My Study of the Subject - The Mouth as a Digestive Organ - Dr. Cannon's Researches - Pawlow's Proofs

In the latest comprehensive treatise on human nutrition, under the title of "Food and the Principles of Dietetics," by Dr. Robert Hutchinson, of London, more than six hundred pages are devoted to the subject. Of these, just fifty lines are given to "Mouth Digestion."

In a footnote of sixty-four words Dr. Huchinson has stated the case of the importance of careful eating, with admission of a fact that would mean emancipation from most of the human disabilities if it were repeated in nurseries and primary schools as religiously as are the ordinary rules of "polite conduct," and held by Society to be the basis of respectability, which it really is.

When I first took up the study of dietetics in academic circles, nearly fifteen years ago, physiologists did not concede that there was any mouth digestion at all. Putting food in the mouth was for the purpose of mixing it with saliva so that it could be formed into a "bolus"for convenient swallowing. Now it is recognised that there is some mouth digestion. In the meantime Pawlow * has demonstrated that the psychic influence has much to do with digestion. Cannon, also, has shown by the evidence of the Rontgen rays that mental states retard and even stop entirely the digestive processes that are going on in the stomach, and has asserted, as has also Paw-low, that the stomach digestive juices flow in response to the reports and stimulation of taste, pouring out into the cavity of the stomach juices appropriate for the digestion of the particular food being tasted, in advance of its arrival in the stomach.

* Dr. Prof. J. P. Pawlow, Director of the Department of Experimental Physiology in the Russian Imperial Military School of Medicine, etc.

This evidence, confirming my own secured by concentrated and unremitting study of the effect of head digestion on health and recuperative reconstruction, is proof enough that there is an important department of nutrition that can be properly called head digestion.

My Study Of The Subject

began with the tip from Mother Logic - that the full extent of the personal responsibility in nutrition is located in the head before the food is swallowed. That is what led me to concentrate on the mouth as the field of our responsibility which had been neglected by Science. Even the Dental Profession as a whole had not at that time "tumbled" to the fact that they were occupied professionally and constantly in a field of "Preventive Medicine" as important as now they find it.

Everybody had supposed that the digestion of food was effected only in the stomach and small intestines. This may be true, in a narrow sense, but it can be arrested and completely stopped by the head. Furthermore, digestion can be as much assisted by favourable head influence as it can be obstructed by unfavourable head treatment.

This being so, as everybody knows, or can easily learn, what follows as a logical sequence?

Here is a physiological eye-opener, as it dawns upon the business physiologist. The obvious inference is that if the head can make digestion easy or stop it altogether, the stomach being a subservient, mechanical, and chemical servant of the head in the matter, we may properly declare that the master-key of digestion is held by the head, and we may safely say that there is Head Digestion.