Only by obliterating all distinctions between health and disease can such actions be called "healthy actions." This would be something like obliterating the distinctions between heat and cold and declaring them both to be heat. They are both temperature, but cold is not heat. Of course, both normal and abnormal actions are vital actions; but they are not both physiological. Physiological circulation is free and easy and occasions no redness, swelling, pain or interference with function. Inflammation is a circulatory adjustment that, while vital, is pathological rather than physiological. Inflammation is the process by which broken bones are knit, wounds are healed and parts are protected from damage. Death or mortification of the inflamed part represents the unsuccessful termination of the remedial effort--the disease.

Disturbances and inflammation within the organism are as much vital actions as deglutition and digestion; the difference being that in the first instance the organism is resisting and expelling inimical substances; in the second it is performing its normal or healthy functions. Healthy action is the action of a healthy or normal organ under normal conditions. Remedial action is action which tends to restore the healthy condition. Inflammation is remedial action because, though not normal action, it is designed to resist and remove causes and repair damages, thus restoring the healthy condition. To say that inflammation is healthy action is tantamount to saying that disease is health.

Inflammation is simply a great increase in the amount of blood in a circumscribed area of the body. The pain, the redness, the swelling, the heat and the impairment of function are all due to the local excess of blood. The blood contains the repair materials--the ordinary elements of nutrition and the special repair elements that are produced for the occasion. Inflammation, whether in a wound or in a so-called disease, is a remedial, a reparative and, also, a defensive process. Instead of something that needs to be cured or that can be cured, it is the process by which healing is accomplished.

What we have said of inflammation applies with equal force to such actions as coughing, sneezing, spitting, vomiting, diarrhea, diuresis, night sweats, dizziness, fever, pain, vertigo and other types of remedial action. What are these but symptoms of disease? And yet, each and everyone of them represents a modification or exaggeration of some function of life. It may be said that acute disease represents a series of exaggerations and diminutions of the regular activities of life designed to remove offending substances and to repair damages. When we examine the functional and structural changes that occur in the body in the early stages of disease, there seems to be alterations of a compensatory character or of such a nature that they reduce the general disturbances of the organism from the threat associated with the altered condition of life to a minimum. They are of a remedial character--expulsive, resistive and compensatory.

This definition of disease--remedial effort--first expressed by Dr. Trall, must be applied in its fullness to acute disease only. Paralysis, for instance, under this definition of disease, should not be classed as a disease, nor should apoplexy, blindness, deafness and a number of other structural and functional defects. Certainly blindness is not a remedial effort. Certainly the bleeding into the brain in apoplexy is not a remedial effort. These facts again emphasize the need for a more precise terminology.

Acute disease is vital action in some one or all of the living tissues or organs in resisting and expelling injurious substances and influences and in repairing damages. In this sense, disease is an effort to preserve the organism from destructive influences and to maintain or restore functional harmony.

The living organism is endowed with an inherent power and instinct of self-preservation. A familiar example will illustrate the workings of this power and instinct. A poison is taken into the stomach; the organism senses the presence of a non-usable and harmful substance and prepares to act accordingly. It is sent out by vomiting, or it is sent along the digestive tract into the colon and is expelled by means of a violent diarrhea. It does not take a profound understanding of the science of biology for the reader to grasp the fact that the vomiting or the diarrhea are the means of defense and expulsion. We call them disease or symptoms of disease, but we should also recognize them as parts of the process of healing. Disease is not the enemy of life that we have been taught it is, but the means employed by life to defend and repair itself. In this instance, the vomiting and diarrhea, instead of being foes of life, are actions of life in self-defense. The enemy in this instance is the drug (poison), not the processes of life that expel the poison.

It has been said that fever is not disease. Is it health? Is it something between health and disease? What, then, shall we call it? Fever is but a dramatic exaggeration of the normal temperature of the body. Its production is strictly a vital process, but it is not a healthy state. It is remedial effort, whether successful or not.

We do not think it correct to say that fever, meaning by this, the increased temperature, "is no more than a concomitant of a process of reaction against injury or a foreign disturbance." We think the rise in temperature is an essential element of the so-called reaction (we would call it a primary action--one of defense) and that it is necessary to other elements of the defensive action, without which they would not occur. But when it is said that we can follow nature's example by endeavouring to create a feverish condition for the purpose of healing, we object that this is a return to the old principle of curing disease by producing disease.

A fever is the consequence of accumulated impurities in the system, the disease consisting essentially in the effort to expel the accumulated toxin. How can the introduction of a poison or of any number of poisons either prevent the accumulation of impurities or cast them out once they have accumulated? We do not think that fever has any "dangerous features" and think that these are but figments of the medical man's imagination. All forms of acute disease are remedial efforts and the disease is mild or severe as the quantity or kind of poisons or impurities in the system necessitate a lesser or greater degree of violence of the remedial effort.

People are said to be attacked by fever. They are also said to catch typhoid or to catch scarlet fever, etc. Editorially, Trall said (September 1859) that "no person ever was or ever will be exposed to the contact of the fever which they manifest. The thing is impossible. We say, further, that there never was an individual on earth attacked by a fever." We need only add that if there is any attack, fever is part of the body's attack upon impurities.