Man is adapted to his environment; is coordinated with and adjusted to the universe and the cosmic rhythms. Only when his organism is impaired, from wrong living, do the natural elements of his environment-- heat, cold, dampness, dryness, pollen, germs, parasites, etc.--become foes of life. For instance, weather changes that have no appreciable effect upon the strong and robust, occasion all manner of disagreeable symptoms and increase the severity of already existing ones in the sick and those of low resistance. The normal body easily adjusts itself to these changes, the impaired body fails to adjust itself. Man, no more than the lower animals, should be the helpless victim of his natural environment. That delicacy which like the house plant, is injured by every breath of air, and that rottenness of constitution which is the effect of indolence, intemperance and debauchery, lay the foundation for the numerous pathologies and premature deaths.
All experienced physicians have seen tuberculosis, diabetes, rheumatism, Bright's "disease," and other so-called "diseases" follow prostration from profound toxemia (crisis), injuries, and shocks of various kinds. The meaning of this is that a toxemic subject has had his remaining resistance reduced below the protecting point. As a result whatever organ (or organs) is predisposed by habit, occupation, or diathesis, will give down.
Resistance may be defined as that physiological and chemical condition of the body, particularly of its fluids and secretions, which enables it to successfully resist and counteract unfavorable influences acting upon it from without. Resistance varies with individuals, and with the varying conditions of the same individual. Between "complete immunity" and "extreme susceptibility" there are all degrees of resistance. "Immunity" and "susceptibility" are, therefore, only relative terms.
Resistance may also be defined as the possession of sufficient energy to carry on the functions of life adequately under conditions and circumstances that demand added nervous expenditure. So long as, through the practice of right habits, the state of resistance is maintained at a high standard, temporary adverse influences will not check elimination enough to produce toxemia, provided too much food is not ingested. A well person cannot be sick. But, when we become enervated, weak, and organic functioning is impaired, elimination is imperfect and resistance-- power to stay well--is lost.
What about germs? When energy is abundant they are harmless. When energy is low the organs fail to secrete the enzymes that
"immunize" and make us proof against the ever-present bacteria. Only then are microbes able to thrive in the body. Health is the great immunizer.
In wounds, nature prepares her defenses if there is time--she walls off the septic pool by organized infiltrations or exudates to prevent absorption of the decomposition.
Increased toxicity produces a general kataphylaxis, or "defense rupture." Toxins lower resistance to all unfavorable influences. When the body is enervated from any cause, elimination is checked; then if to the wrong life that brought on the weakened state, are added the evil influences of filth, decomposition, overcrowding, fear, etc., resistance will be brought so low that environmental influences, which once failed to make an impression, are able to add the one last straw that breaks the camel's back.
The failure of organic resistance is the immediate cause of "infection," otherwise the least contact with microbes would suffice to produce "infection." To be pronouncedly liable to "infection" is to be always perilously near "infection" and the incidence of "infection" is only too likely to follow in the wake of liability. Instead of scaring us about the dangers of "infection," doctors would be better employed if they taught us how to live so that even if our neighbors are not clean there is little or no risk to us.
The inherent integrity of the organism is its own best safeguard. Liability to "infection" is in keeping with degeneration. When germs invade any living organism it is a sign the organism is enervated and its chemistry is perverted. How foolish to look for the "infectious agent" and ignore the circumstances which disarm the body against microbic invasion.
The "soil" is more important than the germ. The factors that create the nidus for germ activity are the primary antecedents of the "disease." These should be given first consideration. Medical investigators tell us that mice fed on a deficient diet and then inoculated with "virulent bacteria" give a mortality of approximately fifty per cent.; whereas, adequately nourished mice inoculated with the same culture give a mortality of only ten per cent. Resistance to "respiratory infections" is markedly less and anaphylactic reactions more severe in animals on a deficient diet. Malnutrition always causes lowered resistance and it is safe to say that no person ever suffers from "infections" and "contagions" who has been adequately nourished.
The respective potencies of the physiological means of defense are derived from the environment--from food, air, water, sunshine. The defensive power of the epithelial tissues is dependent upon proper nutrition. Infection and degeneration can only set in where the soil is badly fertilized by inappropriate nutrition. Only those who are weakened by unwholesome living, poor nutrition and faulty emotional conduct can become a prey to "bad germs."
Infection, whether parasitical or bacterial, is not a matter of accident, but of "soil." Bad "soil" conditions are due to bad behavior--all bad actions producing bad reactions upon the body. An organism that has degenerated into a mere bouillon culture has brought itself to this state by its own transgressions.
The development of "infection" does not depend upon the chance meeting of man and microbe. This meeting is constant, but generally without result. Microbes, even the most "dangerous," are with us always, yet infection is uncommon. When the tissues lose their resistance, and abnormal secretions are present, will not a harmless germ thrive and produce poisons? But that germ will never be the cause any more than the germ associated with diphtheria is the cause of diphtheria. The prepared soil must precede the germ's propagation and germs can only be secondary complications of a pre-existing toxemia. Constitutional toxemia is the ever-present condition that permits "pathogenic" organisms to gain a, foothold in the body.
Man's resistance can be increased or diminished by any and all factors that increase or diminish his stock of nerve energy, or that increase or diminish his load of toxemia. His mode of living and the treatment he receives are both either enervating, hence toxemia-building, or energy conserving, hence blood purifying.
Sir Almroth Wright declared that "the cure of bacterial infections depends neither on the storage of fat nor upon bronzing of the skin, nor yet upon the breathing of fresh air (sea-coast air, pine-wood air, mountain air, or upon warm southern air), but only upon the destruction of the invading bacteria by the anti-bacterial substance in the body."