He who demands a correction of the ways of life as the one and only means of securing a restoration of health will not be patronized by the millions who still believe that among the myriads of so-called cures there is palliation for them and who are content with mere palliation. There is a mighty army of invalids today who cannot get well in spite of their travels, their patronage of the great specialists and their submission to operations, but they are still unwilling to make a few simple corrections in their ways of living in the interest of better health.
When one of these sufferers does condescend to break away from the cures of science and to undertake a wholly new and, to him, untried way back to health, he is often in a desperate condition. Much organic change has occurred so that nothing short of the creation of a new organ can restore full health. We do not expect such sufferers to recover full health, but we do witness some remarkable improvements in great numbers of these desperate cases. In the less damaged we see great numbers of full recoveries.
It is often in these desperate cases that we witness the most remarkable effects of the fast. To withhold food provides relief from pain and discomfort, enables tired and damaged organs to rest and repair themselves, gives the enervated organism an opportunity to excrete its accumulated load of waste and exotic poisons and to, in great measure, rejuvenate itself. Even in cases where full recovery is no longer possible, comfort may be restored and by teaching them how to eat and live, life may be prolonged for months and even years.
People must be brought to a full realization of the fact that, when ill, all the elements they require (all the elements they can use) are those that are necessary to sustain life in a state of full health and that these must be supplied in the manner that nature requires under the circumstances. This done, they must wait upon the orderly and lawful processes of life to restore health.
To correctly care for any patient it is first necessary to understand the causes that have produced and are maintaining his trouble. We cannot be satisfied when we have found the pathology in the patient's body--when we have found an enlarged tonsil or an enlarged prostate, an ulcer of the stomach, a stone in the kidney or in the gall bladder, a fibroid tumor or inflammation in the colon. These are only effects and they throw no light on cause. To operate, as is usually advised and carried out, is not to remove causes but effects. The operation may temporarily palliate symptoms, but the unremoved causes produce another crop of effects and the patient has "other diseases." Most surgery, like all drugging, is purely palliative.
It is not enough to correctly diagnose a disease. The most essential thing in restoring health to the sick is the removal of the cause of the illness and providing the normal factors of health. Diagnosis leads to the resort to specific cures and symptomatic treatment which are often worse on the patient that the original causes of the disease. When diagnostic skill is meager, mistakes in diagnosis are the rule. If specific treatment is required and the mistake is made in diagnosis, it is inevitable that the wrong treatment shall be used. If cause is found, its removal is never a mistake, whether the diagnosis is correct or not.
Statistics of recoveries from disease and of death in disease are based on diagnosis. When mistakes are made in diagnosis, the statistics giving the causes of death (which are based upon these mistaken diagnoses) are thoroughly unreliable. When diseases have not been differentiated, the statistics for a so-called disease include two or more diseases. A classic example is that of smallpox. Prior to Sydenham, smallpox had not been differentiated from chickenpox, scarlet fever and other eruptive diseases--hence all estimates of the incidence of smallpox prior to that time are hopelessly impossible.
It is correct to say that the suffering of the sick is in keeping with incorrigibility. Cause and effect are well balanced; they are equal to each other. Any effort to force a condition of comfort in spite of incorrigibility must ultimately end in disaster. Somehow it is difficult to whip "rebellious organs" into the traces. They persist in their faulty secreting and lagging functions in spite of whip and spur. The first thing the whippers know the whilom possessors of the contumacious organs are in the land where livers "cease from throbbing" and stomachs are "at rest."
The layman has never studied the foundations of medical practice. He has never studied the actions of the human system in casting out toxins. He has unconsciously imbibed a belief in the curative properties of drugs and from his earliest infancy he has been told that disease must in some way or other be bled, purged, puked, sweated, blistered or poisoned out of the body.
The testimony of history is that man has long been sick, has long taken the advice and swallowed the remedies of the medical profession and has grown sicker. This is a story of failure. Since men have come into a knowledge of Hygiene and have partially and imperfectly applied it to their lives, they have grown steadily better. How do medical men account for this improvement? We challenge them to do it on any hypothesis that does not expose the absurdity of their own practices. For this change in the lives of men there is a cause and we ask medical men to account for it on grounds that are satisfactory to themselves so that their confidence in their drugs does not receive a rude shock.
Is it not strange that a large class of patients who have had extensive and varied experience among physicians, as well as among the newer schools of so-called healing, with little or no benefit, should get well under Hygienic care, but without any help from Hygiene? It just so happens, according to medical men, that these patients, although perhaps repeatedly told that they are "incurable," had reached the place where they were going to get well anyway at the time they abandoned the destructive and enervating palliatives of the schools of healing and resorted to Hygiene. Their recovery under Hygienic care is, therefore, a mere coincidence. As a rule, they are desperate cases to deal withmostly cases of long standing, with whom all the prevailing methods and systems of cure have failed. They come to Hygiene as a forlorn last hope. With such cases to deal with, marked improvement takes place in nearly all cases, a very large percentage are restored to excellent health and the mortality under Hygienic care is very low. Coincidences are the most common things of existence, but coincidence is not the explanation in this case.