cholera can evolve, he said, whatever may be the "predisposing or exciting causes, there must be a morbid condition of the body," resulting from impairing habits of living.
The prevention of disease and restoration of health by the intelligent use of such means, as are abundantly supplied to man to maintain him in a normal condition when so, is the only logical plan of preventing disease. Given a perfect knowledge of the laws of life and an environment in which they could be perfectly obeyed, disease would become impossible. In the Science of Health, November 1873, Trall says that "during the cholera epidemic in New York in 1832, of the thousands of persons who adopted the hygienic habits above suggested, called in those days 'Grahamism,' not one died of cholera, although a few had the disease in a mild form." He expressed the Hygienic view of epidemics when he said that the key that unlocks their mystery lies in the fact that their bodies are internally foul and depleted as a consequence of their unHygienic and intemperate lives. He said that whatever "exciting causes" may and do exist external to the body, within is the "nucleus on which it fastens, the food element on which it feeds." An allopathic physician, a Dr. Wilson of Airmount, Ala., voiced the prevailing medical view in a discussion with Trall. He asserted that, "almost all men of science and experience sustain me in the position that the most rigid and perfect system of hygiene, not even excepting that taught by Hygienists, will not afford immunity to malarial diseases." With very little modification, this view still prevails with the profession.
The medical plan of preventing disease, like its plan of curing disease, consists almost wholly in the employment of poisons. At the time of the revival of Hygiene, the medical profession had but two preventives. These were quinine for malaria and vaccination for smallpox. Aside from quarantining so-called contagious diseases, about the only other "preventive" measure they employed was fumigation of the premises where a contagious case had been housed. Fumigation, which was a prehistoric procedure and is mentioned in Homer, was originally intended to drive out evil spirits. At the time of the revival of Hygiene, the profession hardly knew what it expected to accomplish with fumigation. By quarantine it sought to isolate contagious cases and thus prevent the spread of disease. Having no concept of law and order and no rational views of cause, the profession could not conceive of so simple a plan of prevention as that of living in harmony with the laws of being. Poisoning the sick with drugs and vaccines, that is, making them sick, to prevent disease is an upside down view of life, a delusion which the profession continues to hug to this day. "Preventive drugs" or drugs of any kind, like "preventive wars," are a real danger and a blunder.
Assuming the validity of their immunizing programs, they take into consideration only a few of the symptom complexes with which man suffers and leave the great mass of human suffering outside of the reach of their preventive measures. The insufficiency of medicine's program of prevention is admitted by medical men themselves when they say that disease is inevitable, that health is a mirage. In the words of Dr. James C. Jackson, the present author says: "I am disgusted with sickness. I am tired at the sight of it. I do not believe in its necessity, nor in its propriety. I detest the philosophy that argues that to be ill is to be natural, and I will not accept any generalizations as sound that lead to such conclusions. The world is all wrong on this matter, and I rejoice in any movement from any quarter that legitimately seeks to set the world right."
The following two axioms, growing out of Hygienic principles, will sum up the Hygienic position concerning the prevention of disease:
Axiom No. 1: Whatever tends to establish and fortify the general health of the individual is a natural means of enabling the system to avoid the evolution of disease.
Axiom No. 2: Whatever tends in any way to depress or deteriorate the general health must necessarily render the body more liable to the evolution of disease.
These are self-evident principles and cannot be too strongly emphasized, not only with reference to so-called infectious diseases, but with reference to all diseases. It is doubtful that a perfectly healthy man could be made sick by a so-called infection. Our object, therefore, should be to teach the people how to avoid sickness, how to grow stronger and wiser in their generation, how to live to good old age in the fullness of health and joy.
Physicians know not how men should live. Every hamlet, every town, every city attests to this fact. Where physicians are, there is no health. Practically everybody is sick and they receive no proper leadership from their physicians, who are, together with the members of their families, also sick. The schools which are attended by student physicians have them, class by class, attend to
"The study of man
In his abnormalities and sickness,
And to frame shrewd theories of a cure."
So long as medical science is hinged on pathology instead of physiology, it will continue to sow seeds of error and disease; still more, it will neglect to sustain the health of the community, whose peril is in proportion to its ignorance. No medical penance or sacrifice can atone for physiological transgression.