Tilden tells us that he practiced medicine and surgery for 25 years, "experimenting, after the first ten years, more or less, with all the systems and cults, and being more and more surprised with the results following little or no medication (drugging)." Then followed a longer period of practice, one that continued to within a few months of his death, when he retired from active practice, which, to quote his own words, consisted of the "simple conservative prescriptions of physical, physiological and mental rest, diet, nursing and psychology." He says of this practice, which was one largely of educating patients out of disease-producing modes of life, that it was "not only satisfying to myself," but to all his patients who could be taught to practice self-control.
He tells us that when his patients recovered under his drugging practices, they and their families and friends would say that he cured them, but that he was aware that he had done nothing of the kind. He did not even know how or why they had recovered. When a patient would die under his care, he says that his conscience would not permit him to tell the family that "all was done for the patient that science could do." He says: "For I knew that I did not cure those who got well and I did not like to acknowledge, even to myself, that I had killed those who died. To be consistent, I soothed my troubled mind by acknowledging to myself and my father, who was a doctor, that those who got well did so in spite of my best endeavors, and those who died might have been helped to die by my strenuous endeavors to save them."
An attitude of mind such as this either drives a man out of practice, as it has thousands of young physicians and a few older ones, or causes him to try to find out what is true and what is not true in the practice of medicine. Tilden says that "to learn, if possible, just how much I had to do with the getting well and dying of my patients, I discarded drugs and other methods of cure, and gave sugar tablets and careful nursing. I felt like a criminal in withholding cures--it was a strenuous ordeal. My success was marvelous. Even my father, an old-time practitioner, marveled at the results, and cautioned me not to go too far."
It is everywhere freely admitted that "there is no cure for the common cold." It is also admitted that "there is no cure for influenza." Indeed, there are so many common diseases for which it is admitted that there is no cure that one begins to wonder how long it will take the world to recognize that the whole concept of cure and curing is false.
Every year millions of people in this country develop colds and practically all of them recover health. The same may be said for the hundreds of thousands of people who yearly develop influenza. Thus, we have two common diseases for which there are no cures; yet those who develop these diseases recover. If the sick recover and are not cured, what happens? If a cure for colds were found, how would it be possible to prove that it is a cure, since cold sufferers get well anyway?
At this point we may ask: are there two processes of recovery? Is there a process of healing carried on by the living organism--is there another process carried out by therapeutic measures? Let us apply this question to pneumonia. It is claimed today that both the sulfonamides and penicillin cure pneumonia; but prior to the introduction of the sulfonamides, it was freely admitted on all sides that there was no cure for pneumonia. In spite of this lack of a cure, most pneumonia patients succeeded in recovering health. Many of the processes of treatment to which pneumonia patients were subjected were manslaughterous, the physician standing by the bedside of his patient and wielding a battle axe. In spite of such manslaughterous therapeutics, most pneumonia patients recovered.
With the abandonment of the old battle axe treatment and its substitution, first by the sulfonamides and, subsequently, by penicillin, a higher percentage of pneumonia cases recovered. This led physicians and the people to believe that the sulfonamides and penicillin cure pneumonia. But if these drugs cure pneumonia, what cured pneumonia cases before they were introduced into medical practice? To repeat our former question: are there two processes of cure? When pneumonia cases recovered health under the old battle axe plan of treatment, were they cured by one process? Now that they recover health under a less lethal plan of care, are they cured by another and different process? Are there two principles, one operating in poisonous substances, the other in the body, both of which result in the same ultimate effect--health?
If pneumonia patients in the majority of instances recovered health when there was no cure for pneumonia, is it not possible that this same process that resulted in recovery in spite of a manslaughterous mode of treatment is also responsible for the recoveries that occur under a less lethal plan of care? Is it not more correct to say that penicillin does not cure more, it only kills fewer? It hardly seems a tenable assumption that there has been a radical change in the process by which health is restored when one is ill. Whether it is a cold, an influenza or a pneumonia, the process of recovery that enables one to regain health when there is no cure would seem to be still in operation after an alleged cure is discovered.
Physicians who have followed their patients to the post-mortem table have long observed that pulmonary tuberculosis of long standing tends to spontaneous recovery. They find the lung lesions had completely healed and the patient died of something else or they find that, although the patient died of tuberculosis, there were many healed lesions in the lungs. It is the common theory that almost everybody has tuberculosis of the lungs at some time in life. This is based on the almost universal finding of healed lesions in the lungs at autopsy. It is stated that thousands of these people had tuberculosis, recovered and never knew that they had the disease. Perhaps they thought they had a persistent cold or something else of a minor nature.
Here is evidence that the infection, when it does occur, is something that the living organism can cope with without outside help. Both the people and their physicians are so accustomed to thinking that no healing can take place without the assistance of a professional man and his bag of tricks that we are surprised to learn that healing can actually occur without the tricks. It may be to the advantage of the disease treaters of all colors and stripes to have the people believe that they recover only as a consequence of the treatments they administer, but the fact is that the public will be better off to understand that all healing is self-healing.
These post-mortem findings demonstrate that tuberculosis evolves into a serious condition in but a relatively small percentage of cases and that even in these formidable cases, man's biological restoratives are capable of effecting a restoration of health. If sometime in the future a cure for tuberculosis were to be discovered, is it possible that the biological process that now restores health in cases of tuberculosis would come to an abrupt end and the tubercular would, thereafter, be forced to depend entirely upon the alleged cure? If the biological restoratives that are resident in the living organism do not cease with the discovery of an alleged cure, how is it ever possible to demonstrate the genuineness of the cures?
Wounds healed, broken bones knit and the sick recovered health for ages before there was a shaman, priest or leech, and mankind survived without the doubtful assistance of these professionals. This proved that man's biological restoratives are fully capable of restoring structural soundness and physiological efficiency to his organism, if they are not frustrated or thwarted by treatments and conditions that obstruct and suppress the healing efforts. Healing is a biological process, not an art. The physician can neither duplicate nor imitate this process. Nor does the Hygienist attempt to duplicate or imitate it.
Hygiene stands up for the wisdom and goodness of the constitution of nature, as displayed in our own organism and its normal relations to its environment. It points out the initial errors of the sick and seeks to influence them in healthful directions. Hygienists alone reveal the great, simple and most sublime of truths--that incorporated in every living organism itself is a great vital recuperative capacity as part and parcel of its very life, identical with and inseparable from its very existence, by which and through which the organism is evolved, its waste recuperated, its injuries repaired, its infirmities removed and its impairments healed. Members of the schools of healing seem not to know anything about this; nobody else seems to believe in it, but dwell in the common darkness of all around them.
In the natural order of things there is no such thing as escaping the consequences of our actions. Hence, Hygiene teaches and insists upon the principle that, before health can be regained, there must be entire conformity with the laws of life. Unlike the curing systems, Hygiene holds out to no person an immunity from the consequences of actions and modes of living that violate or are in conflict with the laws of being. It does not tell the sick that they may continue to live in violation of these laws and still, by some magic potency, recover from the consequences. But it does point to the fact that living organisms are so constructed and endowed as to be able to repair their damages and restore their functions when the violations of biologic law are discontinued.